Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thought Of The Day: Your Camera Matters Not

People worry far too much about what equipment they do or don't have. Actually, that is a major understatement. Almost all of the traffic that comes to this Blog are folks looking for information on cameras and other photography equipment. Very, very few come here looking for information on improving their photography.

It's as if everyone knows how to create great photographs, if only they had this or that camera or lens. The truth is if you cannot create great photographs with what you have right now, you won't be able to even with that new camera or other equipment.

I have been busy lately going through all of my photographs so that I can create an on-line portfolio. This is a big task, but I'm not far from being finished. I pretty much have all of the semi-finalists down. Only about one out of five or six of those photographs will make it into the final portfolio.

There are some surprising things I discovered when looking at the photographs that made it to the semi-finals.

First, over the last two years (just over two years, actually), about 95% of my photographs have been captured with either a Pentax K-x or Samsung NX200, but only about 70% of the semi-finalists are from those two cameras. This tells me that I'm more careless when unsuccessful images can easily be deleted and forgotten. I think cameras that have limitations often stroke imagination. The "lesser" a camera is, the more creative I tend to be with it. The success rate that I have with my other cameras is significantly higher than with the K-x and NX200 and I should be using those other cameras more often. It also tells me that while digital capture is far more convenient, film is still superior in quality and aesthetics.

The second surprise is just how often some of my "other" cameras are represented in the semi-finals.

Leading the way is my cell phone, which is an overlooked photography tool. There is a certain charm in the photographs created with my cell phone and it's a camera that I have with me all of the time. The photographs can be made into 8" x 10" prints, no problem. Some can go larger than that.

Next is my $20 Holga 120N from China. This camera can be used to capture unique and amazing images that have lots of character, all for a fraction of the price of a new DSLR. This camera has my highest success rate.

I have a Nikon S8100 digital point-and-shoot that is well represented in the semi-finals. Often it's a matter of having a camera--any camera--with you that's important to "getting the shot" and not the so-called quality of the camera.

Then there is my $40 FED 5C from Russia, Canon T70 that was a gift, and Promaster 2500PK SLR. Photographs taken with these cameras all made the semi-finals, despite me not using them often.

Finally, one image captured with a 35mm Kodak disposable camera made into the list. Yes, a photograph from a disposable camera might just end up in my portfolio! Any camera can be used to create great photographs, even ones that most would scoff at.

So don't worry about what camera you own or don't own. Use what you have the best you can, and you'll be surprised at what you can create.

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