New camera gear is constantly being released. So upgrading gear is constantly available to us. The question is what should you be upgrading? I think it all depends on the stage you are in with your photography. We started with two cut frame (DX) cameras for our first few weddings and some basic lenses that came with their bundles. So, upgrading for us started with getting a professional full frame (FX) camera body first. The price between the two are about double, but for that you are getting the entire surface of your image sensor to capture your photographs on, so your images are not only larger in size, they are also more versatile and higher quality, especially if you plan on cropping in. Seriously, this became a huge game changer for us. We jumped from the Nikon D80, to the D600 and now to the D750, and you will definitely notice a leap between the two camera types. If you are just starting out your photography, you probably won’t jump out the gate with a full frame camera. Instead you probably started like us, with a bundle that gave us the flexibility to photograph both up close and far away, sacrificing a little quality for affordability and experience. But, once we dug our heels in, the first jump we took was to a full frame camera body.
The thing about all of those fancy fixed aspect ratio, high end portrait lenses is that they are designed to work best with full frame camera bodies. You can use those awesome lenses on cut frame camera bodies, but you lose some of their amazingness because your camera body can produce an image that is only so good. I believe that sacrificing a little bokeh for better focus under low light, and twice an image size gives you much more flexibility and improves your imagery at the start of the image capture process.
It also makes sense financially to take the plunge and get a new, full frame camera body first. Some of our favorite (and popular lenses in the wedding photography business) are the 24-70 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8, both of which are very close to a new (and newly released) D750 body in cost. In fact, the 70-200 lens is more expensive! And which do you think would help most, especially if you are coming from a bundle that has lenses that cover similar focal ranges. For a while we were photographing on full frame bodies, and using more basic lenses that were from our first bundle, or renting a lens from BorrowLenses.com (check out our post on them from a few weeks ago). And though those lenses limited our consistency, with not as much bokeh as possible, having twice the image size gave us more to work with in editing and styling without us having to worry about our image quality.
Now, once you have that first full frame body, jump into the world of lenses. I could spend all day looking, comparing, and trying out all types of high end lenses that are out there. Fixed aspect ratio lenses are at the top of the pile. A fixed aspect ratio lens means the aperture (or F-stop) doesn’t change when changing the focal distance on a lens. And with lenses that have fixed aspect ratios, the better it performs under low light, your lighting settings stay the same no matter what distance your lens is at, and the more even your light is throughout a specific lighting situation. And once you have the lenses you love working with in your arsenal of equipment, a new body may have come out with an even better low light focus, or bigger image size. And as long as they keep producing, there will always be something to look forward to when it comes to new and better camera gear.
Wondering yourself about the next step for your equipment? Share in the comments below, we’d love to help!