Which Camera Is The Best?

This question is probably the most asked question for any photographer. You might have been asked number of times or you might have asked some other photographer the same question.

It is similar to asking which car is the best or which mobile is the best and so on. What I feel as best camera may not necessarily a best camera for you. I love my Nikon D750 now and I feel that’s the best camera. Does that mean other cameras are not good? Not really.

It only means that I vote for the camera that I own. Why?

It serves my purpose in the best possible way!

The goal of this article is not to emphasize or de-emphasize any camera or anyone.

It is just to convey the idea for all the photographers that it is generally not about which camera do you own, it’s instead about how proficient are you as a photographer

Though digital SLRs have made virtually everyone a photographer, which is quite good, at the same time it has made us dumber when it comes to art of photography.

How many of us have learnt to see the light modelling our subject?

How many of us can proudly say that we have mastered the image design and composition?

How many of us even know about dynamic range of our camera?

It wouldn’t have been the case if we had to shell out lot of money on buying film and getting it developed to know if made the right exposure. We would have been more cautious in our choice of subject, composition, film and of course the quality and direction of light.

In that pursuit we could have been much better photographers than we are today.

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The reason behind this article is a mail that I got from one of our avid readers Mr. Richard Warren.  With his permission, I am replicating his exact words here:

Dear Prathap

I love reading your comments – it is very generous of you to share your experience with other photographers.

I was most impressed with this comment of yours:

Never get bogged down too much by your equipment. Most of the times, it is the skillful use of equipment and deeper understanding of concepts that gives you more satisfying results.

A good photographer could pick up almost any piece of equipment and take a good photograph – even if it lacked in some technical aspects that would not detract from the result, in terms of artistry.  But a bad photographer could mess up, with the most sophisticated equipment.  So it is essential to understand and apply your comment, and teach ourselves more, if we want to achieve better results.

Regards

Richard Warren

I have been through this phase several times too! I have dreamt of getting better equipment so that I can get better results. But I have another trait; I would question thousand times whether I need that expensive gear or not. This way I would push myself to do the best I can to improve my photography than to improve my gear.

I think there is nothing wrong about dreaming, but if it gets converted to cribbing or getting frustrated with your current results, then there is something that you should overcome.

To throw some light on Richard Warren’s comment, I am including few of the photographs I took in my mobile camera that I am proud of.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography  by Prathap.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

One of the most important advantages of mobile phones is their compactness. They are easy to maneuver and make it easy to get close to the foreground elements because of their wide angle lens. Below is the photograph of a speed boat of my friend’s beautiful resort The Peepal Tree along the Kabini backwaters is an example of what is possible in a mobile phone.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Most often I use mobile phone to capture different compositions and sometimes unique compositions that I might not try in my DSLR.

When I hold my DSLR I feel some kind of a responsibility to make something good or something shareable to the people. This sometimes hinders my growth as a photographer and makes me more aware of my photography.

But this is not the case when I am using my mobile phone! I am free to take any number of photographs because most often I don’t share them. The free-will makes me try out many different compositions and in turn learn more about art of composition!

Here is an example of different compositions that I tried during sunset in Montrose beach point in Chicago.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

I have made use of the S-curve which is one of the Elements of Visual Design.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

I have tried to include the foreground element to create visual interest to an already beautiful scene.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

I have made use of the pattern (another important element in Elements of Visual Design) formed by series of poles to create visual interest and the depth.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

The ease of creating panorama is another most important aspect of my mobile camera. I use it many a times. Here are some of the in-mobile panorama photographs (which mean mobile creates the panorama on-the-fly).

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Here again, I have tried different compositions to see what works the best.

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Here is the last example of a panorama photograph that I created by stitching 6 photographs in Photoshop taken in mobile!

How to use Mobile for taking fantastic photographs and to improve your photography skills. Nature, Landscape, Bird and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

With all these examples, I think I have infused some kind of an enthusiasm in you to make the best use of your mobile phones or compact cameras. Give more importance to the light and composition than to the equipment.

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There are exceptions where mobile cameras may not be useful, say for instance in case of wildlife/bird photography. Reach is generally not possible. But that’s a different league altogether!

