“I’m thinking about upgrading my camera body. I have _________ – what do you suggest?”
We get this question pretty often in the SPS email inbox. We’re flattered that you trust us enough to guide you on such an important decision, but at the same time it makes us squirm just a bit. It’s a BIG decision! A good fit for one person might be a complete and total disappointment for another.
Take heart – we won’t leave you high and dry. Here are my top camera buying tips.
Most important – ask yourself:
1. “What does my current camera not do well that I wish it would?”
If you can’t answer that then it’s not time for a new camera body. You need to do some learning first. The quickest way we know of to get you all learned up? The Photo Fix (bias admitted)!
Sure, the latest and greatest sounds good. More megapixels, streamlined style, maybe even a better ‘click’ sound when you press the shutter. But there’s going to be an even newer camera or an even better ‘click’ next year or the year after that. With technology developing at the speed of light, buying a camera body with the intent to resell in a couple of years may not be your best bet – glass (lenses) holds value pretty darn well, but camera bodies generally don’t.
“Okay, Sarah, I know what my camera body doesn’t do that I wish it did. Now what?”
2. Budget. What’s your budget?
Decide your budget before you ever start perusing the latest and greatest from
Canon your favorite camera manufacturer. (Hey there, it’s me, Kyle, and I’m completely smitten over the recent Sony cameras. Okay, end of interruption).
Once you have a budget set, write down your top two or three wishes. Here are some questions to help:
- What are you shooting most?
- Do you need a camera with a reputation for being great in low light?
- Or one capable of more frames per second?
- Are you looking to move to mirrorless?
- Do you want one that will fit in your purse?
Get a good idea of what’s most important to you and then start looking at what models out there fit the bill – and the budget. Don’t be afraid to look outside of
Canon your favorite manufacturer (unless you already have a fair lens collection…then the transition to a new brand could be much more costly).
With your field narrowed to a few models and your budget set, I have one final tip:
3. Go to the local camera store.
This is NOT the local big box store. Camera shops make it their practice to hire people who know photography – use that to your advantage.
Go in when you have some time to actually try out some different models. See what feels good in your hand. Make sure you test the cameras with a lens that you either already own or are likely to own soon. It’s fine to use the camera shop’s stock for testing, but don’t test the camera with a 24-70mm f2.8 if you don’t have one and won’t have one soon. That’s not a fair test.
Don’t feel pressured to hurry along or take two snaps and call it good. Take some shots at different places in the store and at ranges you would normally shoot. Try at least two models.
Listen up – do NOT, under any circumstance, take any form of payment with you on this excursion.
This is a recon mission only. No impulse buying.
Go ahead and let the sales person tell you what the next model up will get you. It may actually be enough that you want to save up awhile longer and go for that next model. Not having any money with you will give you that freedom.
Hopefully at this point you know what you’re after. If not, there’s no harm in starting back at the beginning. Buying a new camera body is exciting stuff! Take your time, do your research, and buy something that you’ll love for at least a few years to come. Then start saving up for a new lens – that might be an even more exciting purchase than a new camera body!