Two Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Camera in 2024

Two Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Camera in 2024

I have set a number of goals for 2024, and one of those goals is to upgrade my camera. It won’t be a mirrorless camera, but it will be a better camera. During the decision-making process, I sat down and wanted to figure out what the right reasons are to upgrade in 2024.

Having owned and used Canon cameras for the entirety of my career, I have become very familiar with their product lineup, at least the full-frame DSLR lineup for sure. Just like most professional photographers, I love the 5D series as it is the perfect combination of image quality and stable professional performance. Currently, my camera setup includes a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon 5DS. I love the Canon 5DS way more than the 5D Mark IV because of the image quality. After all, it is one of the primary metrics that I care about when it comes to camera performance. Low-light performance, burst speed, and weight are not the largest concerns for me, as I am primarily a studio photographer with occasional location work. Given the amount of travel I do, I want a lightweight setup. That basically meant swapping a heavy lens for a lightweight one. However, there are valid reasons to upgrade your camera instead of your lens in 2024. Here they are.

It Will Make You More Money

The photography landscape is ever-changing. Camera brands will market their new release heavily to get you to spend more money. I am quite an adversary of upgrading cameras because they will make you take better photos. The only financially valid reason to upgrade gear is if it will make you more money. Not the same amount of money, but more money. If you want to make your next camera upgrade a justifiable decision as far as investments go, ask yourself if the investment will have any returns. When it comes to cameras, the questions would be the following: Is the current camera limiting the number of jobs you can do? Is the work you are currently producing too low-resolution for what your clients want? Are you unable to capture images that your client wants due to the technical limitations of your camera? Is the cost of upkeep on it too expensive?

Concerning the number of jobs, a camera you should upgrade will be one that is limiting you from taking on work that requires a better camera. For example, if you shoot on an old 5D Original and your clients are asking for low-light photography, it’s time for a new camera. As for resolution, are you shooting images that rely on cropping and compositing? Yeah, you might need a higher-resolution camera. If you are a sports photographer with a Phase One, you are unlikely to capture crucial action with the slow burst rate. It’s time for a Canon 1DX or whatever mirrorless option is out there. As for upkeep cost, this can be the price of film. If you are shooting on a film camera and are at a point where you are not charging enough to offset the cost of materials, look into digital. There is simply no other reason your current camera can bother you when it comes to making more money.

Crucially, it is not the time it takes for the camera to “pay for itself,” but the amount you will make on top of what you’d make. Suppose you are charging $1,000 per shoot and have $5,000 in the bank for upgrades. Having spent $5,000 on upgrades, you are cash-poor while you are likely charging the same for each job. Every time you upgrade a camera, raise your prices. Suppose you are now charging $2,000 per job having upgraded. The new camera is making you an extra thousand on top. It will take you five new jobs for the camera to pay for itself. I should close this off by saying that I am not a qualified financial consultant and that you should take my financial advice with a grain of salt. Feel free to suggest your versions in the comments.

It Will Allow You To Push Your Creative Boundaries

The other reason that justifies a camera upgrade is a very personal and rather psychological one. Frankly speaking, I could be shooting on a Canon 5D Mark IV and be happy with it. But at that time, I was looking in the direction of a 5DS. Not just because it would produce technically better images, but also because the added features would allow me to push creativity. The sensor quality in a designated studio camera is way better than in an all-around 5D. The extra resolution would be great for cropping and producing prints – something I could not really do on a 5D Mark IV.

Currently, I am, of course, looking and trying to justify an upgrade to a medium format system, likely a Phase One. Crucially, I am looking at cameras that will offer a significant creativity upgrade for my work. There are a lot of “fake” medium format cameras out there, like the slightly larger sensor in, for example, a Pentax 645Z or a Fujifilm GFX. While I don’t want to throw shade on those cameras, they are still better than anything full-frame; they just don’t fit my description of much better. As far as ultimate photography tools go, a Phase One IQ3 100 or Hasselblad H6 are the best options. I am leaning heavily towards Phase One as I am a Capture One user. It won’t happen in a few months, and I would be more than happy if I get myself a Phase One for Christmas 2024.

Financially, this is as poor a decision as I can possibly make, but this will be a tool for my creative work which will allow me to push my boundaries in ways simply not possible with my current setup. The Phase One is a comfort and “joy of photography” choice. I repeat, it is financially stupid. However, as any stereotypical artist, I will live off baked beans but shoot on a Phase One. I must add, I believe every photographer who has ever achieved anything has gone through hardship. It’s a highway to maturity, as well as a way to test your dedication to the craft. But that’s best saved for another article.

What are your thoughts on upgrading cameras? Will you be changing your setup in 2024? Let us know in the comments below!

