When Should You Upgrade Your Digital Camera?


When should you upgrade your digital camera? While that question does not have a clear one-size-fits-all answer, it is not a difficult question to ponder for many photographers. The answer, believe it or not, is that you rarely, if ever, need to upgrade your camera for the announcement and release of each and every new model.

It happens every few years (and now much more frequently than it used to). You are browsing the B&H Photo website or reading B&H Explora and your Favorite Camera Mk. III has just been replaced by Favorite Camera Mk. IV. The Mk. IV has a few more megapixels, a few more autofocus sensors, a new-and-improved Processor 4 that is faster than your Processor 3, and a new strap with “Mk. IV” proudly embroidered on it. Is it time to grab your Payboo card and upgrade your Mk. III to the Mk. IV?

Before we dive into this subject, it is important to mention that if you are using an older digital camera with the original kit lenses that it came with, and you feel like your image quality can be better, I would skip a further discussion on upgrading your camera and, instead, upgrade your lens or lenses.

If you already have great glass, and you are debating whether you should get the new Mk. IV, then keep on reading….

When to Upgrade Your Camera

Question: “When should I upgrade my digital camera?”

Answer: “When the camera you own is no longer doing what you require it to do.”

While that answer seems simple and straightforward, let’s dive into some nuances of the debate.

“Planned Obsolescence”

(Probably the worst phrase I could choose for the header of this section, but, ironically, an industry term…)

In the heyday of SLR film photography, there were significant gaps between the rollout of new cameras. A top-of-the-line flagship professional SLR camera had a lifespan to which today’s digital cameras cannot be compared—some production runs spanned two decades! Back then, if you had been shooting your SLR Mk. II for 15 years and the SLR Mk. III came out, you could likely justify an upgrade to the new camera—especially if all of your lenses were compatible with it.

Enter the digital era, and the production cycles of DSLR and mirrorless cameras are much, much shorter than those of their film ancestors. Even with the faster “obsolescence” of digital, camera companies give customers a fair amount of time before they introduce a new model in a particular line. And some of these companies are relatively consistent when it comes to the interval between models so you can use the power of the Internet to predict when the next version will arrive.

Other companies, one in particular, barely lets the paint dry on its latest version before the company rolls out something new with the tag “game changer” applied to it.

With the predictable and well-spaced arrivals, you can probably justify replacing your Mk. III with a Mk. IV—especially if you got that Mk. III when it was just released. With a more hyperactive release schedule, you could probably skip a generation in the name of saving some money.

Did you forget you still own a Favorite Camera Mk. II? Yep, it is the one that you are using as décor on your office bookshelf. But guess what? It can still take the same amazing photos it took 10 years ago!

“Obsolescence” in the digital world does not always mean “inoperable.”

This leads us to the next section…


I have a 14-year-old 12MP digital camera that still works perfectly fine, and I can make what I feel are great photographs with it when I couple it to good lenses. Compared to my 3-year-old digital camera, it does leave a bit to be desired in the color department and a lot to be desired in the digital noise department. Fourteen years ago, when I got the camera, I was blown away (sometimes) by the images I was making, and the camera is still working just fine today.

My point is that a digital camera with a good lens that took fantastic photos a decade ago can still take fantastic photos.

What about mechanical aging? This is a consideration. Manufacturers torture-test their shutters—the tests range from 50,000 cycles for entry-level cameras to nearly 10x that amount for flagship models. Even at the low end of the testing, 50,000 cycles give you a lot of cycles—just under 14 photos per day for 10 years straight. However, if you are approaching that number of shutter cycles, your camera might be on borrowed time.

Cosmetic aging is a thing, as well. Old rangefinders are cool with the paint worn off the brass, but when rubberized grips and buttons start to come off of modern cameras, it can be a bit inconvenient.


One of the main draws of a new camera is usually an increase in resolution.

In the past, when asked, “How many megapixels do I need?” my answer would be: “Six.”

For years, the world’s top professional photographers wielded 6MP cameras (or fewer). In the early days of digital, National Geographic required a minimum of 6MP images from its photographers. “Good enough for NatGeo? Good enough for snapshots of your family gatherings,” I would tell friends and family members asking for my advice. With those 6MP cameras, photographers documented amazing moments, professionals landed lucrative commercial contracts and made beautiful portraits, and large-sized prints were created. Those cameras are still capable of doing the same exact thing today, but photographers have moved on in pursuit of more resolution, faster processing, and less digital noise.

So, why do photographers seem to always chase the megapixel rabbit? That is a good question for which I do not have a good answer. Personally, I would prefer a 12-to-16MP camera with extremely good high ISO noise performance than the 24MP resolution I currently get from my camera, but that is just me.

