Photographers and their tools or toys | Dave May Photography
So many photographers when they’re starting out can’t decide on cameras, lens, or even accessories. Here’s a simplified look at what can be for what kind of expense. Some people like to claim that camera bodies are only good for 18 months, but I think that’s just because they end up with camera / gadget envy. I still have my 20D from when it was released back around 2003 and it still take great pictures. It’s actually quite easy to validate it’s validity even in today’s market. Anyone with a print / design background can tell you that at most you’re erver going to need is 300 ppi files for a cover photo. What does that translate into? 10in x 300 = 3000 pixels. Now granted that’s pushing on the upper end the 8.2 MP file size of the 20D, but there’s still some fudge room. And I’m not sure you can get a camera with less than 10MP even in point and shoots anymore.
So combine a solid body that was once considered the wedding photographers camera of choice with a good quality lens and some serious work can be done though you can’t forget lighting and other technical things. The two things the old 20D doesn’t have are video and high ISO performance. That being said I have no issue pushing it to 800 or even 1600 if I can manage a proper exposure. The next question is likely to be: what about Rebels? The single biggest issue I still have with Rebels is that the ergonomics are just horrendous. Far worse than Nikon’s bodies (wasn’t a fan of the D2X) because it takes too many buttons and menus to make some basic adjustments.
Full frame cameras? Well the main reason I went full frame with the 5D MK II was simply so that my lenses would actually feel right. Shooting a 24mm and then cropping over 30% off the edges takes away a lot of the aesthetic. If you aren’t familiar, most cameras under $2500 are using a sensor that is smaller than a 35mm slide. This means that you’re only utilizing a portion of the image circle projected into the camera by the lens. A side-effect of the larger sensor is potentially reduced noise or digital grain if you will. The reason I say potentially is because it has to do with the density of the pixels on the sensor. In other words 5 pixels per inch would be preferable to 10 pixels per inch from a noise perspective. And as mentioned above 8.2 MP is still enough for a lot of work these days.
Nikon and Canon both have realized that professionals knowledgeable about print requirements and noise implications are happy to move to reduced pixel cameras in their flagships. Does this mean the megapixel war is over? Well not at the consumer / prosumer level if the D800 (Nikon) is any indication with it’s 32MP sensor. Personally I don’t want to have to store those files or by a new computer to process them – my 21MP files are already far bigger than I ever require.
The main point of all this is that new cameras can pose benefits like faster shooting, higher pixels for cropping or specific commercial needs, and improved low light performance, but photographers got a long just fine in the film days without motor drives. Certainly there are specific circumstances that require more expensive equipment with greater capabilities, but newer photographers need to look at the needs of their genre of work. Studio portraits for seniors is an example where any non-Rebel canon would be perfectly suitable for the long term because you’re controlling all the variables and printing no larger than 11×14 primarily. Now if you found yourself getting into wall murals and very large scale prints I would look at the math to determine how much camera you really do need.
So which snapshot is from which camera? Perhaps when I have some time I’ll setup a better more controlled test, but for now: