I am frequently asked to advice people on what and when to upgrade camera gear. There is no short answer, but generally I consider several reasons to upgrade. So if you find yourself fitting into any of these categories, my recommendations are there also.

NOTE: 99% of the time I would suggest people to upgrade lenses BEFORE cameras.


My Images are not sharp enough

Read this first! :) "11 tips to get sharp images"

  1. Upgrade your lens. Better lenses are sharper and will give your sharper images, contrast and image quality.
  2. If you have the best lens out there, and only then, upgrade your camera for more megapixels to give you more detail, or a camera with no anti-aliasing filter on it e.g. 5DSR.

My images are too blurry

  1. Upgrade your lens to a faster one (lower f/number). This will allow you to have a faster shutter speed, and sharper images
  2. Upgrade your lens to one with some kind of image stabilization to avoid camera shake
  3. Buy a tripod
  4. A camera with higher ISO will also allow your to have a faster shutter speed, but this could be at the detriment of image quality

I want to shoot in low light (same as above, but hey)

  1. Upgrade your lens to a faster one (lower f/number). This will allow you to have a faster shutter speed, and sharper images
  2. Upgrade your lens to one with some kind of image stabilization to avoid camera shake
  3. Buy a tripod
  4. A camera with higher ISO will also allow your to have a faster shutter speed, but this could be at the detriment of image quality

Shot at f/1.4 and ISO 12,800... I needed both a fast lens and camera with high ISO abilities to get this shot.


I want to try something new / I am in a rut and want to kick-start my photography again

Getting an upgrade to your gear does not necessarily make you or your photography better, but it can open up new areas or possibilities. It can even get you out of a slump... a new toy bringing in new enthusiasm!

  1. Buy a new lens that opens up another avenue of photography e.g. a tilt-shift lens, a macro lens, a telephoto lens etc...
  2. Buy an old film camera for a but of fun! :)

This was taken with a reversed 50mm lens...  cheap way to try macro, see here!


I want to shoot wildlife (My Wildlife kit)

  1. Buy a longer lens to get more reach
  2. Buy a faster lens allowing you to shoot in low light situations, have a narrow depth of field to produce nice bokeh to isolate your subject
  3. Upgrade your camera to getting faster FPS and better ISO/image quality

The bottom line!

  1. Upgrade lenses first
  2. Upgrade camera
  3. Spend money on creating opportunists to take pictures!

What do you guys think? any other reasons to upgrade (other than pure desire)? Leave a comment.

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