I’m about to enter a camera hunting cycle. This isn’t necessarily good news. It also isn’t necessarily going to end in me buying a new camera.
Part of the reason that I hang on to stuff well past the replace-by date is that I don’t particularly like shopping. Specifically, I don’t like the way that a big a purchase tends to lead me into a temporary all-consuming obsession.
One of the things I’m good at as a shopper is not looking back. By that I mean that I’ve accepted that, when it comes to electronics, whatever I buy will be a lot cheaper in the future. I tell myself it’s cheaper than it was (more on that later), make the purchase and then never look back to see what the price became.
However, in the initial stages of a big purchase, I make a list of basic requirements and then go research crazy. I check specs and reviews and compare prices. One time a review of a camera I wanted was so negative I actually researched the comment and the commenter and found out the problem being described was caused by people accidentally activating the point and shoot camera in their bags and breaking the lens extender mechanism when it couldn’t open fully. The commenter had commented on several different sites using roughly the same language.
During the process, I change my mind several times, have doubts on the specs I require, make a solid decision and start price hunting, change my mind again, have doubts about whether or not I should just keep what I have, and then after running that cycle a few times, make a decision. However, I have learned to impose a one or two month wait before making a large purchase which leads to more soul searching. It also, on occasion, has led to an item no longer being available which resets the process back to the start.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always stop me from making questionable choices, but for the most part I’ve had good luck. My biggest mistake is, oddly, not going big. Because I’m going to keep the item for a long time, I should get the best I can get for the money I want to spend, but that one month wait usually causes me to scale back. I also tend not to be a first adopter. I wait until whatever tech I want is a few months old and has dropped in price.
The other thing I’m good at is not being brand loyal. I tend to use HP/Compaq laptops because they have a button that lets me turn off the touch pad when I’m typing. If another brand has that feature, I’ll give it a look. I’ve generally stuck with Canon cameras, but that’s probably going to change.
Or maybe not. I may just stick with the gear I have. That’s part of the process, too.