Five mistakes photographers make when buying a camera – and how to avoid them

lens selection
(Image credit: about photography)

Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to have any camera you want? Let's be honest, most of us probably want the latest and greatest cameras, stuffed with mind-blowing specs and accompanied by high-end glass. Unfortunately, unless you're a pro photographer (or blessed with a salary that rivals Elon Musk's), that usually isn't practical for most of us. 

When you're thinking about purchasing new camera gear, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid – and we'll be discussing the five key mistakes you should avoid when purchasing new camera equipment. 

• Read more: Best camera for beginners

A recent video from YouTube channel about photography, talks about the five mistakes that should be avoided when purchasing new camera gear. 

1. Will you use it?

If you can comfortably afford cameras such as the Phase One XF IQ4 150MP, but you're a street photographer that doesn't really have much need for it, then it's probably not a good idea to make that purchase. There's very little point in buying a camera that you won't actually use. Portability is very important – and buying the right camera for the right kind of environment is crucial. 

2. Do you need it?

Camera manufacturers are producing some incredible stuff. It can be easy to get wrapped in all the new specifications and features.However, it's important not to consider buying a camera just because it has the latest and greatest features. Only make that purchase if it's going to actually benefit you and if you actually need it

Having 8K video features in a camera might sound amazing, but if you don't shoot video then it offers very little to you. It's generally better to purchase equipment based on what you actually need and not on what you think could be useful. 

3. Can you afford it? 

This one is quite simple, if you can't comfortably afford something then it's probably not a good idea to make that purchase. Camera equipment can be extremely attractive but financial difficulties can have a long term detrimental effect on you. Eventually most cameras will be worth very little, but those financial problems can linger on. 

4. Are you getting bad advice?

One of the great things about the internet is the wide availability of information. If you want to know how good a certain piece of gear is, it's not that difficult to go online and read about it. 

There can be a downside to this though. Sometimes, reviews can have a negative impact on your buying decisions. It's important to remain self aware about what you're purchasing and why. 

5. Do you have gear acquisition syndrome (G.A.S)?

Sometimes we can make purchases just because it's available and we can afford it. This can be described as an impulse purchase, which is definitely something to avoid. 

Focusing a lot of your attention onto the gear instead of your actual work can cause these impulse buys. One of of the best ways to avoid this is to plan more interesting photoshoots and projects. Start working on complex ideas that can be achieved through the use of technique – rather than new gear. 

Most of the cameras that have been produced in the last five years are still very capable. It's unlikely that they will become outdated anytime soon. If you can avoid some of these mistakes when purchasing new camera gear, you may end up having a more fulfilling experience in the industry.  

Read more:

Best cameras to buy
Best point and shoot cameras
Best DSLRs
Best mirrorless cameras
Cheapest full frame cameras
Best cameras for vlogging
Best professional cameras
Best travel cameras
Best instant cameras

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Usman Dawood

Usman is a commercial and architectural photographer based in West Yorkshire, who has been working professionally for over seven years. He has also spent over four years as a writer for the biggest photography sites in the world, including Staff Writer for Digital Camera World, senior staff writer for FStoppers, and tech writer for Petapixel. 

With a particular interest in technology developments, high-resolution imaging and the high-end cameras, Usman has been on the cutting edge of camera news as well as writing features about medium format systems and global shutters, and has reviewed some of the latest Leica cameras as well as a tripod that’s even taller than Andre the Giant!