As good as the cameras are in today’s best smartphones, there is still a huge gap between them and a proper digital camera, particularly DSLR or mirrorless models with interchangeable lenses. The best digital cameras are expensive, though, with many costing several thousand dollars. That’s why annual events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are such great opportunities to save big on the best models and brands, and the 2020 Black Friday deals are going to bring significant discounts to cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other top makers. Many are likely to be reduced by several hundred dollars, and it’s possible that we’ll see price cuts of $1,000 or more on certain camera and lens kits.
Whether you’re a professional or hobbyist photographer (or somewhere close to the middle of that spectrum), you need a good camera, and if you’re in the market for a new one, then read on to see what we expect from this year’s Black Friday camera deals along with some pointers on how to shop the sales. We’ve even got some early digital, mirrorless, and DSLR camera deals and bundles available now if you don’t want to wait.
What Black Friday camera deals to expect
Expect minimal discounts on the newest cameras, but big discounts — even in the three and four-figure range — on older models. The biggest Black Friday camera deals are often for cameras that have just been replaced, though last year’s sales had a few good deals on then-current models like the Canon EOS M50, EOS RP, EOS 80D, and Nikon Z 6, D3500, and D7500. Picking up an old camera isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though — sometimes, the newer version only offers minimal updates or adds features you may not really need, such as Bluetooth connectivity.
Beginner-friendly cameras are also commonly discounted for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. An entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera with a lens or two makes a good gift, and you’ll often find the most savings on these kits. Sometimes, the two-lens kits are only slightly more than the kits with one lens. There are often discounts to be had on separate lenses, too. The steepest discounts are usually on camera bodies and bundles, but many retailers will knock down the price of some popular Canon and Nikon lenses.
Most camera companies forbid authorized resellers from selling their products below a certain price, but that doesn’t mean retailers won’t sweeten the pot by bundling in extras. Popular camera stores like Adorama and B&H, in addition to large retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, all offer their own value-added camera bundles during sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Some of these may not contain any additional accessories you truly need, but others might — so be sure to shop around (the easiest way is to bookmark this page and check back regularly) before making a final decision.
What Black Friday camera deals we saw last year
There was a myriad of Black Friday camera deals last year which delivered staggering discounts on many of our own favorites. The Canon EOS Rebel T7i, one of the best cameras under $1,000 we’ve ever tested, was on sale with a two-lens kit for $700 at Best Buy, a huge $500 savings. Walmart had a Similar Rebel T7i single-lens bundle deal for $50 less than that. The Canon EOS T6 was even cheaper, coming in at $400 for a two-lens kit from Walmart and other retailers.
A few other worthy Canon deals we saw last year include the Canon EOS RP mirrorless camera with 24-240mm lens kit on sale for $1,500 after a $700 discount, the Canon EOS M50 on sale from Amazon for $599 ($300 off), and our favorite Canon DLSR, the EOS 5D Mark IV, which was on sale for a whopping $1,000 discount. That EOS 5D Mark IV bundle deal let shoppers grab this professional-grade camera with a 24-105mm f/4 lens for $3,399 from Amazon.
Another one of the best DSLR cameras, the travel-friendly (and budget-friendly) Nikon D3500, was on sale for $399 from Best Buy after a $100 Black Friday discount and came with a free camera bag. We ranked the Nikon Z 6 among the best mirrorless cameras on the market last year, and it was also marked down to $1,697 at B&H in a bundle deal that included an F-mount lens adapter, memory card, and camera bag for a savings of more than $500.
Some additional Nikon favorites that popped up among last year’s best Black Friday camera deals included an excellent Nikon D7500 two-lens bundle which came in at less than $1,000 after a $700 discount from Best Buy and other retailers, the Nikon D850 (our former pick for the best DSLR camera) which was on sale for $2,796 after a $500 price cut, and the Nikon D750 which was one of the best bargains of the year at $1,500 with the 24-120mm lens from Amazon — an eye-popping combined savings of around $1,600.
There were a few worthy Black Friday camera deals from Sony, as well. These included the compact Sony Alpha A6000, a solid (if slightly older) mirrorless camera which was marked down to $600 — $400 off — for the two-lens kit from Best Buy. The Sony Alpha A7 II also saw a $600 price cut from Best Buy, where you could score the camera with a 28-70mm lens for $1,000.
Speaking of lenses, there were some nice deals to be found from third-party brands. Sigma, for example, offered savings of up to $250 off for its popular Art series of lenses through December 5 last year. Photographers may also want to look for some often-overlooked Black Friday deals on photo editing software. Adobe offered 40% off an all-apps subscription for new Creative Cloud subscribers, bringing the plan to $30 a month. Adobe competitor Skylum also bundled free items with its Luminar photo-editing software through Cyber Monday.
Should you buy a camera on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?
Our general rule of thumb for sale-shopping is that you should grab the Black Friday camera deal you want as soon as you see it, and don’t assume that it will come up again during Cyber Monday or later holiday sales (or that it will even be offered at the same low price if it does). Thankfully, retailers are increasingly extending their Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, which now stretch from Thursday night well into the following week with many stores running longer Cyber Week sales — meaning you don’t have to get up at 4 a.m. to cop a deal.
Black Friday itself is now more or less a weekend-long sale, and with the ongoing public health crisis, we also expect retailers to make the bulk of their deals available online (some may even have to close their brick-and-mortar stores altogether to avoid those infamous Black Friday shopping mobs). Black Friday camera deals and Cyber Monday sales are going to offer the best prices on photography gear that you’ll see all year, so don’t sleep on them thinking that you can wait until December rolls around or that you’ll find a better deal later. That’s a huge gamble that will probably not pay off.
The best camera deals happening now
Don’t want to wait for the Black Friday camera sales? A handful of Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other cameras are already discounted for the fall, and some retailers are even rolling out their early Black Friday preview sales. Here are some deals and bundles you can score right now:
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