At What Point Do You Upgrade to a New/Additional DSLR?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by astrostu, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I bought my one and only DSLR in August 2005, a Canon Rebel 350D (which I think is about 5 generations of Rebels ago). I bought it as an upgrade to my Canon PowerShot S30 from June 2002. I knew exactly why I was doing it: I needed the flexibility of an SLR, I needed the better noise, the higher pixel count, and I wanted to get started with getting into more "advanced" photography that a P&S doesn't allow.

    My plan as of 2 years ago was to keep the Rebel until around 2011, when I figured I would have a basic set of high-quality lenses I wanted and where my skills and needs would be at a point where my intended upgrade - the 5D Mk II (or III if it's out) - would be the full-frame camera that had those features that I then needed.

    But here I am in 2009 with a 4-year-old camera body that works fine, but I find myself reasonably sure I want to upgrade. But I'm really not at the point where I was 4 years ago in certainty, nor am I at the point where I can invest in a 5D Mk II.

    Why do I think I want a new/additional body?

    (1) I have found myself in several situations -- mostly when at the telescopes pursuing astrophotography -- where 2 bodies are necessary and I have missed shots because I didn't have a second body.

    (2) I'm doing a wedding next month and I'd rather not just rent a backup body, I'd prefer to have my own backup/additional.

    (3) Over the last 4 years, sensor noise quality has increased pretty significantly, and for my astrophotography a low-noise sensor is imperative.

    (4) Having video capability, as on the Rebel T1i or the 50D successor that is rumored to be released this week or next (60D or 7D according to the rumors I read) would be useful for several applications, not only at the wedding I'm going to but also for astrophotography of planets.

    (5) I've actually had a few times where the 8 Mpx sensor in my 350D was not enough.

    (6) Having the integrated sensor cleaning system would be very nice, though not necessary, since somehow those specs of dust always manage to land on my sensor.

    (7) Additional focus points.

    With that said, why do I think I don't want/need a new/additional body?

    (1) Cost. I'd have to pull funds from other parts of my budget (likely from coins which has a much larger budget than my photography) as I was not planning on purchasing a $700+ body this year.

    (2) Constant upgrade cycles. By the time I was actually originally planning on purchasing a new camera - in 2011 - whatever I would buy this year would be a dent in that budget. I would likely force myself to put off a purchase until 2012 or 2013 of a new camera so as not to buy one 2 years after I just did.

    (3) I lack a good-quality tripod and had planned on purchasing that first (albeit next summer). [Note - okay, even I think this reason sounds dumb.]

    (4) The reason I gave in my preamble where, as opposed to in August 2005 when I was convinced I needed a new camera, I'm not convinced this time. I'm not sure why - perhaps because the idea just came to me today - but I just don't think I'm quite at that monumental, "I can no longer do what I want to do with the current camera I have."

    With all that said, I guess it boils down to: What do you think? At what point should someone upgrade? Do you think it sounds like I should? Or can you suggest additional questions that I should probably answer before I decide?

    In addition to that, I'm really not sure to what I should upgrade. The Rebel T1i seems to have what I think I would need. But it seems like such an incremental upgrade to spend $750 on. This is as opposed to the 50D which doesn't have video, but is only 50% more, and seems to be a significant increase in sensor and build quality. But that analysis may be meaningless come Tuesday with the rumored new camera announcement. I would expect the 50D replacement to be far superior to the 50D, especially considering that the Rebel T1i ≈ 50D at the moment. And as I said before, the 5D Mk II is out of the question at this point due to its cost.
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I'm a bad one to ask :lol:

    I can talk myself into anything and bought/sold 4 DSLR's within a 2 month period. Finally got it right, (D90) but what a ride! :D
     
  3. Enough Already

    Enough Already TPF Noob!

