Black Friday cameras: what to expect and how to get the best deals

Whether you're looking for a better camera than the one on your smartphone or want to push your creativity further, there's no better time to pick up a great camera than on Black Friday.

Just under two months away, it's worth doing your research now so you're prepared for the big day, so you can make sure you're getting the very best compact, mirrorless camera or DSLR deal. 

With online retailers, from specialists dealers like Wex Photo and Park Cameras, to the likes of Amazon, John Lewis and Currys PC World, all trying to out do each other for the best camera deal on Black Friday, there's some big savings to be made on a host of cameras, lenses and accessories. 

Buying a camera is always a big decision though (and a big investment), so you need to make sure the camera you choose is the right one for your needs. 

How to get the best camera deals on Black Friday/Cyber Monday

That's where we come in as we'll show you how you can make sure you get the best camera, lens or camera accessory for your needs for the best price in the run up to Black Friday 2018.

With a flurry of camera deals going live on Black Friday, you want to make sure you're getting a decent deal, and not an ageing camera that your smartphone would run rings around. 

The amount of jargon related to cameras and lenses can add to the confusion, so to avoid you making a panic buy that you'll regret, follow our advice below to help you make an informed decision and bag yourself a brilliant camera deal on Black Friday 2018.

Decide what type of camera you want

With cameras coming in all shapes and sizes, the first thing to do is try and decide on what type of camera you want to buy on Black Friday.

If you're looking for something small and easy to use, then a compact camera is the obvious choice. While the lower end of the compact market has pretty much disappeared due to the abundance of smartphones, manufacturers have fought back with premium models that offer a significant leap in image quality over smartphones, while also offering longer zoom lenses, rapid performance and more creative control. Don't worry though, you don't have to tinker with settings if you don't want, as most models offer an array of auto modes to keep things simple. 

If you're looking for something a bit more advanced, then you'll want either a DSLR or mirrorless camera. 

DSLRs have traditionally been seen as a gateway into a world of more serious photography as they allow you to swap lenses, allowing you to pick a specific lens for the subject you're photographing. Canon and Nikon dominate this sector, with both manufacturers offering DSLRs to suit most budgets and abilities, from entry-level cameras to professional options.

The arrival of the first mirrorless camera ten years ago has shaken things up quite a bit. Like DSLRs, you can swap lenses, but as the name suggests, these cameras don't feature an internal mirror. This has allowed manufacturers to make cameras smaller than rival DSLRs, but sees the optical viewfinder of a DSLR replaced by an electronic equivalent. A great resource to learn more about the difference of these two systems is our Mirrorless vs DSLR: 10 key differences buying guide. 

If you're still confused about the types of camera available, take a look at our expert guide to what camera you should buy, with all the key types of camera explained, and the pros and cons they provide. 

Resolution and sensor size 

With some sub-£200 compact cameras offering the same or a higher resolution than some DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, it can be a little confusing which one delivers the best image quality.

The difference comes down to sensor size. While some compact cameras can feature a sensor smaller than your little finger nail, sensors found in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are considerably larger. 

This means that while a sensor in a compact camera might have the same resolution as a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the pixels (or photosites) on a sensor found in a DSLR or mirrorless camera are much larger, delivering better light-gathering capabilities. This allows for far superior images with better detail under a range of lighting conditions. This is especially true in poor light, with sensors in DSLRs and mirrorless cameras capturing images with far less image noise, resulting in a cleaner looking image. 

To get the low down on all the types of sensors found in cameras, take a look at our guide to camera sensor sizes

Movie maker

4K video capture is becoming the now, especially on most compact and mirrorless cameras, though quite a few DSLRs are still only capable of shooting Full HD. 

Don't be put off though if you see a camera deal and the model only features Full HD (1080p) video capture. A DSLR or mirrorless camera is likely to produce better Full HD video footage than a compact camera with a smaller sensor shooting 4K for example, while you also to consider other things like headphone and microphone ports – a must if you want to shoot decent videos. 