While more megapixels are good for larger prints, we are, today, well past the number of pixels needed to make incredibly large prints, yet photographers continue to clamor for the newest cameras with more and more megapixels. Yes, 24MP (or more) makes it really fun to zoom in on an image on your computer screen, but always keep in mind that the pixel-peeping fun does not translate to prints (or even normal viewing on a computer screen).

(A word of caution: Today’s very-high megapixel sensors can supersede the resolving power of older lenses—especially those designed for film. If you are considering a big jump in megapixels, you may have to also consider upgrading to the latest lenses, too, a huge financial consideration.)

Computers and Storage

This is another consideration directly related to “Resolution” in the previous section, but upgrading to a camera with more megapixels might put a hurt on your laptop or desktop computer as it is forced to process and store much larger files. If your current computer and camera are working and playing well together, it might be a good idea not to introduce a new high-maintenance partner into the relationship.

Back to my 14-year-old camera… The camera’s 12MP are still plenty sufficient to make large prints and, let me tell you, when I go back to move those 12MP files or re-post-process them, the computer feels like it has been turbocharged. Need I mention the insane computer performance I get when I re-process images from my 5.47MP days?

Your Needs and Demands

This is where things get a bit stickier. If you are pushing the technical performance envelope (sorry to use the aviation term) of your camera—autofocus, resolution, ISO noise, dynamic range, etc.—then an older camera might not perform as well as you need it to.

As veteran photographers have grown up through evolving digital systems, they have been pushing the technology by expanding their photography to meet the capabilities of the new cameras. While photographers might think that older cameras held them back, the proof is in the fact that amazing images were taken in the early days of digital photography.

All digital cameras have limitations to their performance, just as film had its own limitations. As an artist in a technically based art, you need to recognize the limitations of your camera and/or lens and work inside those limits. As technology removes, expands, or adjusts those limitations, you may then expand your art.

As a real-world example, I regularly create long-exposure astronomical photographs with my 4-year-old camera at ISOs that I would never even attempt with my 12-year-old camera. Because it performs better with high ISO noise, I know I can “safely” operate at those higher ISO settings.

Time to Upgrade?

If you are a professional doing paid shoots and needing the latest technological advantage due to the complexity of the images you are creating, by all means, upgrade your camera with each iteration if you can.

If you are not pushing up against the technical limitations of your current camera, then you will have little use for what the new technology provides. Your money would likely be better spent on upgrading your lenses. So, click here to read about why you should upgrade your lenses first!

What are your thoughts or questions about upgrading your camera? Let us know in the Comments section, below!


Hello! We have a Nikon 5100 dslr from 2014. It’s a 16 MP camera. We just take fun photos of our kids and family… nothing for paid work. Is it worth it investing in a good quality lens for this case? Or because it’s almost 10 years old, would it be better to replace? 

thinking of getting an 85 mm 1.8 lens for portraits of the kids! Thoughts?? Would there be something better for family portraits? 

My question would be are you happy with the performance and image quality you are getting from your current Nikon D5100 DSLR camera, and if its features are suiting your current needs?  Typically, if you are happy with your current camera, I would recommend the new lens as if you purchase a lens with better optical performance, it will have a positive effect on your images.  A better-quality lens can increase your sharpness and image contrast.  Upgrading the camera would be if you need better performance from your camera, more speed, or if you are interested in new features or technology that has been released in the 10 years since your current camera was released.


If you are not shooting professionally, and the camera is mainly used for recreational usage, and you are interested in better portraits (which do not require much speed), the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G LensB&H # NI8518G, would be a great option for your planned usage needs.  Nikon has not announced any new entry-level or mid-level DSLR cameras recently; the most-recent entry-level option from Nikon was the D3500 in 2019 and the Nikon D780 in 2020.  As such, an upgrade from your camera will most likely be a new mirrorless digital camera.  The good news is that you may mount your current lenses on Nikon's Z-mount on their mirrorless camera's lens mount by using the Nikon FTZ II Mount AdapterB&H # NIFTZ2.  If you do decide to upgrade your camera, the Nikon Z50 Mirrorless CameraB&H # NIZ50, would be a good mirrorless camera option, whereas the Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera (Body Only)B&H # NID7500, would be a good DSLR upgrade from your current camera.

Hey Todd! 

This is a great article that you have here.

I am not sure if this has much to do with this article, per-say. But it is a question (or maybe questions) nonetheless.

