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A beautiful picture catches your eye; the image is sharp and the colors are vibrant. The camera envy sets in, and thoughts like “If I had that camera I could take better pictures” are making you think you should buy new camera equipment. The best photography equipment is the stuff you already own, but having the right photography tools and equipment makes a difference.
If you’re looking to upgrade your gear, ask yourself these questions before buying new camera equipment to make sure you purchase the best tool for your needs.
Why Do I need A New Camera?
Like lenses, different cameras excel at specific functions and may fall short in others. Buying expensive new camera equipment won’t magically solve all of your problems. To be certain your new camera equipment enhances your photography, think about the times you felt like your camera was limiting your creativity and research cameras that excel in that style of photography.
Consider these common problems a different camera body can actually solve to help you decide if a new camera body is right for you.
Missing fast-paced shots in wildlife and sports photography
Camera with a fast burst mode
Image noise in low light settings
Camera that performs well at a high ISO
Camera with built-in image stabilization
Location tracking for travel photographers
Camera with GPS
Upload photos to your phone
Camera with WiFi
Will I use the new features?
We tend to equate more money with better quality and to some extent that may be true; but in cameras, more money mostly just means more features. Use Digital Photography Review to compare and contrast your current camera with the cameras on your wishlist; look for the differing features to determine if those additional features are worthwhile to you. You may find the cheaper camera has the features you need, for the same quality, and less money.
When looking for a new camera I kept seeing that the Canon 5D Mark IV was the best wildlife camera, and I was ready to dish out a hefty sum of cash for it. But, when comparing the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 5D Mark IV I found the only significant differences were in video quality and few extra megapixels. I don’t use video and megapixels are only important when printing massive photos, which I also don’t do. I bought the 6D Mark II with the confidence that it was just as good as the 5D Mark IV for my needs, and I saved over $1,000.
Can my vision be accomplished by other means
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution; you don’t have to buy a new camera to boost the quality of your photography. If you are struggling with the issues on this list, consider purchasing these photography essentials before upgrading your camera body or lenses.
Tripod or external lights
Flat and uninteresting photos
Editing tool to enhance the colors and crop
Poor white balance
Slow burst mode
SD Card with a faster read/write speed
Should I buy a New Lens?
More often than not if you are not getting the photos you want, it’s a limitation of the lens, not the camera. Lenses hold their value better and have a bigger impact in terms of artistic style than the camera body. Unless your camera doesn’t turn on, I’m probably going to tell you to get a new lens instead. To help you determine which lens you should buy next, here are a few common complaints from consumers looking to buy new camera equipment.
Photos are in focus, but aren’t sharp
Higher quality lens
Can’t focus on objects close up
Lens with a smaller focusing distance
Can’t get enough background blur
Lens with a wider aperture (a.k.a smaller f-stop number)
Photos are blurry due to camera shake
You may need a lens with image stabilization, but you could save yourself some money with a faster shutter speed.
Missing shots due to slow or inaccurate focus
Lens with more focus points
Could I benefit more from taking a class instead?
Often we equate professional photography equipment with professional quality photos, but it’s not the camera that makes great photography, it’s the photographer. If you’re feeling frustrated with your photography, try taking a course to learn something new and inspire creativity. If you are new to photography you may benefit from taking courses on photography basics, getting started with your camera, or using editing tools. A new camera won’t magically improve your skills, but a class will and is something you can use with any camera.
Classes I love:
In Person Austin Classes
Precision Camera’s Basic Point and Shoot Photograph
Precision Camera’s Camera Specific Classes