Above: Image, Gina Milicia “Michael” photographed using Fuji x100F
It’s been an exciting couple of years for photography lovers with all the big camera manufacturers announcing new technology ranging from better and faster focusing, sharper lenses, In-body stabilization, better low light shooting, faster glass and larger image sizes.
I’d be lying if I told you my inner geek girl wasn’t drooling over some of these specs!
- 50MB raw files
- gazillions of + focus points
- touch screens, flip screens
- WiFi connectivity
- 4K video
- coffee maker and inbuilt foot massager (I made that up but it can’t be far off).
There is no doubt in my mind that many of these advances have made my life easier as a professional photographer.
- Larger file sizes and higher resolution give me crisper details.
- Advances in autofocus have increased the number of keepers or images that are sharp to over 95%.
- Better low light performance has opened up a whole new world of shooting possibilities.
- Electronic viewfinders give me the option to preview my images before I take them.
- Touch screens, flip screens and WiFi connectivity allow me to easily share my images with clients on multiple devices no matter where I am in the world.
But not one of these advances has made me a better photographer because good photography has nothing to do with the camera and everything to do with the person pressing the shutter.
It doesn’t matter how intelligent the AI becomes, how many megapixels or how sharp your images become. A camera can’t choose an interesting subject or know the difference between a vacuous stare and soulful eyes. A camera doesn’t understand composition, nor does it have the ability to find simplicity in a chaotic environment or beauty in subjects that others find ugly.
Don’t believe the hype, the camera you want is not the camera you need.
*cue The Rolling Stones*
“No, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need”
Before you rush off to drop thousands of your hard earned dollars on the latest “IT” camera ask yourself the following question…
Do I need this camera or do I just want it?
The camera you need takes photos.
The camera you want also takes photos but with sexy bells and whistles. It’s just like when I went to buy my first car. The car I needed was a well-made, reliable car that got me from A to B. The car I wanted was a bright red convertible sports car. In the end, common sense prevailed and I bought a Toyota Corolla. I grew to love that car and it was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. I might have looked five percent cooler in my little red corvette but owning a sports car before I barely knew how to parallel park was a waste of money.
The good news is that any DSLR and mirrorless manufactured in the last 3-5 years will be a great camera and if you shoot in auto mode you will get a sharp and beautifully exposed image.
In fact, all these cameras are so good that when you view images taken with anyone of these camera ranging in price from $500 to $8000 it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference.
To prove my point have a look at the images above. These were shot on several different cameras ranging in price from $800 to $8000. Can you tell which image was shot using an $8000 camera and which image was shot on an $800 camera?
Choose your brand and camera based on what works for you and the kinds of subjects you will be photographing. If you plan on shooting professionally look for heavy-duty pro bodies with dual card slots, longer battery life, weather seals and good color profiles.
If you plan on shooting sports or fast-paced action look for a body that shoots between 1/4000th and 1/8000th of a second shutter speeds.
Plan on shooting portraits? Find a camera that recreates good skin tones.
Street photography? Go for a smaller, more discreet camera with a quiet shutter.
If you are just learning, get anything. Film, pinhole, DSLR, mirrorless, There is no wrong answer. Just what is right for you.
The best camera you can buy is the one you will want to use every day. There is no point in buying the Lamborghini of cameras if it sits in your garage because you can’t work out how to get it into reverse.
P.S. for those of you playing the guess the images game here are the answers:
- Iphone 6 (approx $800)
- Canon 5D MK11 ($3500 with lens)
- Phone 8 (approx $800)
- Fuji x100F (approx $1600)
- Canon 1Dx (appox $8000 with lens)