Is It Time to Upgrade Your Camera Gear?

Photographers and videographers tend to pay a lot of attention to their gear and what new and exciting products are on the market, but knowing if it's time to upgrade is a different matter. This great video examines that topic and how you'll know if it's that time.

Coming to you from Hk Visuals, this helpful video talks about the need to upgrade photography gear and the sort of questions you should ask yourself when you feel the urge to pull out your credit card. As the video mentions, if you're currently creating work that satisfies both your standards and those of your clients, then whatever new equipment comes out is irrelevant to the question of need. I recently wrote about why I think it's ok to be obsessed with camera gear depending on the circumstances, but of course, wants and needs are two different things, and the danger that many photographers fall prey to is confusing the two. Take time to really ask yourself if there have been recent situations in which you couldn't get a shot solely because of a deficiency in your gear or if you just need to build up your technique a bit or improve other aspects of your work.

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Andre Goulet's picture

If you have a camera that's relatively modern and you aren't taking good pictures, it's you, not the camera.

The upgrade decision process is actually super simple: take a piece of paper and put two columns in it, one titled Need and the other titled Want. If you make money with photography, the Need list should encompass any gear that either makes you more money, or saves you time. If the item has a reasonable enough return on investment, buy it if you can afford it or if you can't afford not to buy it (like for staying competitive).

The Want list should be for stuff that keeps you enthused or brings more joy to your photography.

The hard part is being honest with yourself :)

Greg Desiatov's picture

I have been using my trusty Canon 5D MkII since 2010. It has been a great workhorse and has now done over 260k shutter accentuation without ever having a service. It has never missed a beat. I few years ago I bought another 5D MkII as a backup camera because I got it at such a great price.

But... this year, my needs had changed.

My focus has turned to exhibitions and I needed a camera that would do very large prints for display. The 5d MkII could no longer fill my new requirement so I finally upgraded to the Pentax 645z.

I will continue to use the 5D MkII and leave the arty-farty images to the 645z.

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

Also, moving to the mark 4, you will feel a dramatic change in low light possibilities if you were to keep on this line of camera.

Yes, upgraded gear gives you also possibilities you never thought possible with your existing gear.

Carl Irjala's picture

A very good question! I had to think about this one and a half years ago when I lost all my camera equipment on a whitewater expedition here in Finland, Kymi river. My final decision was to purchase Fujifilm X100F + lenses and a new flash for this model.
Do I regret having "downgraded" from the full-frame system? No, definitely not, because the competition is so intense between the different brands that new models often feels like a step back in development. Faster cameras require often more compromises.
PS. Now I have a waterproof box in my canoe ;)

Michael Comeau's picture

It's definitely time to upgrade.

It's like hey say "if you want better pictures, get a better camera."

David Pavlich's picture

I always put this in terms of budget. If new gear comes out and you have the budget and the desire to own it, buy it! Keeping the camera companies viable is important if we want new stuff to buy when the urge strikes. :-)

Jeff Colburn's picture

With cameras, and almost everything else I have, I use it until it dies, then I get a new one. A camera is just a light-tight box. Why would you need to replace it as long as it's still working?

Have Fun,

Better resolution, better focus, better dynamic range. Just for a start.

Greg Desiatov's picture

All that will give is a better technical image. It won't give you a more 'engaging' image! That has nothing to do with the camera.

Michael Shaw's picture

I remember the first time I saw this quote in the Whole Earth Catalog: "Use it up; wear it out. Make it do or do without".

David J. Fulde's picture

I only upgraded my X-T1 because I've been becoming a hybrid shooter again. But photo wise it was still fantastic.