Whatever your photography needs – whether you want to step away from smartphone photography, upgrade your old compact camera to a brand-new mirrorless shooter, or just need something small for an upcoming vacation – there’s a camera out there for everyone.
With Black Friday just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to figure out what kind of kit suits you best, with plenty of savings to boot.
Given that there’s so much choice out there, with cameras available in every budget, it can be quite overwhelming when deciding on a purchase. That’s where the TechRadar team comes in – we tell you what features to look for in a camera so you can make the right decision when Black Friday comes round next month.
We'll list all the best cameras with the lowest prices right here to make your search for the perfect snapper quick and easy.
- Find the latest offers on cameras on our continuously updated best tech deals page.
When is Black Friday and Cyber Monday in Australia?
This year Black Friday falls on November 29, while Cyber Monday is on December 2.
However, if last year is anything to go by, all the major retailers will begin offering discounts on a wide range of shooters from the Monday before Black Friday – so be prepared for great deals to come your way from November 25 onwards, until midnight the following Monday (December 2).
How to get the best camera deals on Black Friday
With a flurry of camera deals going live during the Black Friday sales period, you want to make sure you’re getting a good bargain, and not an aging snapper that your smartphone can trump even during bad light conditions.
You’ll also be bombarded with a large amount of photography jargon around cameras and lenses when the sale goes live, adding to your confusion. So follow our advice and you could keep panic at bay and score yourself a brilliant camera on Black Friday.
Decide what type of camera you want
As a starting point, it’s important to figure out what type of camera you’re looking for. Cameras today come in four different types: compacts, bridge cameras, mirrorless or compact system cameras (CSCs), and DSLRs (digital single-lens reflex cameras).
Compact cameras are a dime a dozen, coming in all shapes and sizes. They’ve had it tough lately, what with smartphones giving them a run for their money, but manufacturers are fighting back.
There are plenty of compacts now that have excellent sensors that produce great images – some even rivalling DSLRs – while packing a plethora of creative features to make your photos pop straight out of camera.
Bridge cameras are like compacts, just resembling DSLRs in their body design and with larger zoom lenses. They are still, however, an all-in-one solution.
Mirrorless cameras are lighter versions of DSLRs, in that they use interchangeable lenses. They do, however, lack the bulk and weight of a DSLR as they come sans the internal mirror box – meaning they use optical viewfinders.
DSLRs have traditionally been the purview of the enthusiasts and professionals, or anyone looking to get serious about their photography skills. DSLR cameras offer the best image quality with a very polished shooting experience. Manufacturers offer a plethora of lenses to choose from, alongside other accessories like filters.
If you’re after something small, light and easily pocketable, then a travel compact is your obvious choice. While the budget compacts have all but disappeared, thanks to innovations made on smartphone cameras, manufacturers have been regularly launching premium models that offer longer zooms, faster performance and better creative control.
What makes the travel compact an appealing choice is the fact that it’s great for the newbie as well. They don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to use, and neither do they need fiddly settings as most offer an array of auto modes that take great images.
Advanced users, however, might want something that offers a tad more control. For them, an interchangeable lens camera (ILC) is a better option. That includes DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
With the ability to swap out lenses for specific subjects and the degree to which users can control camera settings, DSLRs have traditionally been seen as the gateway into the world of more serious photography. Canon and Nikon dominate this market, with both manufacturers offering DSLRs to suit most budgets and varying degrees of technical abilities – from entry-level to professional.
In comparison, mirrorless cameras are relatively new. They first arrived on the scene about ten years ago, but since then have given the industry quite a shake-up with every major player now focusing on their own mirrorless line. Like DSLRs, mirrorless cameras also have interchangeable lenses; the difference is they don’t feature an internal mirror. Hence the name.
The lack of a mirror allowed manufacturers to make the cameras smaller and lighter, and also replace the DSLR’s optical viewfinder for an electronic equivalent.
If you’d like to learn more about the difference between the two systems, take a look at our mirrorless vs DSLR: 10 key differences buying guide. If that doesn’t answer all your questions, we also have an expert guide to help you decide what camera you should buy, with all the key types of cameras explained, with pros and cons of each provided.
Get the best images
With some travel compacts featuring the same or higher resolution than some ILCs, it can be hard to decide which delivers the best image quality. This is down to the size of the sensor in the camera.
While compacts can feature a sensor smaller than your little finger nail, sensors on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are considerably larger thanks to the space within the bigger bodies.
So although a compact camera may have the same resolution (for example, 20MP) as an ILC, the pixels (or photosites) on the sensor itself is much larger, thus offering better light-gathering capabilities.
The larger sensors allow for superior image quality, especially in low-light conditions, with higher degree of detail. They also capture photos with far less image noise, resulting in sharper, clearer images.
For more information, take a look at our guide to camera sensor sizes.
4K video capture is becoming the norm on most travel compacts and mirrorless ILCs, but most DSLRs are only capable of shooting in Full HD. In 2019, however, that seems to be changing thanks to Canon.
In any case, you shouldn’t be put off by the 1080p video capture on older DSLRs. Unless you’re a vlogger or film maker, a camera deal on Black Friday that features only 1080p video capture should still be considered.
Most interchangeable lens cameras produce better Full HD videos than a compact snapper with a smaller sensor that shoots in 4K, for example. But if you are keen on videos, then you’ll need to consider other features like headphone and microphone ports.
