Why you don’t NEED new camera gear every year
by Dave Fason
It’s easy to get caught up in the monthly gear launches that the photography world has made us accustomed too. The past couple weeks have made me eagerly searching this website and many others to see the latest and greatest. I would fantasize putting new products in online shopping carts to only slap myself back to reality. I have been shooting daily now for two years and feel more confident with each new set of photos. Is this because I have the latest and greatest? No. Because I picked up a new lens? No. Mostly because I am using gear that fits my life style and work. My two side kicks are the Sony A6300 and Sony RX1RII. These two cameras can do 99% of my needs. From fly fishing adventures, product photography and 4K video. I can do it! Do I wish I had better battery life? Yes. No blackout while shooting high FPS? Yes. But until I can justify these upgrades I will keep my dream team.
There are quirks with both camera systems but you learn to live with them. When I need the FPS, smaller files and different focal length I switch to the A6300. Both cameras are over two years old but create images that can keep up with new systems. You may need to change batteries more and fumble through a weird menu system but you can create gorgeous photography.
I want people to appreciate what they have and quit thinking that they need the latest/greatest. Get familiar with your current setup and use it to its potential! Push the boundaries of the “ old ” camera and shoot!
Current gear :
Sony RX1RII ( I just recently sold this for a used A7RII, I love the sensor )
Voigtlander 75mm 1.8 w/ Close Focus Adaptor
Here are a few of my favorite photos taken with “ old “ gear.
(Click them for larger and better versions)!
A new camera is like a new car: exciting, fun, stimulating.
Life does not go on forever.
I say, if you want an new camera (or a new car) every year, go for it!
Me too. Happy to stick with my Leica SL.
All of this gear seems pretty recent to me.
There isn’t an RX1R II successor yet. A6300 is even more recent.
I doubt there will be a RX1RII replacement. I think that camera may be the last of that series. Just going by sales numbers it wasn’t a huge success for Sony. The 1st one was, 2nd one not so much, and I think the Leica Q cut into the sales of the II.
“Psychological Obsolescence” might be the phrase you are looking for…..
Very nice pics, but a have to disagree a bit. The kind of pictures you are taking are well thought and not fast-pace.
There are currently two camera markets, the DSLR and the DSLM.
While i agree the DSLRs are matured and most of the news are related to the Video Users, the DSLM are getting better every generation for Photos and for Videos.
I think the Sony A9 or A7III/A7RIII and maybe the Fuji X-T3 (and m43 to a stretch which are a more prone to good light situations and maybe not as good as an all around camera, but getting better because of the new F1.2-Lenses in the low light field) are the first Mirrorless Cameras where the core fields of a camera, i.E. autofocus and not build-in color filters, where satisfying adressed.
So yes, you can take wonderful pictures with every camera, but not in every area of photography. I won’t take football or soccer pictures during a night-match with a rangefinder M8 for example. But with a Sony A9 i surely would with confidence.
So i wait until the new released cameras fit my needs and than yes, i would stay with it for many years and try to improve my photography.
Refreshing to read what you say. I could manage perfectly well if i had only my Sony RX100 (earliest model) for compact and my a6000 with Zeiss constant f4 zoom. Both have superb image quality.
Absolutely right!! There was a time when every technology step improved cameras in a dramatic way, but that’s over now. Improvements today are nice and ingenious sometimes, big fun for reviewers and gearheads, but hardly meaningful for the quality of your photography, developing the skill to get the best out of the gear you have is far more important. Always remember that Camera makers keep inventing new models and new features to keep their business going in a saturated market, not just for the benefit of the photographer. They make you feel a dud today without big bright lenses and full-frame sensor. Which is contrary to the reality that sensors are so good that you do not need them to be larger, and ISO performance such that there is no need for super-bright lenses (you can have that beautiful bokeh also at f 2.8)
Very true! Like the post stated, I recently sold the RX1 for a A7Rii that I picked up for $1400. To me this is crazy for the caliber of camera. A few 2.8 primes and I am in love!
I agree. I’ve been happy with my M9 and 50 Lux asph, Rollei TLR combo for many years.
Lovely photos. Fish feel terrible pain when hooked asb drowing in air must be just awful.
Thanks for the compliment. We practice catch and release and keep them out of water to a minimum ( for a quick photo ) to assure they will live. I also personally use barbless hooks on 90% of my fishing.
Thanks for your reply. I guess that although not as perfect as just leaving them alone, your fishing techniques are so much better than usual.8.
But they provide food for human beings.
Very true. Most of my photos are taken with two Sony NEX bodies, a kit lens and a manual focus zoom lens. Combined market value: less than $500. Image quality is nowhere near as good as an old digital back, but what do you expect from a few hundred bucks?
Of course I have accumulated a bunch of lenses, as they are important tools to have, especially when someone is paying you to deliver. Having said that, all of them are inexpensive. Anyone, pros or beginners, can buy a complete kit for $500. There will be compromises, but those compromises can be intelligent ones if you do some research.
Want an example? Here is a rough guide:
Sony NEX body, used, with kit zoom: $300. +
K mount adapter, $50 +
K mount 50mm, $50 +
K mount 135mm: $50 +
K mount 200mm: $50.
If you prefer DSLRs, there are plenty, from Pentax, Sony, Nikon, Canon. Go for value over brand name.
Want a FF35 sensor? You can get a complete kit for under $1,000 these days. You might even be able to buy a brand new A7 with an adapter and a trio of lenses for under US$1,000.
If you want a DSLR, the D700 would be your best bet as the oldest DSLR that will satisfy modern expectations. The Canon 5D just doesn’t have the DR, so skip it unless you see a bargain. In any case, DSLRs like those are quite old, and you probably could put together a kit for $500 or less.
The NEX-5N is still one of my favorites!
Agreed completely! Lovely pictures. Thank you for your thoughts!
A camera didn’t make a great picture any more than a typewriter wrote a great novel. – Peter Adams
So true !
yup I agree..
but it’s bad for business (camera manufacturers), they’ll find more ways to market their products 🙂
by the way, I’m still shooting with my beloved X-E1 (quite old eh), and I’m happy with it
your pictures are great.. enjoyed it much
Thank you! It has become very close to the cell phone industry.
Could not agree more. To survive the camera companies MUST convince many that a new camera will allow one to create better images. As you have stated, your current kit allows you to create images that suit your needs. No reason to update in the mistaken belief that a new camera will make you a better photographer.
Absolutely agree with You. I improve my photography much more through the challenge of gear limitations than any other new lens or camera.
We only use a limited amount of the today technology potential!
Lots of fish!!! You are so right. You really only need what works for you and you roll with it. I bought a used Leica X-E a few years ago and find I use that camera way more than any of my other cameras. You learn what you actually needed and use is not what you thought you wanted. But it is a learning process. Anyway really liked the pictures. Especially the one with the dog and the fisherman in the woods fishing.
Thank you! I have a series of photos from that day that I think could be some of my favorites. Those were all shot on the 6300 and Sigma 30.
Hi Dave-just wondering are you the same guy who founded nanobox led reef aquarium lights? That shot of the acan has me thinking that’s your main profession. Nice pics also!