Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Choosing The Right Camera

It's been an ongoing discussion here about purchasing the right equipment and spending wisely for your photography business and today I would like to explore the notion of buying the right camera.

(1) Do you really need the megapixels?

DSLRs nowadays shoot at very high megapixels.  Rumour has it that the new 5D will shoot at 50mp, almost 5x the megapixels of the first 5D released in 2005.  The biggest problem I have with shooting at such high megapixels is that it requires a lot more of everything.  There is also this misconception that the higher the megapixels the better your photos will look.  There is some fact to that but it also depends on many things such as pixel size, dynamic range, sensor size, lens quality, just to name a few.

(2) Do you really need the fast shutterspeed?

To be frank I think shutter speed is least important out of all unless you shoot sports.  I shoot fashion and runways on a regular basis and still I don't find the need to use 13fps.  Like megapixels, the higher the shutter speed the more this would require from your camera in terms of memory, slot buffer, card buffer, speedlite (if used) etc....

I have used both the 1 series and 5 series throughout my career and the only thing I see that is significantly different is the weight.  1 series being obviously heavier, while the 5D giving you the option to remove the battery grip.  For me, I find anywhere from 5-7fps to be a good sufficient rate for professional photography.  You also need a fast memory card.  Somewhere at about 90mb/s or more is about right.  If you don't have quick enough of a card you will not get those exposures regardless how fast your camera can shoot those frames.

(3) Do you need the battery grip?

With today's modern camera, the battery grip is actually useless.  Back in the film days it was used to boost shutter speed and it almost double the shutter speed on certain cameras which made it necessary on many occasions.

I would take a lighter camera over a DSLR with battery grip any day.  Not to mention these grips aren't cheap and quite frankly I rather spend it on something that will give me better picture quality.   

It's all about knowing what you do...

At the end of the day it's all about knowing what you wanna shoot and knowing how to shoot it.  If you are a product photographer shooting mainly in studio with strobes then I don't really see how a full frame monster like the 1D X will be of a great advantage over something like a 6D or 7D Mark II.  On the other hand if you are primarily shooting sports photography, something like a 6D would be a waste of money because you'll end up trading it in weeks.

For most professionals,  I think something like the 5D Mark III or D810e is more than enough.   In fact consider even looking for a decent secondhand. My theory is spend money on things that have resell value or at least something that will not depreciate too quickly. As your career progresses, camera body comes and goes but lenses last a lot longer and lights even longer.

Fall in love with the photography not the equipment.

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