When Should I Upgrade?

November 23, 2019  •  2 Comments

Hey everyone!  The holidays are almost upon us and spending is rampant with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Everything is on sale and you're thinking to yourself, I sure could use that brand new so-and-so gadget. This is a blog that is going to be the beginning of a gear series. This blog will be focused on camera bodies, what you need and what you think you need.  As photographers we are all afflicted with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), some of us more than others.  I have had severe cases of GAS in the past and have spent more money than I should have because I just needed the newest gadget or lens or camera body.  But did I?  In most cases, I could have saved thousands of dollars and just kept the camera I had.  I should have invested in better lenses and not more lenses.  So this blog is going to be about camera bodies and when to invest in newer equipment.  There are some questions you need to ask yourself and be honest with yourself when doing so.  I will go through my thought process when I was last considering upgrading my camera body.

Question #1.  Will upgrading to a newer body improve my photography?  Although we all think it will, most of the time it won't.  Just because it's newer doesn't mean that it will improve your photography.  A lot of the time the newer camera is so advanced that we have a hard time just figuring out how to use it.  We all have been there.  The learning curve can be so frustrating that when we get the new camera we don't use it to its full ability and it is no better than the one that we upgraded from.  Most of us don't use our current camera to the fullest.  We know just enough to get by.  But if we learned our current camera and all the features, we might find that we don't need a new camera at all.  If you have a camera that was built in the last six or seven years, you have a good enough camera to do most of what you need.  Now, if you're a professional and you earn money from your cameras, an upgrade might come earlier.  But if you are a hobbyist like I am, most of your work is on the web and a few prints, and any camera that was built recently will be fine. 

AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2AMT2016-sony-a6300-review-0423-2Photographer: Anthony Thurston Question #2.  Is the upgrade you're considering worth the money that you're going to fork out for it?  This is a personal question.  Some folks have lots of money at their disposal and can upgrade every year and more power to them.  But if you're like me money matters.  Recently, I had been waiting for the newest Sony upgrade in the Crop Señor line that I shoot with.  The rumors were rampant on what this new camera would have.  When it finally came out over a year later, I was under whelmed.  Don't get me wrong.  It's a great camera.  But for the type of photography I do, I didn't need all of the upgrades that this camera made.  I don't do video, so 4k anything doesn't mean that much to me.  Super fast focusing although is great.  I'm a landscape and travel type of photographer, so the speed really didn't mean much.  It had the same sensor that I have, so I didn't upgrade to the newest model.  Instead, I bought a used camera that was one version better than the one I had, and I saved more than half the price of a new body.

Question 3.  What can you do with the new body that you can't do with your current one?  When I wanted an upgrade, one of the biggest features I was looking for was in-camera stabilization.  The camera I had didn't have it, but the next model did.  With my old body, in lower light I had to put it on a tripod, and I can go lower with my newer camera. My newer camera was released in 2016, but it does stuff that my older camera didn't.  It has in-body camera stabilization.  It has bluetooth.  It has a larger buffer.  But other than that, it's virtually the same as my older camera.  They operate almost the same, so my backup and my main camera are set up the same.  I can go from one to the other seamlessly, which I would not have been able to do with the latest and greatest that came out this year in 2019.

Question 4.  What type of photography do you do and does the newer camera body improve it?  If you are a sports photographer or a wildlife photographer, a fast focusing, fast shutter, high buffering camera is what you need to do the job.  If you are a portrait photographer, those qualities really don't matter.  If you're a stills photographer, all the video features really don't matter.  If you are a portrait photographer, a full frame sensor might make sense to create those shallow depth-of-field portraits.  If you are an astro photographer, a full-frame sensor might make more sense for the low-light capabilities.   Photographers EyePhotographers Eye

Question 5.  Do I need a full-frame sensor or will a crop sensor do?  When I switched from a full-frame Nikon D800, one of the concerns I had was would I lose image quality.  I can say that, for the type of photography I do, I didn't.  The Nikon I was using was a 36mp camera, and it was an awesome camera.  I went to a smaller 24mp camera, and I really couldn't see the difference.  It did take a long time for me to make the decision to do it, but I put photos side by side and, other than size, there was no difference in quality for me.  I believe that for most people sensor size doesn't matter, and you can create great photos with smaller sensors.  If you specialize in something that a larger sensor might matter, like astro photography or portrait photography or plan on printing really large, you might need a full-frame sensor.  But if you're a hobbiest like I am, the crop sensor works.  I can still do astro photography and portraits and have no problem doing them with a crop sensor.

If you ask yourself these questions and are honest, you can save yourself some money and you can put that extra money that you saved into lenses!  I believe that lenses are where you should invest your money.  Buy the best lenses that you can afford.  The next blog will be about lenses and how I have mine set up.  Yes, a little GAS is in my lenses also.  Keep shooting!







Great information here and definitely gives you stuff to think about! Excellent blog again, Glute!
Tom Santini(non-registered)
Excellent blog Max . Very useful information.
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