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There is some really nice new gear out there right now! I mean, well first off… it’s about that time of year for it, so many manufacturers are due for upgrade announcements and the holidays are coming up. Nonetheless, there is a ton of stuff already out there. Yeah, I’m looking at you Sony. You too, Fujifilm!

Now I’ve talked about this before and as a photog, I’m routinely asked about the latest and greatest. Personally, things are a bit different for me as I’m trekking the globe. My priorities aren’t solely with the camera anymore. Backpacking comes with its own unique requirements, between expenses dealing directly with travel as well as gear unrelated to photography. Plane tickets, car rentals, accommodations, food… those are all things I need to plan for on a weekly or monthly basis. I recently had to drop a cool grand on cold-weather gear. And it came right at $1,000. I’d much rather spend that on camera gear!

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I’m currently back in Peru, but in a few weeks, I will be headed waaay down south to Ushuaia, Argentina. I just saw a video of that city, present-day, and there’s a friggin’ snowstorm. I know nothing about the place. I have a feeling that everything I’ve done to research and prepare will not be enough. Which just means I’ll have to make adjustments on the spot. Somehow. So my immediate concerns may not be like everyone else’s when they are trying to decide when to upgrade.

Back to my point… This is when you upgrade.


Over the years, as I developed my skills and my business, my needs in photography changed. That meant that I had specific standards and requirements that my current line up of camera bodies and/or lenses no longer met. My very first ever set up was with the Canon 40D. It was a very capable system. I paid $1500 for it 2008. Loved it! Why? Because it was the first digital camera system that I felt matched what I was doing in film.

A problem arose when I shot a wedding with the camera in limited lighting capabilities. I had to push the ISO too much and it showed, thereby affecting my standards on the quality of my print jobs. I kept the camera, but I upgraded to the Canon 5DII, arguably one of the most revolutionary cameras ever. No more problems like that! AND… I paired it with a Canon 7D and I rolled like that for years. That set up was great for my business for what I did.

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By 2012, I began venturing away from photography as a shooter and more oriented myself with photography as an artist. My standards changed. I was shooting more fine art prints and I wanted to more heavily concentrate on printing and I wanted to only print large images. No more 8x10s for me. The full-frame 5DII did the job… to an extent. It took me a bit to figure out what my frustration was as a photographer. I could still print a 30 x 40, but my work had no depth. I needed resolution! To me, that meant medium format which at the time had a steep barrier to entry with a $25k price tag just to get a camera and a body.

Nikon came out around that same month with a 36mp full-frame system for $3300 that became available a week before I was to head to Nicaragua. If you bought all my Canon gear new, you’d spend over $20K. I sold it ALL for Nikon. I did not care about price. Availability was all that mattered and I got the Nikon D800e and it got me what I needed. But the weight!! Back home, no problem. But when you travel and everything is on your back, it matters! Two years later, I was in Sony which gave me resolution, in a much smaller package and I have not looked back.

Art Model, Panda


This one is easy. After I bought my Sony A7RII, the most significant camera I have ever owned, they eventually came out with another version, the A7RIII. The similarities between the cameras were NOT significant enough for me to upgrade. Yes, I could have used the bigger battery and the two card slots. Other than that, the increases in performance, speed, etc., was negligible. In addition, I shoot with an a6500 crop-sensor camera as well. Had I upgraded, I’d have to pack and deal with two different battery types. Basically, when I DO upgrade my a7RII, I will upgrade the crop-sensor as well. So presently, it made no sense for me to upgrade.

Conversely, if I damaged my a7RII, then it’s all a different story. Yes, you COULD buy another duplicate camera. The a7RII is still available for sale, at a much more decent price, at that. But if you have to buy a camera anyway, get the best one available! So in effect, it MAKES SENSE to upgrade your camera. That’s perfectly justifiable. And in my case, I’d upgrade both my camera systems.

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And finally, I’ve chosen this option as well. I’m much more streamlined now, mainly because of my traveling. But there was a point in which I had so much friggin’ useless gear, it was ridiculous. I’d upgrade for no other reason than it damn well pleased me to do so. And it is primarily for this reason, that I will not hate on you if you chose to do so. Go on, with your bad self. If you got the cash, spend it! Now if you don’t have the cash and are using rent money to upgrade, I’m gonna talk about how your Mama didn’t raise you with common sense. Other than that, ENJOY!!

I do not need it, but I have my eye on that Sony a7R4 for the end of the year! Can it make my work better? Well, yeah. It’s 61MP with pixel shift muli-shooting capabilities to boost resolution even further! Can I still kill with my current gear… yes…

So, that would put me in category 3 if I upgraded. See where I’m going with this? At any given time, you can be in any spot. Hence, No hatin’ from me.

Peace! Mo’ Power and Mo’ Resolution to ya!

Art Model, Panda