Thursday, October 13, 2011

On Becoming a Better Photographer - Part 4

Where Does That leave YOU?

If you’re a professional, chances are you already know exactly what you need. If you don’t own it you know where to rent it. You’ve already done the cost-benefit analysis and understand just how much you can afford. You understand what technical demands are in your specialty for optical distortion correction, speed, versatility, weather proofing, etc.

But if you’re an advanced amateur or trying to move from novice to advanced, or if you’re transitioning from amateur or student to professional it might not be as clear to you what you need. Here are a few guidelines:

Invest in the System - Not the Camera - Camera bodies are just the beginning of your photography system. The lenses and accessories can often be many times the cost of the basic body. It makes sense to buy into the best system you can afford. Upgrading a body is relatively modest in cost. Replacing your lenses for another brand will be costly and painful. At present, there are three systems that are truly comprehensive: Canon, Nikon and Sony in alphabetical order. All are excellent and each has its advantages. You can’t (IMHO) go wrong with any of them. If you’re limited in budget, start off with a lower end body but buy better glass. (Adapters are available that can let you use other lenses on your body but not always as conveniently.)

Invest in Portability, Not Megapixels - If you’re looking for a great camera to have with you, (and the one you have with you ALWAYS takes better pictures than the one you don’t) choose size, weight and portability over megapixels. Any of the top end point and shoots will take decent images - especially if you’re not going to enlarge them too much. However, if a little better quality and versatility is needed, smaller DSLRs like the Canon Rebel series are a great alternative - especially with a small zoom lens. They’re light enough to carry just about anywhere and high enough in quality to enlarge to sizes you’d have a hard time finding room for in your home.

To be continued in part 5

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