In addition to the response of Michael Clark that responds if the team is the one that makes good photographs or the photographer, I want to answer the question How to know that you have surpassed your team?
Beware: I will offer my life story as an anecdote to answer the question. It will be long and probably (although I hope not) boring. For all of you who want to omit that: I wrote a conclusion that precedes my long life story. There is another conclusion in the lower part, which is a little broader. Or, even easier: read the response from Crazy Dino.
Conclusion (a.k.a. "TL, DR")
Today's equipment is hard to beat: even today's most basic digital SLR camera offers better performance in low light and AF than any professional SLR camera. Exaggerated statement, not empirically tested!.
Of course, there are ways to overcome your team: the easiest way is to become a professional whose financial situation completely depends on making each attempt correctly.
With lenses, things are easier: the focal length will limit the frame (try to get a close-up photo of a tennis player in the game with an 8mm fish eye, or try to get a full concert hall with a 400 mm tele lens). The opening will not be as limiting as the focal distance, but even so, in low light environments, a wider aperture may be mandatory. Autofocus (fast) and image stabilization are also nice to have, as is sharpness, although these things can generally be compensated for.
(Anecdote) I think I have surpassed my team
After playing for a while with the analog reflex cameras for a while, I started with an EOS 450D and its EF-S 18-55mm lens kit plus an EF 70-210 f / 4 that I borrowed from my father. I was quite happy with this configuration, and although sometimes, there was a shot that I did not get, in general, I was quite impressed.
After 2 years and 360 days, I bought an EOS 60D after approximately half a year of decision making / Equipment Acquisition Syndrome. I was impressed by the 60D's faster fps, its cross-type AF sensors and the additional (compared to the 450D) quick control dial. Naturally, I immediately thought that the lack of those features had been the reason why I could not take better pictures. As money was scarce, I bought a Tamron SP 17-50 mm 2.8 XR Di II VC as my first "always on" lens.
That was the most unfortunate decision of my photographic career. (up to this point ;-)). I quickly discovered that I did not need more fps, that the cross-type AF sensors are not a kind of magic bullet and that, in general, there was nothing I saw as improved in the 450D (Well, it was good to have the video recording).
But here is the thing: It would be easy to say "bah, the 60D was a bad camera, anyway". Although I despiseone It's, I'm pretty sure it is not. I simply bought the wrong tool for what I needed and for my skill level. I thought that by simply updating the hardware, I could get better shots, the same as Michael tells us to be unrealistic in his response.
(Anecdote) I find out that I have not passed my team
I said that "I quickly discovered" that the 60D did not give me any innovative change. However, the good thing about that is that now I had a camera that I did not likeone, but I bought it with my own money, so I had to keep it for at least a few years. During those years, I learned to overcome the weaknesses.one of the 60D. I improved both my general style and my technical knowledge to a level where I really found practical Limitations to the 60D – and ways to overcome them. (where it is humanly possible).
In that era, I bought a Tamron SP 70-300mm 4.0-5.6 Di VC USD that I still have, and an EF 50mm f / 1.4 USM that I sold without hesitation after only one year (it seems that 50mm in APS-C is not my distance favorite focal).
Almost 3 1/2 years later, I bought an EOS 5D Mark III (which I still own) with its EF 24-105 f / 4L USM lens. Since then, I had to work (professionally) with many 3-digit, 2-digit DSLRs plus an EOS M6, and I can not remember what it was that made me believe I could beat the 450D. Of course, the full frame offers less noise and the ultra wide angle lenses are (were?) It is easier to obtain, but apart from that, I only find that some comfort features are missing in the "low class" digital SLRs. It seems that I learned to adapt to my team faster and to accept its limitations.
Later I bought a Samyang 14mm f / 2.8 and a macro EF 100mm f / 2.8L IS USM, both are among my favorite lenses. Today, I find that the most limiting factor for me is the lack of more lenses. And while I'm thinking about moving on to the next high-resolution full-frame EOS, I'll definitely wait for the next generation or even two: as I learned to accept and compensate for my team's quirks (very small), there's I need to get ready to Fry about it.
Conclusion (in depth)
I think there are no indications of whether he has exceeded his team or not. Honestly, I do not think you can beat your team today. – Even today's entry level MILC and DSLR are far superior to most analog things. The only way to overcome it is if need A feature that your current team does not offer.: If you are a sports photographer, then 6 fps will probably not be good enough (well, it is, but double the fps and double the possibility of a perfectly synchronized photo in your burst) and you will want the best AF system you can afford. If you like landscapes, then maybe you want the highest resolution you can (although a good telephoto lens and a good tripod can do the same with any camera, if you have time to sew). If you are a travel photographer, then a light and universal configuration could be the best option. Etc. p.p ..
Another way to overcome your team is to become a professional (serious): If a single missed opportunity is enough to get you out forever, then you'll want to buy the toughest equipment there is.
Because of all this, it is very likely that at some point you will buy equipment that does not help you improve your vaccines. However, there is no certain way of saying it (as a third party). If you now decide to buy a 1D X Mk II, I think to be excessive, you may have your reasons for the update (and you might be jealous ;-)).
Now it is much easier, since anyone can see the difference between an EF 50 mm f / 1.8 and an EF 100-400 mm f / 4-5.6L IS USM II. No, I'm not talking about color (including the red ring): I'm talking about color focal length and a little about the wider opening available.
If you want to make portraits, then an 8mm fish eye and a 600mm tele prime will probably not be the right tools. If you are interested in bird watching, you may want the longest focal length you can afford. If you are photographing mainly in low light environments, you will want to buy the fastest lens you can afford. Etc. p.p ..
Still, it is possible that I bought the wrong lens at some point, for example, I bought the EF 50 mm f / 1.4 USM only to discover that I do not like anything.
onePlease keep in mind that still hate the / my 60D. This is a 100% subjective feeling that is not backed by any The objective measurement and really is a kind of self-hatred projected by buying the wrong camera with the little money he had then.