Picking the right time to upgrade your photography gear is about knowing who you are as a photographer, and who you want to become. Since photography is a wildly expensive pursuit, we need reason on our side before throwing cash at a new camera body. Consumer culture tells us that we need the newest, most advanced, most expensive gadget. That’s just how capitalism works. But it’s not how art works. Unfortunately, Marketers’ strategies tell us that we can’t make good photos without the newest upgrades. Nonetheless, YouTube “influencers” do the same. Luckily, we are here to set the record straight on the signs you should update your camera equipment. Cameras are treated as status symbols instead of creative tools, which has been planted in your subconscious no matter how you look at it.
1. Outdated DSLR Cameras
The question of how long does it take for a DSLR camera to become obsolete is different. And the answer to that is totally dependent on the application. For example, if your primary output is social media, then a Nikon D7100 is more than sufficient for your needs. If you make bedspread-size prints at 300 dpi and sell them for thousands of dollars each, then upgrading to a camera like Nikon D610 with a larger image sensors is necessary.
NEW Camera = New Technology
Yes it is completely true! The cameras that have come out in 2020-2021 have new technology in them that your 2004 Sony Alpha does not. Camera shutters, like car engines don’t last forever. Your shutter actuations are a yardstick like the odometer in your car. The number indicates how much more life you can reasonably expect out of your camera. For example, a Nikon D700 has a rated life expectancy of about 150k. This is no magic number. Even on the off chance that the camera did go kaput at that exact click, you can send it off to Nikon to replace the shutter for something in the ballpark of 300 bucks.
Are you trying to achieve better Bokeh? Bokeh is a very desired effect in photography, and aperture is key to creating it. If bokeh and blurry backgrounds is something you want to enhance, and achieve in all different scenarios, a lens upgrade to something that opens to a wider aperture and/or has a longer focal length will allow you to achieve this! In this case, replacing all your photography gear is unnecessary. It is important to note that whilst we recommend a long focal length because it helps accentuate background blur, it’s not essential, whereas a wide aperture is essential.
The best lenses for bokeh will typically be prime lenses with wide maximum apertures. These lenses are perfect for portraits, weddings, stills or street photography. For example, the Sigma for Nikon 85mm f/1.4 Prime is a top choice for Canon full frame DSLRs. Firstly, it is ideal for a wide-range of cameras, this full-frame compatible lens is available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E and Leica L mount options. Secondly, it is the last of these making it eminently suitable for Panasonic’s new S-series bodies.
3. Replace or Repair
How old is the camera? What needs to be repaired? That would be my first question. If it is recently out of warranty, perhaps, but if it is more than 3 or 4 years old, I would suggest you consider a replacement. The cost of repair plus any shipping charges could be close to the cost of a more modern replacement that is more talented than the one that is broken. The problem with aging photography gear is that something else could go wrong shortly after you get it back from the repair shop. Point & shoot cameras are not “built to last.” heck the minimum charge for repairs. With some repair shops and manufacturers, the minimum charges are so high that it is not worth repairing things unless they are expensive to buy, and sometimes not even then.
4. It May be time for a New lens
As you improve your skills and feel that yearning to take better photos. Rather than buying a new camera or camera gear, often times investing in a new photography gear like lenses is the answer. An average camera body with a great lens will take a far better shot than a pro level camera body with a kit lens attached. Why? Firstly, the lens controls background blurs, depth of field, sharpness, creaminess, just to name a few. Secondly, better quality lenses have a fixed aperture. This means you can shoot at their widest aperture regardless of your focal length. This is amazing if you love to photograph portraits indoors but struggle with low light.
5. Your BIG CAMERA is too Heavy
Cameras can be heavy and cumbersome when traveling or carrying during those extra long shooting sessions. Signs you should upgrade your camera gear include your focus. Carrying a heavy camera will make it harder to keep going, instead of taking a break reach over and grab a lighter weight camera from your kit. Shifting gears to the enthusiast end of the mirrorless spectrum, Canon is leading the charge in lightweight full-frame cameras. The Canon EOS RP was released in 2019 and weighs just 17.1 ounces for the camera body. This is an impressive weight considering the massive image sensor. For travelers seeking big-time image quality, the compact size and low weight are crucial, the Canon EOS RP is more than fitting.
It is possible you may need a new camera body. If you are hankering for one just because the newest models look “better”, bigger, or more professional then consider these signs to decide whether or not the time is right for a new camera. You need to upgrade your camera gear when you need a camera that can do something that your current camera can not provide. This is not only true for your camera body but for your lenses and any other accessories that you might need in order to produce a photo you desire.
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