Confused? Ask Dave!|
(Thursday, November 22, 2001 - 11:27 EST)
As the holiday season approaches, LOTS of our readers are trying to decide which camera to buy. My already-overflowing email is swelling to the bursting point with messages asking for help deciding which camera to buy. In the past I've generally just refused to answer such questions, feeling such matters were too individual / personal a decision for me to be able to contribute anything toward. Also, the sheer volume of my email makes it impossible to even remotely answer everyone asking such questions.
There's no doubt though, that a lot of the visitors to this site have a lot of questions about how to decide on a camera, and its clear that I could offer at least *some* guidance. So.... I'm going to try an experiment next week to see if I can't address some of these issues more efficiently than by email.
Starting Tuesday AM (11/27/2001), I'm going to open up a discussion area on our forum system called "Ask Dave", where I'll make a real effort to answer questions about which camera to buy. (Don't bother looking until Tuesday though, I'm going to take a couple of days off for my much-neglected family over the Thanksgiving holiday first.) My thought is that having the questions and answers available for all to see will let a lot of people benefit from each question/answer, rather than just one at a time via email.
Think about the questions you'd like to pose, and I'll try to answer them intelligently. A few ground rules to consider though:
This is a real experiment - The site generally has me so perpetually short on time that I seldom have the opportunity to even visit our own, "normal" forums. - I'm willing to give this a shot though, as I think (based on my email) that there are a lot of people out there looking for direction. So, let's give it a try, and see how it goes, I'll be very interested in your feedback on the overall experience!
- Before you ask, see if someone has asked a similar question already. - There's no point in my answering the same question thirty times over.
- Give a little thought to your questions. (!) - I get way too much email in the general vein of "What camera should I buy for $500?" - This is impossible to answer because I have NO idea of what sort of photography you do, what sort of features might be important, etc. Much better are questions like: "I like to shoot photos of my kids' sports, and also need to photograph small objects for eBay. I'm not a pro, really want a camera I can just point & click with, and want to spend about $600." - That gives me something intelligible that I can respond to. "Camera A vs Camera B" questions are fine, as long as you state the sort of photographer you are, and a bit about your needs. I'll almost never answer directly "Oh, definitely Camera B", but rather will try to point out the pros and cons of each relative to your stated needs and preferences. - Sorry, but ultimately it's your decision.
- If you use this service, whether to ask questions yourself or just view the questions & answers posted by others, you're tacitly committing to use the "buynow" links on our site to make your purchase. This site is supported almost entirely by advertising & affiliate fees from our retail partners, so where you choose to spend your dollars has a very direct impact. I have about a zillion more things demanding my time than I have time available for, so I have to figure out where I need to focus for the best impact. This "Ask Dave" forum is going to be very costly in terms of my time, so it needs to be supported by the readers in order to continue.
Check back Tuesday for the "Ask Dave" forum, and in the mean time, Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!