Illya Ovchar's picture

Illya aims to tell stories with clothes and light. Illya's work can be seen in magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, and InStyle.

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I am not a professional and even then, new gear does not guarantee more money.

As for pushing my creative boundaries, there are plenty of ways to do that without buying new gear. For example, doing challenges can really explode your creativity.

Couldn't agree more with you, however I still stand by the opinion that getting a new camera can inspire one to push creative boundaries.

I am a long time enthusiast. I don't NEED to upgrade. It would be nice though, as long as someone gives me the $$$.

Who wouldn't love some $$$ in their bank haha :)

I'm sorry but what a load of rollox. A better camera doesn't automatically mean you'll get better pictures (photographs perhaps, but not better pictures ).
And improve your creativity?!? Puh-lease!!!!
There is a serious case of GAS around here, and it stinks.

Thanks for reading and commenting! I do spend most of the article arguing that financially upgrading cameras is more often than not pointless.
However, I have come across plenty of photographers who have bought a new camera and took more images as a result. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not sure that I say that a new camera will get you better photos.

I would think that part of a successful business model would include listing your cameras as a depreciable asset. This would allow you to upgrade in financially responsible matter.

They are a depreciable asset, hence I only buy used :) Will be writing up a guide on buying used gear soon.


I agree with you that new gear can expand my creative boundaries. There are certain kinds of photos that I have had in my mind's eye, but when I set everything up to take them, my DSLRs are not capable of capturing the images. It is a case of my gear not being able to capture the vision that I have in my mind. I can not express my artistic vision because of the limitations of my DSLRs. But I have been told that mirrorless cameras are able to capture the photos that I want to create, because they have capabilities and features that my current cameras do not have.

So yes, based on that, it would behoove me to "upgrade" my camera bodies in 20244, so that I can make this certain type of photo that I am not now able to create.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Tom! Out of curiosity, what kind of concept did you have in mind? I would love to know the details of the problem you were having.

There are Ghost Crabs that run on the beaches here on the eastern coast of the U.S. Many of them are very small - about as big as my big toe. And they run FAST to get away from me!

The image I have in my mind's eye is a Ghost Crab very large in the frame - almost filling the frame. This, of course, requires macro or near-macro capabilities, as the camera needs to be just an inch or three away from the tiny crab to get it to fill so much of the frame.

I also want to get a very wide field of view, to show a very large portion of the Atlantic Ocean behind the crab. This means 15 to 25 mm focal length, to get the field of view I want.

Now keep in mind that these crabs are very nervous and very quick and never are still for more than a second. So I need not only very close focus, but also a way to autofocus, or at least confirm that the crab is in focus, as I run after the crab and desperately bend over in a super rushed hurry to try to get a snap before it dashes off again.

So, this requires a macro lens that is also very wide angle, and because there are no such lenses that also have autofocus, I need a camera with focus peaking and a flippy screen ..... which means mirrorless.

This is the best I could do with my DSLR and the 15mm 1:1 Macro Shift lens (see pic below).

But I took hundreds and hundreds of shots of many diffferent crabs, over the course of 3 weeks at the beach. This is the only one that was this sharp, and it is still not even close to sharp enough. Frankly, it sucks and I know it sucks.

I demand perfect sharpness because I want it to look GREAT as a 24" by 36" print viewed from 2 or 3 feet away.

There is no way to know if the crab's eyes or claws are in perfect focus or not when shooting, because one must run so fast to catch up to the crab and then one must SUPER QUICK stick the camera down right in front fo the crab and shoot a shot off so quick, before it dashes away again. So I just had to pre-focus and guess and hope that I was holding the camera at precisely the right distance. I mean at such close distance to the subject depth of field is only a few millimeters and I can not be that precise when I stop suddenly after running on the beach and have to rapidly stick the camera down into the sand and only have a second to get the shot off.

But at least mirrorless with focus peaking would show me if it is in focus or not, so during that one second, I could move the camera a little closer or a little further in hopes that the crab's claws or eyes get highlighted and then at least I have a fighting chance to get exactly the shot I want.

Of course I could settle for a shot that is a little different than what I have in mind, like an exhausted crab that does not move ... but then I would not get the dramatic look of a fully invigorated crab in dramatic defensive posture, so then I would be settling for something a little less than what I really want and that is never going to be acceptable.

