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Do I need a New Camera?

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

“My Photo’s are rubbish, I need a New Camera!”


We’ve all heard someone say that, or indeed said it ourselves; But do you actually need to buy a new Camera?

All camera’s do the same thing, they let light through a hole and capture an image onto paper or a memory card.

The camera cannot compose the image or know just the right time to snap that perfect moment.

Before you spend hundreds of pounds on a camera, are you sure you have gotten everything out of your old one?

Learning how to edit or “Post Process” your Photo’s could be all you actually need to get the Photo’s looking the way you want?

Two of my personal favourites; Google Picassa3, which is a free program and can edit RAW as well as JPEG images. Then probably the best Photo editor available, Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is incredibly powerful and a much cheaper option than buying the full suite of Adobe Photoshop. You can pick up Lightroom for approx £99 but if you are a student, you can get a 50% discount!


Free Vs Paid


If you are using a DSLR, the very first thing you need to do to improve your Photo’s, is start taking pictures in RAW format. If you are using a Compact camera that doesn’t have RAW, don’t worry, just set your camera to it’s highest quality setting.

Immediately your pictures will have so much more information held within them. The “Post processing” software will be able to unlock that information and allow you to improve, colour, contrast, clarity and even rescue pictures that you might normally delete because they are too dark!



This is a Photo taken in DisneyLand Paris. It was taken in Raw format using my elderly Olympus E420. (The E420 is about 8 years old.)

It’s a nice picture but it looks a bit flat. The colours are muted, it just doesn’t “POP”!




This is the same Picture which has been imported into Google Picassa.

Picassa handles Raw images very quickly with no lag or buffering. There are very simple slider controls and many “Preset” options. If you have used Instagram, you will be familiar with presets. (Preset is a one click photo effect).

Here I have corrected the exposure, added clarity and corrected the colour saturation.

It now looks like a bright colourful sunny day…!


This last Picture was edited in Adobe Lightroom 5.

You can see there is much more detail recovered in the image.

If you look at the Sky, you can really see the detail in the clouds and the blue of the sky. None of this is “painted” colour, it is all information in the original pixels.

The Castle has much more detail in the Brickwork, the trees have more variation of colours.

The important thing is, it actually looks how I remember it!


What if you can’t afford a Camera?


The Camera doesn’t take the picture, the person behind the camera does!

Many professional Photographers are starting to use Mobile Phones to take pictures.

Mobile Phone Cameras are very powerful these days, in some cases they are better than the cheap compact cameras available.


Phones like the Nokia Lumia 930 can even take pictures in RAW, DNG (digital negative) format.

So if you need to be frugal, you can have a Phone, Camera, Internet and gaming device all in one!


Picture taken with Nokia Lumia 930 in RAW (dng) format. Edited in Adobe Lightroom 5.

So before you rush out to buy a more expensive version of the Camera you already have, ask yourself this;

Am I really making the most of what I already have?

Am I doing enough with my Photo’s to really make them stand out?


If you are an occasional Photographer, I would say stick to Picassa or one of the other free options available. However if you are keen on improving your Photography as a hobby, I would highly recommend Lightroom. The £100 investment in Lightroom is much cheaper than a new Camera and in itself can be a really satisfying part of the Photography hobby.


Hopefully I have just helped you to save a Huge amount of money?  😉


What do you think…? Will you buy a new camera, or look to improve what you do with your Photos using your old camera?


Let me know in the comments below:





17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

Interesting piece, @thesoupdragon .  I would have thought a lot will depend on how much people want to edit their photos and whether they're prepared for the amount of space RAW files take up.  I can see the point in a professional context, but they may be overkill for your average snapper.   On top of that, jpeg is pretty much a lingua franca, but RAW tends to be manufacturer-specific, so not easy to display across a range of devices.


Someone once said to me "there's nothing you can put in front of a camera that will improve your pictures.   It's what's behind it that counts".  That was in the days of film, when image editing was a matter of darkroom jiggery-pokery, of course.  Digital opens up a whole new world (and a whole new can of worms!)

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

Some interesting points there hrym.


With regard to the amount of space Raw files take up:

Memory cards are very cheap now, so the option to have a 32GB or 64GB card is well within the reach of most people, which negates the concern over space saving JPEGS.


It's true that each manufacturer has a specific RAW file type. However all the modern Software such as Picassa and Lightroom can handle all the various types, so that is almost at the point of not being a concern.

Raw files do have to be "Developed" in software. That is because they are basically a "Negative".

This is my point, by improving the quality of the taken picture and processing it properly you remove the need to buy a more expensive camera. 😉


JPEG basically made us lazy photographers. We now expect the camera to do ALL the work. By taking back some of the "process" your Photo's will become much better and it wont end with the click of the shutter.


17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

@thesoupdragon wrote:

Some interesting points there hrym.


With regard to the amount of space Raw files take up:

Memory cards are very cheap now, so the option to have a 32GB or 64GB card is well within the reach of most people, which negates the concern over space saving JPEGS.


Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a figure of 20mb for a RAW file.  Yes, maybe that's not large these days.  Some of the books I have refer to pro's carrying multiple cards, but we're probably talking of 4 & 8 gb jobs.  At the time, 16gb ones were seriously expensive, but now they're practically small change (even for a known brand).


I upgraded from a Nikon FE when my very first Fuji digial camera (used MMC cards!) handled exposure infinitely better.  I'd say my current D80 gets that right 99% of the time.   In the other 1%, I can either fiddle with it myself or find I couldn't improve it anyway.


I'd expect Lightroom to handle RAW (and I'd class it as an professional/enthusiast product), but I'm impressed that Picassa can.


Like I said, though, interesting piece and, unless you're actually being limited by the quality or facilities of your present camera, an upgrade may well not be necessary.

17: Community Champion
17: Community Champion

Fantastic post @thesoupdragon I never realised just how much better a photo could be made to look with some simple edits!


Regarding memory card size/price, I just picked up an Integral 32GB class 10 microSD card (with SD adapter) for £9.49! You can pick up a 64GB Sandisk for around £20.

Sandisk have also just announce a 200GB card for about $300 I think if you're needing that much space.

16: Advanced member
16: Advanced member
Canon also have a raw file editing program which is Free.

I have a 10 year old DSLR Canon and always create a RAW file with standard picture.

And have edited a few to improve the Exposure and Colour Balance. The Results in some photos is really substantial.