From several on-going web forum discussions. People were arguing what the best camera is but never layed out any guidelines. Here is what my reply was “On the best gear….”. Note that the forum is "Fine Art Photographers" and the question was “Are you a photographer or an Artist?” and in it someone asked about the best gear to use.
People are missing the point on “the best gear” and again
goes to the question “Are you a photographer or an artist?” I’m often thinking
many people are neither. When someone blankly asks what the best gear is, it's obvious they have no understanding of what photography is, what a camera is and what its for or how to use it! My question is "What's the best gear for what?"
As photographers (people who make realistic copies of the
world around them) we need the best meaning gear that will give the best
results based on what we are doing. A Hasselblad sucks at Bird Photography and
so a Canon 70D or a Nikon D800 with a 500mm or 600mm lens is required. If we
are doing corporate head shots and we never print very large, a full frame
camera like a 5D is perfect combined with a good piece of glass. If on the
other hand you are shooting head shoots that need to be printed very large, the
5D sucks and a Hasselblad or Leaf would be better. But, even these cameras may
not do what you need if shooting high end large scaled landscapes or
architectural images and so you may need to go to 8x10 or an ALP or something
like that as you may require more perspective correction than what a TS Lens
will offer. Photographers generally (note the word generally here as the trolls
on this site will skip this word) require way more quality than a Diana camera
and often more than a good cell phone camera. But even these may be good enough
for Web based work and such.
As artists on the other hand we require other elements. And
the camera or the gear should not be deciding your art or hindering your art.
You camera should be your ‘tool’ and the old adage of make sure you “use the
right tool for the right job”. A painter will know his tools and will not use a
palate knife when a fine delicate brush is required. As artists why is your
camera (the palate knife) forcing you to create art in a specific way? As
artists ‘WE’, the artists decide on a project. We decide on the ‘language’ our
photographs will use and we will decide on the project as a whole and will
define what technical specs are required. Often these technical specs are not
“quality” (the Hasselblad) but rather a
“look” or a “feeling”. So then the question is what is the “Best” camera turns
into “What is the Best Camera for My Artistic Project”. It may be a Pinhole
Camera, a Diana for doing Lomography type images, a Cell Phone for quick and
easy, it may be a Leica type compact for high quality Street Photography, a
DSLR for on location artistic Portraiture, a Medium Format Digital or perhaps
Film (remember the project and the look) for on location Fine Art Nudes or
perhaps 8x10 or 20x24 film camera for incredible grand landscapes.
Note that these can all me mixed up also as a Fine Art
photographer could use a Diana if he chooses to for creating Fine Art Nudes.
That’s the beauty of ART! But the point here is “What is the look you want?”
and “What tools will get you those results?”
If you want to become a better artist you should learn to
visualize and conceptualize a project. You should define its photographic
language (what Camera, what Lens and what Focal Length if using a Zoom), what
Viewpoint, what Aperture, what Film, what Look, what grain or other outputs
(perhaps Cyanotypes as an example (Yes this much detail and others) and then
based on what you need to create “the Vision” you should then choose the best
tool! And it may be a Pinhole Camera! NOT a Hasselblad.
It’s all about control of the project and what photographic
language and vision you want in your final images. As an artist you should know
your equipment inside and out and be personal with it. You should know its
strengths and weaknesses.
So is a camera better than another? Yes most
definitely. What’s the best camera. The one that does what you want or need
© 2014 Francois
Version 1.00 - March