People ask me the same question every year during Black Friday season: should I look for the best deal on the latest camera, or the best deal even if it's an old one?
It's a good question. Obviously the best Black Friday camera deals are found on bodies that are a couple of years old – so you'll be saving less money on a new camera and saving more money on an older camera.
Is it false economy, though, to buy an older camera even if it's cheaper?
There are two ways to approach this question. If you are looking for a specific camera for a specific reason, then clearly you want the best possible saving on it – regardless of what other bargains are on offer.
An example might be the Canon EOS R5, which you might want because you specifically want to shoot 8K. Which means it doesn't matter how much money Amazon slashes off the Panasonic S5 II or how cheap Walmart sells the Nikon Z5, because neither of them shoot 8K.
So if you absolutely need a particular camera then, yes, you should stick to finding the best deal on it. (For reference, there's $500 off the R5 in the US and an incredible £1,000 off the R5 in the UK right now).
However, if you just want a new camera, you can potentially save so much more money by keeping your options open.
Let's take the Sony A7R V as an example. It's new and it's amazing, but do you really need it? It's got a 61MP sensor and clever AF, but the Sony A7R IV has basically the same thing with its 60.2MP sensor and almost-as-clever AF – the only difference is, it came out in 2019 so it's far more affordable.
We tend to think that "newer" equals "better", but that isn't always the case. My colleague Adam recently lamented this very point, noting that the GoPro Hero 12 is actually a downgrade on the Hero 11. I'd actually recommend buying the older model not just because it's cheaper, but because it's functionally better.
So there you have it. Newer is always more expensive, but newer doesn't always mean better. And older may be cheaper, but older and cheaper don't always mean inferior.
We all want the shiny new thing. But don't be swayed by what you want; shop for what you need. Because at the end of the day, the only false economy is saving money on something that isn't right for you.