As a wildlife photographer, I am always looking to capture as much detail as possible in my images. Along with composition and exposure, I look for sharpness. I like to see fine detail in a bird’s feather or each hair on a bear’s face clearly defined.
Several years ago, I came to the realization that images like this come from the quality of glass in the lens. I quit purchasing the latest camera models just for the sake of keeping up with the times. Unless a new model came out with features that suited my needs in the outdoors, I’d keep my money in the bank to invest in new glass.
Every year, the major camera manufacturers entice you with new camera bodies that offer the latest technology in digital photography. New and improved sensors, weather resistant seams, better focusing systems and video capabilities are only a few of the changes in today’s digital SLR.
The advancements are truly incredible, but will that new camera body actually improve the quality of your photography? Well, perhaps it will if you already own a high quality lens. If not, I would strongly suggest you invest your money in some new glass instead of that body upgrade.
Look into your camera manufacturer’s selection of lenses and you’ll notice lenses made for your everyday consumer and lenses made for serious photographers. You’ll notice a price jump in the high-end lenses as well, but if you’re serious about your images, the money will be well spent. When it comes to camera gear, you usually get what you pay for.
In general, the lenses you get in a camera kit do a good job, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you added a high-end lens to your arsenal, you wouldn’t be using that kit lens nearly as often. A high quality lens will give you better colour, less distortion, faster focusing, better clarity and contrast and give you the option of shooting at higher shutter speeds.
High-end lenses are also produced with higher quality materials than the amateur lenses. This is especially beneficial if you bring your camera into harsh conditions or if you travel with your camera gear.
Of course, the choice is yours on whether to upgrade your lens or your body. I’d suggest taking a serious look at your options before spending your hard earned money. I can say, however, that the joy of using really great photographic equipment will get you out there more and more. With quality equipment, you can concentrate on creating your images instead of worrying about your gear.