Buying the best digital camera is like asking which is the best car in the world? The answer of course depends on your needs. If you want to win the Grand Prix, you need a Ferrari or something like that. But if you want to give it to your mom to buy groceries from a supermarket a few blocks from your house, a Toyota Yaris will be just fine.
Digital cameras are a little more complicated. The market of digital cameras is full of great choices. If you are in the market to buy a digital camera, you have surely seen several different types of cameras. It isn’t exactly clear what the differences between the types are, and it can be confusing trying to choose the digital camera that’s right for you.
Many people think that buying advanced and complex cameras and lenses will guarantee superb photographs. I’m sorry to say, that is not exactly true. Great pictures can also be shot with humble cameras. The creative skills of the man behind the viewfinders are an important part of the equation.
David du Chemin, a well-known professional photographer, said it well in one of his recent blog posts:
“The biggest lie we can listen to, or worse, tell ourselves, is that a bigger, newer, shinier, camera will make better photographs.
The best work of the last century was made on cameras that don’t rival the advancements of all our new technology. You have in your hands more tech than Henri Cartier-Bresson and Man Ray and Karsh and Lange and Weston and Rowell combined. If you’re not making work that voes others like the work of those that went before you, having so much less gear, and fewer options, perhaps it’s not about the gear at all.”
I know for a fact my that pictures are not the top-of-the line photographs at all. In fact they can’t even be called photographs. I prefer to call them snapshots, because that is what they are. But I like them and they are able to describe in images what I try to say in words. Graphics and text have done the trick over all these years.
During the five years I’ve had the Point-and-Shoot camera, I think I’ve taken about three thousand pictures. About seventy percent of them are included in Lingua Franca, the rest have been discarded and deleted. For me that’s a good batting average, considering that photography in itself is not the end result. My main goal is blogging about Panama and a broad range of other subjects as well.
Having said that, following the herd, I decided to escalate to a DSLR camera with a modest lens. It was a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a modest Lens Kit EF-S 18-55 IS. I thought that this was a wise decision, and like a magic wand, my pictures would be magical. I was wrong. After shooting several pictures, I realized that the difference between my compact camera and the new DSLR camera were almost identical. In addition, the DSLR camera was heavier, intimidating, and with too many buttons. Over the years, I mothballed the complicated camera and continued to take pictures with my old camera obscura. The EOS Rebel camera became so dusty that it accumulated fungus which flawed the lens and almost destroyed the camera.
A visit to Canon in Panama City saved the DSLR camera but not the lenses. They went directly to the waste basket. The costs to repair the lens was almost double the cost of a new one. Serendipitously, a nephew of my wife called in to ask if I needed an almost-new Canon lens. The requested price was only $100.00. Based on his knowledgeably recommendations, I accepted and bought the lens without hesitations.
Life is full of surprises. By an act of fate, I’m pushed to my DSLR camera and a more powerful lens. It’s lightweight, affordable with an Ultrasonic AF motor. This doesn’t mean my pictures will be more powerful than before, but at least it’s another opportunity to a new beginning in a new year. It’s time to use both brains—the left and right one. You know what I mean. I know it won’t be a walk in the park, but that’s okay. Reading du Chemin’s blog post gave me the comfort of knowing that using the most expensive gear will not necessarily bring forth the best photographs.
Photography is an art and as an art it is not guaranteed by the quality of the gear. The esthetics of photography are random, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective, and looking at the whole; whereas the mechanics of photographs are logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective and looks at the parts.
I have to concentrate more on concepts such as:
- What catches the eye?
- Balancing Elements
- Depth of Field
- Leading Lines
- Rule of Odds
- Rule of Thirds
- Pattern and Textures
- Watching your Backgrounds
- Geometric Shapes
As you can see, I’m still wet behind my ears as far as photography is concerned. There is still much to learn besides mastering my gear. Good Day.
Source: Towards Mastery. Again. – David duChemin, world and humanitarian photographer