Nikon D7000 with Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G; ISO 1250, f2.8, 1/125s @ 200mm. Dan Patlansky is a great blues musician.

Some mistakenly believe that a new camera will definitely improve their photography. It may or it may not, it is not guaranteed. This false belief is created by camera companies who have a vested interest in selling you a new camera: their profits!

To improve your photography, I suggest the following steps:

  1. Improve your light. This will have a guaranteed and drastic impact on your photography.
  2. Improve your glass. The difference between a good lens and a bad lens is like night and day. Note I said good and not expensive, a good lens does not have to be expensive.
  3. Improve your knowledge. How many photography books have you read in the last year? How many workshops did you attend? The more you improve your knowledge the better your photographs will be.
  4. Lastly upgrade your camera. In some situations a new camera will have an impact on your photography.

If you have a boat load of disposable income and you simply want the latest and greatest, then by all means go ahead and upgrade your camera. Unfortunately, most of us here in the real world are constrained by often very tight budgets. We need to be a little more thoughtful about our purchases.

Ask yourself this: does my current camera limit me in some way? What way? How will a new camera solve this limitation. An example would be trying to shoot action with a Nikon D800 that only offers 4 frames a second. Clearly a case of the wrong tool for the job. If you are not constrained in any way then a new camera is probably not a good idea until you find yourself constrained.

Rather invest in glass. For one thing, good glass tends to have better resale value as opposed to a camera body which becomes obsolete within 12-24 months. If you’re budget constrained then look into prime lenses such as a 50mm f1.8 and an 85mm f1.8. If you’re able to spend a little more then a 24-70mm f2.8 or a 70-200mm f2.8 will be well worth looking into.

Always buy the best glass you can afford. If I had the choice between a top camera connected to a bad lens or an average camera coupled to a top lens I will always choose the latter. Glass and light have a direct impact on the quality of my photographs.

The photograph above is a case in point, I shot it using a Nikon D7000 coupled to a Nikon 70-200mm. A pro lens on a mid level camera body, I would not have been able to get the shot without that lens. But what makes it a great photograph? The light, notice how great the lighting is. Making friends with a lighting engineer always helps when you photograph musicians on stage!

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