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April 30, 2012
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The Best Camera

:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012
The "Best" Camera...

Generally speaking, there is no such thing. Without even getting into specific models, different kinds of cameras are better for different types of photography.

SLRs are good for all-around-general photography. That is to say that while they CAN do most kinds of photography, there are some of those kinds that they do rather poorly and others that they are very good at. Rangefinders are better for other kinds of photography and can outperform an SLR by a quantum leap at those. The same can be said of TLRs, view cameras, and even the much disparaged point-and-shoot camera.

I collect, restore, repair, and use. I have 125 cameras at present, and I have (or have had) one or more of each of the types mentioned in this journal entry. I have had occasion to use all of them and some of them are definitely better than others AT SPECIFIC TASKS. However, NONE of them are good at all types of photography.

In general, small format SLRs are good for nature photography, action photography, any situation where you need to shoot quickly, they generally have more of a lens selection, and they are great for macro photography. They are not very good for architectural photography, they are only fair at landscapes, and there are better choices when shooting people. Most of them are very difficult to focus accurately when doing night photography. Below a certain light threshold, many autofocus systems won't work.

SLRs fall into two categories: manual and automatic. In general, manual cameras are FAR more accurate and give the user far more artistic control of his images (also, the batteries last longer). Modern autofocus systems are a lot better than they used to be, but they still have a way to go. In numerous tests even the best autofocus systems were not found to be particularly accurate (and they are easily confused), when you are shooting rapidly moving objects autofocus is almost a necessity.

Again, speaking in general, rangefinders are better choices for posed studio photos and most people photography. They are quieter (and thus less obtrusive) and a coincident rangefinder is very easy to focus in low light, making them ideal for night photography. Some of the cons are that few of the older models have through the lens metering (there are exceptions to this, like some of the Yashica G-series) and there are only a handfull that have interchangable lens capability. They do not work well for macro photography because, while there are auxilliary lenses available for a few models, these don't usually work very well at all. The stuff that does work generally isn't worth the effort to use (complicated). There is a myth that the main reason they don't work as well for macro photography is because of parallax error. While this was a problem in very early rangefinders, nearly all of the later models have built in parallax compensation.

Point and shoot cameras have their place too. They are good for vacation photos, travel photography, backbacking, and any time when you don't want to deal with a lot of gear. They are also unobtrusive and are good for candids. The cons mainly involve loss of artistic control and the way autofocus and autoexposure can get confused in many situations.

Now speaking of point and shoot cameras, there is a fairly recent introduction to the world of photography called the APS camera. These are 24mm instead of 35mm and pretty much everyone these days who sells them has discontinued them like they did the disc cameras. It was an interesting idea, with shutter speed, aperture and such recorded for each shot and exposure correction being automatic during processing for each frame, but these seem to have gone the way of the dodo bird. Some APS cameras were SLRs instead of point and shoot, but the smaller film size pretty much ensured that the photos would be grainer and generally of lower quality than you could get with a properly set up 35mm.

In medium format, you have the TLRs, SLRs, toy cameras and rangefinders. There are even a few digital medium format cameras out there. There are also a lot of old folding cameras out there. The big advantage of medium format is that the larger negative gives you a much sharper image, particulary in enlargements, and grain is reduced substantially. When comparing the SLRs and rangefinders, you have pretty much the same pros and cons that you will find in their 35mm counterparts. However, although medium format cameras all use 120 film, there are a number of different negative frame sizes that you can choose from. There is the 645, the 6x6, the 6x7 and the 6x9. The larger frames give you sharper photos, but you get fewer photos per roll. With some of the SLRs you also have the option of changing backs. This means you can shoot polaroid film, switch from color film to B&W in mid-roll, or switch from film to digital at any time. They are very versatile cameras.

In medium format, that leaves the TLRs, toys and the old folding cameras to discuss.

All TLRs are 6x6 square medium format (there are two exceptions to this rule - a Yashica TLR that will convert to use 35mm film and a few older models that use 127 film that is not generally available except by special order). TLRs will give you very sharp images, but bear in mind that if you want to make prints in standard sizes you are going to have to crop them (nearly all papers, negative holders and easels come in rectangular formats). They are very good for studio and landscape photography but they are very slow in use and are thus poorly suited for shooting objects in motion. Also, there are no interchangable lenses for these cameras and this rules out telephoto and macro photography.

