When Should You Upgrade Your Gear?
(this is an actual picture of my actual gear)
I am a big believer in minimalism and Marie Kondo would be proud of my camera bag. When I started shooting weddings, I had every dang lens (yep, even a tilt-shift) and probably spent upwards of $10,000 on my kit when I started. The best cameras, the best lenses, the best everything and part of it was proving that I had my sh*t together as an 18 year old. Over the years, I noticed that certain lenses weren’t getting used at all. In 2016, I actually “downgraded” my camera bodies to the Canon 6D because the colors are so dreamy. I sold every lens, but my 24mm, 50mm, and 135 (which I only use 5% of the time). I discovered that I was no longer fumbling around with six lenses strapped to my body and honestly the extra gear had gotten in my way and complicated everything. Now, I can freely move around and my gear is an extension of my body, rather than a distraction.
So, when should you upgrade? I decided last month that it’s time to retire my incredible and beloved 6Ds and I’m about to invest in some Mark IV’s. My reasoning behind the upgrade is because I moved to New York City where I’ll be shooting in a lot of darker venues and I like to capture lots of ambient light during the reception, so it’s important that I can push my camera a little harder. Another advantage of the Mark IV vs 6D is that it has dual card slots, so that there is never a risk of losing photos.
My intention in writing this is to encourage you to not rush in and get alllll the fancy gear. It seems like everyone thinks you need a red ring around your lens to be a pro, but you would be amazed how little the difference is between a $250 50mm lens vs a $1,200 50mm lens. Sometimes the marginal difference isn’t worth it. Curious about an expensive piece of gear? Try renting one before you make the big plunge.
It doesn’t take a fancy camera to take great photos. I know friends that love the Canon 5D Classic so much and use it to shoot very high end weddings. This is a $450 camera!!!!
The thing about getting less expensive gear is that you have a little less room for messing up. You’ll easily be able to recover a file off of a Mark IV that is 3 stops under-exposed with no problem. There is about a 1 stop margin on the 5Ds and about a 2 stop margin on the 6Ds. There are quite a few things to consider, but I hope you ask yourself these two questions before you put your card information in at checkout:
Is this purchase going to put me into debt?
Do I need it?