What Type of Photo-Gearhead Are You?

It’s no secret how I feel when it comes to new technology. Whether it’s cameras, cell phones, iPads, computers, or even new lenses, I am a techno-addict to say the least. I always want the latest and greatest gear, even when most of the time I don’t need it.

I was walking through a camera shop the other day, and noticed that the old (*wink wink*) Canon 60D was on sale at a spectacular discount, priced to clear. Next to it sat the newer 70D, gleaming in all it’s glory. I swear there was a beam of light shining down on it from the sky, and I’m sure I could hear angels singing. I checked it out and compared it with the 60D, and upon looking over the 70D and doing a bit of research online, it got me to do some serious thinking about myself and my attitudes towards technology.

There are those people who absolutely have to have the newest gear, and others who are more content to use what they have until it is no longer useful. There are also people who are more than content to purchase “older” or used gear, and thereby pay a great price as opposed to buying new. I am one of the people who likes to purchase new equipment only, and up until my experience in the camera store with the 60D and 70D, I had never considered buying an “older” model, even if it was brand new (as opposed to used). I personally don’t need things like HD video recording on my digital SLR, and while there are a few upgraded features available on the newest models of cameras, many of them are features I didn’t know existed or never felt I needed to have. When you really think about it, a camera does what it has always done, take photos – and all I want to do is photography.

Camera manufacturer’s these days walk a very fine line (as do most technology manufacturers). With all of the advancements in technologies and electronic parts becoming less and less expensive, manufacturers are able to deliver new models once a year. This is great because the world is now offered the newest technology more frequently, but it’s also a bad thing because they wind up making their own products virtually obsolete more quickly. This is by no means meant to encourage anyone seek out older gear or last-year camera models; there will always be early-adopters and those who need to have the latest gear, just as there will always be a market for those who prefer to buy used. However, all this got me thinking that the cost savings in buying a new, “last-year’s” model of camera is significant, especially when the new feature differences are either minimal or not necessary to me. When you think about it, how long would a brand new 60D last you if you bought it today? Most likely several years at least, so why not save a few hundred bucks over the newest model?

Now, I’ll probably always be the type of person who buys the newest gear, it’s just in my techno-nature. But now I’m at least open to the possibility of checking out the older models, particularly when the savings are significant and the new features just aren’t warranted (for me). It’s good food for thought, so I’d like to know… What type of “gearhead” are YOU?

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About the author

Dave Seeram is the Editor of PhotographyBB Magazine, photographer, Canucks fan, Lostie,  fanboy, Dad, blogger, entrepreneur, and part-time superhero. Dave is the owner of this blog, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of the PhotographyBB Magazine and CLARITY: PHOTOGRAPHY BEYOND THE CAMERA
8 Responses
  1. I recently bought a Nikon D80 for a second camera body. I only had a Nikon D3000 before this purchase and even though the D3000 is my newer body I find myself always going for the D80. Now this is not an apples to apples comparison as the D80 is much more pro-line than the consumer level D3000. But… the D3000 is now my go to body when I need to shoot in bad weather, or I’m afraid of a dropsies situation. So it goes to show that used is not alweays a bad choice. Thanks for the great post!

  2. ToadSlayer

    I’m as mean as a mean person’s mean bits ! Frugal is my middle name. So I’m never going to buy a new DSLR, even if I could afford it (which I’ve always managed to convince myself that I can’t.)

    I love old used gear. It has a ‘feel’ to it that new kit can never imitate. Though I do have two other much newer cameras, my favourite ‘feel’ is my good old Sigma SD10. It has the weight of a house brick and a shutter sound like an out-house door banging in the wind. What more could a ‘togger’ ask for ?

    Give my substance over style anyday. The only sytle I seek is in the images I produce. And I say “I produce”, not some auto-gizmo-gadget designed to interfere every bland and blind step of the way.

    Besides, as my dear old mother used to say, “Why buy today what someone will give you tomorrow ?”

  3. giuseppe savo

    I think that is not given the exact correlation between quality and “newer technology”.
    Sometime to buy an “old” camera can be better for some aspects than buy the new model.
    But this is not valid for k5, that seems to be a very good upgrade of k7.

  4. Jim Allen

    I’ve tried to buy the newest stuff right at the time when rumors of it’s replacement model start to trickle out. It’s still the cutting edge (barely) but the threat of imminent replacement by “New and Improved” usually depresses the price on the soon to be NOS items. I’m still playing with the newest toys, but for a wee bit less of the early adopter tax.
    At least that was my strategy until now. I started with a Digital Rebel a number of years and dollars ago. I now own a Canon 5D MKII and a 7D and I honestly cannot imagine myself exceeding the capabilities of these two cameras. I know eventually the newest thing will have more dynamic range, or marginally better high ISO performance, but for me it probably won’t matter. I own a decent selection of great lenses, and I’ve finally realized (accepted?) that the tools I have far exceed my skills with them. I’ve decided to focus on upgrading MY ability. Technique, composition, and a serious depth of knowledge of the equipment I’m fortunate enough to own now will have a much bigger effect that a newer body or two. I’m quite sure I can spend the next couple years improving my skills without my equipment presenting any reasonable handicap. The stuff’s just getting too good to complain about any more. I’ve even noticed that new camera announcements don’t evoke much curiosity from me any more. I think from now on, I’ll focus on learning to see better. (and not using too many bad puns…)

    1. You bring up a great point in your comment here Jim. I think that something you said here is something that many many people forget… Remembering to focus on upgrading THEIR ABILITY. Words to live by indeed! Thanks for putting things in perspective (how’s that for a bad pun?)

  5. I am just a gear head over all, I love the new stuff, even if I do not “NEED” to have it. I love some of the older stuff that is super cool. I recently picked up a Yashica MAT TLR, that I absolutely love.

    I am just a photo Nerd/Hoarder over all.


  6. I rarely upgrade my gear (my first was a Rebel XT and my second which I am currently using, is 5D mark 2.) For this reason when I upgrade, I will try to buy the newest one that fit my budget, needs, and wants.

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