As a photographer and a sales consultant at Orms I have a unique perspective of both sides of the sales counter when it comes to photography and specifically photographic equipment and people’s needs. The one question I am always faced with is “Should I buy Canon or Nikon?” and “What is the best camera?” and my immediate response is “What do you have now?” and “What is it that you shoot?”
Ladies and gentlemen, photography is all about variables and trade-offs. Its shutter speed versus aperture over ISO. Up on the one variable and down on the other. An intricate dance with technical parameters in order to achieve one thing. The exposure we want for that one specific subject at that specific time. There is no one single “recipe” for all occasions. The only thing I have come across which is constant, is the continued and ongoing battle between the two giants Canon and Nikon for dominance over the industry and that is not going to change.
If I had to line up on the counter in order of technical superiority all the available cameras, you will find that you don’t have one entire brand following the other, they are intermingled. And the line-up is dependent on your specific requirements. So where does that leave us?
What you have to do is decide what kind of photography you are into? You have to ask yourself a couple of questions. “Why do I need a camera?” How often would I use a camera for general purposes like holidays and family occasions. The majority of the average persons needs will be covered by one of the very many compact cameras available. Small compact models which you can drop into your pocket or handbag. For the sports field person, one of the larger “Bridge” type cameras that offers plenty zoom.
If you are thinking of going the Digital SLR route, then know this: It can be a long and expensive journey, but very rewarding in long run. SLR’s offer you much more variables to play with. They allow you to take full control of the exposure. Their larger image sensors offer a broader dynamic range to play with, more subtle variations in colour tone, saturation, contrast, and exposure levels and much less noise in darker situations. They offer one or other RAW capture mode which is perfectly suited to image editing on your PC or Mac with the likes of Photoshop and Lightroom. SLR’s offer you a wide range of lenses to choose from, and no, you will not need to buy all of them, they are task specific.
An SLR is what you want if you are passionate about photography. Serious photography requires you to use your left and right brain together. Learn and understand the technical parameters at your disposal until they are instinctive, then apply that knowledge to the artistic side of the equation, composition and expression. The photographers whose work you admire and the iconic images you have seen represent a very small percentage of the images they have ever taken. You are seeing their best of the best. If you go out shooting, and you come back home to review your shots on your computer and you find that most of your shots are plain or boring, don’t worry or panic! Look at the shots; figure out what’s wrong with them? How could I improve on that shot? What were my exposure settings? How could it have been better? And remember those things the next time you are out shooting.
Lastly, back to the two giants. Don’t get lost in the eternal struggle between them, and the opinions of just about everybody with a voice on web. Don’t get lost in the splitting of hairs of technical superiority and all the while sitting back feeling indecisive and not shooting. The camera and its accessories are simply tools. You are the photographer. Know your needs, and choose equipment that suits those needs. Remember it’s all about the image and not the gear. The best camera is the one in your hand.