Heartfelt thanks to Richard Warren for inspiring me to write this article. He has more than 50 years of experience in photography and it’s an honor to have readers like him.

It is very important to understand that you are most important than the camera. Instead of spending more time and efforts in finding which camera is the best, it would be wise to spend more time on improving your photography skills.

I hope you have enjoyed this article as much as I did writing it. Any thoughts or comments are most welcome. I would love to listen to your story.

25 Responses to Which Camera Is The Best?

  1. Pinakin Trivedi May 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    I had limited budget for wildlife photography.I purchased Nikon D80 & Tokina atx 80-400mm from used market.Total cost was around 500$. I am happy with my results.You can see my work on 500pix.com.Kindly give feedback.

    Visit boredpanda.com & see mesmerising photographs taken by artist with 50$ non branded camera!

    • Prathap May 23, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

      That’s fantastic to know Pinakin Trivedi. Would it be possible to share the link to your portfolio so that I can check?

      • Pinakin Trivedi July 11, 2015 at 8:40 pm #

        I am sending link to my page on 500pix. I have used mostly Nikon D80,Kodak z990 & Fuji S1800 cameras.https://500pix.com/pinakintrivedi.

        • Prathap July 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm #

          Sure Pinakin. I am following you now. Will keep a watch on your work.

  2. Chendil Kumar May 22, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Thank you for an insightful article. I could relate well because I use Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 1020, both cellphones with exceptional cameras. I’ve got amazing results across continents.

    However, photographing wildlife/birding was a challenge as both cellphone cameras had limitations in zooming in.

    I recently went in for a Nikon Coolpix P900 with an exceptional zoom of 83x and am delighted with the results.

    With these three travel mates, my photography, while it may lack the precision and finesse of a DSLR, gives exceptionally satisfying results for me.

    Nikon has two other cameras, Coolpix P600 and P610 with 60x zoom, some kind of a poor man’s DSLR !

    • Prathap May 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

      Hi Chendil Kumar, as you rightly said, wildlife photography wouldn’t be possible with most of the mobile cameras due to limited or no zoom. But that’s altogether a different story.
      I like you statement “With these three travel mates, my photography, while it may lack the precision and finesse of a DSLR, gives exceptionally satisfying results for me.” It is the exceptionally satisfying results which matters the most in what we do. What is the point in having everything but not content with it?
      Wonderful point…Thanks for that!

  3. Timothy Lim May 23, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I owned a Canon Powershot SX50 with 50x zoom. I was using this camera for my bird photography for the reach. Took some good photos with it. I also know many birders uses “bridge” camera. The main downside is relatively slow focusing, especially for bird photography. Otherwise is a good camera for stills. It has decent video mode too.

    Every camera has its pluses. It depends on how one uses it.

    Got a good deal for an Olympus EM-5. Added 75-300mm lens and is now my primary bird photography camera.

    • Prathap May 23, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

      Fantastic to know Timothy Lim. I think bridge cameras have their own advantages and disadvantages as any other camera do. As long as your need dictates the camera you would do good. As you rightly said, it depends on how one uses the camera. There are so many examples of great photography done with dirt cheap cameras to most expensive one!
      Wish you great success with your new camera!

  4. Asad May 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi Prathap,
    I just stumbled upon your website while searching for information on photography and I found it very useful. I am a greenhorn at photography trying to develop my skills. I own a Nikon D5300 with 18-55 lens and I feel its a good option for the people like me. However I have not been able to use it to its potential simply because I get lost in jargon and technical definitions..! I doubt if great photographers had to do all that calculations of focal length, shutter speed, aperture, light metering, blah blah..before shooting memorable moments! I may be wrong too but I have a keen aptitude for photography which I need to shape up! How do I start with? can you help?
    Thanks!

