” Which Is The Best Camera? “

” Which Is The Best Camera? “

 

I am going to resist giving the glib answer – ” The one you have with you.” – as it never really seems to satisfy the customer who wants to spend money. It might well be the correct reply to a real old photographer, but they know it already and never ask the question in the first place.

As a professional salesman with a amateur conscience I frequently found myself steering people away from decisions that might have been wrong. It may not have been what the business demanded, but it was what the craft deserved.

I did get people to tell me what size they wanted their final image – literally what size in inches or centimetres -and what form it would be. This could be on paper, canvas, computer, or mobile phone screen. The answer set the mark for the camera to shoot at and I could provide a number of alternative ways to achieve it. It surprised some people to hear that they could make their art with modest equipment.

In fact, I saw this many times. Someone used an unpopular brand of camera – a basic model with a single lens. It might have been a so-called ” kit ” lens or a single focal length prime lens. It might have been a bridge or compact pocket camera. The rest of the system…possibly equally humble – a laptop computer or an older operating system. Some photographers used computers purchased in garage sales…I suspect a couple came off verges in the night.

The criteria of success for these artists was the finished product – not the fancy gear that might have produced it. They uniformly studied their equipment and found out how to get the best from it. Really, sometimes all that was involved for them was to let the working system go and do what it was programmed to do. They then got a good result, and if they were wise enough to recognise this rather than let some internet expert convince them otherwise, they could sleep good at night.

Sometimes they looked at commercial accessory products and rather than shell out for them, they produced their own. Matte board, soda straws, gaffer tape – they all contributed to custom-built accessories and more control of the image.

The best photographers in this class were the ones who wore their cameras out. Who shot out the shutters and peeled off the coverings. The ones whose sensors eventually failed with old age. They got to this exalted position by taking thousands of images and learning all the way. They got full value from photography!

 

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