It doesn’t matter what camera you use – It’s how you use it

The marketing approach taken by camera manufacturers does alarm me somewhat these days.

Suddenly every new consumer camera or photo enabled smartphone is tagged with such lines as “Now everyone can shoot like a Pro” or “Making photography easy.” Now, I kind of have a problem with this … and let me tell you why…

The basis of most camera sales and the marketing behind many photographic brands is how many pixels the cameras have. Of course, we all know that in the real world pixel count isn’t that important. If all you intend to use your photos for is to share them on Facebook & Blogs (such as this) or simply print them 6X4 size on your printer at home for family shots to put in that little photo frame you received for Christmas, then anything over 5 million pixels is more than adequate if you’re using the images online.

Before I go any further, I wouldn’t profess to be a ‘Pro’ photographer by any means. I’m an amateur with a keen interest in photography. However, I was brought up with real cameras … Yes, those ones that used to have film in them. I was also taught how to use a 35mm manual focus camera from quite a young age. No technology, no auto-focus, no auto exposure, so I only had 35 shots to get the image right.. first time. This taught me an awful lot about how to make every shot count. I didn’t have the money to keep buying film and spending money on getting the photographs developed and printed. Every 35 shots cost around £10 from start to printed finish. So just imagine if you had to pay 35p for every photograph you take now!

Everybody is a ‘photographer’ now, according to most photo sharing social networks. But, the reality is .. digital cameras have made it so easy for anyone to take photographs now and say ‘I’m a photographer.’ Of course, this is true .. But all we are doing now is capturing images without learning the true art of photography. We all take pictures of our family, children, pets, food, scenery, holidays etc, as memories, and the digital age has gifted us with documenting our world around us with ease. The point I’m trying to make is … Please don’t get caught up in the hype of ‘This camera lets you shoot like a Pro’ and ’20 million pixels lets you shoot better than ever before’

The Uncle Bob Syndrome

I attended a wedding last year and was asked to take the photographs as the couple were on a tight budget. However, what happened was that a family friend of the couple had just bought a “really expensive digital SLR camera, that can even make cloudy days look sunny” and was “oh it’s about 25 million pixels so the photographs will be brilliant.” Let me just say … I call these people – Uncle Bob

I saw the results from the ‘happy couple’ that they shared on Facebook. They were awful! Badly framed, wonky, out of focus etc.. To be honest, I could have taken far better photographs with my little Panasonic LX5. These are people that just assume because they have bought, and use a really expensive camera that it makes them a ‘professional photographer’  My answer to this is simply … If I buy a really expensive tennis racquet, then I’m a professional tennis player and I could then have a match with Roger Federer..

7 Reasons why the camera you use doesn’t matter

If you were expecting a written list of seven reasons why, then I’m sorry. Therefore, I thought I’d provide seven photographs from seven different cameras to show why it really doesn’t matter what you use, or how many pixels it has, or how much it cost, but what you want to achieve when using a camera. The rules I always use when taking satisfying images are … It has to be sharp, well exposed and framed correctly. Of course rules can be broken, but get the basics right and your photographic skills will improve no end. And what’s my biggest pet hate? …… don’t just plonk people in the middle of the frame and have empty space above them, or cut their feet off when taking full length shots. And don’t be afraid to turn the camera horizontally.

The photographs below will hopefully show that whatever you use, you can get nice photographs. I chose the same type of images that we take every day when we are out and about.

This was taken with an iPhone and edited with the popular Instagram app..
Of course, mobile phones these days have super in-built cameras
Photograph taken on a 1982 Nikon FM2. An all manual film camera.
Ilford HP5 Black & White film, digitally scanned into Photoshop
Panasonic Lumix FT3 waterproof compact camera
The FT range from Panasonic are reasonably cheap and tough
An old Nikon Coolpix 5100 model
Just 5 million pixels happening here .. which is fine
Nikon D200 DSLR with Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens
You can pick up a D200 on Ebay for a few hundred pound now
Ok .. It’s a picture of me taken with a Fuji X100
The Fuji X100 is my favourite camera – just 12 million pixels mind..
Snowdonia National Park – Taken on a Panasonic Lumix LX5
10 million pixels is more than enough.. This is a superb small travel pocket camera

I was always taught, a camera is just a light-proof box that contains film. Nothing more, nothing less.

It’s what you do with it that counts!


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