There are also several makes of toy cameras in medium format that have developed a cult following. These are generally very low quality cameras with plastic lenses and light leaks and some people appreciate the element of chance that they introduce into their photography. Some of the more popular types of toy camera are the Holga, the LOMO or Lubitel, and the Diana and the numerous clones it has spawned.

There are exceptions, but the old folding cameras are not usually very good regarding focusing. This is because most have really tiny prism or mirror viewfinders with no focusing aids whatsoever. If you are shooting using zone focusing (guessing at the range and using depth of field to compensate for error), this may not be a problem, but when focus is critical they are poor choices. The exceptions are those cameras with rangefinders. With folding cameras these rangefinders are not usually coupled to the lens and they are slow to shoot, since you have to transfer the data from the rangefinder to the lens manually. While this won't be a problem if you are shooting portraits, you may find yourself in difficulty if you are trying to photograph a motocross race.

Large format view cameras. These are the ultimate in image sharpness and lack of perspective distortion. They are GREAT at landscapes, architecture, statuary and anything else that is big and doesn't move much. The large film size also makes them good for posed studio portraits when you want hyper-sharp photos with lots of detail. However, they are big, cumbersome, can't be used without a tripod, and they require a lot more training to use. They have two additional controls, tilt and shift, that are not found on other cameras. By adjusting the tilt and shift, you can eliminate the exaggerated perspective that you get with other cameras. This is what makes them ideal for architectural photos. Some of the 4x5s have the option of using medium format rollfilm backs. With the exception of those capable of using the aforementioned rollfilm backs, large format cameras use film that comes in sheets instead of rolls, and they have to be manually reloaded after every shot. If you want to make lifesized enlargements that will allow you to see the hairs in Cindy Crawford's mole, with no visible grain, or if you are shooting photos of a cathedral, this is what you should get. Large format cameras generally fall into two main types: Monorail and field cameras. A monorail camera is a bit more cumbersome and its lens board slides along a tubular rail for focusing. These are more suitable for studio work (Cindy Crawford's mole). Monorails are really too bulky for field work. The field cameras fold up in a fashion somewhat similar to the old medium format folding cameras and the lens board slides along a sort of dual track for focusing. These are more suitable for field work, as the name implies. focusing is done by looking at an upside down and reversed image on a sheet of ground glass, which can make focusing somewhat tricky except in bright light.

Now for the biggest waste of time ever: the Nikon vs Canon debate. It's the lenses, people, not the cameras. Both Nikon and Canon make good cameras. So do Pentax, Minolta, and several other companies. The differences between the top grades of Nikon and Canon lenses are so marginal that they can't be seen without a jeweller's loupe or in extreme enlargements that are beyond the acceptable limits of 35mm. Both are consumer level cameras. If you are that critical, get some Zeiss glass, otherwise, you'll never notice the difference. That said, if you are getting an older used camera then Nikon would get the edge simply because they didn't change their lens mounting system for a very long time and there are more lenses available that will fit. When deciding what camera to get between Nikon and Canon, look at the lenses you will need, find out where you can get them cheapest, and then pick a camera to fit them. That said, the sole exception to the "no such thing as a best camera rule" is that Canon and Sony, as of the time I write this, make the best compact cameras. Canon makes good compacts for general use and Sony makes good compacts for daylight use. Pretty much everyone makes at least one good DSLR though.

Finally let's discuss another waste of time: the digital vs film debate. These are entirely different tools and they are designed for different tasks. As much as some people would like to believe it, and in spite of the advertising hype, they are not interchangable. Digital photography is a great tool for photojournalism, where it has almost entirely supplanted film photography. If you are going to show your photos on a video monitor, it can't be beat. In amateur art shows, where enlargements usually only average 8x10, it will be marginally adequate; it might or might not work for you, depending on the camera and the subject. If you are shooting competitively, for pro-level art exhibits, where enlargements can run to 5 feet by 7 feet, a digital camera that is anything short of a Hasselblad with an 88mp back is not going to be your best choice (and the Hasselblad is marginal -- using ultra-high resolution film in a 6x7 fim camera, you can reach the analog equivalient of 512mp). If you do a lot of night photography, you are going to be limited as to how long an exposure you can make. After a length of time, which can be as short as 4 seconds (on some of the less expensive compact cameras), the sensors will overheat and start to generate "noise" (the digital equivalent of dirt on a film negative -- it looks like "static snow" on a TV screen).
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Devious Comments (Add yours)

