A beautiful picture catches your eye; the image is sharp and the colors are vibrant. You may start to feel camera, and thoughts like “If I had that camera I could take better pictures” are making you think you need new camera equipment. Contrary to popular belief, the best photography equipment is the gear you already own. The right tools and equipment can make a difference, but it’s ultimately the photographer’s skill that makes the biggest difference.
I encourage new photographers to use their current equipment to its limits before upgrading, but if you’re looking into new equipment, ask yourself these questions first.
What Problem Am I Trying To Solve With New Camera Equipment?
Like lenses, different cameras excel at specific functions and may fall short in others. Buying expensive 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 function.
Consider these common problems different camera bodies can actually solve to help you decide if a new camera body is right for you.
If your low light images contain too much image noise, get a camera that performs well at a high ISO.
If you have trouble with camera shake, try using a camera with built in stabilization.
Travel photographers interested in keeping track of where their photos were taken could try a camera with a built-in GPS.
If you prefer uploading photos directly to your phone, you’ll need a camera with WiFi.
Will I use the New Features?
We tend to equate expensive 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 the features that differ to determine if those additional features are worthwhile. 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. When comparing the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 5D Mark IV, I found the only significant differences were in video production 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.
Would Camera Accessories Solve My Problem?
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.
Use a tripod or other ways to stabilize the camera if you have problems with camera shake.
If your images are flat and boring considering using Adobe Lightroom to enhance the colors, vibrance, and other post processing improvements.
If your white balance is off, try using a gray card for more white balance accuracy.
Purchase a high performing memory card to improve the burst mode.
Should I Buy New Camera Lenses Instead?
More often than not, it is the lens preventing you from capturing the images you envisioned, not the camera. Lenses hold their value better and have a bigger impact in terms of artistic style and image quality 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.
- Improve images quality with better lenses to get sharper, cleaner images
- Purchase a lens with a shorter minimum focusing distance if getting too close to the subject causes blurry photos.
- Get a lens with a wider aperture (f/2.8 or lower) if you want blurrier backgrounds.
- If you have problems with camera shake make sure your lenses have image stabilization, but you could save yourself some money with a faster shutter speed.
- If you’re missing shots due to a lens with slow focus, get a lens with more focus points.
Improve images quality with better lenses to get sharper, cleaner images
Purchase a lens with a shorter minimum focusing distance if getting too close to the subject causes blurry photos.
Get a lens with a wider aperture (f/2.8 or lower) if you want blurrier backgrounds.
If you’re missing shots because of a lens with slow focus, get a lens with more focus points.
Could I Benefit 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.