Monday, April 1, 2013

Camera Envy

Camera manufacturers have done a great job over the last 12 or so years making people want the latest and greatest models. Camera manufacturers and those who sell cameras have created camera envy.

15 years ago when I was taking photography classes in college, I used a 20-year-old SLR that worked just as well as it did the day it was made. I had it recommended to me by a successful photographer as "one of the best cameras ever made." If I still owned it today (and I wish I still did), it would work just as well as when it was made. (By the way, I paid $150 for it with a great lens).
Camera In Hand - Redlands, California
The antique Russian rangefinder I'm holding in the image above is better than the eight-month-old DSLR used to capture the image. 
Imagine today a 20-year-old digital camera still considered "one of the best ever made." It isn't possible. Even the best DSLRs manufactured this year struggle to capture with the same quality that film cameras can.

Cameras have devolved. Cameras are worse today than they were 50 years ago. Yet we want the latest and greatest, and using a five-year-old DSLR will get you laughed at.
Horse At Fence - Onyx, California
Does it matter what camera was used to create this image? No, it doesn't.
Every year camera manufacturers make small improvements to their product line, and people go nuts! None of these cameras are worth going nuts over. They are all "good enough" and none of them are great. Pretty much any and all digital cameras on the market today create good enough image quality that a photography master can craft great images with them. Yet none of them get anywhere close to competing with the 8x10 view camera that Ansel Adams lugged around 75 years ago.

Worry less about what cameras you own. Worry more about vision and the decisive moment and things that actually matter. If you own a digital camera, you have what you need to craft great photographs. If you are truly interested in image quality, abandon digital and buy antique equipment. If not, then don't worry about it. What you have is good enough.

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