:iconbianchipantani:
I've always leaned toward Pentax, mostly because they were the primary choice of my stepfather, and my photography teacher in high school... my stepfather is the one that bought me the K1000 back in '83. He simply said... "you'll never find a more rugged and versatile entry-level 35mm camera on the planet." Right or wrong, I loved that Pentax and haven't purchased any other brand (mostly out of loyalty, not any concrete evidence that one brand dominates over another).  ~peace 
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015
My Pentax K1000, bought new in 1978: fallisphoto.deviantart.com/art… I still have it and it is one of the few cameras I have that I refuse to sell. Another one is a Canon A-1: fallisphoto.deviantart.com/art… In my opinion (and I have a lot of experience, no brand loyalty and have owned and used a LOT of cameras, from Adox to Zeiss), those are two of the very best manual and nominally manual SLR cameras ever made (the A-1 has automatic exposure too, when you need it, but works best in manual).

As far as what your stepfather said went, I'd remove the qualifier and say that it was not just the best of the entry level cameras, but the best manual 35mm film camera, period. In almost 40 years of continuous use, with only routine maintenance, mine has not given me any problems at all and has performed flawlessly. That K1000 is the most reliable things of any kind that I have ever owned. By contrast, I've worn out 6 digital cameras in the last 12 years.
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:iconbianchipantani:
BianchiPantani Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015
Haha... ok, now I feel really bad for selling it :o (Eek) 

Obviously on some level I knew all of that to be the case, but as a young 20 something struggling to pay the rent, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I looked for my mid-90's Pentax SLR today, but couldn't find it in storage. I'm curious what model it actually is... I bought it as a graduation gift for a friend. It was about $500 at the time, and as it turns out, I ended up marrying that person so it ended up in my possession after all. I'll have to look a little deeper apparently. ~peace!      
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:icondavid-jackson-artist:
David-Jackson-Artist Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
After years of experience, with a variety of cameras, I can tell you that there is a "best camera".

The best camera is the one that you know what all the buttons do.  You can have a high-end camera, with all kinds of fancy functions, but if you don't know how to use them, they are worthless.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Well, that works if you only have one camera, and if you are not asking more of it than it can give you. If you are, then you need something better than the useless POS that you have.

I am a camera repairman and I have 40 years experience as a photographer. I also restore vintage and antique cameras. I have somewhere around 150 cameras at present, and I know what all the buttons, levers and dials do on every single one of them. I know all of their quirks, weaknesses and design flaws as well as their strengths. I have box cameras, SLRs, rangefinders, ranging cameras, zone focusing cameras, view cameras, TLRs, and pinholes. I have some worth about $20 and some worth thousands -- so, which one of mine is the best? Well, I select my cameras before a shoot based on what I expect to be shooting, what format will be most apt and under what conditions I'll be shooting. Some cameras are better at night photography, for example. Some are better for shooting people and some are better suited for landscapes, If I'm going to need to make a 24X36 inch print, a large format camera will be a better camera choice than a 35mm, while if it is something I am going to post on DA, then a 35mm or digital camera will be just fine, and so on.

What is best depends on what you are shooting, the size of the prints you want to make, and a host of other variables. Only if your camera meets the criteria for all these variables is it even an adequate choice, let alone the best. In real life, the best camera is usually the one you left at home or don't own. There is a difference between the best camera and making do with the best choice that you have.
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:icondavid-jackson-artist:
David-Jackson-Artist Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
All you have done is say the same thing I said, but with just a lot more words.  A basic modern digital camera will serve most people's needs, and is versatile enough to handle a few more specialized tasks.  There's no need to spend a lot of money on high-end gear, if you don't understand how the basic gear works.
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:iconmarcinwuu:
marcinwuu Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
Several things you might want to consider changing/updating here:

- there are interchangeable TLR's.
- your opinion on rangefinder type camera being better for posed studio work seems a bit far fetched. Could you elaborate a bit on this? Quiet shutter doesn't seem like a reasonable argument unless you are shooting very, very easily spooked folks...
- both tilt and shift are not limited to view cameras. You can have them with pretty much everything that allows for changing lenses.
- there are other film sizes available with medium format
- you mentioned lomo, yet totally missed instant cameras

Also, you might want to include the mirrorless into this list, they're getting more and more popular, just as the point and shoot gets slowly pushed out of the market by cellphone cameras
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
I've tried editing it several times, and can't do it. Apparently making it into a sticky post disables the edit button.

