Seen working with a high end DSLR, I am often asked for my advice on camera choice. The question is something like, “Ah I’m thinking of getting a new camera. What would you suggest is a good one to get?” This is what they say but what they actually mean is, “Wow, I love the look of that camera. You obviously think it’s the right one to get. Tell me why I should get one just like that and more importantly, how I can justify the expense to my wife!”
Now before I go any further I should probably explain that as far as I’m concerned, there are two types of photographer. I mention this as an observation without judgement but it seems to hold true. There is the guy who wants the best ‘gadget’ he can afford. He is dazzled by brands and the most expensive is obviously the most impressive. He can reel off impressive specs as if he’s playing trump cards. For him there is only one brand of camera worth buying – everything else is rubbish and all the people who know what they’re doing use the same brand as him. The other kind is interested in pictures. He wants quality equipment because it gets the best results. I am very firmly in this second camp. I have some really good equipment but am not quoting brands because as far as I’m concerned the other major producers, produce some really good quality equipment. My only question is, when I show you a picture can you tell which camera I used? Quality is essential but brand loyalty is a matter of personal preference and the only reason I stay with the make I prefer is compatibility with existing equipment and familiarity of use.
So back to the enquiry generated by my dazzling high end DSLR. My question is, “what do you want to do with it?” This usually causes my inquisitor to stumble for a second. He never expects there to be any consideration further than justifying why he wants a camera like mine! After a brief consideration he finds his feet again and explains that he’s always been interested in photography and wants to be able to take some nice pictures when he’s on holiday or out for the day with the family. He is usually disappointed when I tell him that for those sorts of occasions I have a small but rather good quality digital compact. The potential for high quality images is not anywhere near my high end DSLR but it fits in my pocket. The small compact fits in my pocket so for a family day out it is not the significant burden that a DSLR is. The small compact will take nice family pictures and it’s far better to have a camera that’s in your pocket and takes pictures to look back on, than a burdensome camera that takes far better pictures if only you’d taken it with you.
If you want to walk ’round with ‘a badge’ then buy the most expensive you can afford but if you want pictures whilst you’re out for a fun day, buy something you’ll actually take with you!