Some Thoughts for Today by Joe Farace
A day does not go by without me receiving a e-mail or a comment from the blog’s Contact page from a reader asking what camera they should buy? That’s a tough question for me to answer because for openers there’s the whole cost aspect that’s part of any purchasing decision and then there’s “what kind of pictures do you (want to) make” question too. I struggle with question this because my philosophy has always been that I don’t like to spend other people’s money and any camera advice that I’ve typically given is never taken anyway. But let me tell you a story…
A few years ago an acquaintance of mine e-mailed asking which of two Nikon DSLR models he should buy. Knowing the kind of photography he did, I suggested the more expensive model of the two cameras. Based on all of my other experiences answering these kinds of questions, I was not surprised that he purchased the less expensive model. But.. a few weeks later he sent me another e-mail saying that I was right; the camera he bought would not do the kind of things he wanted/needed to do/make. He returned the cheaper camera and exchanged/upgraded to the one I originally recommended. Or to quote Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “this never happens.” But in this case it did.
Asking about what camera to buy is similar to asking what kind of car someone should buy? I get that question on my Car Photography website/blog all the time. For some the answer might be a Jaguar SUV or maybe a Corvette and for others it’s a MINI Cooper but my friend Paul is 6’-6” tall so maybe that’s not a good choice for him.
Pulitzer Prize-wining photographer, Barry Staver, says that the choice of cameras is simple—“It’s the camera you have with you.” I think that if you’re really serious about photography, I believe that you should keep some kind of camera (not a phone) handy at all times.
Case in point: The above image. When I looked out my office window one summer’s day I saw this mule deer buck and doe lying down (digesting their lunch, really) in my neighbor’s yard. I had just finished a portrait session in my home studio and grabbed my Panasonic Lumix GH4 and affordable ($99) Olympus 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 (at 150mm) lens and made a few shots though the window. Then I opened the door, stepping onto my porch and shot a few more frames. When I walked down my front steps and shot a few more images they both took off, interrupting the digesting going on their stomach’s four compartments. Sorry, Mr. & Mrs. Deer.
So what’s the best camera? On that particular day and time it was a Panasonic Lumix GH4, tomorrow it might be something else.
Along with photographer Barry Staver, I’m co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s available from Amazon for $21.87 prices with used copies starting at giveaway prices—around five bucks, as I write this, which may be cheaper than your morning Starbucks coffee.