Yes, the Mamiya C-series TLRs have interchangeable lenses.

Sorry, but on this next one you're wrong. SLRs have retrofocus lenses and rangefinders don't. Retrofocus designs just don't work very well with normal lenses and they are exceptionally bad with wide angle lenses, often requiring numerous additional elements in order to work adequately. On the other hand, the retrofocus design works exceptionally well with telephoto lenses. In small format, the SLRs/DSLRs really start to come into their own with right around 135mm lenses (film) or 85mm (digital). Additionally, because rangefinders use non-retrofocus lenses, there is less compression distortion, and the lenses are sharper over a wider spread of apertures. SLR lenses are usually really sharp at only one f/stop and that is usually f/8 or f/11. Since most people photography and posed portraits are taken with shallow depths of field, this means you get sharper photos at those wide apertures if you are using a rangefinder.

Tilt and shift are limited to view cameras. You are talking about tilt and shift LENSES. The cameras themselves do not have tilt and shift unless they are view cameras. You are right in that you can put weird attachments on pretty much anything though and convert it into something else. For instance, you can put a split image focusing screen on an SLR and make it into a rangefinder.

I missed a bunch of different cameras, not just instant cameras. However, that said, instant cameras are not really different from other film cameras. In fact, some cameras use both kinds of film. and right now there is a thriving market in converting Polaroid rangefinders into conventional sheet film cameras. It's the film that is different, not the camera. Instant cameras are pretty much all just rangefinders, folders, view cameras or zone focusing cameras.

The only film currently available for medium format cameras without being custom cut and/or spooled is 120 film. All other medium format film sizes are defunct. I mentioned 127 film merely because it was so common (lots of Kodaks were made for it), because there are people who will cut down 120 film for you and make spools, and because plastic film developing reels can still be adjusted for it. The last company making film in 127 size though, was Efke, and they have gone out of business. Some 116 and 118 box cameras, like the Agfa Buster Browns, can be easily converted to 120, but no one makes 116 or 118 film anymore and 220 became defunct a few years back, along with medium format sheet film. Everything else is long gone.

As mentioned before, I can't edit this article, so I can't add mirrorless cameras.
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:iconmarcinwuu:
marcinwuu Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
If you can't edit, maybe it would be better to just make a new edited version and ask the mods to delete this one?

That said:

I'm not sure I understand this retrofocus thing. The retrofocal designs are made so that you can focus lenses of shorter than flange distance focal lenghts. Once you hit somewhere around 50mm there are no more retrofocus lenses for 135 slrs (fifties are usually pretty much symmetrical). Then you have the telephoto designs, (which are kinda inverse retrofocus) made so that you could focus lenses with focal lenghts longer than flange distance. No telephoto lens that I know of is retrofocal. This includes the be all and end all of portrait lenses for 135 - the 85mm. Softness of the telephoto lens has much more to do with design of the lens (like aberration correcting elements, special low refraction glass etc) and production quality. I can understand that leica portrait lenses are good because they are good (not to mention bloody expensive), but I don't believe this has much to do with retrofocus, and even if it were so, then like I said before, portrait lenses aren't retrofocal. Also, the rangefinder, while great for standard lenses, is not so good for teles, for obvious reasons. The standard split image focusing screen is both more convenient, and precise. Of course, this is just opinion, but so is yours I guess...

Tilt and shift - ok, but even accepting this definition, there are at least two medium format cameras (two that I know of anyways), that have tilt/shit in their bodies. These are Rolleiflex SL (pathetically limited tilt, but still not in lens), and Fuji GX680 which has both tilt/swing and shift in its front standard (again, not as flexible as a true view camera, but definitely not in lens).

Polaroids are also used as film for medium/large formats. I'm just pointing this just to fill in the blanks so to speak.

