Do you actually need ‘big’ cameras to take better pictures?

You need to know which gear is needed not which is pleasing to the eye

image
Kids playing the ancient 'stay like that' game

It was a sunny afternoon and I had been sipping some sweating green bottle when I saw a friend walking afar. I remembered John had told me he needed a camera soon, and he was going into photography full time. I couldn’t recommend what to buy because he had no idea of which area of photography he was going. He had bought a Canon 60D and an 18-300 zoom lens. Nice right? He even had a battery grip.

Then he popped up the question,

How do I go into street photography as a hobby too?

This was the biggest mistake John had made, he had a love for street photography but never consulted me fully before buying the camera
Many young photographers might fall prey too that’s why I’ve got this to write on. Here are the real reason for gears, specifications etc.

Street photography needs fast shutter speeds, you can’t spend too long talking shots, not even in Nigeria where everyone is on the move! It also requires being quite stealth in your environment and by that I don’t mean being creepy!

A camera with a small body, high ISO, average megapixels (10-20) and a fixed 35mm or 50mm lens Is all you need

The longer the lens, the probability of being noticed easily which can make you uncomfortable.

Fashion, portrait and commercial photographers go for bigger megapixels because the pictures are going on big billboards, ours end up on frames for exhibitions (we even love grains in street photography)

And event photography is the ideal person for a 18-300mm lens, it gives you the ability to shoot groups at wider angles and zoom in for comfortable (but you lose aperture openings by this)

What is the moral
Photography is about what you need, no what can make you feel big! I’ve seen many photographers feel big because they are handling ‘big’ cameras but friends, what’s the essence of having a big camera and shooting a lot of errors?

Learn the physics of photography first, not the aesthetics of cameras

I wish young photographers who are aiming at buying a new camera should spend more time thinking of what they would be doing mostly with the camera and not about the specs! As Eric Kim said, More Megapixels, More Problems!

The Nigerian Photography industry has been ridden with the belief that bigger cameras produce better images! Dear Friends, NO! Let me just give you the equation. What’s a Big camera? To me, cameras with specifications which are not needed by you and hereby making it expensive is what I call a big camera. For Example, ISO 25,000 and 50mps are not needed by a street photographer so for a street photographer that’s a Big camera (a commercial photographer will value it though because it means his prints will not lose resolution easily)

Bigger cameras + bad photographer = bag images
Smaller cameras + good photographer = better images
Smaller cameras + bad photographer = mediocre images
Bigger cameras + good photographer = great images

It’s a simple thing every young photographer should understand. Even if a camera has all the features you want (even Wi-Fi) it does not have auto composition, and what makes a great image? Composition Techniques

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A rather unusual Composition technique,

How To Love Your Current Gear
I’ve been a victim of this for once, I currently own a Sony a200 (although I’ll change it before the year end since its 2 years old with me) and at a point in time in our early days, I felt like just throwing the camera into the deep blue see. I couldn’t see what I loved from it, then Eric Kim said, “35mm or 50mm lens are the best for street photographers” I bought one and ever since, I’ve never hated the camera! For me the solution was just a change of lenses and I saw drastic improvement in my shots, I became overwhelmed and we fell in love again (I’m currently not giving out the boy even when I buy the Sony a58).

For others the solution lies in your learning how to compose better, if I may ask, which three composition techniques have your tried to discovered all by yourself? If your answer is none, then you haven’t gotten an eye for beauty. Soon I’ll be teaching a few composition techniques I discovered while shooting. Learn to leave the rule of thirds and jump into diagonals, curves, triangles, and my own minimalism! For quite a few, the problem lies on in camera settings, why shoot fine when there is raw? Someone said “raw makes my work hard” then don’t blame the camera! For others, its lightroom incompetency that makes there images bad and thy think it’s a bad camera, boy o boy!

In the last words

More megapixels, More Problems

– Eric Kim

You can read about Eric’s megapixels post by clicking here

Remember, everything on this blog is open source

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5 thoughts on “Do you actually need ‘big’ cameras to take better pictures?

  1. was interesting to read these arguments and as one who use 5dmkii (big??) body with 50mm and 35mm lenses i never go to the disputes big/small/prime/zoom… there is no unique answer.
    i also use the smaller Ricoh GR1s film camera but to say that one of these cameras is better – i can’t
    i don’t get this quote :
    “Bigger cameras + bad photographer = bag images
    Smaller cameras + good photographer = better images”
    why not to say – bigger cameras+good photographer ? just interesting what you can write after = ?
    i can continue your theme and to add – Leica +every photographer = best images.
    yes i’m cynical now but how can’t i be cynical after the last quote owned by Eric because there is no any connection between a good moment and amount of megapixels.
    sorry maybe i’m just not in the best mood today 🙂
    anyway enjoied to read,.

    Like

    1. Thanks Victor for dropping by to read and comment. The first unique thing we both agree on is, no camera is bad, once you are a good photographer with great composition techniques to help you. For the quote, I just didn’t want to make it so long, but we all know that bigger cameras + good photographer = great images but in the situation where you can’t buy a bigger camera, then how do you get great images with a small camera? Also the quote paraphrased means “if you a good photographer, you can shoot Great images with virtually any camera. As for Leica, this part of the world doesn’t see its products, it’s either canon or Nikon here, even shooting with the Sony here is like being an alien cos I can’t easily see someone to switch gears with. As for Eric’s quote, why not click the link to his blog for a broader understanding but all it means is, bigger megapixels = bigger file size on raw, more space for editing, more hard drives to work with and that could be painstaking.

      One thing I learnt from you though is, a good moment is needed for every shot! See it, compose it, shoot it. I’ll keep that at palm’s length.

      Once again, thanks for dropping by,

      Always,
      Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Peter ! Thank you for the fast answer and understanding. I got the point when you talk about situation when one cant get some big (big is not always expensive) – you can find some used Canon d40-50-60 body for the nice price and to get Canon again lens – also used 35mm f/2 or 50mm 1.8 – to use raw and to shoot in high ISO and to be fast like Pantera. When you shoot at street this high aperture is not always useful so even slower lenses can be fast enough. About megapixels – i really HATE this race for thie huge mpx and ppl dont understand these problems with a storage after shooting. But still i think that something around 20 can promise you enough quality for print too. About Eric. I followed his business oriented heavy sponsored posts many years ago and cant be adequate and to connect to his latests posts – i have no idea where is a real Eric. More then this i know some huge amount of much better photographers then Eric. They still use film cameras only dont talk a lot and dont have this brand name like he have. So why should i read his posts ;-))) a waste of time and nothing to remember for tomorrow.
        The best !!
        Victor

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks once again for being active.
          For the cameras, well being an undergraduate of Linguistics and African Languages in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, funding isn’t so easy (that’s a personal excuse though) coupled with the fact that it is imported down here, that adds to the selling price even at independent importers stores. The American dollar isn’t helping matters either. What also inspired this post alongside John who bought wrong gadgets for street photography was a student photographer of mine who wants to change her canon 500d because it’s not giving her ‘better images’. After reading this post, she wouldn’t dispose the camera for sure.
          The 50 and 35mm for street is to help street photographers get close to the action, it prevents you from zooming and this allows for the real view of life. When I used to shoot 35 -105 street, It had little to no life because I did zoom a lot. Other lenses can walk too as you need low apertures and high ISO to get faster shutter speeds. As for the megapixel races, I hope we all start waking up to fact. I’ve even done 12 by 16 inches prints on my 10mp and it was fine.

          Yours photographically,
          Peter

          Liked by 1 person

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