  5. Laurence May 25, 2015 at 3:34 am #

    Prathap,
    I have enjoyed your articles and your comments and hope you continue to be as generous in the future.
    I have 2 different bodies I use, partly because I do not wish to change lenses in the field and partly because it is faster. A Nikon D610 is my secondary body and the Nikon D800E my primary. I have thought about trading the D610 for the newer D750 but cannot justify the additional cost even though it offers a superb increase in performance from the earlier models.
    The advantages of the D800E (not the D800) are several, the most important of which is image size. With the 36.5MP image a bird that is a smaller part of my image (far away) can be brought to full size without significant loss of resolution. This, of course is more difficult or impossible in the D750 or the D610.
    Please keep posting. I am a great fan of your work.
    Laurence

    • Prathap May 25, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

      Hi Laurence, thank you so much for your kind words. I wish I had a secondary camera 🙂 Superb ISO performance (highly comparable to that of D4) and increased dynamic range is its primary advantage of Nikon D750 over its predecessors.
      Wish you happy shooting. Thanks again for the kind words.

  6. K Srikanth May 26, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks for reinforcing ‘my’ belief through ‘your’ article.

    As always, it is the human element behind the machine which contributes to a good photograph. A mobile or compact camera may not have the capacity to blur or adjust to intensity of light, but can contribute in their own way.

    I have some ‘wow’ snaps with a canon power shot A620. Cherish them.

    • Prathap June 4, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

      Absolutely true! Srikanth. The mobile cameras may not possess some of the controls, but shouldn’t stop us from using them.
      A “wow” snap is something that captures viewer’s imagination or evokes some kind of emotion. No camera can do this on its own, because it does not have feelings! It has to be the person behind the camera!

  7. Ajoy Roy May 27, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    For nearly 7 years I had used the mobile phone camera to take tens of thousands of photographs for professional use – road and building conditions and progress. Properly used the mobile phone’s images are practically indistinguishable from those of DSLR, and you have the advantage of small size and discrete shooting.

    Though my sons have advanced DSLR, I chose to get the simplest one – Nikon D3300. The reason is that it has all the controls I will need, and the large dynamic range enables me to be a bit lax with exposure. The only advantage that I see in more expensive models is more controls and advanced features – none of which are really of much use to me.

    I also like primes, and my go-to lense for indoors is the Nikon 35mm F1.8 DX followed by 50mm F1.8.

    • Prathap June 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Ajoy Roy, That’s fantastic to hear! It’s a great motivator for all of us to keep using our mobile cameras whenever possible.
      I totally agree with you about buying what you need. If you are buying based on what you need, you will always be better off. I think 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 primes are fantastic prime lenses for multi-purpose shooting.

  8. Fritz June 29, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    I totally agree with you. I’m using a D5200 with a Tamron 70-300 VC lens and a Nikon 50 F/1.8. Maybe not the most impressive gear for birding and wildlife photography but after I switched to manual mode and started using filters in some cases my understanding of photography has doubled, if not tripled and the results have greatly improved. It’s indeed as you said not so much about the gear but rather what you do with it. I’d like to add to that that being creative once you’ve hit the limits of your gear is another thing. I’ve been able to do so much more with filters and other materials to increase the range of actions I could take with my current gear. I really got a kick out of it. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience, learned a lot from that as well.

    • Prathap June 30, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

      Hi Fritz, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. It’s so amazing to have like minded photographers in our community. I totally agree with your thoughts. I hope you find great success with your current gear.

  9. Lisa July 7, 2015 at 8:10 pm #

    Very well said! Thanks for the reminder!

  10. Stan September 1, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    Unfortunately, With this email I´ve been unable to qualify for the above named book´s download.

    • Prathap September 2, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      Hi Stan, I am not sure about the issue you are facing. I have sent you a separate mail. I hope we can take it up from there.

  11. Ajith Paliath September 14, 2015 at 8:18 am #

    Hi Prathap. Good to see your aricles on photography, equally good for novice and prof. Thanks for all the articles…
    regards
    Ajith Paliath, Uk

    • Prathap September 18, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

      Thank you so much! Ajith.

  12. LIJIN February 4, 2017 at 11:06 pm #

    prathap sir…i’m love to took photos with my mobile..when i’m look into my surroundings everytime i saw a lot of beautiful things..most of them i captured in my mobile..i tried a lot of jobs in my life now..but i don’t satisfied or happy in any kind of jobs..but when i took pictures or even look into my surroundings..it made me happy or a feel that i can’t express…what do you think sir..i don’t know what it is..will you please help me..?

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