Medium format: I'm sorry, I made a mistake. I wanted to write frame size, not film format. There are more frame sizes for medium formats than you listed. Like the 6x8, or 6x12, or 6x17. This is also just to improve your article.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014
Retrofocus (retro = back): thus, a more accurate description would be that they focus farther back into the camera, because there is a mirror box between the lens and the film or sensor. Because of this mirror box, the lens can not be placed at the optimal distance from the film or sensor for a wide angle lens or a normal lens. The Leica rangefinders, to use your own example, have the lens placed at the optimal distance for these lenses. To correct for this, retrofocus lenses have to use extra elements  to focus the image farther back than non-retrofocus lenses.

BTW, just as any lens with a shorter focal length than normal is commonly referred to as a wide angle lens, anything with a focal length of more than a normal lens is commonly referred to as a telephoto. An 85mm lens (digital, is the be all and end all of portrait lenses for a digital camera, but a 135mm lens is the classic portrait lens for a 35mm film camera. As said, this is where telephoto lenses (as I am using the term) reach equality with (and begin to surpass) rangefinder lenses, because of the magnification factor. Rangefinder lenses have no magnification factor and, with longer lenses than normal or wide, this works better as a means of accurate focusing, and because a telephoto lens needs to be placed farther from the film or sensor than a wide angle or normal lens would be to be optimal. It's why there are no Leica rangefinder lenses longer than 135mm. It is pointless to compare rangefinders with long telephoto lenses to SLRs with long telephoto lenses simply because there are no rangefinder lenses like that -- UNLESS you consider that the split image focusing screen in an SLR uses rangefinder technology, and thus it transforms an SLR into a rangefinder. This gives you the advantages of combining a TTL viewfinder with rangefinder focusing, and thus you get the magnification factor of an SLR's long lens along with the advantages of a split image type rangefinder like the Argus C3.
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:iconmarcinwuu:
marcinwuu Featured By Owner Edited Aug 21, 2014
Ok, I think you have some facts wrong. You need to check out what focal length of lens really means. Retrofocus lenses have their distance from the exit pupil to the image plane increased usually by way of extra optical elements, that can indeed degrade the image quality (not necessarily though - pretty often extra elements can improve on the image quality). Once you hit the focal length equal to the unincreased distance, you don't need these extra elements. This happens a bit above 40mm for most of the slr designs. So, once again. No telephoto lenses are retrofocal. Not even the "standard" 50mm's are retrofocal (they're usually a very simple symmetrical gaussian design, with exception of a couple newish designs from Zeiss and Sigma). No 85mm lens made for 35mm film or digital slr format is retrofocal, it would make no sense, they simply wouldn't work. Quite the contrary is true, they need to shorten this distance between exit pupil and image plane, to make it shorter than their focal length. The same is true for rangefinder and slr designs, only the focal lenghts are different. Image quality has nothing to do with rangefinder cameras, and a lot to do with lens design. Precision of manufacturing, use of exotic glass, aspherical elements etc. This is where expensive lenses like Leica shine, because, well, they don't have to cut any corners. As for the teles on a rangefinders - I have big problems focusing on a 90mm lens in standard portrait crop when using M6 - and that's what makes this camera pretty much useless in studio as far as I'm concerned (plus it being a 135 format camera makes it infinitely inferior right off the bat).

I think you need to check on basic optical mumbo-jumbo, at least as far as the lens terminology goes, and what it really means for the design and image quality.

Edit: Actually, I was not clear enough I think. Telephoto lenses can't be retrofocal, because in terms of optics, telephoto is the exact opposite of retrofocal. And, lenses that are longer that the diagonal of the imaging area don't necessarily have to be telephoto. But at least in the case slr design, lenses shorter than image diagonal do have to be retrofocal because of the whole mirrorbox deal you mentioned before. But once again. Past the magical mirrorbox depth, no lens has to be retrofocal. And certainly no telephoto lens. Because it can't. As I said before. Duh.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
Yes, I know that telephotos are not retrofocus. That's one of the relatively minor reasons why they work so well on SLRs. Telephotos have a much bigger advantage than this though. The biggest advantage to using a telephoto lens on an SLR is that they have a magnification factor. One of the biggest problems with any camera is focusing it accurately. With any kind of camera, especially those that rely on the "now it looks fuzzy and now it looks sharp" method of focusing, there is always a range of adjustment that will appear to be in focus; depth of field is usually relied upon to compensate for the margin of error. The shorter the focal length, the wider the margin of error, and this even applies to those cameras with split image focusing screens. The magnification factor that is inherent in telephoto lenses narrows this margin of error by a significant amount, simply by letting you take a closer look at the subject.

