As a photographer or videographer, you may eventually be bitten by the gear envy bug. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. We’ll attempt to justify a ridiculously expensive purchase, even though the gear we currently have in our bag can still capture breathtaking images. Several things will come into play when considering a new purchase; from whether it’s a hobby or a business decision to how much disposable income you may have. Here are a few basic questions to ask yourself in order to determine if now is the time to make a new purchase.
Have you gotten the most out of your current gear?
Most of us like new gadgets, but the camera you already own may do things you have yet to master. The more experience and knowledge you have of your camera’s strengths and limitations, the more you’ll learn to work with and around them to create amazing results. Make sure you know your gear, menu settings and lenses to maximize your camera before you look around for that expensive new upgrade.
Is your gear usable?
Usability is often overlooked because we are too busy looking at specs and beautiful images to think about how that new piece of gear will integrate with our shooting style and clientele. The new camera or gear should encourage you to shoot more than you already do. Think about it, do you want to invest in a camera that will sit locked up at home because it’s too large, heavy, or expensive to carry with you everywhere?
Will image quality be noticeably better?
Almost every camera and lens can give you stunning quality if you know how to use it. With many photographers’ images usually ending up on social media, having a wide dynamic range and 45 megapixels is probably not as important as it could be. If image quality is the main reason you are justifying this purchase, ask yourself if you (or your clients) are truly going to gain value from this purchase. Remember: lenses, lighting and inexpensive accessories can often add more to your image quality than a brand new camera.
Would renting make more sense?
Don’t forget you can always rent. Typically, photo sessions are planned far enough in advance for you to rent the exact equipment you need for the shoot. Rather than purchasing gear based on what you might need 3-5 times a year, make sure the gear you purchase works for what you do every day. Several great rental companies to try out are Aperturent.com, BorrowLenses.com and LensRentals.com. I’ve used them all and have always had a fantastic experience.
Will you get the shot you would have missed?
Here is the main question you should ask yourself before making a new purchase: Does the new camera, lens or accessory help me get the shot I might have otherwise missed? For example, if you are shooting sports, an improved auto-focus system or a longer lens could be more beneficial. If you just shoot for fun, you may want to wait until another camera gives you a better performance in a package you can easily carry around. If your budget is a main concern, consider waiting for a sale (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) to help ensure you avoid paying full price. Also, set up an alert on Camel Camel Camel to be notified when the gear you want drops in price on Amazon.
Ultimately, try to ensure your new camera or gear is enabling you as a photographer or videographer to achieve something that was difficult or impossible to achieve before. Get to know the gear you currently have, never stop learning, and always challenge yourself to discover new ways of enhancing what you already own to create something amazing!