Is It Still Worth...

Don’t bother finishing the question. The answer is yes. 

Really. The answer is yes.

Yes, I’m sure.

The usual variation of the question is “is it still worth buying [OldCameraLens] today?” The most prevailing form of this virus infects those who are somewhat sure that [NewCameraLens] is coming soon, maybe even the day after they buy [OldCameraLens]. 

To show you why the answer is almost always yes, let’s try a little mind game. You only have US$1000 to spend on a camera body. You own a few older Nikon F-mount lenses. “Is it still worth buying a used D810 in excellent shape for US$1000” if you’re looking for the best possible results for the dollars spent?

You bet it is. The D810 was a great camera, and its 36mp full frame image sensor produces superb results when handled well. The autofocus system isn’t state of the art, but what is at US$1000? 

Almost always with these “is it still worth…” questions, they’re coming from someone with too much GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), too much disposable income (or a credit card they’re willing to max out), and too much insecurity that some just-off-the-presses feature will keep them from making incredible images. 

No, what keeps you from making incredible images is you, not the camera. 

I learned that the hard way early on when a sadistic mentor always sent me out with the wrong camera for the job. Always. As in “go photograph the track meet with this TLR" (if you’ve ever used a twin-lens reflex camera you know why that doesn’t work well: subjects move the opposite direction in the viewfinder; try following a runner going left when viewfinder says right). 

There’s a reason why this site has an “Improve the Photographer” section, a host of Teaching Points, and dozens of other technique articles. I’d say there’s a good chance that the “free” you pay for reading, understanding, and putting into practice the things in those articles are going to result in better images faster than simply buying a new camera, whatever its price may be.

The other reason people ask the “is it still worth…” questions has to do with FOMO (fear of missing out). Or Keeping up with the Joneses. However you’d like to put it, it speaks to your lack of self worth. It costs no dollars to improve your self worth. Cameras cost considerably more, and may not actually improve anything (other than a camera company’s profits and helping banks siphon off a few points off a monetary transaction). 

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