BTW, about 45mm, not 50mm, is a true normal lens on most 35mm SLRs. In common usage though, 50mm is considered normal.
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:iconmarcinwuu:
marcinwuu Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
Ok, so now that we're on the same page, let's track back to my original question: Why is rangefinder better than slr in posed studio work? It's not the retrofocus thing, not the quiet shutter thing, rangefinders are bitch to focus with anything longer than the nifty fifty, that leaves what?

And if we're to nitpick, it would take a roughly 43,266615305567871517430655209646 mm lens to be really "normal" in the definition sense.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
Okay, first off, posed studio portraits are not necessarily, or even usually, head and shoulders. If they were, then yeah, an SLR would be better. They are usually full length, head to knees or even groups. For those, a normal lens is the lens of choice. Rangefinder lenses are simply easier to make than SLR lenses and even a mid-priced rangefinder lens tends to be superb, compared to an SLR lens. Coincident rangefinders and split image rangefinders are far easier to focus accurately at 10 - 20 foot ranges, particularly compared to SLRs with autofocus. If you want to try this out, go on eBay, pick up a cheap Argus C3 or a Yashica Electro 35 GS (both are often under $20), clean it (those two are easy), and give it a shot. You'll see.  
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(1 Reply)
:iconjimmyjjohn:
jimmyjjohn Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
That's true, but only to a point. The best camera is the one that can do the job you need it to do. Some can't.

Cyprus Wedding Photography
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
Just had to throw some spam in there didn't you?
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:iconanorexianevrosa:
anorexianevrosa Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I really don't care about the camera. In my opinion, photography plays the most important role. Apart from that fact, there is a load of Image - Editing programs, that help you to make a photo better. Anyway, really helpful post, as I learned so much things about cameras! Thank you!
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
That's true, but only to a point. The best camera is the one that can do the job you need it to do. Some can't.
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:iconanorexianevrosa:
anorexianevrosa Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Absolutely, but, even if some camers cannot do the whole job, the use of some helpful programs is allowed. But you're totally right. The most important is the fact that the camera is able to do most of the job. This is the point of top - quality cameras.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
Well, that's true, but only to a point. Two cases in point (large format view camera versus small format DSLR camera):
1. Let's say you have a custom built $15,000 8x10 large format Ebony view camera (one of the very highest quality view cameras out there), but the fastest you can shoot with it is about a photo every two minutes. If you need something with tracking autofocus that can shoot rapidly moving subjects at 8 frames per second, that isn't going to be able to do it -- not by a long shot. It's hopeless, no matter what programs you have.
2. Now let's say that you have the very best small format DSLR that money can buy and you have struck the photography lottery and are offered the chance to shoot for what will be a series of 6x9 foot framed photos of moving racecars, shot in excruciating detail, that will be displayed in a museum. Sorry, but your camera will not be up to the job, because no small format lens or sensor ever made has adequate resolution to make sharp and detailed 6x9 foot prints. The cars are moving, so you can't zoom way in, shoot a couple of dozen photos and stitch them; you only get one shot. Not even a $10,000 Hasselblad medium format DSLR can do that. Once again, it's hopeless.

Programs are not helpful if your camera can't capture enough for them to work with.
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:iconanorexianevrosa:
anorexianevrosa Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're right, and this is the proof. Thank you!
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:iconanorexianevrosa:
anorexianevrosa Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very interesting and clever post. And personally speaking, I believe that the best camera is yours. The camera that anyone holds..
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
I believe the best camera is the one you forgot to bring and left at home.
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:iconanorexianevrosa:
anorexianevrosa Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, sure. I totally agree!
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:iconblooddragons:
blooddragons Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Professional Photographer
Fantastic post.
It really comes down to which camera feels best, each has it's own "personality" so to speak. While I have many antique cameras, and digital as well, I always return to my 4x5 view camera. I am most comfortable with it, like an old friend!
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
4x5 view cameras, along with medium format cameras and even those vintage and antique cameras are great, unless you need to shoot a lot of photos quickly or are shooting something that is moving fast. Nothing is perfect for everything though, and in an ideal world you really want a selection to choose from. Currently, I have a little bit too much of a good thing though, and I am planning to sell a dozen or two.
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:iconnintendo1889m:
nintendo1889m Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Hid my comments to prevent myself looking more sophomoric than I already am, I'm outta here. 
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Yeah? So everyone on earth should throw away their cameras and buy Nikon L820s?  Is it any good for astrophotography? Is it good for photographing goldfinches (the size of your thumb) at 100 yards? Is the shutter fast enough to freeze a hummingbird's wings? Can you shoot fireflies at night with it? The point is, that NOTHING is good for every kind of photography. What the best camera will be for you will depend on what kind of photography you are doing and it might not even be a DSLR or SLR or even digital. To cover everything would require a rather wide selection of cameras and the purpose of this article is to show what most of the various types of cameras excel at.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
" I don't know why you assumed that I said it was the best camera."

