Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Analyzing a "This Type of Camera Versus That" Discussion

I frequently see posts on various forums, discussing and sometimes arguing the relative merits of different types of cameras. Some people become very defensive about their favorites. It's interesting. It's even more interesting when the discussion stays civil, and some good points are brought out.
Even then, these discussions tend to become very long-winded, so I don't read a lot of them. For example, I'm reading a nice one, started by member tom.w.bn on Rangefinder Forum.
(Click Here) to read the discussion.
Now, my analysis of this particular discussion is that it has remained largely civil, at least in the first two of five pages I've read; I probably won't read the rest. I think the main points that interest me have been made in the first two pages. Here are the most important parts from my perspective:
  1. When thinking about what type(s) of camera are best for you, it's important to ask where you get the majority of enjoyment from photography. Is it in the act of taking pictures, the satisfaction of seeing a wonderful shot achieved and in print? A combination? Perhaps the more rare satisfaction of seeing a perfectly-achieved image made in more challenging circumstances? This should be a controlling factor in deciding what camera style may be best for you.
  2. One response by YYV_146 makes a very interesting point in comparing using a rangefinder camera versus a mirrorless camera with electronic viewfinder (EVF). The point is that looking through an optical rangefinder gives you a very accurate view of the world you're photographing, while looking through an EVF, which is an electronic representation directly from the camera sensor, gives you an accurate view of what the final image will look like. Two very different things.
For me, the act of taking photographs brings much more enjoyment than reviewing them, and especially more than post-processing them. I do love to see a perfect image, and I do value a great image from myself more if I know that it was particularly challenging to achieve. That said, I don't want it to be so challenging that I never get a good shot.
In different situations, different things matter to me. If I'm trying to document something, or have a high chance of getting a shot someone else will care about, I hedge my bets. For example, in shooting a musical act that I don't see often (e.g. rare opportunity) in low light, I'll reach for my Nikon D700. If it's a band I do see often, and I want to have more fun shooting, I'll perhaps grab my Leica M4-2 film rangefinder and load up some high speed film. This is part of the reason that I have not consolidated or focused on only one camera system.
So, which part of the photographic process brings you the most enjoyment? How does that affect which camera(s) you choose? I'm interested to hear.