Buying a New Camera? What You Should Think About BEFORE You Spend Your Money!
Did you know there’s actually a condition called Gear Acquisition Syndrome? And it doesn’t just afflict photographers: it describes that state where you obsessively buy new equipment, driven by a totally unreasonable belief that more gear equals better photos, or whatever your chosen special interest happens to be!
But do you actually need that new camera? Not necessarily. So before you go and spend all your money on the fanciest, newest model you can lay your hands on, consider the following:
1) Why Do You Need a New Camera?
Before You Buy a New Camera, Ask Yourself These Questions – Be Honest!
- Are you a beginner photographer who doesn’t own a camera yet? If you’re serious about photography, then yes, you will need to invest in some gear, but read on before you make any kind of financial commitment!
- Do you love photography, but if you’re being honest, are quite happy taking photos on your phone? Nothing wrong with that at all.
- If you do own a camera, did you break it?
- If it’s not broken, how well do you know it?
- Can you confidently manipulate the controls to get the best results?
- Have you outgrown your present camera? Do you need more advanced capabilities, and find it’s holding you back because there are things it won’t allow you to do?
- Are you already a professional photographer whose gear is getting a bit battered, unreliable or unable to tackle certain assignments? Pro photographers need their equipment to be 100% reliable.
For Photography Newbies, Think Second-Hand or Rental First
If you’re a beginner photographer who’s wondering what camera to buy, think about whether you could borrow one from someone. Alternatively, look at the second hand options available from reputable retailers. You definitely do not need a new camera at this stage.
Buying a used camera, renting or borrowing one could save you a huge amount of money and allow you to find out what you love to photograph, and which camera and lens suits you and your interests best.
Here are some reputable companies who stock the latest gear which you can hire for anything from a few days to longer. As usual, don’t forget to check the small print!
Buying a New Camera Will Not Make You a Better Photographer!
And if you’re not a professional, your camera’s not broken, and you don’t know it like the back of your hand, buying a new one is not going to improve your photography! See number 2 for what you should do instead.
2) Improve Your Photography Skills First
Older Cameras Are Still Worthwhile
If you already have a camera, chances are it can do everything that you’ll need, and more – you just have to understand it really well. All medium-range digital cameras will allow you to get off Auto – even the older models.
So, as I said, don’t obsess over the idea that a newer one will make you a better photographer – it won’t. It’s only by getting to know the camera you already own really well that you’ll discover its limitations, how you need to improve as a photographer, and the subject matter that you’re drawn to; then and only then will you be in a position to make an informed decision about whether it’s worth upgrading.
Just go out there and take lots of pictures, make mistakes, read the manual or enrol on a photography course if you’re just using your camera on auto. Learn about lighting, composition, how to manipulate exposure, and how to photograph different subjects really well. When you’ve exhausted your current camera’s potential, THEN is the time to think about buying a new one.
3) Upgrade Your Lens Before Upgrading Your Camera
Good Glass Equals Better Quality Photos
Ultimately, it’s the quality of your lens rather than the quality of your camera that will give your photos the edge. So if you already have a decent camera (see number 2) a good-quality lens is your best investment. The lens you use will affect how much light it lets in, how blurry it can make the background, and overall image sharpness. I would far rather use a lower spec or older camera body with a good quality lens, than the other way round. So upgrade your lens first before the camera body.
4) The Best Reason of All NOT to Buy a New Camera
It’s the Photographer, Not the Camera
I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating – a new camera will not make you a better photographer by magic! Consistent practice will. So stop thinking about buying more photography gear, and start taking more pictures; make the most of the camera you already have and explore its possibilities to the full. Improve your photography skills first before wasting your money on all the latest features, which you may not even use!