A camera boasting 4K video can also be a little deceptive. Some only offer 4K video up to 15p, which will be pretty jerky and horrible (24/30p and above is better), while some DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can only shoot 'cropped' 4K footage. This means that rather than using the entire width of the sensor, only a central portion is used. This makes it harder to shoot wide-angle footage, while it compromises quality to. 

If video is going to be your main concern, take a look at our best 4K camera buying guide, or if you want to become a YouTube star, our best vlogging camera guide is for you. 

Know what you want before Black Friday

Before Black Friday, really think about what you want from a camera. Is image quality your main concern or would you prefer something more portable, making you more likely to use it? Would you be happy with an all-in-one solution or would something that you can build a system of lenses around be the better bet?

If you're looking at getting a DSLR or mirrorless camera, don't just look at the camera itself, but see what lenses are available. Some manufacturers like Canon and Nikon have an extensive range of lenses and accessories available, while some newer mirrorless systems don't quite have the breadth of lenses at different price points. 

This all goes some way to helping you avoid those impulse buys which can be so easy to do when Black Friday fever takes hold. While it might not be quite the same headline saving, its better to get something to suit your photographic needs, rather than buying a camera just because its heavily discounted. 

Keep the receipts and don't by grey

It goes without saying, but make sure you keep hold of those receipts just in case you're not entirely happy with your new camera. Make sure to take a look at the refund policy of websites before buying on Black Friday, especially if its not free returns as posting an expensive piece of photographic kit back can be pricey.

Even some of the best cameras can fail unexpectedly, so keep an eye our for dealers offering longer warranties for extra peace of mind.

Also, make sure your camera comes from UK stock and isn't a grey import. What's a grey import you ask? These are cameras and lenses that have been legally imported through channels other than the manufacturers official distribution system. This can mean you save even more cash, but be prepared to not get a UK-specific lead/charger bundled with the camera, while should you have a problem and need to send it for repair, it won't have a UK warranty, so you won't be able to return it to the manufacturer in the UK. For the sake of saving a few extra quid, it's not worth the risk. 

The best Black Friday camera deals from last year

Best camera deals predictions for 2018

We've been writing about and covering the best camera deals on Black Friday for long enough now that we can come up with some decent predictions for Black Friday 2018.

Sony cameras are always heavily discounted, though don't expect huge savings on the latest and greatest models. Instead, you're likely to find brilliant deals on some of the brand's older cameras. You're not buying old stock either as Sony tends to keep existing models in its line-up when a new model comes along. That said, some models are getting a little old, but when you can get Sony's first generation full-frame mirrorless camera, the Alpha A7, for the price of a mid-price DSLR, it's hard not to be tempted. We reckon Sony's Alpha A7 II and A7S II will also be heavily discounted too.

Sony's compact cameras also come in for some heavy reductions, from point and shoot models like the Cyber-shot WX220, to more advanced models like the Cyber-shot RX100 III and RX10 III.  

Fancy an entry-level DSLR? With the arrival of the new Nikon D3500, we think that Black Friday could be the time that we see the D3400 discounted, while the likes of the Canon EOS 1300D, EOS 2000D and EOS 800D could see savings or some very tempting twin lens deals. 

If you're after an action camera, Black Friday always throws up some tasty GoPro deals. We don't think we'll see the new Hero 7 Black shift that much in price, but the Hero 6 Black is certainly ready to be discounted. At the moment its so closely priced to the newer model, it just doesn't make sense to opt for the older model. 

Stick with TechRadar to get the best Black Friday deals

On Black Friday (and Cyber Monday for that matter), the day itself can be a bit overwhelming as so many online retailers vie for your cash.

While this does mean there are some great deals to be hard, it also unfortunately means there are some pretty duff deals out there that aren't as good as they first appear.

That's why you should visit TechRadar to ensure you get the best Black Friday deals. We keep an eye on all of the top retailer's Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, and highlight the very best savings on the best cameras, lenses and photo accessories.

For up to the minute info, breaking deals and the biggest savings as soon as we know about them, make sure you follow TR Deals on Twitter so you don't miss out on any incredibly Black Friday laptop deals. 

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