I've definitely have bought my fairshare of cameras, for all types of different models and each for a different purpose. In a time where technological advances for cameras come almost every instance a new camera is released, the choice for selecting a camera has become more cumbersome than ever.
I too, have become guilty of relentlessly looking for the latest and the greatest as an excuse for putting out better quality work. But to what extent does it begin to become a detriment rather than beneficial? As I've pondered the answer to this question, my experiences have brought me to a few conclusions.
1# Less might be more.
Sure , we all would love that new 50 megapixel Canon or that new Sony sensor that can reach 400,000 ISO, but do you really need it? What type of work do you find yourself performing the most? Have you reached the limits with the tools you have, or are you just bored? I've always allowed my current creative limitations determine what my next investment should be. For example, if I'm booking a lot of nightclub gigs, and I don't have the room or capacity to set up lighting, I might be inclined to invest in the Sony a7s to help me natively see in the darkest conditions. The same camera in the hands of a person who mainly shoots during the day, would be a waste in my opinion.
2# Have You Mastered Your Current Tools?
I can't even count how many times I've seen an artist invest in expensive equipment only to sell it months later, or examine their work to find it sub-par to industry standards. In my mind, I think - why is their work lacking when they have everything they need to execute their vision? Much of that has to do with the user not fully knowing the limitations and capabilities of their own tools. Every camera, lens and apparatus has a sweet spot regarding its specific function. Most times, using a camera or lens outside of its "sweet spot" results in poor performance or produces less than ideal results. Example, there's a reason why a "18-55mm kit lens" might not take great portraits. Are you using a crop sensor or full sensor? Which focal length are you shooting your subject in? Are you using adequate lighting and modifiers to properly expose your subject and their surroundings? How are you editing the images from the kit lens? Are you shooting in RAW or JPEG? There are a myriad of variables that affect a great image and being aware and understanding how they all affect each other is key is getting the best result from your image.
3# Is it Truly Practical?
Knowing if your current setup is practical depends largely on what you're exactly shooting. Each job is different and requires a different set of tools than the last. When we first learn photography or videography, it's instinctive to lean towards a setup that generally does everything. This is the easiest way to enjoy the craft and over time, figure out what you like capturing the most. The bad part about this is, we become lazy and begin looking for "the best" camera, or "the best" lens or the best this and that. Truth be told, such a thing doesn't and never will exist. Every piece of equipment has a few things that it does exceptionally well at, while having a plethora of other functions as "nice to haves". Example, if I shoot mainly portraits as my specialty, the first the most important lens I would invest would be an 85mm prime lens for the way it flatters my subject and depicts their proportions accurately. Most prime lenses also have a shallow depth of field (aperture) that will enable me to separate them from the background creating a nice, smooth fall off/transition. Using a Canon 24-105mm f4 lens covers 85mm and would get the job done, but I would have to work much harder to have it perform remotely close to the prime 85mm lens. Because I understand the practicality between the 24-105mm zoom lens and the 85mm prime lens, that places me a step ahead in the field when I need to obtain a specific result for a client.
These are a few of the many, many thoughts I have regarding having the "best" camera - and in most cases, I try to think about what I might encounter for the day, the type of images I plan to capture and how I want them looking. If you think about your shoots this way, it will not only help produce better images, but also keep you from carrying excessive equipment you don't need.