As soon as I knew I’ll go back to Africa, I started to think about which restrictions I experienced with my camera equipment when I was there in September 2017. Good camera gear doesn’t automatically make a good photographer nor a good photo. But as soon as you’ve found your style of photography, your favorite subjects and you know all your camera potential, you’ll start to perfect your work and at some point you’ll see that it can’t get better unless you go on with more sophisticated equipment.
As my budget was clear I had a look at the market and found: there are tons of cameras and lenses etc… So how to decide? I had a few lenses already and was used to the menu and settings of my old camera. So it was most convenient to stick to the same brand. Then I thought about my favorite subjects – birds. Often far away, often super-fast and most likely in difficult lightning situations. That quickly lead to the decision to work with a crop sensor, as these cameras allow much higher frame rates and multiple the zoom factor of your lens. They are of course not good as full frame sensor cameras in poor lightning conditions. But as long as you don’t want to pay a fortune, you have to deal with some disadvantages. Another decision had to be made on a new lens. I’ve had a 300mm lens but with an aperture of f5.6 which led to super long shutter speeds or annoying noise when rising to high ISO levels in low light. So I decided to get a tele-lens with a fixed aperture of f2.8. As these kind of lenses are only available in upper price ranges, I had to reduce my demand for a super long lens and got a 200mm now. But as the resolution of the new camera is higher you can crop in much further.
To put it in a nutshell, consider:
- Your budget
- The equipment you already have
- The main purpose – your favorite subjects
- The dependencies between camera body and lens
And a final tip especially regarding your budget: you’ll often find a marketplace in online photo-communities where photographers sell their equipment. Usually professional photographers watch over their camera gear, so you often get used to stuff in superb condition 30-60% off the original price.