How About Thought-Free Photography?


Making a selection for the ‘Top 30 Cameras’ has not been easy. Our first list had over a hundred contenders. Of course, there are those cameras that made it to the list without a second glance, but the eliminations got tough towards the end. What I can assure you is that if you make a choice from amongst the Top 30, you can’t go wrong.

You’ll notice that the Top 30 Cameras are all digicams. Anybody who has experienced both conventional and digital photography in depth will tell you that digital technology offers convenience and instant gratification, but the discipline required to use a manual SLR makes a better photographer. There is a certain sanctity in making exposures on film, processing it and then making a print by hand in a darkroom. Digital technology seems to lack this sanctity because it makes it all so easy, quick and thought-free.

Yet, there are a lot more people taking photographs out of an interest in the subject simply because digital cameras can be quite cost effective in the long run. The largest manufacturers have already phased out the manufacture of 35mm film SLRs. Today, I recommend digital cameras to those who are keen to try photography as a hobby. However, you need to maintain an organized approach towards learning the subject rather than going thought-free. With a program mode and advanced scene recognition function, you will end up being a snapshooter than a serious photographer. Maintaining an attitude of learning is easier said than done. For those of you who already are advanced photographers, try your hand at film photography, especially in medium or large format. The quality afforded by medium or large format film is far superior to what digital can offer today.

On a different note, you will see a few changes and additions in this issue, which has come about because we want to provide you with the best possible content. Significantly, the PhotoFinish section has a new guest columnist, Gabriel Fuchs, a Swiss-based IT and management consultant and writer, who takes a humorous look at photographers and the various funny things they do. You will also find a new section – History of Photography. The past is something we often ignore in a bid to keep abreast of the present. In my view, if you want to be an artist, you need to study the works of the greatest masters of the subject and know how the art and science evolved. In the Great Masters section in this issue, we pay our respects to the legendary C Rajagopal, whom I’ve had the honour of meeting a few times. His words remain with me to this day – “Light gives life to my photographs, and, thereby, gives me life.”

The BP team and I hope you enjoy this issue. Have a great year ahead.

Tags: K Madhavan Pillai, Top 30 Cameras Today, January 2008