Aug 26, 2023

Should You Upgrade Your Camera or Your Lens First?

Photography equipment is not cheap, and as such, it pays to think long and hard about where exactly you are spending your money. And so, when it comes time to upgrade some of your gear, is it better to put your money toward a camera or a lens first? This helpful video tutorial features an experience photographer discussing the topic and offering some great advice to help you ensure you get the equipment that will serve you and your budget best.

Coming to you from Julia Trotti, this excellent video discusses whether you should upgrade your camera or lens first. If your camera and lens are about of the same generation, I think one should generally aim for upgrading the lens first. If you absolutely need a certain camera feature, such as a robust autofocus system or fast burst rate, then yes, go for the body upgrade, but when it comes to image quality, generally, the lens will have a bigger impact on, particularly when we are talking about modern camera sensors, which are all quite good. On the other hand, upgrading from something like a kit lens to a professional lens will have a noticeable impact on the quality of your photos. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Trotti.

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

If you ask me, neither. Take what you have, save the money, and spend a couple of weeks photographing fishing communities along the Croatian coast in all sorts of light. Basically, upgrade yourself first.

hah... it's literally what she says right away, 1 minute in 😝

Good advice. Spending time improving your technique and thinking more about both how and what you shoot is a very cost effective way of improving as a photographer. Buy a book on Art or study great photographic images of ther past asking yourself what has made them great? We have all had the thought...if only I had that f1.2 my images would be so much better.....but its just not true. Yes its nice to have the latest gear with all the bells and whistles, but splashing the cash does NOT make one a better photographer. No amount of creamy bokeh will ever do that. I moved on to mirrorless when the A7R2 was released some years ago, and to be honest in some situations it did preform better than my old 5Dmk2. But did it make me a better photographer? No, I was still the same person with the same aesthetic flaws. Now Im mainly using a A7R5. Did that make me a better photographer? Again NO. However It does allow me to capture some images that I may have well missed in the past but that is not being a better photographer. I think people who imagine better camera technology makes one a better photographer are just that...imagining.

Very VERY Superb presentation, both are hard things with all the YouTube reviewers trying to sell a new lens or camera. I am not a pro or plan to be, just a hobbyist. I have been a Sony user coming from Canon in 2014. I used A7S from the beginning due to Bracketing 5 @ +/- 3EV Canon only max 3 @ 2EV but there were other reasons mainly was C1 at $30, software was expensive back then and terrible. That said Lr is probably the best to have today and saying that software and options is the one thing that can improve an image better than a new camera or lens. I rarely use PS even with it part of the plan an easier one is ON1 PhotoRaw, reason I use it to sort through files of Photos and find one to do with Lr. Yes Sony has a great viewer for files also as well the editor where you can edit an image adding jpeg option not seen in a raw file like D-Range way different that a shadow/black slider. I could go on this trail but examples.Sony today is making already good lenses better were as Canon and Nikon are just getting into mirrorless cameras and the mirrored lenses can not be used. For info in the beginning Sony put out specs for adapters even today I can use my old canon FD lenses yes not chipped but being 35mm maybe Lr (again) may have a lens profile. I was able to do an October '14 Lunar Eclipse with a FD100-400mm just a month after getting camera with no idea how. Also I have some filters that not even PS can make without a lot of work.As far as cameras I went A7RM2 in '17 for IBIS I was able to Bracket 3@ +/- 2EV hand held in the low light Antelope Canyon while other were on sticks doing long exposure also for in camera pano. Going to A7iii got two stage ISO and ISO invariance with Bright Monitoring (A7RM2 had) some things I found but reviewers never mentioned. Today yes I went A7SM3 for astro and A7RM5 for AF everything both mainly screen protection. I ramble but I rented the R5 first owning the RIV.There is bragging of lens sharpness, Bokeh, the better of prime vs telephoto for upgrades. But one fact I still have and use all my past things and continue with great images mainly because of SW improvements over the years. But may old gear still holds its value of almost new cost still. So whatever camera make and lenses you have they will be forever and work just fine.I still goto estate sales and get old film and digital cameras almost free that work just fine after showing some images of mine, I donate to high schools photo clubs where some youngster may learn a trade and develop the eye for invisible to others images of time not ever to repeat.A note: Kodak is running 24/7 making film again, give any ideas! I take old film and use my camera doing 3 @ +/- 1 or 2ev to get a raw image to work with, Ah! our playthings better than a waisted video game time.

Depends on what you do and your budget. I took the leap from a 5DIV to the R5 and found that it was a very good upgrade due to the leap in focusing prowess of the R5. As nice as the 5DIV is, the R5's focusing is on another planet.

Now, if all you shoot is landscapes and cityscapes, then a 5DIV or any other equivalent would be terrific, but for wildlife and action stuff, the latest generation of mirrorless make the upgrade worth while. now have a camera that has better auto focus. But are you a better photographer because of that ? NO. I just means that you like most other people, me included, will end up with more in focus mediocure shots! While what you are holding in your hand has changed you have not.

All I stated was a fact; the R5 focuses MUCH better than the 5DIV, but you couldn't accept that for the reason it was posted which is about upgrading. Besides, it's MY MONEY! Good grief.

By all means spend your cash its your decision...I know I have...but like you, spending the cash has not magically made either of us better photographers. That was the point I was making.