Choosing what camera equipment you want to use is no easy task. In todays society the phone camera seems to outweigh any dedicated camera for photography as preferred choice for recording a moment in time. Whilst phone cameras have come on leaps and bounds, (with the latest Samsung phone camera having a 108 mp capacity for an image, for instance), but, in my personal opinion, it still can’t beat a dedicated camera to take a better quality image.
My primary kit consists of a Nikon D500, Nikon f/1.8 50mm prime lens, Nikon 16 - 85mm zoom, Nikon 18 - 200mm zoom and 120 - 400mm Sigma zoom. I have a Neewer TTL (through the lens metering) flash, a remote trigger and various filters for the lens I have, and finally a trusty tripod for the all important low light photography.
This all sounds quite 'flash' as the camera I have is classed as a professional camera, by Nikon. I started off with a Nikon D40x, back in 2007, and have progressed through varying models. I stuck with Nikon, because for me, it was ease of use, plus as I had bought a couple of lenses, it meant it was easier to stick with the brand, rather than spending even more on replacing lenses as well. The D40x was an entry level model, it took good shots, but under todays scrupulous eyes, it would certainly have struggled to keep up. Most entry level cameras today, are far more advanced, and will take fantastic images, even more so if you have a full understanding of how the camera works.
The best advice that I can give on buying photographic equipment is to think about what you want to do with your photography. If it's just simple snapshots of the family, then a compact or bridge camera will be good enough. If you wish to progress to more prominent photography, looking for quality in the photo then a high end bridge camera or a DSLR would be better, especially if you are looking to print the final image. As far as what brand to get, then do the research. It's very much down to personel choice, what it is that you want to do etc, ease of use and how it feels when its in your hand (weight etc). Read the reviews of the brands and their various models. Ensure that the negative reviews are also read, as this can have a direct decison on your choice. Go to a camera shop, take advice from the people who work there, and ask to see a camera, so you can get an isea of what its like. Compare all the lens that you are looking to use, as again this can impact your decision. For example, if you want to do sports or wildlife photography then you will need a lens that is fast and will capture the subject as sharp as is possible. Third party lens can be just as good as brand ones, and quite often perform better for a fraction of the cost.
I now shoot away from the auto setting of the camera, which is usually found on entry level camaeras. Professional camera don't have this function. Majority of the time I use Aperture priority, which means I set the aperture, and the camera will set the shutter speed....If the shutter speed is too low, then I will adjust the ISO to allow the shutter speerd to be increased (more about these functions in a later blog). As time progresses, then shooting in manual, ie setting the shutter speed, aperture and ISO individually, to create the image, is by far the best way forward, as you have complete control of the end result. As you become more proficient with your camera, it wil be easy to set up in an instant and whilst on the go.
I always shoot in RAW when using the DSLR, as this gives me the biggest file with as much data as possible captured. It meand that i have no loss of quality when I do post processing, whereas if I shot in JPEG, then the quality of the image would become pixalated as i processed it and the file size would also decrease. I will post more about RAW in a later post......
Below is a recent image, taken in London, just after the release of the first lockdown. It was taken using the DSLR.
St Pauls Cathedral from Millenium Bridge July '20
Nikon D500, f/6.3, ISO 2000, 1/8000sec, 18mm
When I am out and about, my iPhone is my goto camera, it is what I use a lot of the time, unless I am out speciffically for the day doing photography. I have the iPhone 11 pro max, and I use a third party app called Camera M. Using this app allows me to shoot in RAW, which, as already stated, is my preferred file capture as I can then procees the image as to how I want to with no loss of quality. I have been an avid apple user since 2007, but I know there is much debate on the cameras in all the new smart phones, as each developer is ever improving the camera side of it. It is still down to the understanding of how to use the camera effectively to recreate the image that you have seen.
Below is an image that I took using the iPhone, on the same day as the one above. As you can see from both images, there isn't much in it as far as detail and quality goes, but that is very much down to my understanding of both pieces of equipment, and the patience to get the photo that I am looking for.
Rest assured though, the scene you see may look amazing to see in plain sight, but its not always easy to capture what you see with any type of camera, as our eyes and our cameras see things completely diffently. Its all about the composing........
Tower Bridge and The Tower of London July '20
iPhone 11 Pro Max (Back camera) f/2.4, ISO 20, 1/1295 sec, 1.54mm