Choosing the right camera.

One of the little things I have noticed about the digital photography revolution is just how limiting new technology  is. When I first started in photography I had three camera systems,. most shooters had at least two.

I shot 35mm SLR cameras for sport, Medium format  for weddings and portrait and some commercial jobs were shot on  4 x 5 inch technical view cameras. Each system had its strengths and weaknesses. Since the arrival of digital for professionals, we have seen most shooters confine themselves to just one system.

Today the vast majority of working photographers use DSLR’s. Choosing either consumer grade DSLR’s, Prosumer DSLR’s or the more expensive pro grade DSLR’s such as the ones we at excitations use. They work brilliantly for those jobs which suit them and are ok at most other jobs as well. Certainly not prefect all rounders but they’ll get you by.

If however, we shot a lot of  architecture for example our first choice of camera maybe technical view camera fitted with a MF Digital back. With swing and tilt adjustments to correct distortion these cameras are used widely for high end reproduction work. Producing superb high resolution (as is real high resolution rather than salesman hype high resolution) fully detailed and terrifically colour saturated images.

Shooting high end fashion or advertising work and we would most likely choose a medium format DSLR with a high resolution digital back. Stunning quality, slower to use than  your standard 35mm look alike DSLR but a lot faster in the field than a technical view camera.

Or if photojournalism was our main call we may opt for the stunning Leica rangefinder camera system. Small light, unobtrusive but still delivering fabulous image quality.

So what’s the point of all this. Well each and everyone of the above camera types has its uses. Each are better at some things than they are at others. In the past photographers would choose their equipment for each job based on what was best for that job. Today it seems we many of us choose just one system regardless of it’s suitability to the task at hand.

I would love to shoot  weddings on a Leica M9 for example. The resulting images would be lovely. However they would not look like anything we shoot now on our pro DSLR’s, just because the cameras are so totally different from each other. I’d happily shoot a wedding on a MF DSLR fitted with a high resolution digital back also. Image quality would be stunning, but the feel of the image would be totally different to what we normally shoot.

We can of course keep changing things up while using our current DSLR’s as well. Something as simple as changing the combination of interchangeable lens we take to a wedding for example, will have an effect on how we shoot for the day.


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