How to: Buy surf photography gear in online sales

Summary: Online sales are a good time to buy low-mid price essentials. Have a shopping list and don’t get sucked in

Amazon are launching a huge range of deals over the next 48 hours, there are going to be a lot of photography related deals, but which items are worth buying?

Trying to keep up with the deals and point out some suitable ones for surf photographers is difficult.

This time I’m going to give you some rules to follow to make sure you’re getting a good deal on the gear you buy, whether it’s on sale or not.

Make a list

You’ve got to avoid making impulse purchases, so think about your surf photography gear and what purchases will be most beneficial.

Here’s my list, split into three categories.

You’ve got essential items, upgrades and novel items:

Essentials

I use the annual sales to pick up a new SD card for my cameras. Currently I’m using a 128GB Lexar card in my Sony a6000 and a 64GB micro SD card for my GoPro and LG 360 cameras.

Instead of browsing through the offers and grabbing the one with the biggest discount, think about how you use the cards you have and how you can improve on them.

For me I want at least 128GB, fast write speeds and a trusted brand name. There’s bound to be a few on offer in this years Prime day.

The Sony a6xxx series of cameras tend to go through batteries faster than a DSLR. It’s always worth having a few spare batteries, although I’m pretty well stocked for now so I’ll only jump in if I see a really good deal.

Upgrades

If I’ve got a piece of kit that I really like, and there’s a similar, but better, alternative, then it’s a good target for a sale purchase.

e.g. I like my Sigma 30mm f2.8 lens, but I saw a good price on the Sony 35mm f1.8 OSS come up, so I picked one up. I knew I could sell the lens that I liked least to recoup the costs once I’ve used both. It turns out the Sony is a great lens and I’ll be keeping hold of it and selling on the Sigma 30mm f2.8.

 

Novel items

As I’ve pointed out before I try to only buy big items that will let me take surf photos that I can’t currently take.

This list is harder to come up with and you’re more likely to see something in this category that just takes your fancy than the others.

I like to have a vague idea of the type of item I could be interested in, so I keep up to date with the latest tech and product announcements and do a bit of research so if something comes up I can jump on it with the knowledge it’s a reasonable deal.

E.g. I’m looking for my second drone. I had one a few years ago and sold it on when I didn’t use it very much, but the technology has moved on so much since then that I think it might be worth investing again. I’ve looked into the DJI Spark, which at $500 is about as much as I want to pay, so I’ve got a benchmark to judge any deals against.

Be prepared

Often there will be actions you need to take to be able to get the deals. For Prime day you need to be an Amazon prime member, so if you’re not you should get signed up now. You’ll need to be ready and watching to get the best deals on the items you want.

Familiarise yourself with the product categories and try out the app if you prefer to shop on your phone.

If you know where to find the deals then it’ll be much easier to take advantage of them.

Check that it’s really a deal

Any time you see a sale price you should do a quick check to make sure it’s a legitimate saving form the normal market price. There are price tracking tools out there that make this pretty easy.

Try camelcamelcamel for instance to check prices on Amazon to see if that lens or camera is usually offered at a similar discount, especially if it’s one that you’re not 100% on.

 

Check out the Prime day deals here, and if you need some help putting together your list together check out my 2017 guide to recommended surf photography gear here.