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    Like anything, you have to justify your purchases. I would love a second body. Wide angle on one, tele on the other. I hate the thought of changing lenses outside in a dusty place, so that would be my reason. Can I justify that, no I cant considering my current camera is just coming up to its first birthday and my wife would kill me considering photography is not my only money guzzling interest.
     
  4. CxThree

    CxThree TPF Noob!

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    If yoiu are doing paid gigs, get a 2nd body. If you have a camera break during a shoot, you are hosed.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That was my justification for a 2nd body.
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Only if that gig is paying for the new/extra body. There were only two reasons for which I would buy a piece of equipment: 1/ a job required it and would pay for it 100% and, 2/ a job required it but would not pay for it BUT it would lead to other 100% sure jobs that would.

    Renting equipment is a lot cheaper than buying. Remember that you are basically working for free until that equipment is paid for. Not a very appealing situation to me.
     
  7. astrostu

    astrostu I shoot for the stars

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    I should clarify about this wedding in particular: I am not getting paid - it is a wedding present to the B&G.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Renting equipment can be more economical, but it introduces some other issues. Availability; is the equipment you want, always going to be available? What if you need to take a job on short notice, would you have time to rent the gear you need?
    Reliability; I would assume that most rental gear is in good working order, but it is also probably abused a lot more than your own personal equipment.
    Familiarity; Maybe you have to rent equipment that you are not all that familiar with. We may not be at our very best if part of our brain is still trying to figure out a new/strange bit of gear.
    In the long run, renting probably isn't more economical. Figure out how many day's rental costs it would take to add up to the cost of buying it outright...probably not that many. And after renting it so many times, what are you left with...nothing.
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    True, if you rent the same piece of equipment over and over, you should be buying it.

    Availability can certainly be an issue. I don't know Boulder and have no idea what their rental situation is like. But the OP is talking about a wedding and those are usually planned quite in advance so I'm thinking he should be able to reserve the equipment early enough to not have a problem with that.

    Reliability is not something I ever had a problem with but, then again, I never rented digital bodies.
     
  10. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Recently, i was researching a new lens and called my camera shop to get some additional information and was talking to someone i have done business with for many years and happened to mention in the converstation that i would drop by and put the lens on my trusty d100 and there was a noticeable silence and she said, you really need to think about upgrading the body as you are using high end glass or as she phased it jaguar lens on kia body.

    now i trust this store and from experience know they aren't just trying to sell me something new, so i went in with the d100 and a memory card. Took the same photo using my d100, d700 and a d300 all in jpeg mode as i didn't want to convert the images from RAW. I also put the same lens on each body and shot the same photo from the full focal lengths at each prime fstop.

    Took the card home and compared images on my monitor. Started with a basic image from each body, and it took about 3 secs to see a huge difference in my d100 and the other two bodies.

    I hadn't planned on getting a different body until the d100 died of old age or use but it was very clear that for me it was a time to "upgrade".

    So the bottom line, test your old camera against the new one you many be considering and then if you can see the difference or if you can't see a difference you will have some first hand knowledge that will be benifical in deciding on what needs to happen at this times.
    The issue then became which new lens, but that is still up in the air.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    That's certainly a sound way of approaching things Ann, though I would be tempted to say work in RAW for the tests, so that you know the differences you are seeing in the shots are not just a difference in the cameras build in processing features. Even though that is a bonus when shooting on the fly in JPEG, its something that can be replicated in editing from the same RAW - whilst an actual difference in sharpness, noise, white balance accuracy etc... in RAW is showing you a more accurage picture of what the cameras are capable of.
     
  12. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    well, i did go back , and in fact i went in 3 days in a row.
    they are very nice people and i have been doing business with them for years as well as sending a lot of my students there for supplies and help and so they are more than delighted to humor me.

    I never use anything but RAW, except this time, and it was interesting to see the difference in the jpeg files, all from the same company and certainly not "chop liver" bodies.

    But as this started out as an research on which lens i was thinking fast and dirty,
     

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