Now that the Holiday shopping season is winding down, we are entering a new clearance and new-release cycle. Already some retailers have began advertising their after Christmas Day sales. With CES 2010 tipping off in early January 2010, we are bound to get a new wave of digital cameras, mostly point and shoot models. We had a total of 48 new digital cameras in January 2009, so we should expect similar "excitement" this year.
From a shopping perspective, this typically means that the previous/older models will get further discounted, some will be put on clearance, some will actually be good deals, while others will aimlessly wander around until they run out of stock. For some buyers, the good bang for the buck deals are hard to resist. Why wait and pay $400 for the 2010 TZ-series model, when you can get the 2009 model for under $250 right now?
Others would much rather have the latest model as soon as possible, and don't mind waiting for the tests + release and paying full price. Or perhaps waiting a few more weeks/months until it starts getting discounted.
After the initial burst of new cameras at CES 2010, there will be a continuous parade of new cameras until the end of February. PMA 2010 will take place in late February 2010 in Southern California. We may (or may not) have a break in the action after PMA, and then things will pick up again leading up to Photokina 2010 in September.
This will mean more discounts and clearance, and also more new temptations...
So here are some action items:
1) Of the current compact (fixed-lens) cameras, identify which models pique your interest and research them - that way if you happen to find them at a clearance sale, you can make the decision quickly
2) Do an inventory of your lenses and see what you want, what you need, and what would be nice to have. Lenses are not typically fluctuating in prices as much as cameras, but you never know. A few days ago one of the Pentax 28-80mm FA-J lenses was going for $40.
3) Do some camera-system soul searching - are you tempted or curious by Micro Four Thirds? Another mount you currently don't have any gear for? Have a bag of golden oldie lenses of a particular mount but not a dSLR for them? Identity all these, and create a snapshot in your mind of the current DSLRs/M43rds cameras. Further research ones that may sound potentially interesting. So if/when you happen to spot a good deal, you should be able to make a quicker decision (eg before it sells out). For example, two years ago, the Samsung GX-10 with kit lens (Pentax K10D) was cleared out at under $350. At the time, that was a huge discount. So you never know...