Friday, April 6, 2012

Do I Need a New Camera? Considerations to Help You Make the Right Choice

With new models of cameras coming out faster than ever, a question is sure to arise more often than in the past: do I need a new camera? Back in the film days, it was not uncommon to see a model stay in production for a decade or longer, which virtually guaranteed obvious, no-brainer improvements. Result: a lot of people would upgrade. Now, with refeshes coming out every 2 years (or less), the question arises, but is not often as easily as answerable.
The big cause of fostering this hating one's own camera phenomenon are online communities. There are the people who cannot help but comparing their gear to others' equipment, whether it be a newer camera or another manufacturer's model, and then complaining how their camera stinks. Obviously, reading enough of someone else's whining enough times can convince a photographer who is in love with his/her camera to start to consider the need to upgrade. If you are one of these people being influenced by the belly-aching of others, ask yourself the following question: is my camera preventing me from doing what I want to do? If you answered “no,” there is no need for a new camera.

With these bi-yearly updates going on these days, skipping a generation in your camera's model line is not often that big of a deal as improvements are, at the generational level, evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Bottom line here: if you have any reservations about dumping your current camera for something newer, you don't need a new camera. Instead, just keep using your current toy and buy some accessories (or something else) with that money that would have been spent on a new camera instead. Is it really worth it to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars just for the pride of being able to say you own the latest camera? For anyone on a budget, certainly not.
While on the subject of upgrading, there is another problem brought about by short product cycles: uncertainty over the next generation. The manifestation of this problem: people complaining about how they don't want to buy a camera now because they fear that their new toy will be rendered obsolete in the near future. On Internet forums, it is common to hear a line such as “should I buy Camera A now or wait until its replacement, Camera B, comes to market and buy it instead?” Problem one: Camera A exists and Camera B does not. Problem two: no one knows when Camera B will come to market. Manufacturers can follow predictable product cycles or release a new model out of the blue. Problem three: no one except manufacturer employees know a camera's exact specifications before it is released. The new camera could be completely revolutionary, a mild tuneup, or anything in between. Problem four and the biggest one of all: since the potential buyer is worried more about comparing today's camera to something that may or may not come in the future, he/she still has no camera and/or one that's not getting the job done. Bottom line here: if your current camera just isn't doing the job you want it to do, just go buy one now, you'll be glad you did.Hopefully, this brief piece of advice (or rant, your opinion!) will help serve to help some people in their buying decisions and better ensure that hard-earned money is spent wisely.

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