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So it’s time to upgrade from your entry-level DSLR The Best Entry-Level DSLRs For New Photographers The Best Entry-Level DSLRs For New Photographers If you want to take your photography skills to the next level, or you know someone else who does, then there's no better way than to enter the world of DSLR cameras. Read More . Or so you think…

We have a few things to consider when upgrading to your next DSLR. You may view this article as a means to persuade you not to purchase a nicer DSLR – not so. If you want to, then you should. But there may be a few things you need to consider before you part with your cash…

Have You Ever Touched Manual Mode?

Canon T2i Video Setting #1

The biggest question to answer – and though it may sound very basic – is this: have you spun the dial around to Manual mode Are You Getting The Most From Your DSLR? Are You Getting The Most From Your DSLR? A great shot is a split second event. Getting it right is knowing which camera feature to use and when. Here are ten DSLR features that could inspire you to power on your camera. Read More ? It’s typically noted by the M sign on that dial – just a heads up.

Believe it or not, and you may very well be part of this group, a large number of DSLR users still shoot in auto mode 10 Great Ways to Save Time & Money And Get Great Results From Your DSLR 10 Great Ways to Save Time & Money And Get Great Results From Your DSLR Photography is an expensive hobby, and it doesn’t get easier as you graduate upwards. Don't worry, beginners can take a lot away from the many photography tips and tricks on the Web. Read More , not even knowing what an aperture, shutter speed, or ISO is. Many people dive in thinking that they need something more “professional” or even bigger in order to get a better picture. The reality is that it’s not the camera – it’s the person taking it.

You can know everything about cameras and take an amazing shot on your iPhone. Alternatively, you can know nothing about cameras and take a horrible shot on a Canon 5D Mark III. Then there’s the whole issue of whether or not you actually shoot enough to justify the cost of a new body…

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What Lenses Do You Have?

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What types of lenses do you have? Just the kit lens that came with your camera (something like an APS-C-friendly 18-135mm or 18-55mm), or did you buy the cheapest 50mm you could possibly find?

Then, my dear friend, don’t upgrade. Get a nicer lens. Lenses – and this is a very generalized statement – matter much more than the quality of the camera. Kit lenses (save for something like the Canon 24-105mm L) are often much softer in clarity and come with cheaper, plastic builds. Good lenses will also last you forever, sometimes needing to be adapted to your next camera, but still providing the same image quality.

Also consider what type of camera sensor Here's How Digital SLR Sensor Crop Affects Your Lenses Here's How Digital SLR Sensor Crop Affects Your Lenses Most of us own cameras with small cropped sensors, which artificially increase focal lengths on full frame lenses. Here's what you need to know. Read More your lenses have been made for. Some lenses are designed only for cropped sensors, and if you have an abundance of these, it’s going to completely mess with your entire kit. On the other hand, are you upgrading to a different brand? Different brands have different lens mounts, and while the aforementioned adapters do exist, it’s sometimes a pain when you’re just moving from level one to level two.

Should You Go DSLR?

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Here’s another question: why go DSLR? Mirrorless is an option these days, but this usually means a smaller image sensor. This means you’re not going to get the same low-light performance as a DSLR but you will have an abundance of cheap, quality lenses to choose from (most with the micro four-thirds mount).

You may not even really need to go with an actual camera… if you’re not getting into these manual settings and such, and the camera is only dragged out for holidays and adult blackmail for your children… then please, for the love of God, use your phone. It’s a miracle device, and there’s nothing belittling about using a phone as your primary piece of photography gear New To iPhoneography? Here Are The Best Apps The App Store Has On Offer New To iPhoneography? Here Are The Best Apps The App Store Has On Offer The iPhone's popularity for photos comes down to several different things - the convenience of having your 'camera' with you all the time and the sheer variety of shooting, editing and sharing apps. Read More .

Is Your Current Camera Just Fine?

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One more thing – do you really need to upgrade?

Camera features don’t typically have drastic changes from one generation to the next. I’m always a huge proponent of renting when I need something for a client, but if you have something that shoots and it still looks good, it’s sometimes okay to skip a few generations.

What other tips do you have for upgrading your current DSLR? Have you ever downgraded cameras before?

Image Credits: Dave DugdaleDave DugdaleMarkJung-nam Nam, Nomadic Lass

  1. Peter
    January 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Please can you help .
    I have a Lumix G2 14 /42 lens. what sort of adaptor Do i need to use different lens and Where ?

  2. Bruno P.
    January 14, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Phil, I suppose you're on a tight budget because you still have a 350D (which is by no means unusable - I have friends who professionaly shoot stills with a 20D). If you actually are (and don't mind buying used gear - you should definitely have a good eye for that), get an used T2i/T3i. The only difference is the T3i has a tilting LCD screen, which - believe me, I shoot video - is a huge turning point. However, if you can save up, get a 5D Mark II/6D. Full frame is definitely worth your money if you know how to use it.
    On the subject of lenses, depending on your kind of video, I'd recommend getting either a 24-70 f/2.8 from Sigma/Tamron (since Canon's is so expensive) or a set of primes. I have a 5D Mark II and started out with just a 50mm f/1.8 and no kit lens, but it was enough to earn me a 28mm AND an 85mm (both 1.8) in a few months' work :)

  3. Luide
    January 14, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    So if I wanted a low-cost DSLR with decent photos and video, which one would serve me for a good 2-3 years?

  4. Phil N
    January 14, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I really want to upgrade my DSLR (Canon 350D) But no amount of settings or lenses will help me. I want to shoot video with it and mine doesn't do video.

    • Bruno P.
      January 14, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Phil, I suppose you're on a tight budget because you still have a 350D (which is by no means unusable - I have friends who professionaly shoot stills with a 20D). If you actually are (and don't mind buying used gear - you should definitely have a good eye for that), get an used T2i/T3i. The only difference is the T3i has a tilting LCD screen, which - believe me, I shoot video - is a huge turning point. However, if you can save up, get a 5D Mark II/6D. Full frame is definitely worth your money if you know how to use it.
      On the subject of lenses, depending on your kind of video, I'd recommend getting either a 24-70 f/2.8 from Sigma/Tamron (since Canon's is so expensive) or a set of primes. I have a 5D Mark II and started out with just a 50mm f/1.8 and no kit lens, but it was enough to earn me a 28mm AND an 85mm (both 1.8) in a few months' work :)

  5. Bibloi
    January 13, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Canon and Nikon already hate you. Good article. I have the 24-105 which was created with the FF camera in mind. It is much better than the kit lenses and more expensive than the camera itself.
    If I were to do it again, I would probably invest in m43 system and lenses. More portable. Decent quality.

    Now the problem is. I want a 50 mm that is decent. The F1.4 sucks. The colors are muted and the edges are not as sharp as the plastic magic one.

    The 1.2 is $1600 - is it worthed? I am not a proffesional photog. LoL

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