Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Camera Should I Get?

Buying a camera can be one of those tasks that can be very easy or very challenging. I tend to do a heavy amount of research before I buy, so it was a bit difficult for me. Even for the used cameras I bought off of Ebay. I'm going to give some interesting advice and hopefully the decision will be a bit easier.

First, you have to decide what kind of media you would like to use. I started of shooting film last year, and now I mainly shoot with my digital. Some factors include the size of picture you want to shoot, what kind of subjects you are interested in shooting, and how serious you want to get. All three of these apply to both digital and film.

There is a direct correlation between size and the quality of the image you would like to get. And there is another with the cost effectiveness. Believe it or not, shooting 4x5 large format pictures cost less in comparison to say a 35mm roll of 36 exposures. Since you are taking your time and choosing your subject and setting your composition, you end up spending less over time because you are shooting less. And many times shooting 35mm film has a lower cost in comparison to shooting a digital camera. That is if you were planning on getting the most up to date digital camera like a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which retails for like $3000. You can get the same amount from probably 3 years worth of shooting, including the cost of the camera itself. Those magazines that tout the DSLRs don't ever give you that type of analysis.

Are you a serious photographer? If not, then the choice is very simple. Just drop on by your local Best Buy or Target and get an inexpensive point and shoot camera. That's what I did when I needed to take pictures years ago when I had no experience as a photographer. They have some midway type of cameras called compact system cameras. They have interchangeable lenses and a small form factor thats easier to store than a DSLR.

If you are a more serious photographer or would like to learn how to take pictures, I would suggest going old. Go with the DSLRs of yesteryear. My first serious camera was a Pentax K1000 from the 1970s. It was built like a brick and the pictures were sharp as hell. I've also used a Nikon FM10 and a Canon AE-1. All solid choices that will teach you the basics by being Fully Manual. Another plus is that these cameras are usually  under 100 bucks with a 50mm lense.

If you are looking to get into the more creative and fine arts side of photography, there are many different options available to you. Most of the time film is the way to go with creativity since digital moves more towards the graphic arts side. The most popular choice is going with the Large Format Camera. You can make pictures like this:
Disclaimer: I acutally made this shot on my phone using Instagram.  Though it is
fairly easy effect you can make on a large format camera. The trees look like toys, huh?
The next option is to pickup whats classified as a Toy Camera. The most common models are made by Lomography, the Holga and the Diana. I picked up a Holga over at Freestyle Photo in Santa Fe Springs for only $30. I'm going to be talking more in depth about this camera as soon as I get my film developed.

There are many other wonderful choices of cameras available. More old then new. Twin Lenses, Medium Format SLR, Panoramas, Pinhole, and many more. If anybody has any questions about getting a camera or about types of cameras, leave a comment below. In the meantime, If you haven't yet, Check out my pictures from my last shoot over at the Orange County Fair.