This can be a particularly dangerous time of year for chronic camera gear switchers. For one, the new year causes most of us to self-evaluate everything from the prior year, and photography gear is certainly not exempt. Second, for some it is the off season which means a bit of down time, and any time you stop moving can be especially dangerous for your decision making and bank account.
Regardless of the fresh year ahead, it’s honestly rare to peruse a photography-related forum or comment section any day of the year without witnessing the ever prevalent “I’m a user of X camera, should I make a change to the XYZ brand camera?” It makes one wonder if any industry out there has user bases so focused on switching brands as often as photographers do. As if the photo or video placed above the comment section could only be achieved with the super-secret ingredients of unicorn pixel milk and rainbow colored dynamic range dust that the engineers placed inside of that brand of camera alone. Are so many photographers' existing cameras really falling that short? Regardless of the big, bold brand name plastered around your neck, the fact remains if you have a beautiful portfolio, you probably worked your ass off for it, and your camera's existing features had little to do with that hustle. And if you have yet to put any real heart into your photography, well those fancy new camera features listed on the side of the retail box are not going to drastically change the volume or quality of your work.
Really, we as consumers are all victims of vicious technology driven upgrade cycles and fiercely competitive companies looking to take market share from one another. Companies cunningly market their products to hit you where it counts. If you feel you are being pulled in this direction, always contemplating a brand switch to keep up with the latest in camera technology, then you are most likely not shooting enough with the equipment you already have, period. So that leads into how exactly do you combat the primal urge inside for something new? I have a few suggestions that may just get you through this year. 2019 is anyone's bet.
This Is My Camera. There Are Many Like It, but This One Is Mine.
Spend some quality time with your camera. Stop sweating the name on it versus the others, and focus on making the best images you can with it as a tool in your capable hands. Ring every last drop of image quality out of it, the two of you creating one-of-a-kind images together just the way you had imagined it would be when you first laid eyes on it staring up at you from inside the box.
Introduce Yourself to the Manual
Yes, those are actually hundreds of pages of manual goodness buried at the bottom of your camera’s box in your closet, or on the shelf of your cold garage. All those well-executed pages are purposeful and filled with features, some of those you have yet to learn. Why dream of all the latest camera’s features you so desire when you can focus on all the untapped features you already have, begging you to explore.
Spend Some Quality Time in the Menu
Get comfortable working through the numerous settings and enjoy the process of testing out the results from your tweaks. Likely there is more you can coax out of the expert settings in your camera that have not yet been unlocked. In addition, those valuable custom modes and buttons on the camera are there to help make your life easier, so set them up and really see what the camera can do when fully optimized for your style of shooting.
At All Costs Avoid the Gear Reviews
Unless these are based on a product that will truly make a difference in your photography, then what is the point of salivating over things you do not truly need? A lot of these reviews and impressions are heavily biased and will only create conflict between you and your wallet. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
Remember, the goal is to utilize the capable equipment you already have, not go broke seeking the one camera to rule them all. Cast that expensive brand switch idea into the fire. Destroy it.