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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have tried to include the foreground element to create visual interest to an already beautiful scene.
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).
Here again, I have tried different compositions to see what works the best.
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.
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.