Three Important Factors for Great Photographs
Ok, I get you like small form-factor cameras because having one with you is better than having a pro rig that's in the closet at home, but which camera do you suggest for an advanced amateur photographer? I take a lot of pictures of our [dog, cat, ferret, parakeet, hamster, kids] to send to grandparents and post on Facebook, but want to be able to shoot really good quality pictures too, not just snapshots. What do you recommend?
There's an old photographers motto: "F8 and be there"
That was the old photojournalist's answer to a slightly different question, which was "what's the best setting for my camera to make the best picture?" There is a lot of truth to this for both questions, though: the most important is BE THERE.
So I made a handy checklist:
1. Be there when something interesting is happening.
Some people find their everyday lives fascinating and are constantly creating images based on those experiences. They find that interesting, but they have to carry a camera wherever they go to be able to capture those moments. That's pretty hard if you want to use a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) as they are heavy and typically one wants to carry accessory lenses, too. So many of those very expensive cameras are left behind in their Lowepro bags in the closet "away from the kids".
I strongly recommend cameras that you can carry all the time, thus satisfying item number two. Because if you want good pictures, you have to have the camera with you.
Once you are somewhere interesting and you have your camera, you have to be able to fire it up and shoot "right now". Many people buy cameras that require a great deal of thought and care before grabbing that image, and by the time they're ready to go, the opportunity is gone.
So- what do I carry?
1. iPhone 3Gs
I know it's popular to post photographs with the tagline "sorry about the crappy cellphone pics" but it does not have to be that way. Here are two examples from the 3Gs:
These were shot on recent motorcycle rides when I typically don't shoot pictures, I ride like crazy. Both were on rest stops or loading and both took very little effort. The roller coaster image used the iPhone app Sepia Camera [iTunes link]. Within a few seconds, both these scenes disappeared forever. Sure, the roller coaster is still there, as is the trailer, but the light changed. And I'd still have been digging in the bag for my Canon 1ds and lenses, if I had it.
My other favorite is the Canon G series. I've had the G3, G6, G9 and now the G11. The images are technically far superior to the 3Gs, but it's much bigger and does not fit in my pocket. It also produces images the "feel" different. This from the G9:
It's up to you what you carry, but these are the two I recommend most.
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