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Go on, ask me .. whats the best camera?


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buttermere_from above

 

I know I know, yawn .. this again? well maybe it is but this time you will get a different kind of answer.

In my experience when people begin to develop an interest in Photography the most common question is ‘What camera should I buy?’ I get asked this A LOT! so I am going to tackle this one right here.

Firstly lets settle one myth, there is no ‘best camera’, there simply are cameras. For sure you can buy magazines and read web sites that try out, review and suggest what is best but each of these are just the point of view of usually one person and their conclusions rely on so many variables, including personal preferences. Often they are sponsored in some way by the manufacturer or they may even originate from the manufacturers so with that in mind, what should you do? Truth is cameras are no different than trousers, they must fit you, be comfortable and functional and they can be used by both men and women. One key difference is however that you shouldn’t buy the camera that just looks good. Bare in mind this is Lightism, you are unlikely a working professional so you want to get into the hobby, So before you start looking make a list of criteria which may include;

Budget (how much money can you afford)

Purpose (what will you use it for)

Your present level of competence (can you use it competently)

Size/Weight/durability

Features (that fit your intentions)

Things NOT to consider;

What my mate uses

What that photographer I admire uses

What will make me look like I know what Im doing (trust me it wont)

The biggest one

The expensive one with the cool name

The one with the most mega pixels and the turbo, hoverboard, spoiler and cloaking device.

devon_coast

Now interestingly, men will often go for the ones with all the bells and whistles despite not knowing or ever getting to know how to utilise all those features. Then, if I may beg your pardon, you just wasted money. Photography is about output, what you can create, not what you look like or what you can suggest you could do. Women however seem to approach this more practically and will buy the one that does what they want/need and fits their budget. I admire these people, when you stumble across lovely work than has been accomplished with the most basic of equipment. Thats a great approach and that comment will make more sense in a minute or two. Most of us will go through the ‘gear’ phase, I sure did. Thats the phase where you just want and think you need the better, latest “pro’ named stuff that will make your photography better … though you eventually discover that it will not. Its like the puberty of the photographic journey, awkward, painful but essential to get to the point of enlightenment when you one day will pick up just about any camera and make a decent image with it, you mature and just know whats important and it isn’t the camera per se.

So no one can really advise unless you are clear on your needs and intentions. I would even be cautious of the camera store advisor as I have witnessed some awful advice before now. I recall one time where I overhear a young man in a very well known chain advising that Nikons were best for landscapes and Canon best for anything else. sigh.

lakes_vista3

So my advice, I would start with the intention. Am I into fads? meaning is this a phase, just a curiosity? if so just use your smart phone guys, or your regular compact until you know if you want to go deeper. If its a serious hobby your are moving into then you need to consider the lists above and buy accordingly. Put those criteria above brand to start with, there isn’t such a thing really as a bad camera. So here is where my strong advice comes in …

What ever you choose, choose for the long term not the short term. Don’t buy thinking you will ‘upgrade’ in a few months or whatever. Buy for the long haul that is your journey through which you will become competent to a level where you yourself will know what camera will be needed next if at all. Because the best thing you can do is to ‘get to know’ your kit intimately. You will then get the best out of it and the best images out of you both. Live with it, sleep with it, let it get dirty and make it yours. Take care of it but don’t wrap it in cotton wool in case you will sell it one day, USE IT like it was meant to be used, abuse it even because only through really getting to know it and you will improve. You will manage to do things with it you only thought you could do with a professional camera (whatever that is). Wear it out, replace it with another one, wear that one out, wash, rinse, repeat until you know that equipment so well you develop a confidence beyond anything the big brands can offer you you for any money. That way, you will improve, I promise you that you will.

Below is a snap of a collection of cameras in my home today, I mentioned in the last post I was successful in a Landscape competition so for a bit of fun, which camera do you think I used?

 image1

 It was the smallest, simplest little digital mirrorless at the front centre. In fact all the images in this post were shot with similar small digital mirrorless cameras.

mothecombe_beachI hope I helped?

 

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