Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raw Talk: Camera Decisions?

Today, as of 2010, digital cameras along with computer technology have led to a major revival in photography. Before, everybody wanted to be a photographer, and today….everyone is! Well, at some level. The cameras are so good and have so many auto features that taking good photos and even HD videos is easier than ever before. But being able to take great pictures still takes a good eye, skill and knowledge of lights, camera and of course, layers! Inside are 3 tips to buying the best camera for your needs.

If most of the work will involve ‘people’ photography, fashion or portraiture, for examples, the choice will probably be the DSLR (digital single lens reflex). I am all about less gear and more brain, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. There are a number of attractive designs and features around with 'xx' zoom and 'xxx' megapixels….and some pocket cams in good hands produce really good quality images on screen, but, for print….its a completely different story. Photographers as they grow realize this when they have a Time magazine type picture, and need to print big or publish in magazine. That’s when you feel the need to upgrade.

Ok, now hold that thought.

This feeling that you just got, is a disease all the photographers from grade 2 to grade 7 have. (out of a scale from 10 ie. 0 being Beginners to 10 being Legends). They hang out on DPreview ! Just kidding. This feeling just grows in terms of light equipments, modifiers, laptops, lenses and so on. And, with the ever changing technology….this has become a serious joke.

Let me tell you a story. My story. When I started out….i already had Yashica 35mm film SLR of my dad which he never got to use. I went in Photo Editing and designing and worked on other industry professional photographers images on photoshop for ads etc. The digital wave in the beginning of this millennium was so appealing and the thought of shooting right in your computer and editing it, was when I decided to buy a D30 and a 50mm prime lens for a couple of thousand dollars. Ya, the 3megapixel one from canon. Then I bought the D60 in 2003 for $2,500.00, and decided to switch career.

Canon EOS D60 6MP Digital Camera

And so it began. The 300D came next for half the price….and guess what, I needed a backup right!
Canon EOS 6.3MP Digital Rebel Camera with 18-55mm Lens
Back then, there was a big controversy about Digital Vs. Film! Many Pros of the time emphasized that digital photography would never surpass film. So, I had to buy a medium format Mamiya for clients who still like film.
The day I bought that, overnight every client found this new found faith in digital and the savings it made. Then came more megapixels and full frame sensor, and unluckily i was buing the Mark2, when the 5D created a revolution with low noise and full frame sensor. I had to get the first 5D.
Canon EOS 5D 12.8 MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

But wait, whats this trend I see again. Digital backs are getting cheaper….and every competitor is getting one. I have a nice film body lying around with three lenses since the first day that no one wants to buy….so bye bye 5D….i’m going to Medium Format Digital!!!
Hasselblad H3D-39II, Medium Format Digital SLR Camera with 39mp Sensor & 3" LCD Display Bundle with 28mm HCD LensMamiya DL28 Digital Camera System with 645AFD III Body, Sekor 80mm f/2.8D Lens, and 28MP Leaf Aptus-II Digital Back

There is a lesson to be learnt from this for those who don’t OWN villas in LA/NY or Paris, especially those from other continents. Most of you have your own stories probably. The market is kind of stable now. What do I own now. Nothing really worth mentioning!

So, how do I handle big assignments?

I have one word for you….


Anywhere in the world, biggest studios and the best cameras are available. I make the client pay for it. You want the quality of a 60mp H3D, pay for it. And, you better get a backup with that eh! I will be the ring master of the circus. I’ve used all hi-end cameras I can ever think of buying. Do you think, all the directors in Hollywood own cameras and studios….no. If the client thinks your work is what he wants, he will hire you. As simple as that. For the best jobs, use the best equipment. Invest in learning how to use all, more techniques and traveling and creating a portfolio. That’s where I am right now. It keeps the focus on photography and builds flexibility. If you want to reach the top of the mountain, travel light.

Okay, so lets help you invest in a camera! Here are a 3 tips that time and experience have taught me:
1. If you’re 'going' pro, start out as inexpensively as possible while still purchasing quality products which will continue to serve a purpose, even when you advance to something better.

2. Lenses are one of the best investments you can make more than the camera body.

3. Keep learning to use your tools better, that’s the best investment, regardless of whether you have the most expensive tools or not.

No piece of equipment is perfect, and there is none that can do everything.

So, i didn't name that perfect camera for you in this post. But, for sure if my words have made an impression, it will stop you from buying the wrong one.


  1. thank you that is really helpful really thank you this is the end to a disturbing ambition how oh how will i ever afford a phase one or Hasselblad thing....i believe in every word u said it was really convincing again thank you Sid i'm learning a lot from your blog

  2. Hi said, i'm glad it helps and that you learned from my experience.

  3. I'm using a Nikon D40, and I plan to buy a D700. But thank you, I has change my mind about owning equipment.

  4. Hi, thanks for this article.
    Well, i did the same mistake and i still can't stop this gearholic and collecting desire, and at the end i am still a hobbyist and i didn't pay back even 1% of my whole equipment, so i really don't know when i have to stop.

  5. some of my best b/w images were done with a kodak digital pocket camera that ..get this..had a pc port, and 3 megapixels!..I wish i still had that camera....