Buying a camera and or owning a camera system says as much about a person’s character as the partner, pet, car or house the person has. Deciding which camera or system to shoot with is in fact a highly intimate, deeply personal choice that’s quite meaningful to read and understand a person’s character. You shoot mirrorless? A Leica? Still film? Says something about you.
First though, let’s flog a dead horse. Right, “My camera’s bigger than yours,” as this excerpt from hilarious Veep illustrates, with “Jonah,” world’s largest single-cell living being, boasting he has the bigger and therefore better camera:
That argument is settled in a few seconds. Jonah, the West Wing guy ridiculed by everyone, knows as much about photography as about what women like. Not that a 1D diminishes a male predator’s chances. It’s just that the “size matters” argument is used by the same idiots — or salesmen — who pretend that one system is significantly better than the other in basic quality.
I’m not talking about specialty photography requiring a specific tool or format to get the job done. Today each and every camera company makes equally excellent bodies and lenses at similar price points delivering the virtually same technical quality in each format.
If you choose your camera based on brand recognition solely you might miss out on ergonomics, features and handling that deliver an overall more satisfying shooting experience, not to mention that you most likely couldn’t tell the difference between photographs shot with this or any other camera. Cameras today are not about huge advantages in image quality, they’re about individual preferences and personal style.
Right, the higher up the food chain the more complex and secret the color matrices and algorithms become that let each of a industry player’s cameras deliver results. Cameras today, however, even of some smartphones, deliver more precision than most people ever need. Just have a look at Nikon Precision, they produce lenses and mechanics resolving at 45 nanometers, that’s less than 1/10th of a wavelength of visible light. Over 10,000 lines per millimeter. And we complain about soft corners.
As Canon, Nikon is first and foremost an optical company and a electronics and camera company second. Cameras are a byproduct so to say. Same is true for Sony and in parts Panasonic — with one big difference though: their imaging divisions are “innovating” at a steadier pace because the physical constraints of light can’t be ignored. It’s up to electronics and software to conquer the next level.
Canon and Nikon build on more traditional strengths. But then again, what’s the point of ever more sensitive and capable digital imagers when we’re not even able to see what’s right before our tip of the nose. We dream about the next generation of imaging technology, yet we’re blind to the most obvious stuff in plain view.
In photographic terms, what matters is that whatever camera maker’s products you buy, they all deliver the same quality images within the same price range and format. What, you see differences in noise and resolution? On the computer screen. For the normal human eye these differences are so negligible you have to forcibly strain yourself to see them with those extraterrestrial test charts.
Most differences we’re told they exist are a blown up illusion created by desktop warriors and the industry players forcing us into the vicious cycle of upgrading for the sake of expenditure. In the end a pixel costs nearly a cent, not counting the missed opportunity of improving one’s photography by dreaming of a camera that doesn’t exist yet instead of using the one collecting dust in the drawer.
Whatever differences entice fora to praise this or denounce that camera, in the dynamics of the real world those differences are invisible and therefore don’t exist.
Moral of the story:
Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Leica, etc., they’re all an excellent choice, all make superior products. Only you can determine which is best for you.
Buy the camera you can afford, that suits your needs and you like to hold, look at and feel the most comfortable to shoot with.