I have been interested in photography since I was 8 years old. My first camera was a “so-called 18 megapixel camera” even though it didn’t even look/have the quality of one. I had that one for a while. Now I am 16. I purchased an Olympus C-7000 Zoom at a garage sale back in June of 2022. I took really good photos (especially macro) with this camera but eventually it wasn’t enough for me. I started to search online for better cameras (mostly budget because of my age currently) 

I decided to settle on the Panasonic Lumix FZ80 and I finally bought it after 6 months. I have had it for a couple weeks now and it is producing fairly good quality images (obviously not perfect as it is a $400 budget bridge camera) I am sure this camera will last me for multiple years. I am fairly new-ish to this though, as it is my first real camera. 

I have already started looking to the future though. I am more so a nature/bird photographer and I have been trying to research the best cameras for that that I could purchase when I am older and when I have my own money. At the moment I want to switch to Canon and buy the EOS 90D. Do you think that would be a good idea for when I am older? Or would you have a better suggestion? 

Referring to the article here, you stated that DSLR’s are starting to go away, which I have known for a while now. I know that the 90D is a DSLR, but it seems like a lot of people use it for nature/bird photography. Do you think I should buy it when I have mastered my current camera? Or should I buy a mirrorless camera instead? For my type of photography of course.


Hi Will,

Thanks for the kind words on the article!

I welcome you, a bit late, to photography! Your question is well thought out and well stated.

So, does the EOS 90D deserve to be on your grail list?

My answer: No. Maybe?

Why "No?": As you read, and stated, the DSLR is going the way of the pay phone. If you are going to save up your hard-earned money for a new camera, buying into a mirrorless system will be a better long-term investment as you will get more years of use from any mirrorless lenses you acquire.

Why "Maybe?": Value-wise, getting a DSLR might be a good proposition as more and more bodies and lenses come on the used market when people migrate to mirrorless. The downside is that you are then going to be living in the past and probably will eventually have to switch to mirrorless.

Final thoughts: The tides will shift before you get your savings lined up for a big purchase, but my prophecies about the DSLR are going to be accurate. For bird/wildlife photos, I would check out the OM Systems / Olympus mirrorless system. The WWW will tell you that Micro Four Thirds sensors are too small yadayadayada...but see what people are creating with that system and try one on for size some day! Lighter, smaller cameras with sparkling lighter/smaller (usually) lenses and a 2x crop factor that is ideal for wildlife photography...plus a ton of tech built into the cameras.

That is my $0.02.

Standing by for follow-ups!

Have a great night and thanks for reading!



Hi Todd, 

If I ended up buying an OM System Mirrorless camera when I’m older, which one would you suggest that I choose? 

Hi Will,

That is a good question as it is one that I cannot give you a good answer on because new cameras are coming out all of the time.

The relatively new OM System OM-1 camera has single-handedly revitalized the Micro Four Thirds market in many ways as it is a very capable camera.


My advice is to read up on that camera and the Micro Four Thirds lenses and start saving up. The OM-1 might be replaced in a few years, but the current version will still be a good camera and might be a good value proposition on the used market for you.

Thanks again for reading!



Hi Todd, 

Thanks for the replies! 
I will be sure to do everything that you mentioned. 
One last thing, could you suggest a tripod for me (from anywhere on the internet) that I could buy for my current camera, the Lumix FZ80? I’ve been having trouble finding a good one that won’t be too expensive for someone my age. 
Thanks again! 

Hey Todd!

New to posting here, but I've loved B&H for years! I stumbled upon this article while doing some research into maybe upgrading my equipment. I've got a T5i with the EF-S kit lens, EF 75-300 zoom, the nifty 50, and an EF-S 24mm prime lens. I've been doing photography since I was about 8 years old; started with my parents' Canon point & shoot (couldn't tell ya which one lol), then a fair upgrade to a T3 and finally the T5i back when it was probably first released back in 2013-14. While I've loved my T5i and have very often turned my hobby into a side hustle sometimes (events, headshots, nature & wildlife, etc.), I always felt like I was limited in my skill by using an APS-C sensor. That being said, all this talk lately about mirrorless being IN and DSLR being outdated, do you think the best approach would be to go mirrorless? I was glancing at Sony's lineup but part of me always has a soft spot for Canon. I also shoot on film with an AE-1 that has been a more recent venture I've picked up again!

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I've got a huge passion for photography and part of me wants to take it up a notch and pursue a level of professionalism in it as a career. Or at least as a more serious "side hustle", as mentioned. What are your thoughts on things such as full-frame vs APS-C, and even mirrorless vs DSLR? What would be some lenses you'd recommend? What would be any kind of other equipment you'd recommend for both digital & film? Been really looking into things like lighting, speedite flashes, remote shutters, etc. Would love to hear your honest opinion! Thank you again in advance, and I apologize for the lengthy post! I truly love B&H!!

