Friday, 15 January 2010

Tools for the jobs

Reading the TOP camera of the year put me to thinking, as I occasionally do, as to what I'd be looking for in cameras. There will never be just one suitable, as far as I'm concerned, but I'm always on the look out for the ideal device - right tool for the job and all that.

So what am I looking for? Well, I break my camera needs down into 4 areas:


All about quality images - tripod mounted, moderate wide (I'm not a real wide angle fan) to moderate telephoto lenses.

I have a dilemma for my landscape photography. I really like the flexibility of movements my large format camera gives me, enabling a type of photography not really available with digital (even putting an MF back on a field camera isn't quite the same and T-S lenses don't have the same control due to the small format). And yet the latest crop of 35mm DLSRs are offering super resolution (I really like the whole Sony offering). I'm sort of torn between ditching the LF and not.

When in doubt, stay put.

Street (out and about in town)

Small, discrete, wide-ish normal lens. Responsive a plus. I'm sorely tempted by the M9 or the Olympus EP-1. My little Lx3 has never really quite cut it. My preferred camera is my Zeiss Ikon but film is a bit of a hassle, especially now I've moved.


Similar criteria to a street camera, except I like a moderate telephoto lens. But my overriding criterion is battery life. I'm sure I've ranted about this before. I need something that'll go 2-3 weeks on a couple of batteries and only the mid-level DLSRs seem to do that. I'm currently getting 900+ shots from the Canons and none of the smaller alternatives get close to 500 it seems.

I'd really like a micro 4/3 system or travelling but they've a way to go to be suitable for my needs.


Noting but the all-singing, all-dancing SLR system with the long lenses. I'm really happy with Canon gear and will probably stay put, maybe with an extra body later this year (let's see what the new models have to offer). Stronger low light capability would be nice, however.

I was going to wrap up this post talking about how digital cameras aren't addressing the full range of photography application, or maybe not fulfilling their full potential or some such. But then I thought some and that's not it.

With my film cameras I'm happy with simple devices. A mechanical means of trapping measured portions of light onto some film. No fancy features on any of them. And yet I never wanted more. And then along comes digital. Programmed marvels of computing technology trapping those light portions in all manner of fancy ways. That opens up a realm of possibilities in use and function and interface. No longer mechanical but malleable electronic wizardry. Therein lies the problem. All that possibility opened up fosters a desire for just so. Not quite perfection exactly (there's really no such thing) but everything one could want. Once the range of offerings has been tasted, it makes one realise all that could be achieved. Sufficiency is no longer enough.

That is maybe my problem with assessing digital cameras - I know what I want, see it all offered but spread across many products. And I then want the best bits of each condensed into a single device. Thence the dissatisfaction: reality not meeting promise.

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