Many people in many countries around the world love to ogle the latest, greatest photography gear, from new cameras with fancy features to lenses that are getting faster and faster. Camera manufacturers certainly do their part to fan the flames of our photographic desires, touting incredible new functionalities that will make taking jaw-dropping photos that much easier.
But in our lust for the best gear, there is something to be said for losing touch with actually knowing how to take a picture. Remember - the greats like Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange didn’t have DSLRs with active AF points and ISOs with ten digits. So, with that in mind, we present three ways your new camera might make you a worse photographer.
Have a look at any modern DSLR - even an entry-level model - and you’re likely to be struck by the sheer number of modes, dials, buttons, settings, and options that are available. There’s a reason why the owner’s manual is as big as War & Peace! But the problem with having all those options is that you spend more time reading about how to use them rather than spending time actually taking photos.
All the fancy bells and whistles new cameras have are great, and they can certainly be used to create amazing photos. But at the end of the day, your creative eye and ingenuity is what will take a good photo into the realm of greatness, and you won’t do that spending hours and hours trying to figure out how to use your camera. Instead, try shooting in manual mode and getting the practice you need to create a better photo.
Most photographers don’t have the luxury of an unlimited budget, so blowing your allotted money on a camera body without leaving funds for other gear won’t get you the better results you seek. The lure of the newest, biggest, most feature-packed camera is strong indeed, but what will improve your photography in a much more noticeable manner is if you spend your money on a new lens.
You can get an incredible new camera body, but paired with a kit lens, your images don’t stand a chance of being of a higher quality. Instead, keeping your old reliable camera and updating your glass is a much better route to better photos. A new, fast lens will give you sharper results, expand your ability to shoot in low-light situations, and will allow you to get into a speciality area of photography, like portraiture or macro. The point is that as sexy as new cameras are, new lenses will get you the improved results you desire.
Today’s cameras aren’t all that slight, and that extra size and bulk means you have to work harder to lug the thing around. What’s more, after spending some serious money for the new camera body, it can be hard to convince yourself to take it out of your bag for fear of it getting damaged or scratched or getting dust on the sensor. It’s a lot like when you get a new car - the desire to keep it new often results in using it less that you’d like.
By heeding the advice from the previous point and keeping your current camera body, you set yourself up for success because there isn’t worry associated with using it. You’ll just throw it in your camera bag like normal rather than it being some kind of special occasion when you get out the nice camera. Besides, working with your old camera without fear or trepidation will give you more opportunities to explore and shoot, and as was mentioned above, getting that experience and actually investing your time in the process of creating photos is what will really make you a better photographer.
Will a big, awesome new camera make you a better photographer? Maybe. But it’s not a guarantee. Use your current gear to hone your skills and see where that takes you instead!