José (he/him)

Hi José!

Thanks for stumbling onto this article and loving B&H!

Lots to discuss here and I will try not to get too wordy!

First, if you love Canon you can stay with Canon. There are benefits to brand loyalty and that includes lens compatibility and familiarization with controls and menus, so don't feel like you need to follow the herd or switch for the sake of switching—both Canon and Sony (and others) make great products but switching systems means, usually, all new lenses.

APS-C vs. Full Frame:

Will full-frame give you a professional edge over APS-C? I hope not. I use APS-C and do commercial work. Your EF-S lenses are for APS-C, so if you switch to full-frame, you'll likely leave them behind.

Does full-frame offer advantages in low-light performance and shallower depth of field for a given lens and subject? Yes. Is it the silver bullet to make a noticeable improvement in your images? No. Are APS-C cameras and lenses usually smaller and lighter? Yes. Can you do professional-grade work with an APS-C camera? Yes.

More food for thought on that topic: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/features/dx-vs-fx-its-…

Mirrorless vs. DSLR:

The reflex mirror is quickly going the way of the pay phone. It is up to you when you want to jump on that train—now or later. Both kinds of cameras have pros and cons, but someday (probably soon), any DSLR camera is going to be "vintage." Would one give you an edge over the other? Not really. And, you mentioned your AE-1...with mirrorless you can get an adapter and use your FD lenses on your new digital camera...and lenses from other brands as well—a huge and fun advantage of mirrorless! Also, if you do go mirrorless, you can use your EOS EF lenses on your EOS R body with an adapter (and your EF-S lenses if you still have APS-C).

Lighting, flashes, remotes...all of that comes after your camera upgrade—so let us know what you decide and we can help with that as well!

Standing by for follow-up questions! Thanks for reading!



Hey Todd!

Sorry this response is coming so late. Been doing some research of my own before coming back to this! First off I just wanted to thank you for all the information. It's been very helpful in my search! I'll try and tackle your responses quickly but efficiently.

I do think I will stick to Canon as I am very familiar with it and have had no problems with the brand all my life. I love it! I do also like my APS-C T5i but the idea of a full-frame has always intrigued me still! That being said, I've stumbled across a decent secondhand find. There is a 5-7 year old Canon 5D Mark 3 body for sale at around $650 (CAD). It has casual use with normal wear and tear, planning on checking it out first before making any decision. Now, in my opinion that seems to be a steal. A decent upgrade (or so I think?) for a decent price, but what's holding me back are:
- Should I just save that money and buy better glass for my current T5i?
- Is a now 10+ year old camera worth buying even secondhand? The 5D in question
- Do I sell my T5i (and it's corresponding EF-S lenses) to help fund the way for this 5D?
- Should I just save up more and eventually go for mirrorless in the future?
- Is it worth finding out the shutter count before considering anything?
- Will a 5D of this use hold up in this day and age and would it be a noticeable upgrade?

Personally, I love a good DSLR and while I'm sure I will figure out mirrorless all fine, a part of me wants to stick with what I know for as long as I can. Appreciate all the help and the links to more articles! It's all very fascinating. Looking forward to your response again!

José (he/him)

Hi José,

No worries on the timing of your reply!

Roger on the stick with Canon. A good and safe choice.

The Canon 5D Mk III will be a nice upgrade over the T5i, for sure, but probably not a revolutionary one. It's not a bad interim move, but, in my opinion, because you will likely say goodbye to your EF-S lenses, you might want to crunch the numbers regarding a switch to mirrorless APS-C or full-frame.

Yes, you can save money on the body—and it is a good body, but this upgrade, same as full-frame mirrorless, requires new glass as well.

To address your bullets:

1. New glass for the T5i—This is a good thought—and the least expensive way to improve image quality overnight, but less viable as the DSLR is going away. If you decide that you'll be using your SLR glass on a mirrorless camera in the future (with the Canon adapter), then investing in glass might make some sense...but the T5i isn't getting any younger.

2. Is a 10yo 5D worth buying—Yes, for certain photographers—especially for those looking for reliable backup bodies. But, 10 years is an eternity in the world of electronic digital cameras. Newer is always better and that camera's replacement is already getting long in the tooth.

3. Sell the T5i and lenses to buy the 5D? Another good option, but you'll likely have to add new lenses to replace the EF-S ones unless you are just going to rock the 50mm...which is a cool option in a way!

