The temptation to upgrade your camera is stronger than ever.
Companies release new cameras all the time. From budget to professional systems, all the brands are fighting for your money. They entice you to their new product by offering incremental upgrades on their previous best-in-class system. Sometimes, the lure to upgrade your camera is worth your attention, but more often than not, it isn’t. And as companies produce more gear, photographers begin to get FOMO – looking for new justifications to get that shiny new camera!
Do You Really Need to Upgrade Your Camera?
I recently held a poll on my Instagram. I wanted to understand what made photographers invest in a new camera. While technological advancements and improved functionality were common responses, there was one reason that I didn’t quite understand. A primary motivator for some photographers to shell out over $1,000 on a new system was that their current system had wear and tear.
Essentially, for those who may not know what that means, photographers didn’t like that their current camera had scratches and scuffs on it. So, to get the feeling of having something in perfect condition again, they were willing to hand over their hard-earned money to buy a new camera. This seemed crazy to me, and a terrible reason to upgrade your camera.
Because of advertising and social pressure, people are always gunning to have the best product in the best condition. Society programs us to believe that what we own is a measure of our social worth and status. So, when some people look at their camera and see it eroding, they feel they’re not good enough. And we need to change this way of thinking.
Don’t Upgrade Your Camera – Learn to Love It Instead
When I look at my Fujifilm XT2, I see a camera that’s certainly lived a good life. I’ll be the first to admit that keeping it in immaculate condition has never been at the forefront of my mind. I throw it in my travel bag, drop it regularly, and eat food while it hovers below my chin. While I don’t recommend this carefree approach, the point I’m making is that although it looks far from new, it’s a camera that’s had a life!
Because when I look at my XT2, I see so many amazing memories. I think about the time we climbed mountains, wandered the Taj Mahal, and made portraits of strangers on the street. We’ve had an awesome time together, and both of us are showing a bit of age because of it – I wouldn’t change a thing.
And the most important point is, it works perfectly fine. Sure it looks like it’s done a few rounds with Mike Tyson, but it still helps me create amazing photographs.
If your camera has all its functionality and allows you to do the work you want to do, then it’s not time to upgrade your camera. If you upgrade because of wear and tear, you’re essentially laying to rest a system that’s still got plenty of life in it. Why do that?
Don’t Upgrade Your Camera – Keep It in Good Condition
An alternative loving the scuffs and scratches is to take proper care of your system. Like I said, you don’t have to be carefree like me. And although I have been a little slack over the years, I know how to keep a camera in great condition for as long as possible. Here are some tips.
Buy a Camera Bag Right Away
It seems obvious, but so many photographers avoid it. After spending thousands of dollars on a new camera, they think, “What, and now an extra couple of hundred dollars on a camera bag? I’ll just put it in my backpack.”
A standard backpack isn’t designed to keep a camera safe. It doesn’t have the same compartments, interior padding, and exterior materials. Spending a little more money at the point of purchase is a wise investment. A camera bag keeps your camera safe and compact, and is robust enough to withstand harsh elements and environments.
Always Leave the Body Cap On
The sensor is the most precious part of your camera. Yet the amount of times I’ve seen photographers pull out their camera body with no cap on is worrying! It’s easy to get dust and marks on the sensor, which can severely impact the quality of your final images. When you detach your lens, never forget to restore the body cap on your camera!
Get It Professionally Cleaned
I advise getting a home cleaning kit to keep your camera in good condition. But every few months, I think it’s a good idea to take it to a professional. They can get all the little dust particles out of the crevices of the camera and keep the sensor in the best possible condition.
Invest in a Camera Strap
One of the main reasons I would drop my camera is because I would hold it loosely in my hand. Having a camera strap gives you extra security and helps prevent it from dropping onto the ground. Although manufacturers build camera systems extremely well, dropping them can destroy the body completely.
Don’t Let a Novice Use Your Camera
You know how it is; your friend (who is not a photographer) thinks your camera is cool. “Can I use it for the day, just to see what it’s like?” Tell them no. If they don’t know their way around a camera, then they won’t know the proper steps to take good care of it. The last conversation you want starts with, “I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to do it…” when they return home with your camera.
Invest in Something Else
So now you have some encouragement to change how you think about a well-used camera. You also have some great tips on care and maintenance too. With that in mind, this piece likely saved you $1,000 or more! Why not put it towards a quality lens or a cool travel photography trip instead?