Being the Arts & Culture editor of The Phoblographer, you may think I have little interest in the gear side of the industry. After all, we have a female-led section of the site that helps educate folks about cameras and lenses. However, while I’m always more interested in the photograph rather than the tool, I still very much enjoy everything gear-related. I’m always looking at the best cameras, considering upgrades while I do. And in this article, I’m going to tell you why you should buy that new camera, even if you don’t need to.
The Best Cameras You Want vs. Need
For the longest time, I’ve been a voice for the anti-upgrade brigade. I care about the photograph, not what camera you used. I’ve seen amazing photographs shot on systems that are 50 years old. And I’ve seen terrible images on today’s feature-stacked cameras. With companies constantly updating their cameras every one to two years, logic says you don’t really need to get a new one. I’m still rocking the Fujifilm X-T2. Admittedly the Fujifilm X-T4 (read our full Fujifilm XT4 review.) has enough about it to warrant an upgrade, but I don’t need to upgrade.
The good news is we’re throwing Mr. Sensible out of the window and tapping into why everyone, including me, should invest in new gear out of sheer desire.
Buying the Best Cameras Can Boost Creativity
Creative ruts come and go. They’re part and parcel of being a photographer. While extended breaks and experimenting with new genres can help snap you out of your rut, buying a new camera can also help. Is it extreme? Sure, but if you’ve got the cash to buy one of the best mirrorless cameras, I say spend it!
The feeling that comes with holding a new system, especially if it’s a different brand to what you usually shoot with, can kick-start your creativity again. When I’m struggling with creativity, I often think about purchasing the Nikon Z6 II .(Read our full Nikon Z6 II review.) or the newly released Nikon Zfc. (Read our Nikon Zfc first impressions.) I’ve yet to pull the trigger.
Buying New Gear Can Help Overcome Common Misconceptions
Sometimes we become so attached to our current setup that we can’t imagine a better system available on the market. I think that’s particularly true for those who shoot with full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. I get it; the idea of moving down to a crop sensor is enough to give anyone goosebumps.
Our Reviews Editor, Hillary Grigonis, recently did just that. She parted ways with her full-frame system and invested in a Fujifilm X-T4. She loves it and in no way feels like it was a downgrade. So if you’re lusting after a camera, but worry it may reduce your capabilities, take the leap. The risk will likely pay off.
The same is true if you’re shooting with an APS-C camera. Maybe you have the Sony A6500 and want to invest in the Sony A1. (Read our full Sony A1 review). You may think, “is the upgrade worth it.” We’re certain it is, and not just because of that large 50MP full-frame sensor. We talk about it more in a recent episode of Inside The Photographer’s Mind. But if you’re on the fence, jump! No doubt you’ll enjoy the experience.
Sometimes It’s Nice to Indulge
While I commend those who like to be disciplined and frugal with money, sometimes it’s nice to indulge. I often lust after a Leica. Mainly the Leica SL2-S.(Read our full Leica SL2-S review.) It’s a beautiful camera, is great for candid and journalistic work, and has a robust build without being overly heavy.
Do I need it? Of course not. Do I want it? Absolutely. And splashing out from time to time enriches the soul. I’m sure it will do the same for you.
I’m not suggesting a new camera will make you a better photographer: practicing technique and investing in tutorials will help with that. But letting yourself indulge and experiment with a new system certainly has its benefits, even if it’s a small boost in happiness in a world that constantly pushes struggle upon us.
So if you want to invest in a new system, do it, but only if you have the financial means to do so. It’s time to treat yourself.