Monday, 25 April 2011

More Photography stuff, camera's and the like.

I get a lot of people asking me what camera to buy, (not just for minis but everyday photography as well), and the answer is the best one you can afford, the next question almost inevitably is how many mega pixels or I'm going to get this one with 456megapixels, and this is where I shake my head and quite possibly start to grind my teeth.

Let me give you my opinion on all of this, and whilst it is only my opinion I do make my living from taking pictures so it should carry some weight, more after the jump.

Firstly there are 3 basic things used to create a digital picture, the camera lens, (the bit just in front of the camera body), the sensor, (the bit inside the camera body), and the photographer's brain, (the bit behind the camera body), of these the number of mega pixels on the sensor is the least important.

The lens is the bit that lets light through on to the sensor and it follows that old GIGO acronym, Garbage in Garbage out, that is why I would always recommend buying a camera from a company that makes, (or uses), good lenses rather than a company that makes good electronics, i.e. Canon, Nikon, Leica, Olympus or that ilk rather than Casio, Samsung etc.. Panasonic is the exception to the rule as they have some very nice compacts which have excellent lenses.

The bit behind the camera is you, and the way you're going to get better at taking pics is the same way you've improved as a painter/wargammer, whatever, study and practice, there really are no shortcuts. Buying better equipment can help and make things easier in the same way that good quality brushes make painting easier but the biggest leap in quality will come when you study, (read books, articles on the net etc..) and practice. An example, when I started taking motor sport pics I could pan, (keeping the car sharp with the background blurred), reasonably well, but I'd still take on average 4 or 5 hundred pics in a day and only be happy with 20 or so. I followed my own advice for once read a couple of articles and decided I'd practice at one particular spot for a day. The next time I went to the track I took my normal 400+ shots and was happy with well over 300 of them which made cutting them down for distribution to customers even harder but that's a different story, what I'm trying to say here is seriously, practice!!

Moving on to the body and the sensor, most modern compact cameras are capable of taking brilliant pics and having them printed out at A4 or A3 without too much trouble, if all you are doing is posting pics on the net or showing them on a computer screen then anything more than 5 or 6 MP is overkill, so when I hear people say they want this or that camera because it has a 16MP sensor is it no wonder I grind my teeth!

If you're buying a camera to take pics of minis then please make sure it has a decent lens - read reviews on the net there are loads of them, it should have a macro mode of some sort and be able to take good pics in artificial light, only after that do you need to worry about the number of mega pixels and to be honest I'm not aware of a camera on sale these days where the number of MP is too small to take decent images.

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