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Why Do You Want To Upgrade?


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Why Do You Want To Upgrade?

23 Mar 2021 9:23PM   Views : 749 Unique : 527

There are many reasons to upgrade your gear. And many reasons not to.


It's always nice to get flashy new gear, and the marketing people know that too. Before we go any further, if it's new gear you want and you're happy to part with your cash go ahead and get that new camera or lens. In most cases you can comfort yourself in the knowledge you've helped rebuild the economy and keep someone in work be that in a retail environment or a delivery driver. As for improving your photography it'll do little if anything.

It's a common enough type of question. 'I have a CaNikOlySonic XYD500 MkII, what should I buy next?'. It's so tempting to say 'You should get a Hasselblad or Phase One'. True, those makes are top professional workhorses. Images from them can be superb. Technical specs and 100 megapixel sensors make some people drool. Even lower range models from the popular manufacturers are still enticing.


A number of years ago I came across situations where when there was a problem it was always 'this person has a training issue'. Look into the issue more closely and it was in fact a management issue that management either didn't want to address or just couldn't see the problem. Ironically when there was a genuine need for training there would be umpteen reasons why that couldn't happen but that's another story. The parallel here is not facing up to the reality and looking for a 'solution' that doesn't address the issue.

I'll ask what sort of photography they do and in what way they think their current gear is lacking. What is it that it doesn't allow them to do and why are they disappointed with the results. It helps enormously to see their pictures too. It's only then that recommendations can be considered, and I don't mean going straight for a piece of gear. So very often it's not the gear that's at fault. Spending some time watching videos on youtube or doing a course will led to improved results, as would submitting images for critique.


A Canon EOS 1100D can be used to create just as good an image as a Canon EOS 5DS. True, the latter has higher resolution, but if you only post images on the web no larger than 2000 pixels wide and never print larger than A4 you won't notice. Anyone viewing won't care. You'll have taken, all things considered, a superb image on either. Or, a boring load of naffness on either.

So, look at the image, how can it be improved? Look at the scene and what you want to convey. That may mean moving a few paces left or girth, getting lower down or higher up, choosing a more appropriate aperture or shutter speed, or waiting until later in the day for more pleasing light. All of those can lead to better looking images but none of those can be obtained by buying the latest model.

Improving technique is the key, and ignored by many as it's harder to master (or accept) than entering a credit card number online.


There is a proviso or two. If you only have a standard zoom and want a macro lens for close-ups or a long lens for sports or wildlife then clearly new (or good second hand, let's not forget that) gear should be considered. You may take a lot of low light shots and a new model may have much improved high ISO noise performance. But those are specific requirements and your decision should be made along those sorts of lines. Even if a camera or lens is damaged or worn out and needs replacing, carefully consider what you really need. You don't have to buy he all singing all dancing model that Mr and Mrs Jones each have as you know they can't take good pictures for toffee, right?

Another thought in the same vein. Would Shakespeare have written better plays had he used Microsoft Word rather than using a quill pen?

All text and images Keith Rowley 2021

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saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 89 Norway
24 Mar 2021 9:06AM
Wise words, Keith, but as we know, in the world of photographers, GAS (Gear Acquirement Syndrome) is at least as prevalent as a certain well-known pandemic, and equally difficult to treat.
I bought a 35mm f/1.4 lens specifically for one task; live gigs under lighting conditions that vary from excellent to pathetic. Capturing the on-stage action required faster shutter speeds than my f/2.8 lenses allowed wide open, so the lens was a no-brainer. However, I have since realised that instead of leaving it at home other than when shooting gigs (zero the last 12 months...) I have it with me all the time, and it has opened my eye to the possibilities it provides when used wide open under more day-to-day circumstances. Being the only prime lens in my bag has also taught me to use my feet more to get the composition I want...

As for upgrading, I went from the Fuji X-T2 to the X-T3 when it came out in 2017 as it offered improvements which were useful to me. The subsequent release of the X-T4 has been ignored by me, as it offers nothing that I will find to be an improvement over what I have in my bag today...
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
28 Apr 2021 9:11PM
There are two real problems, if you're at all gear-minded.

One is wanting the latest - but that's OK, as it means there's a good supply of nearly-new kit for the rest of us.

Wanting to complete the set is a real problem... I know very well that some of my lenses don't 'earn their keep' - and in one or two cases, that was predictable to anyone but me.

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