Don’t Upgrade Your Camera - Upgrade Your Lens Instead

Knowing that photography gear can be very expensive, you will come to a point as a photographer in which you have to make a choice - do you upgrade your camera or your lens

Though a shiny new camera is what some photographers choose to buy, it’s actually the wrong choice in many situations. In the long run, an improved lens will do your photos much more good, and you’ll get further as a photographer as well.

Here’s a few reasons why upgrading your lens before you upgrade your camera is a foolproof plan.


Your Lens is Simply More Important

Ultimately, it’s not the gear that makes the photo, it’s you that’s responsible for how it looks.

That being said, between your camera and your lens, the lens has much more impact on how your photos look.

Consider this - an entry-level camera body with a pro-level lens will get you better results than a pro-level camera body and an entry-level lens every single time.

That’s because higher-end lenses have better features (particularly better optics) that generate images that are sharper and clearer, with fewer aberrations, improved contrast, and better color.


An Upgraded Lens Allows You to Shoot in Low-Light Situations

If you’re shooting with the kit lens that came with your camera, you’re somewhat limited by a cheap lens that doesn’t have the performance features of an upgraded lens.

For example, an 18-55mm kit lens typically has a maximum aperture of between f/3.5 and f/5.6, depending on the focal length being used.

Those apertures aren’t going to do you any favors when shooting in low-light situations, regardless of the camera body to which the lens is attached…

So, if you want to explore low-light photography, you’d be better-served upgrading to something like a 17-55mm f/2.8 lens to capitalize on the faster speed while retaining a similar focal range. You can find great deals on lenses with even wider apertures like f/2, f/1.8, and f/1.4, especially if you buy pre-owned.


Better Lenses Mean More Versatility

Going back to the kit lens example from above, if you want to shoot sports or wildlife photos, you need the extra reach of a telephoto lens that a kit lens simply cannot provide.

Again, upgrading your camera won’t help in this department, so upgrading your lens to a 200mm telephoto, for example, allows you to explore a new type of photography that would be impossible with your current lens.


Likewise, if macro photography has captured your imagination, a brand new Canon 5D Mark IV isn’t going to make macro photography possible any more than your current Canon Rebel T57i. Instead, investing in a 100mm macro lens would open up the world of macro photography for you. 

In other words, getting a new camera won’t help you take wide-angle landscapes, up-close macro shots, or portraits with a beautifully blurred background. Those features are controlled by the lens you use, and that’s why upgrading your lens is typically the way to go.

Find a good deal on a lens, put as much of your budget toward getting the best lens that you can afford, and you’ll get much-improved results - far better than what a new camera can help you do.