Buying a new camera is always fun, the question is do you really need it?
Sometimes it’s hard to decide because the urge to buy that new toy can be bigger than what your mind says.
Should I buy or not – dilemma !
So, recently I did this research on how to make an informed decision, and I thought this might be something that can help others decide as well.
It’s more about finding out what you really need, and specific characteristics of a camera, and not about brands.
So whether you are a Sony, Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus or Fujifilm fan,
this exercise is suitable for every brand and camera system.
At the moment I work with Mirrorless (Olympus, Fujifilm) and DSLR (Pentax),
so you get my view on both systems.
Ok, so my problem was, should I upgrade both camera systems or upgrade one or none ?
Of course it’s a personal approach, but maybe you can relate to my train of thought.
It might surprise you, you might find that your old camera isn’t that bad after all, or maybe that new camera version isn’t what you need after all.
Or stronger, you might be better off going for an older camera model.
Ok let’s get started.
First my two favorite online tools that I always use to learn more about a camera – reviews and user reviews – discover weaknesses or strengths – and to compare various cameras :
Dpreview is a good website for reviews and user reviews, to get a good insight into the possibilities and specifications of a camera – Your own or the one you might want to buy.
I mainly use Camera Decision to compare cameras, it gives a good insight into the strengths and weaknesses of one camera compared to another. So here you can compare your old camera with a new version or a completely different camera, and thus gain insight into whether a purchase is a good idea or not.
You can also use it to search for a camera based on certain desires. And that can be useful, for example : if an expensive camera is just outside your budget and you are looking for the second best.
Reviews are also written by others, always keep in mind that someone else’s opinion may not match what you are looking for or want.
Many websites and reviewers focus on high specs, but that does not always mean that a camera with a lot of megapixels, high burst rate and 8K video is a good camera for you. So with reviews you have to try to read between the lines, and get out of it what you want to know.
The most important is that you know exactly what you need and what is important to you.
In order to take a picture you not only need a camera but also a lens – we are not going to discuss that here today,
but don’t forget that the lens has a lot of influence on the final performance of the whole.
A high end camera with super fast autofocus and many focus points combined with a cheap slow lens, probably won’t perform well with high speed subjects like in sports.
Try to determine what subject (point of interest) you usually shoot and what you really need for this and less need.
A wedding photographer may not need a weather sealed camera, and does not need an extremely high shutter speed either – where a bird or sports photographer probably needs both.
Depending on your point of interest or target group (Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Nature and Animals, Sports, Street), one of the following specifications may be more or less important.
Try to translate your needs in to camera specifications and put these in order of what is important to you and less important, and write them down. Below are examples of what that could be :
- Viewfinder: Optical/EVF – both
- Viewfinder magnification 0.65× or more (0.65× = 35mm equiv.)
- Articulated LCD: Pivoted or Fixed – Screen Size – Dots – Touch …
- Sensor: Full Frame/APS-C – Megapixels (16/24/more)
- Sensitivity: ISO (25,000/50,000/more)
- Shutter: Max.Speed (2000/4000/more) – Burst Rate …
- Focusing: Focus Points (15/25/more) – Contrast/Phase Detect …
- Dedicated Dials and Buttons
- Weather Sealing
- In-Body Camera Stabilization
- High Video Specs. (4K/8K/special)
- Film Simulation
- Single/Dual SD Card
- Other: (microphone connection, build in flash, …)
- Any feature that is important to you…
- Last but not least : budget – how much do you want/or can you invest on a new camera ?
When you have compiled a list of what your necessities and wishes are, you can get started searching, comparing and make a decision !
In part two, I make my own list and review my camera gear, and make a decision whether I need to upgrade or not.
It can be an example for you about how to make an informed decision.