Friday, April 4, 2014

Thought of The Day: Camera Choices

Rock Behind Ice Plant - Morro Bay, California
Captured with a Sigma DP2 Merrill.
In my Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip post two days ago I mentioned the cameras that I used. Below is the exact quote:
I brought along four cameras: a Sigma DP2 Merrill, a Samsung NX200 with a 50-200mm lens attached, a Minolta XG-1 with a 50mm lens and some Fuji Velvia 50 film, and a Nokia Lumia 1020. I exposed a little over 600 frames on the trip, with 50% on the Sigma camera, 48% on the Samsung camera, 2% on the Nokia camera, and I did not end up using the Minolta camera even once.
I was asked to explain a little more about why I chose the cameras that I did. What made me pick up one camera over the others? Why did I not use the Minolta at all? Why did I only use the Lumia 1020 2% of the time?
Big Creek Bridge And Coast - Big Sur, California
Captured with a Nokia Lumia 1020.
Let me first explain what I had in my camera bag: a fixed wide-angle lens (26mm equivalent on the Lumia 1020), two standard lenses (45mm equivalent on the DP2 Merrill and 50mm on the XG-1), and a telephoto zoom (77mm-308mm equivalent on the NX200). That pretty much covered all of the focal lengths that I might desire to use on the trip.

I did not choose the Minolta camera for three reasons. First, the focal length was already covered by another camera. Second, I chose convenience over quality (as most photographers do). Third, the Sigma Merrill cameras are the closest thing in the digital world to film, so it wasn't that big of a deal to not use the Minolta.
A Look - San Simeon, California
Captured using a Samsung NX200.
All things being equal, my camera of choice is the Sigma DP2 Merrill. However, on this trip, I found that often times I needed a telephoto lens to achieve the results that I wanted. That meant using the Samsung NX200. So I chose the NX200 when I wanted a telephoto lens, and I chose the DP2 Merrill when I didn't.

I thought that I'd use the Nokia Lumia 1020 more often than I ended up using it. Occasionally I wanted to use a wide-angle lens, but most often I did not. The decision had nothing to do with image quality. In fact, the more narrow dynamic range of the Lumia 1020 worked to my advantage in Big Creek Bridge And Coast because it created some great contrast leading from the bottom left corner and into the middle of the frame, eventually taking the viewer to the distant bridge.

Focal length was the biggest factor in the camera that I chose to use. I didn't worry about which camera had the best image quality. Worrying about minor differences in image quality is for pixel-peepers. Vision, creativity and the decisive moment trumps image quality every time.

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