Know When You’re Ready to Upgrade
We had our second Camp Mom*tog this weekend. Loved every second of it. More on that in a later post.
After I give my presentation during Camp Mom*tog, I set the Campers cameras with my settings and it’s always interesting to get my hands on so many different camera bodies. We only had two girls with the same camera! Handling so many different bodies lets me see what the benefits are to certain cameras and what the disadvantages are to others. Unfortunately for their husbands, a few girls went home knowing they were going to be upgrading! One, who shall be nameless, wanted to stop by a store on her way home
With so many different camera bodies available, how should you know when it’s time to upgrade? What are the benefits to a more professional (aka expensive) camera?
1 – Higher ISO capabilities. On a lot of the nonprofessional camera bodies, not only will you have a lower ISO capability (more digital noise when shooting at lower ISO) but will also have less ISO options to choose from. That can be something hard to deal with when you are shooting manual. With my Canon 5D Mark II I can shoot at 1200 and sometimes even 1600 without a lot of noticeable noise. With the lower grade camera bodies you might only be able to go up to 400 until you start seeing noise.
2 – Less controls. I teach the Campers how to shoot on manual mode. With camera bodies like the various Canon Rebels you don’t necessarily have a dial that is dedicated to controlling your aperture. Not a huge deal. You can definitely still shoot manual without it. It just makes shooting manual not quite as easy.
3 – Small LCD – Most of the newer camera bodies have large LCD screens, but a few of the older models that I handled had the tiniest LCD screens! Again, not a make or break, but having a larger LCD screen will help you see what you are doing right and wrong and will also be easier to see when shooting outdoors in bright light. I had a hard time seeing what I was doing on some of the cameras with really small LCD screens this weekend. No, you shouldn’t use them as a crutch. But, it helps to see what you are doing when you are learning!
4 – Cropped versus Full Sensor – Chances are if you are shooting on a camera with a cropped frame sensor you won’t even know it. You wouldn’t notice it unless you’ve ever shot with a camera with a full frame sensor. I didn’t notice it until I upgraded my camera! Different camera bodies and different camera manufactures all have different size sensors, but essentially professional (aka expensive) camera bodies have a full sensor while the nonprofessional bodies have a cropped sensor. Essentially, with a cropped sensor your lens will not shoot the way it is intended to. A 50mm lens isn’t really going to be a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor. I plan on doing a comparison, but I need to borrow my friend’s 20d camera first! For now, you can see a great comparison on this post. Full framed sensors are going to have higher ISO capabilities as well. A larger sensor can collect more light.
And it might not even be your camera that needs upgrading. A lot of times by buying a better lens you will have a lot more to work with. I always recommend having a prime lens (the lenses that don’t zoom in or out) for shooting indoors. You will be able to let in more light with a wider aperture and capture those everyday moments in your home. The kit lenses that come with your camera will only typically have an aperture of 3.5 or 4.0. Whereas a prime lens can open up to a 1.4, 1.8 or 1.2 (if you pay the big bucks) allowing in much more light!
I think the real test to knowing when you’re ready to upgrade is when you know the camera you have inside and out and you can tell it’s holding you back. Buying a new camera body isn’t going to make your pictures better if you don’t know what you are doing with it. You should be able to take good pictures with the camera you already have before upgrading to your next camera body!
And because I can’t leave you without a picture, here is one of our cute models from this weekend!