4. Save up for mirrorless? I think this might be your best move. You can preserve your EF-S lenses by sticking with APS-C mirrorless, but if you are virtually "changing systems" anyway, it might make sense to go full-frame at this point. Scour the used shelves at B&H for some deals on not-very-old Canon mirrorless bodies and lenses to save some money here.

5. Shutter count can be important, but I also look at the condition of the body for signs of wear and tear and how the camera was cared for. If it looks brand new, but the shutter has been fired a lot, you can be sure that the photographer takes good care of their gear. If it looks like it was run over by a truck while laying in mud, but the shutter was fired twice, then you might re-think the purchase.

6. Is the 5D III a "noticeable" upgrade to the T5i? Its an upgrade, yes, but noticeable likely depends on the addition of new/better lenses to accompany it. The 5D III is capable of capturing amazing photos, but so is the T5i in the right hands!

I hope this helps a bit! Not knowing your financials, my suggestion would be to upgrade into the world of mirrorless—more expensive, and maybe longer to save up for it, but also more future-proof and a step into the world that everyone else is already at, or being forced to get to eventually.

Standing by for follow-ups!




I also have about 14 year old Canon Rebel T2i.  I just take photos for fun, and like learning new types of photography and have won a lot of ribbons in the state fair amateur photo competition over the years.  I still got a first place this year, but I am seeing a lot better competition, much more crisp and detailed.   I think it is due to better sensors doing better in low light and just overall. I do use lightroom and sometimes an old 32 bit version of photoshop to edited my shots.  I see my kids new iPhones taking better shots at dusk than me.  So do i need to upgrade?  Do the new cameras absorb light much better on their sensors?  Would I be able to shoot at dusk with a higher shutter speed, because maybe I am getting shakier?  My computer is the same age as the camera and that works.  I will get a new computer soon, but I don't want to pay the monthly photoshop service when I already own a permanent one and don't use it that much.  And a new computer won't run the 32 bit photoshop, so my current one will have to do the photo editing.  I am getting older too.  ugh.  I have put off upgrading 2 Christmas's in a row.  Is the new stuff (full frame mirrorless) noticeable enough to be worth the pain?

Hi Brett,

First of all, congratulations on your prize winnings! Good stuff!

There is a lot to unpack there, so let me tackle it one piece at a time...

1) Your T2i was a very good camera back in the day. It goes without saying that there are better cameras on the market now, but that doesn't mean, as you know, that you cannot take good photos with your T2i.

2) The crispness and detail of the photos of your competition are likely due to your fellow photographers having a) better lenses or b) more resolution in their cameras. I always recommend upgrading your lenses before your camera as a sharp(er) lens is sharper on both older and newer cameras. What glass are you using?

3) I think that the processing advantages of a newer version of Photoshop or Lightroom are probably negligible. The newer software will have more features or a (sometimes) better user interface, but, if you aren't doing super-heavy processing, you can have success with older software.

4) iPhones and other smartphones do a lot of pixel crunching inside their electronic brains. This is called "computational photography" and, as you can see, generates amazing results with a minimum of skill and zero post processing! Your T2i (and almost every other DSLR and mirrorless camera today) does not do this internal processing, so we have to work harder to get the same (or similar) results. Computational photography is likely coming to "real" cameras very soon and will undoubtedly cause a lot of discussion and controversy.

5) Yes, newer sensors and processors offer better low-light performance. And, yes, newer cameras offer reduced low-light noise which will allow you to shoot at higher shutter speeds in low light at higher ISOs.

6) Is full-frame mirrorless a worthy upgrade? That is the expensive question. Your T2i is long in the tooth. There are better cameras (DSLRs and mirrorless) out there. The DSLR is being phased out, but, if you are invested in DSLR lenses, it might make sense to delay the switch to mirrorless for now.

Standing by for follow-up questions and let me know what lenses you have!

Happy Thanksgiving!



Thanks for the reply.   These are 4 lenses, 2 Canon EF lenses---EF 50mm f/1.4 and a EF 75-300mm zoom; and 2 Canon EFS lenses---the kit lens that came with it EFS 18-55mm and a wide angle EFS 10-18mm.  

Hi Brett,

Thanks for the amplifying info and sorry for the delay in replying.

My recommendation, based on your lenses, would be to make the jump to Canon mirrorless. You won't need the latest and greatest model of R-series camera...all of them will be a big upgrade to your T2i and this will allow you to save by getting a used camera, if you want.

I would be sure to have the RF to EF adapter and keep your beautiful 50mm lens. The zoom's can be sold (likely for a lot less than you'll like) and that money can be put towards the new body and maybe a general purpose zoom lens.

Standing by for follow ups!



Very helpful article! I have shot with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR body and a SIGMA 24–70mm F2.8 for the last 10 years, and have loved it! I am a family/portrait photographer.

