Mapbox's Dane Springmeyer did a great talk at FOSS4G explaining both vector tiles and mapbox studio.
I was struggling with the tiled png paradigm. My project was pretty big and I ran into multi-week rendering times. I had to learn how to make my database faster. The size of my tiles were in the gigabytes. How was I to get the data to my customers? Would I expect them to reserve 4 gigs for map data on their phones? I had to cut off zoom levels, because the file size/render times was growing exponentially.
The key idea to resolving this problem and vector tiles is that style and data should be separated-- more like a web page where you deliver text and a way to style the text, not deliver a pixel-by-pixel rendered page.
Mapbox Studio has the two-pronged style/data divide. The program can change your shape file/postigs/etc into a mbtile vector data. You can upload that to mapbox or store locally. Since Mapbox already hosts alot of data and your own data will be much smaller than rendered png tiles, you very likely will be able to host it all on the free (100 mb) account. Mapbox provides hillshade, contours, osm data-- all the stuff that was taken up so much time and storage for my project. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Vector tiles are new so the methods to get your tiles onto webpages/iOS/android probably aren't as easy as linking to a leaflet script and you'll run into some frustrating bugs. For example, Mapbox Studio loves to repeatedly label a linestring running through several tiles, because each tile represents an independent fiefdom (There is a hacky approach through the use of buffers to counter-act this, but it doesn't seem to work for me.) Furthermore, Studio has some serious bugs; it doesn't work well with Postgis on my computer (I found converting to shapefile before uploading to Studio got around this.) Overall, it is an very usable app that has saved time compared to the tilemill approach.
Even though Studio is tied with Mapbox online, I haven't found a way in which non-paying customers were denied functionality. You can't export png tiles, but that's outside of the scope of the app.
So to answer your question, Yes, try switching to Studio. Give it a bit of time to get used to the new approach.
- Not a shill for Mapbox, just think their products are both powerful and free as in beer.