Because the title of this thread is "the best camera."
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:iconnintendo1889m:
nintendo1889m Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
I should just shut my mouth and never post on there again, since it seems I'm pretty confident I'm on your list of people to hate, right?
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Don't worry about it. We all stick our feet in our mouths from time to time.
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:iconnintendo1889m:
nintendo1889m Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2014
Well...alright, sorry about that, I'll move on :P
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:iconcarolina-hearts:
Carolina-Hearts Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I have a Nikon L810 and a Canon Rebel T3 (EOS 1100D) I love them both but favor the Canon. The quality is much better than the Nikon but with the Nikon I can zoom in a lot more. If I want an extreme amount of zoom I go with the Nikon (or use my Canon with my telephoto lens) if I want more quality like for portraits I use my Canon. I'm considering selling my Nikon but I'm unsure if I really want to or not. I just use my Canon a lot more and the quality is superior to that of the Nikon. I might sell the Nikon and get a longer telephoto lens for my Canon. I currently have a 75-300mm lens and the standard 18-25mm.
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
Well, you're comparing a p&s camera with a DSLR. It isn't going to perform as well in low light and at anything but ISO 100 and lower, like most p&s cameras. It won't shoot as fast and it won't work well with certain kinds of lens filters either. That said, I use my ancient Canon A630 p&s a lot more than either of my DSLRs (Nikon and Olympus) for the stuff I post on the web. Why? Because it is built like a tank (so I don't worry about something happening to it), it is simpler and easier to use and is far more than adequate for that particular purpose. All of the vintage cameras I restored get photographed with my A630. No computer monitor made is capable of more than about 4mp worth of resolution and no one can tell the difference between photos from film cameras, photos from a DSLR and photos from a p&s, just looking at them in my gallery.
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:iconsandunashan:
sandunashan Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
hi,,

    There's some excellent details in here, thanks! I saved it so that I could effectively study and think about it again when I've gotten some rest. I'm usually quite bad at different kinds of cameras so this should really help me especially for wedding photography camera.
www.shakkya.com/
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner May 14, 2014
Well, let's see... I like film, so for posed portrait-type wedding photos taken after the wedding (I've done three weddings) using a 4x5 view camera made the most sense for me, but for shooting during the actual ceremonies I mostly used a Voigtlander medium format rangefinder camera. The lighting at most wedding venues usually sucks and rangefinders are the easiest type of cameras to focus accurately in crappy light. I tried using SLRs and TLRs, but the light is usually pretty low and it is hard to get the focus spot on with those. Luckily, I had a rangefinder with me too, during that first wedding. Also (because good rangefinder lenses tend to be really super sharp), with a good medium format rangefinder, and with an ultra-high resolution film (b&w) or with Kodak Portra (color) you can make really sharp 16x20 enlargements if you need to, with no visible lens defects. I've never been asked to make an enlargement of a wedding photo bigger than that, but if I was, I'd probably use an old-fashioned 4x5 Speed Graphic press camera; they have rangefinder systems built into them (each camera has five viewfinder systems), they can take modern Schneider, Zeiss or Rodenstock lenses, and they can be shot handheld, so that would probably work out to be the best for me in that situation.
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:icontriinerg:
TriinErg Featured By Owner May 1, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
There's some great info in here, thanks! :) I bookmarked it so that I could properly read and think about it again when I've gotten some sleep. :D I'm generally quite bad at different types of cameras so this should really help me. 
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
You're welcome.
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:iconbdstudio:
BDStudio Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Professional Photographer
I find it kinda pointless to discuss about a "best camera" A photographer for all-round pictures doesn't need a full frame, but if a photographer likes to make big prints, it is wiser do to buy it for the sharpness, better iso performance and mega-pixels (more mega-pixels can be really handy now and then).
Also the skill of a photographer decides the final result ofcourse
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
Then there's medium and large format, SLR versus rangefinder versus TLR versus view camera and so on. That's what this article is about.
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:iconbdstudio:
BDStudio Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014  Professional Photographer
Oh not to forget that Full frame camera's give way better colors.
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:iconjensen91:
Jensen91 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Howdy People! I am planning to buy a Nikon N90s 35mm SLR Autofocus Camera from one of the pawn shops in SLC. Check this out - pawnutah.com/product/nikon-n90… and let me know if is it worth $405.99? Thanks in Advance !
I can't post a new thread that's why I am asking this here... 
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
Go down to the bottom of the forum page forum.deviantart.com/art/photo… and you will find the place for posting new threads.