Recently when when I Zoom, the images become blown out. I'm assuming the shutter speed is slowing for some reason when the zoom is used.

Do you think this is a camera issue or a lens issue?

I am wondering if I should upgrade my camera body (potentially to mirrorless) or if I need to replace my lens if that is the malfunction (I would probably buy the same one because I love it).

Any idea which one is causing the problem? Which would you recommend replacing?  Anything else you'd recommend? Thank you!! -- Janelle

Hello Janelle,

Thank you for the kind words on the article. I am glad you found it helpful!

Your T2i is certainly long in the tooth, but I am glad you are still getting great images from it...mostly.

If I am understanding you correctly, you are getting overexposed images as you zoom the lens towards the 70mm telephoto focal length, correct?

Is this the camera or the lens? I cannot give you an answer...only hypotheses that would name one or both as guilty parties—but nothing definitive based on your explanation of the symptoms.

You can troubleshoot further by doing the following...all made easier if you have access to another lens or camera.

1. You can put that lens on another Canon camera and see if the same thing happens. If it does, its the lens.

2. You can put a different lens on your T2i and see if you are getting overexposed shots. If you do, its the camera.

Have you tried to shoot in manual mode? Or Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority and gotten the same results? Can you see if the lens's aperture diaphragm is opening and closing as it should when you release the shutter?

Regardless, that is a pretty old camera! :)

Standing by for more information. Thank you for reading!




did you get a new camera?  how your new camera photos compare to the Rebel T2i's?

Thanks for the article. My current dilemma is as follows:

I currently own a Sony DSC-V1 that I bought back in 2004 and also a Sony DSC-W300 that I've had since 2009. I also have a Canon AE-1 with three lenses (28mm prime lens, 50mm prime lens, and 80mm-200mm telephoto). All three cameras still work very well, but... they're also kinda old! (I'm not getting rid of the AE-1, by the way, as I also currently develop my own film at home and plus I recently bought a PlusTek 8200ai Film Scanner which basically turns my AE-1 into a 68 megapixel camera... assuming I'm doing things correctly in SilverFast).

I'm going on a trip to Southeast Asia in October and I still can't decide what I should be doing. Upgrade, or keep what I have? Bring the film camera with me, or leave it at home and just bring the two digital cameras?

Any thoughts?

Hey Adam,

You have some antiques there!

There is no right or wrong here, but, for me, I would be tempted to bring the AE-1 and your smartphone. Unless you are rocking a "flip phone" whatever camera you have on your phone is going to likely be superior to those two Sony's...especially the DSC-V1.

Or...get a new shiny mirrorless camera and an adapter for your Canon lenses and shoot the new digital and film, too!

Standing by for follow-ups! Thanks for reading!



I have an Olympus PEN EPL-1 that's about a decade old and was thinking about upgrading to a camera such as the Canon EOS M200 which has about double the resolution and a much newer processor. I mainly use the camera for travel pictures.  The reason I originally got the Olympus instead of a point-and-shoot is so I could take better interior photos (museums, churches, etc).  

My question is I don't know enough about the limitations of my current camera to know if I'll see an improvement by upgrading, or if the better specs won't really make that much of a difference.   What do you think?

Hey Ken,

You make a great point when asking that question.

How do you know when your camera's digital technology is limiting your artistic vision?

The answer is, usually, that it is not.

A newer camera will probably start up faster, process images faster, have images with less digital noise, produce images with more accurate colors, and have more (maybe?) useful options and functions. You will see these improvements if you are pushing the technical limits of the camera (long exposure night photos, high-speed action capture, etc). For casual shooting, the improvements might be transparent...or only seen while pixel-peeping.

If you are happy with the photos you are getting from your Olympus, then you can certainly keep shooting it! The digital PEN series of cameras were really cool! I also love how they look...great design!

I shot the PL-6 a few years back [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/hands-review/hands-rev…].

If you feel the need to upgrade, depending on how many lenses you have, you might want to think about sticking with the PEN line and getting the E-PL10. Upgrading with a more modern version of your existing camera always makes the "transition" easier as the controls and menus will be similar, if not identical.


Let me know if you have more questions, Ken! Thanks for reading!



I was wondering if what you thoughts on my situation are,I currently shoot with a Nikon D5100 That  I cot back in 2012 or 13, with my primary lenses being 18-300mm lens, and secondary being 55-200mm kit lens, I mainly do aviation photography but also enjoy landscape, micro, and wildlife photography. 

As said my camera is quite old and I've been thinking of upgrading my camera body (looking into the D500), and keeping lenses, or getting a new 18-400  or similar lens. 

