If you are the kind of person who is always looking for good deals, you can find them with digital cameras just like anything else — if you know where and when to look.
Watch out for unbundling. Unscrupulous retailers may sell only the camera and charge extra for the other items such as lens caps, battery chargers, memory cards, and software that are supposed to be included in the basic camera packages.
If you want to save big bucks, consider buying a refurbished model. Refurbished cameras have been returned to the manufacturer, often for some minor defect, repaired, and then thoroughly tested before being resold. These cameras should sell at a substantial discount from the new price. Manufacturers often sell refurbished items. To find them, search for the word ‘refurbished’ on the manufacturer's Web site.
Any camera you put your hands on at a store may be sold at a substantial discount as a floor model. You may even be able to bargain with the management for a 50 percent or more reduction in price.
As an electronics salesman once said, “All electronics are discontinued eventually.” Don't be afraid of last year's model just because it is no longer being made. If you can live slightly behind the times, you can save a bundle. Discontinued models are often sold at the end of the yearly product sales cycle. With digital cameras this is in late winter and all during the spring. Look especially for sales on President's Day in February when many electronic products go on sale.
Gray market cameras have been imported from a foreign manufacturer directly, bypassing regular channels. Although legal to sell, gray market cameras are not meant to be sold in the United States. They sell at very low prices but usually without the extras normally included in the initial package and without a U.S. warranty. Because of these problems, always make sure that the product you are buying is not a gray market item.