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3 Telltale Signs You Should Upgrade Your Camera Equipment

Photography is an addictive and expensive pastime – there’s no doubt about it – but that’s no bad thing. It is inevitable that you will need to upgrade your camera equipment at some point, but how do you know when you really need to do it? Nobody wants to upgrade too soon – it’s a costly leap, and you may be worried that you aren’t quite ready to make the most of your new gear. Even so, it’s more than likely this question has crossed your mind. Let’s look at some of the telltale signs that it is time for you to upgrade your kit.

Should I upgrade my camera
Have you got your eye on a new camera?

#1 Your Gear is Limiting Your Progress

This is the most common reason to upgrade. As your photographic prowess improves, your camera gear will seem less exciting as the first day you bought it – unless you jumped in at the deep end and bought the best equipment money can buy. Different cameras have different capabilities when it comes to a variety of factors, whether that be the resolution (megapixels), dynamic range, ISO handling, shooting speed, or something else. You may find that you are unable to achieve the shots you are visualising due to the limitations of your camera.

This is a key reason to upgrade. Personally, I would upgrade my equipment when I found myself pushing these boundaries of my camera. The main attraction for me as a wildlife photographer to more advanced cameras was the ISO capabilities they had. Being able to shoot at higher ISO speeds with less noise in the photo was extremely beneficial – it allowed me to shoot in lower light, something which is essential for wildlife.

New cameras can bring with them a variety of benefits: better ISO handling, greater resolution, better autofocus performance, faster shooting rates, dual memory card slots, and even the ability to clean its own sensor!

red squirrel jumping
This photo was taken at ISO 10,000 with a Nikon D4 – it’s capable of  ISO speeds with good noise levels, but lower spec cameras couldn’t perform well here.

Lenses are also a limiting factor, especially when it comes to the sharpness of a photo. The most common complaint I hear from photographers is that photos just aren’t sharp enough. Well, this is most likely due to the quality of the glass in your lens (assuming your technique is up to scratch). A budget lens will never perform like a high-end lens can. Whilst a lens upgrade can be rather expensive, they last a long time – I’m still using my Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR II lens 5 years down the line after I bought it. Better lenses often have a wider maximum aperture (lower f-stop number), allowing you to let more light into your camera.

A new camera or lens won’t necessarily make you suddenly take fantastic photos, but it will give you the opportunity to achieve images that were beyond the capabilities of your older equipment. If this describes your situation then it is time to upgrade.

#2 Reigniting the Photography Spark

If you have found your interest slipping and are lacking inspiration, then perhaps treating yourself to a new camera or lens is the way forward. Buying an exciting, new piece of kit will make you want to get outside and start taking pictures – just like how any new gadget begs attention.

There are many ways to find inspiration, but if you’ve hit a photographic wall then this could be the way past it. A new camera will open up many opportunities for your photography, even if that involves just gawping at the increased resolution of your photos. Perhaps a new lens is the answer – they can allow you to explore completely different avenues of your photography.

A wide angle lens gives an entirely different view on the world compared to a telephoto lens. You could even buy yourself a ‘challenging’ lens for your field of photography and task yourself with using it to take interesting photos.

#3 Your Equipment is Old and Unusable

Cameras and lenses aren’t immortal. You may find that your equipment just isn’t up to scratch anymore. Maybe that’s due to the shutter being worn out or your lens’ autofocus breaking down – either way, it’s probably more beneficial to upgrade than repair older equipment.

Many lenses are continually improved with newer models, so even if you loved a particular older lens there is more than likely a newer version of it on the market.

How to Do It

Don’t forget, if you are looking to upgrade your equipment we have some handy guides to help you make the right choice:

Buying online is often one of the best ways to get a good price for your camera gear. Most high street retailers now have a strong online presence just for this. We recommend using any of the following trusted companies:

 

Will Nicholls is the founder of Nature TTL and a professional wildlife photographer and film-maker from England. Having been photographing since the age of 12, Will's images have won a string of awards, including the title of "Young British Wildlife Photographer of the Year" in 2009 from the British Wildlife Photography Awards. Will is also the author of the book On the Trail of Red Squirrels.

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