Which Is The Best Camera?

“Photography is all about previsualisation and knowing what you want to do with the image.”__K Madhavan Pillai

is all about
and knowing what
you want to do
with the image.”__K Madhavan Pillai

After years of lugging around several hundred kilos of photographic gear all over the world for his commercial assignments, Chase Jarvis says, “the best camera is the one that’s with you,” referring to his iPhone. A cell phone camera may not be your immediate preference. Yet, almost all the biggest photographers I have met so far expressed how they want to leave their top-of-the-line cameras behind once the day is done, and simply have fun with photography. While hobbyists aspire to buy the very best  equipment, professionals seem to prefer tiny, no-nonsense compact or mirrorless cameras to record moments closest to them.

Firstly, remember that photography is all about previsualisation. Apart from making the picture in your mind before you release the shutter, you need to know what you will eventually do with the image. This again depends on the type of photography you do and its purpose. Do you imagine an exhibition of your work, with huge prints on display? Or is it for capturing your family’s most important moments for posterity? The set of features and functions you need in your new camera will depend on how you see your photographs being used in the future.

Secondly, with digital cameras, there is always a trade off between size (lower weight and greater portability), speed (faster processing speeds, frame rates and AF), resolution (larger images with more detail), image quality (optics, sensor size, low light shooting capability, colours, and dynamic range) construction (stronger, weather-sealed bodies), and other features (zoom range, customisability and fun features). Depending on what you intend to do with the photographs, you need to decide which one of these is most important. The moment you add a second set of functionality to the first, the price of the camera is bound to increase substantially.

This article originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Editor, Editorial, Digital Photography, Better Photography magazine, january 2013, The Best Camera, commercial asignments, iPhone. A cell phone camera, compact or mirrorless cameras