Hey Aaron,

I do have some thoughts! Thanks for asking!

You've gotten a lot of mileage out of your D5100 and that is awesome! The Nikon D500 was recently discontinued, so the new ones will be vanishing fast. That camera is already a tiny bit dated, but it will blow the doors off of your D5100. The D500 is/was basically Nikon's top-of-the-line professional camera with an APS-C sensor. It was basically a D5 without the vertical grip and with a smaller sensor.

You'd love a D500 for your types of photography!

Two further thoughts:

The world is changing to mirrorless...so that is something to consider. Nothing against the D500 at all, but the DSLR is going the way of the phone booth. The good news there is that the D500 will be ready to take on any and all SLR lenses that are being offloaded as folks switch to mirrorless.

And, speaking of lenses, your 18-300 is probably your best optic, yet, as an all-in-one zoom, not the best performer on the market. I always recommend a 50mm prime (or the DX 35mm f/1.8...an amazing little lens). [https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/one-lens-…] An 18-400 might not be an optical upgrade to the 18-300, but it will give you extra reach. Your 55-200 might be pretty redundant with the 18-300 in your bag, so you could part with that for a few bucks towards your next body. For aviation and wildlife photography the Sigma and Tamron 150-600mm lenses are really cool and would pair nicely with the D500. And, for airplanes, I love the 300mm f/4.


Standing by for follow-up questions! Thanks for reading!




My 5D Mk II, Mk III, and 1D Mk III are all still more capable than I am. In fact, the 1D Mk III with the 50 1.2 is amazing. Just wish B&H would get more LP-4 batteries for it. Great article - love B&H...

Hi Gregg,

Great comment! My guess is that most digital cameras are ahead of the operators using them, but many want the latest and greatest. I took some of my favorite photos ever with a Nikon D100 and a D1x. I assume I could do the same, if I still owned them!

Thanks for reading and thanks for loving B&H!



Good article to share with those who think I should upgrade my Canon eos dslr to one of the new R series.

Hey Steve,

Definitely let us know what happens when you share this article with others! We will be taking wagers on if you will be purchasing a new R series camera. :)

Thanks for reading!



Very helpful and informative. Thank you.

You are quite welcome, Theodore. Our aim is to help and inform. We are here for you! Thanks for posting your compliments.

this article was very helpful as I am trying to decide whether to upgrade my sony a6000 mirrorless camera. my screen broke during a shoot and I was wondering if it is worth fixing or a sign I should buy a new camera (after almost three years of using it). aside from the screen the main things I have been struggling with in this camera are the ease that dust gets on the sensor when changing lenses and not having a touch screen. the first issue of dust is something I saw other cameras solved with a shutter that shuts down and protect the sensor when changing lenses and I wanted to try to see if sony had some such solution. I do landscape photography and it is a very frequent problem for me that is very frustrating. so if you know of a solution or a model sony has that provides such a solution that will be great. I don't want to change my lenses so I guess I am stuck with sony, right? (e-mount). the issue of the touch screen is something that is not really critical but I work mostly with the screen and not the view finder so I think this would be easier that trying to find the focus point with the toggle. I know that my model is the first one sony came out with so I was wondering if at least in such a case there is some advantage to buying a newer more sophisticated model with more options or if as long as I get what I need from the current one there isn't much of a point?

Thanks Tamar

Hi Tamar,

Great question(s)!

I guess I should have added a section to the article that says you should upgrade your camera when your current one breaks. :)

My $0.02 is that you should upgrade as my guess is that a repair will be more expensive than the camera is worth. Sensor dust is part of digital photography and there isn't much you can do about it. Newer cameras do have more advanced sensor cleaning than older generations of cameras, but, as I have said before..."Dust happens." Carry a blower with you and, unless you really need to push past f/8 or f/11 on your aperture, you will see less dust when shooting wide-open or at mid-range apertures.

Sony likes to keep their older models in stock and on the market, so you don't have to get the latest and greatest version of the a6000...you can get an older model and/or check the Used Department for a lightly used on that someone traded in when they upgraded themselves.

Let me know if you have more questions and thanks for reading!




I agree. The current DSLR upgrade cycle between competitors is like the US versus Soviet Union nuclear arms race of "Mutually Assured Destruction" of the Cold War.

Camera manufacturers are trying to out-megapixel and out-feature their competitors. There are still mechanics involved, particularly with the DSLR, but most everything is controlled by electronics and computer code, so it's an easier path to upgrade. 

PS: I read Jeff Cable's blog of his Olympic coverage with the Canon R3 preproduction model. Mirrorless technology wasn't what it was in 2013 compared to today. If I were in the market today, I may consider Canon mirrorless.