Laughing the whole way through the read! Sounded like you never touched a camera but you were just reflecting what you hear! As most do not know it is the operator not the camera. It is the Eye of the operator, for some a curse. Why! Everywhere you look is something to capture or a story to be told.
Yea right!
'13 Canon deletes a camera from its site to make you go to the next for info. Yep the manual disappears.
Yes, once upon a time you had to use a makers software to edit an image back when PS/Lr was $800+ the same as camera and two kit lenses. Trey Ratcliff offered a $70 software as well as several others that forced PS/Lr to do the yearly thing. So much water never heard of. And today you have great noise reduction as well as selected editing.
'14 I went Sony a new name on the shelf that had few lenses But had let the secret of camera lenses out to adapter makers so I could use all my old FD and EF lenses and C1 SW for $30. The greatest was three books by Brian Smith with info on how to use!
The one secret to better images is a operators manual and not a poster size sheet of paper in a lot of languages.
Another is the ability to do things handheld throwing away the sticks, yes 20 November 2014 with the A7M2 with IBIS and still selling knew 10 years later!! Tell someone, whisper to someone why you continue to use any other brand and are just a follower not the leader!!!!
Exp: I went A7RM2 in '17 (saved for it 3 years) and went to Az to see my dad on the way stopped at Antelope Canyon for a day and night tour I forgot my tripod camera plate in the truck. Knowing about the IBIS I, off the cuff, did a bracketed 3 at +/- 2EV to see if possible. All images were excellent so both tours were done handheld and no flash while others were doing long exposure. Another great decision! Next sunrises 5 at +/- 2EV, a great small sun.
Also small MP's amount is not needed for night astro, sticks are needed!
A hobbyist and not a Sony Rep. because I know about the camera apps you can load on the Mod 1's or 2's and the Digital Filter you no longer need to carry filters and the holders, yep the unknown and untold like the hidden Bright Monitoring function.

Pure Sony fanboy BS.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Edwin! Great work. Glad to hear that your setup is working out for you.

I am convinced...I am going out today and buying a new camera and will make me better than a Pro...and I will be rich, rich rich I say!

Don, that was not the point of the article, rather the opposite :)

Absolute rubbish.
Good photography is about capturing emotion. A good photographer can do that with any camera. I have several cameras, but the one I use most is a ten year old Lumix GM1 with a Lecia 15mm lens. I use it because it can go anywhere with me, not because it has the latest bells and whistles.

Thanks for reading and commenting Shaun. Good photography is about capturing emotion, but also about a lot of other things. There are instances where you need more resolution, color depth, and so on. That said, I am with you when it comes to portable cameras. I started using my iPhone for that, and I haven't looked back.

That was a fun read! I'm not a professional, so upgrading equipment or software is something I avoid unless there is something substantial in the upgrade.

A year ago, I upgraded my Olympus E-M10 to an E-M1, because the E-M10 had issues. However, the upgrade was to a Mark II not the Mark III or the newest OM-1. I looked at the added features of each model and the associated cost. There were some features in the OM-1 that I would never use and the cost was about 3X the cost of the E-M1 Mk III. The Mk III had a few improvement over the Mk II but not enough to justify the added cost.

I'm probably not the ideal customer because photography is a hobby, and I only upgrade when it is necessary.

Glad you enjoyed the article Paul! Congratulations on your upgrade!
Every customer is the ideal customer as they spend money haha :)

Generally speaking, if you think you can double your rates because you bought a new body then you should already have doubled your rates.

What you might be able to do, as Illya suggests, is take on different jobs that pay better. I can't think of new jobs that pay twice as much that become accessible with only a new body, but I suppose it's possible.

Indeed, there are very few instances where you can double your rates just because you got a new camera. Perhaps in event jobs where you shoot photo and video and are upgrading from a 5D Mark II to an R5.

Hide all stories from Fstoppers. Change some gear and get people to pay you double your current rate...this guys has no experience beyond trying to get ad money from clickbait

I agree that Illya needs to improve as a writer and seems to be out of touch with many aspects of photography, but we can use this comment section to build him up a bit and encourage him, so that eventually he becomes a good writer that can give us insightful articles. Let's give him a chance to grow into the position he holds.

I thought we had got passed this false notion that buying a new camera will somehow improve your photography and earn you more money. Clearly not. Maybe this is one of those satirical articles Fstoppers seen to like writing lately.

If a new camera can take your rate from $1,000 to $2,000, why not rent and start making that extra money today?

Because I know from experience that you client will see you with a new camera and say "let me pay this person more money."

It seems that a few people are commenting on that section of the article. It was written to be a somewhat satirical comment saying exactly what you are commenting there.
Indeed, few clients check the camera you use.

My clients never ask me what camera I use. They hire me, not the camera.

I would say it's 2 very good reasons to limit your desire to purchase. Money and creative reach. Thanks, Illya.

My personal limits are 10 years on Return on Investment. Just buy the best you can afford, spend the next 3 years learning to be the best with that equipment. Limitations can be very liberating.

At the end of 10 years, anything broken that needs replacing, buy the best again but build upon that foundation. Any equipment that's busted needs a better replacement in reliability and quality.

If possible, don't change systems unless that system gives you better precision and quality throughout.