A camera boasting 4K video capture can also be a little deceptive. Some offer capture at 15p, resulting in footage that’s jerky and horrible (you’ll want 24/30p and above for good video). On the other hand, some DSLRs and mirrorless cameras can shoot ‘cropped’ 4K video. This means that the entire width of the sensor is not being used, only the centre, making it hard to shoot wide-angle footage and can compromise quality.
While the traditional cameras – in their myriad form factors – are popular, adrenaline junkies are rather fond of recording their adventures and sharing them with the world. For that, you'll need an action camera that can withstand the rigors of speed, bumps and water.
Most action cameras look similar but vary greatly in feature sets. If you can decide on a budget, it goes a long way in determining what kind of action camera you can get.
And GoPro isn't your only choice when it comes to action cams. Although, in Australia, we have a limited range, there are also options from DJI and Sony that you can consider.
For those who prefer to fly high and indulge in aerial photography, drones are your thing. And if you're looking for the best, then DJI is your answer. The Chinese manufacturer now has a very well-established line of consumer-level quadcopters for beginners as well as for the pros.
The best Black Friday camera deals from last year
There were plenty of great offers from many of the major Australian retailers on pretty much every kind of camera, but it was some of the Sony offers that stood out. While the electronics giant has some of the best mirrorless cameras in the business, Sony's compacts and bridge cameras also saw some excellent discounts and we're hoping to see more of the same this year.
Sony Alpha A9 | AU$4,560; was AU$5,999 (saving AU$1,349)
With the announcement of the A9 II, it's possible we'll see an even bigger price drop on the original pro-level sports shooter. It was one of the most perfect cameras we've ever tested, deserving its 5-star review, but it is expensive. However, Black Friday might be a great opportunity to get yourself this top performer at a slightly less eye-watering price.
Canon EOS 200D + 18-55mm kit | AU$499; was AU$799 (saving AU$300)
It's one of the best entry-level DSLRs on the market and, even at full price, quite affordable. However, at AU$499 it's not only a great buy for yourself if you'd like a new camera to carry around for everyday use, it also makes for an excellent gift for a loved one starting out in photography.
In fact, its direct competition, the Nikon D3500, was also down to $499 on Black Friday 2018 for the kit including the 18-55mm lens.
Sony Alpha A7R III | AU$3,499; was AU$4,999 (saving AU$1,500)
Designed for the landscape photographer who needs plenty of pixels, the A7R range has been some of the best full-frame mirrorless cameras on offer. With Sony having announced the fourth iteration this year, it's highly likely we'll see a better on this excellent snapper this November.
While the above are some of the highlights from last year's Black Friday sale, they weren't the only cameras on offer. DJI had its own sale, discounting some of its more popular drones, like the Spark and the Mavic Air, and you could lay your hands on plenty of accessories for less.
Black Friday 2019 camera deals: predictions
Like last year, we're expecting a lot of great offers on Sony's large stable of cameras, including full-frame mirrorless options and compacts. In fact, we wouldn't even be surprised if this year's Alpha A6100 and A6600 APS-C mirrorless cameras get discounted. That said, don't hold your breath for a drop in price of the Alpha A9 II.
Speaking of mirrorless cameras, Sony isn't your only choice. Fujifilm and Olympus cameras will also be heavily discounted this Black Friday and they, too, offer excellent performance and image quality.
DSLRs from Canon and Nikon are definitely going to be up for grabs, although we're unlikely to see a great offer on the newly release Canon EOS 90D. But you can be sure you'll find the EOS 5D Mark IV, the Nikon D850 and plenty more top DSLRs at much lower prices than before.
While action cameras and drones will definitely be more affordable during Black Friday, it's a good time to keep in mind you'll need accessories as well. Lens for practically every mount will be discounted, including Z-mount, R-mount and L-mount optics from third party manufacturers.
It will also be a great time to invest in a bunch of high-capacity SD cards as well, especially if you're someone who goes click-happy with a camera in hand.
Know what you want before Black Friday
In the lead up to Black Friday, think about what you really want from a camera. Is the image quality more important to you, or would you prefer something more portable? Would you be happy with an all-in-one solution or would you rather get something you can build a system of lenses around?
If you’re after a DSLR or mirrorless camera, don’t just look at the camera itself but also the lenses that are compatible with each model. While Canon and Nikon have an extensive range of lenses for their DSLRs (along with plenty of options from third-party manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron as well), newer mirrorless ILCs don’t quite have the breadth of lenses and accessories to suit different price points.
Keeping this in mind should help you avoid impulse buys, which are all too easy to do during Black Friday. While it may not be that headline saving, it’s better to get something to suit your specific needs rather than a camera that’s heavily discounted.
Keep the receipts and don’t buy grey
It goes without saying, but make sure you hold on to your receipt, in case you’re not happy with your new camera. Make sure you look into the retailer’s refund policy before purchasing anything on Black Friday – if there’s no free return policy, it can get quite expensive to ship back a photography kit.
Even the best camera gear can fail unexpectedly, so keep an eye on the warranty period – the longer the better if you want that extra peace of mind.
Also make sure you buy local stock. While grey imports (equipment that has been imported through channels other than the manufacturer’s official distribution system) are typically cheaper, they won’t ship with an Australian warranty and you won’t be able to return them locally if you need to. It’s not worth the risk just to save some extra dosh.
Stick with TechRadar to get the best Black Friday deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales can get a bit overwhelming, with numerous retailers vying for your custom at the same time. While this means there will be very competitive deals, it also unfortunately means there are some 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 to suit every ability and budget.