Upgrade Your Camera

Which raises the question of Why upgrade your camera?

It is easy to look at the latest camera releases and say “I want it!”, but let’s face it, this photography hobby is expensive. If you have the budget to always have the latest, enjoy it, but for many, particularly those who don’t earn a living from their cameras, an upgrade or replacement is not a cheap proposition. In fact, most DSLRs produced in the last few years are still capable of producing excellent results and are rated for 100,000 or more shutter releases.

I recently upgraded, or, more accurately, bought a more sophisticated body and made the old one a second body. My excellent Canon EOS 450D was producing excellent photos, but, as I developed my skills, I was losing shots which others seemed to be getting. Now photography is 20% camera and 80% photographer, so I needed to have a good look at why I missing those shots. Here is my reasoning:

  • Megapixels – 12 on the 450D – useful to have more, but not a good reason to spend the money;
  • ISO – noisy above 400 on the 450D. Here I noticed on 500px and Flickr that others were achieving the shots I was missing using high ISO and getting great results. And not always on “pro” cameras;
  • Frames per Second (fps) and burst rate – I was losing action shots, getting very frustrated, as the 450d happy clicked away at around 1 fps once the buffer filled after a few shots;
  • Lenses – Others were getting shots which I was losing with image stabilised lenses, which I don’t have at those focal lengths. Without a higher ISO capability I couldn’t use the faster shutter speeds to overcome that;
  • Action shots – great in excellent light, otherwise not good. Again down to ISO and fps.

As you have probably guessed by now, my problems were mainly in the area of action / wildlife and low light photography. I always like natural light and do like to capture birds and the like in action, as in this photo, which was more down to luck than camera.

Swan Take-OffSo the question was, basically, what camera would give me a better high ISO performance, with greater fps and burst rate? Obviously it would have to fit the budget and would need to work with my existing lenses, which ruled out a change of brand.

Now I don’t see a big issue in image difference between the so-called “consumer” cameras and the “enthusiast” cameras, but the upgrade to something like a Canon 650D, simply didn’t give me what I was looking for. Ultimately I opted for the Canon EOS 60D. So far I am happy, and find that I can now overcome the limitations of the 450D.

So, if you are thinking of splashing out on an upgrade, ask yourself Why you want to upgrade your camera, and what it will achieve for you, and take the time out to research it a bit.

Shot at 3200 ISO on the 60D, the shot at the top was not possible on the 450D. It’s one of the first tests with the new camera.




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