You were slow to digital, Ralph. The odds-makers in Vegas are predicting you will be slow to mirrorless as well. :)

Thanks for reading!



Todd, Am a big fan of your work and enjoyed this piece. I also liked the photos and frames. While I've always thought that creating cameras with "more megapixels" was just marketing strategy, I changed my mind when I rented a Canon EOS R5. It appears that more megapixels/higher resolution can work magic. I now consider resolution more important than I did before. I recently reviewed the R5 and here's something I wrote. (You can find the entire piece [at the Bird Partner website].) "Because the full-frame mirrorless R5 has a high-resolution, 45-megapixel sensor, I was able to take photos of anything and everything, crop the images as needed, and still wind up with great photos. Also, I didn’t need extra reach for distant subjects because the extra resolution provided the extra reach." What are your thoughts on what I wrote?

Hey David,

Thanks for the kind words and your thoughts!

There is certainly something to be said for more resolution—especially if you are cropping extensively or looking for extra reach for sports and wildlife photos.

For most photographers, however, there is little to be gained, I would argue, between, say, 16MP and 24MP for "casual" photography—much less 45MP. In fact, for those shooting kit lenses, a higher megapixel camera will likely out-resolve those optics and there will be no visual gains at all.

While the R5's resolution might be an advantage to your bird photos (great shots, by the way!), my guess is that your family holiday pics aren't getting cropped as much and, therefore, don't need the extra resolution.

In line with the article's premise...if you are a bird photographer and you need more reach than you are getting optically from your lenses, then maybe it is time to get a new, higher-resolution, camera.

Thanks again for being a fan, thanks for reading Explora, and thanks for the comment!



Great reply, and thanks for YOUR kind words.

At the risk of continuing a vicious cycle of thank yous, I thank you once more! :)

Thanks for the shout-out, David! Good stuff!

Now that most DSL cameras take pretty good photos, I choose my upgrade cycle based on other factors.
You didn't mention two key factors for me: ease of use for the advanced shooter and handling/Ergonomics.
Color touchscreens enable rapid selection of key parameters, like specific focal points.
Custom menus likewise bring a new ease of use.
Programable controls and setups can keep you shooting in a busy session. 
And custom grips and thoughtful control locations can make handling much more comfortable for longer photo sessions.

Hello Daev,

Those are all good reasons to upgrade. Yes, one might argue that the user interfaces are evolving a bit faster than sensors are these days. I recently picked up an old Nikon D1x and felt like I had been transported back into the Middle Ages (of digital) with its tiny LCD screen and other semi-clunkiness.

Thanks for stopping by!



I had an old D90 that died after 500K+ pictures. I friend gave me his old D90 and I bought a D7200.  For every day photography my go to camera is the D90 with a 35MM F/1.8 lens.  I have fun taking great shots with that setup.  I get better pictures than the photographers I know with the latest most expensive gear.

Hey Stanley,

Great camera and awesome lens there! That is a great walk-around combination. Small, light, sharp, and fast. Don't tell everyone your secret sauce as they might sell their full-frame cameras and monster 24-70mm lenses to get your rig!

Thanks for reading!



I use 3 old cameras and I am broke now due to the pandemic, I was not a "Big" photographer (Business talking), and I was thinking about changing the lenses but, the company changed the lens mount (Nikon), so now I'm thinking to upgrade the body because I am way far behind. Thank you for your post. Believe it or not, I still making great portraits with the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D5000, now using as well the Nikon D3300 and making prints of 20 x 24 inches and photo books. But I am starting to encounter some difficulties and I think they will stop working (Shutter) anytime soon :p 
Again, nice article and please, stay save!

Hi Francis,

Being broke is a great reason not to upgrade your gear! Many of us have been there. I hope things get better for you soon.

Regarding NIkon and their lens mount...the F-mount is still going strong. Depending on your camera and/or lenses, Nikon has probably the best compatibility of any brands out there. You can use 50+ year old Nikon lenses on many new Nikon digital cameras. Yes, some modern lenses won't autofocus on all Nikon DSLR cameras, but you can still use them.

Another thing to consider, when you are ready to take a next step, is a mirrorless camera and adapter to use your older lenses.

If you have specific questions about compatibility, please reply here or contact us by phone or chat!

Thank you for the well wishes and thanks for reading!

Hang in there and stay safe on your end as well!



Forgive me for saying the same thing--more or less--for 3 iterations.  I was trying to edit my initial comment.  I guess one cannot do that on this platform! :(

No worries, Henry! :)

Our system might be a bit clunky sometimes!

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