There's been a lot of talk lately in the 4/3rds groups on flickr about gear and people whining about not having it or whatever. I'm getting really sick of it, to be quite honest, and the fact that it drove away one of the biggest contributors of really any forum I've been a part of sickens me.
24 November 2009
It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have. It really doesn't. There are very few highly specialized situations in which it matters what kind of camera you have. Shooting for billboard ads doesn't even really count. Images can be scaled up with genuine fractals almost limitlessly and then vectorized (is that even the right word?), giving you truly unlimited scale potential. So I could theoretically shoot for an ad campaign to be put on the sides of buildings with an 8mp E-500. theoretically, of course. Commercial photography is one of those things that "requires" huge investment with little return. Need a honkin computer to deal with the 150mb RAW files from MF digital backs, need the storage space to hold all those files, the huge CF cards to store them on while you're shooting, etc. You could do it with a D3x or 1Ds, or even a D300 or 50D. Image quality is superb with the right glass on any of those cameras. But everyone does it with a hasselblad, or a mamiya 645AFD with the newest leaf back. Because when clients see you with a big honkin camera, their first thoughts are, "Man, this guy must be good at this." (yes, I know they have resolution several orders of magnitude more, but are we really going to go back to the MP wars??) Speaking of Hassys (Hassies?), they just announced the H4D recently. really? yawn. Call me cynical but I'd rather shoot with a 1DmkIV than the latest hasselblad, and I really despise Canon. I'd take a 501cm over the H4D any day. Actually, no. I lied. I'd take the H4D then sell it. Buy some stock in apple or google. save the rest for other gear. Like the Hasselblad they took to the moon. I don't know why, but I really like that camera.
So I don't really count high end commercial photography as being specialized enough to require a certain camera. Certain software, absolutely. MF a necessity? definitely not. but what about sports photography? maybe. I understand that 10fps will basically insure you don't miss the shot, but I think it's total overkill. any camera with 5+ fps can do it. I've seen it. you don't need a 1D to shoot this stuff. I'd argue that theres really no action happening in 1/10th of a second that you would miss between .1s and .2s, though conceding that depending on the shot you are trying to get there will be action happening there, and the buffers on ~5fps cameras could be and should be designed to practically shoot all day whereas the 10fps cameras should technically, all things being equal, fill the buffers faster. but they don't, because the professional camera market is a total racket in my opinion. Seriously,how hard is it to stick a faster image processor on a circuitboard and for how much (read: little) extra? Canon intentionally neutered the 5DII (ooooh but it shoots video!!) so that it wouldn't cannibalize 1D sales and Nikon doesn't include features like sensor cleaning (seriously, what the fuck man. my 5 year old E-500 has that) on its top cameras.
photojournalism does require one to have a "specific" camera. It needs to be rugged and fast preferably weather-sealed. it also needs to be inexpensive, because PJs are poor as shit for the most part and so are the publications they work for. ideal candidates: K-7, E-3, D300. I'd mention Canon's 40 and 50D here but from what I've heard I really don't think their weather protection is as good as these three. portrait photography? a D90 will suit you just as well as a D3 and cost you a few thousand dollars less. money you can put towards good glass. Underwater photography? forget about it. numerous companies make housings for almost every semi-professional camera ever made, with strobes to match and ports for almost any lens.
before I start sounding like an idiot, which I'm sure I already do, I am going to say that for what YOU do, there is a camera that is best for you. There is no end-all be-all camera and there never will be. figure out what it is that you need, and then go and buy it. need fast telephoto zooms with great IQ and weathersealing? olympus is probably your system, go buy an E-3 and a 35-100 (2x crop factor guys). in-body IS will work with any lens. as an aside, I've been toying with the idea of buying a Nikkor 80-200/2.8D for my F100 to be used also on the E-3. extremely long reach on the E-3, a good tele zoom on the Nikon, and exceptional build quality all around. If you shoot shows all the time and need high ISO performance, go buy yourself a D3 or D700. really, any recent Nikon is great with low-light performance. ISO102,800 (not a typo) on the D3s. for when you need to shoot at 1/8000 at nighttime (because we all need to do that). I'd say Nikkor glass is second only to Zuiko, and you do pay for it on both systems. I'm not going to even recommend Canon to anyone. that would be mean of me. They haven't got a WA or UWA lens that's as sharp wide open as Pentax's, Nikkors's, or Zuiko's, and Nikkor can match their telephoto offerings and speed for all you sports shooters out there. I can't comment on Pentax or Sony, unfortunately, because I've never used either system for long enough to formulate a valid opinion on them.
I have to end this with another little rant, because there are some other problems besides just the camera system that a lot of people whine about. for example, "wahh I just got to try out pro glass on my camera and it was so cool how am I ever going to afford it/go back to my crappy kit lenses". seriously, shut the fuck up. if you can't make decent images with a basic camera and lens, you shouldn't be taking pictures. end of discussion. a professional-caliber camera and lens system will not help you one damn bit if you don't have the technique or skill in the first place. Get up, grab your camera, go outside, and just shoot some damn pictures.
I had surgery yesterday to get all four of my wisdom teeth out. I have to say that Vicodin is highly overrated. It's hardly helped with my pain, which, to be honest isn't as horrible as I thought it would be. I just really want to start eating real food soon. I'm gonna get sick of eggs and pudding in about....now. I've been absent from this blog for quite some time now and I'm really trying to get into more of a groove with everything. Finally uploading stuff to flickr on a regular basis though, so hopefully that will carry over to this little project I've got going. If I haven't let it out of the bag yet, I'm on twitter @mathewmphoto, and as always, I'll be on flickr. Hoping to do some reviews of apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch and potentially the Droid, so be on the lookout for those in the coming months.
P.S: Kodak Ektar is one of the nicest films I have ever shot.
Currently studying at SFSU as a Japanese Major/International Business Minor. I shoot Nikon/Fuji for film and Olympus/Electrons for digital. Drop me a line at flickr.com/photos/mathewm if you've got any questions. I am also @twitter. This blog © Mathew McGee