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Shop around (at both online and brick-and-mortar stores)

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Local electronics stores like Best Buy, or big name retailers like Walmart or Costco are good places to start for checking out cameras and camcorders. This can give you a feel for what you like and allow you to actually pick up and play with some different options. When you are ready to buy, though, compare prices at these stores to others online. There may be reputable companies that won't have stores in your area--or that only have an online presence--that offer competitive prices and terms (returns, price matching) on electronic equipment. Some top rated sites (according to Google and Consumer Reports) include: Vanns, Newegg.com, B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio, BeachCamera.com, TigerDirect.com, Abt and Abe's of Maine. Of course, you can also find a wide selection at Amazon. Regardless of which store you choose, just be sure to compare their prices to all the other stores, both online and brick-and-mortar. Many online stores that don't have retail locations in your state will not charge you sales tax when you checkout through their site (though according to tax law you are supposed to report and pay those taxes when you file).

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