As for whether it's worth buying, you've stumbled on the one guy here who is probably best qualified to answer that question, and you've done it by sheer chance. I restore vintage and antique cameras for a living and the answer to your question is: absolutely not. Someone is seriously overcharging for an old 35mm SLR. It isn't even that good a model (I have it's predecessor, the N8008S). Getting it set up so you can take photos with it is vastly overcomplicated. Ideally, with a 35mm SLR, as you progress, you switch from full auto to the manual adjustments. This camera makes that very difficult. You're going to miss a lot of shots while trying to adjust the aperture and shutter speed. If you're looking at Nikons, there are the N-series, the F series, the FE series, and the FM series (the model numbers start with those letters). With a budget of $400, the F series professional cameras are the ones to look at, and there are several within that budget. The FM2 is another nice one that's within your budget. With Canon, the A-1 and AE-1 series cameras are easily within your budget and many people say that those are the best cameras that Canon ever made, even when you count their professional models. Personally, if I was going to spend that much money on a 35mm camera, I'd get an old Pentax K1000 and have it overhauled though. It has a freaking HUGE selection of lenses, all of which are good, has the best and most accurate metering system of them all, has no quirks at all, is built like a tank, will run without a battery (if necessary), is very intuitive in operation, is purely manual (so if you screw up you can't blame it on the camera), yet it is quick and easy to shoot right out of the box.
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:iconpuffugu:
puffugu Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student General Artist
I'd love it if you could help me!
So I'm looking for a camera to replace this terrible point-and-shoot have! I guess Canon DSLR cameras are what I'm looking for. I'd like a camera that can take nice shots with bokeh and also macro shots, but at the same time being not too big, not costing approx. above $500, and pretty easy to use.
What's a camera model you'd suggest? It doesn't have to be Canon, but it seems like it would be my best choice.
Thank you for your help! <3
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014
Canon, Nikon and Pentax all make good DSLRs. As for which one to get: That would depend on what kind of bokeh you want. All cameras have some kind of bokeh, but it comes in different shapes and in some it's stronger than in others. For example, hexagonal bokeh usually comes from cameras with shutter blades, not DSLRs (unless you can find a lens with a hexagonal aperture and stop it down to f/5.6 or so).
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:iconpuffugu:
puffugu Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2014  Student General Artist
wow, thank you for the great help!
i'd say round ones! would DSLRs make nice round ones? : )
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:iconfallisphoto:
FallisPhoto Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
Yes -- and they all would. You need to look up reviews of lenses to see what lenses will give you the best bokeh in the most useful focal lengths for the subjects you'll be shooting. You mostly need to be looking at prime lenses (lenses that don't zoom).
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:iconjmarmck:
jmarmck Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer

A very well written note here. I would agree with you on nearly all the points. But then again there are as many opinions as there are people. The trick is to pick what you need from each inorder to learn.

 

I have sold cameras in the past, worked for newspapers, got into the video market at the ground level (and left almost as quickly). Cannon, Nikon, Minolta, Pentax, Olympus, etc.. yes, one body is not necessarily better than another with the exception of how one suits the individual user. I had Olympus gear many years ago and had trouble getting use to the opposite lens mounting system of Nikon. But yes you are correct, in the end it is the glass that counts. I now use Nikkor lens systems with several Nikon DSRs. In many ways I wish I still have old Olympus OM systems. But the Nikon is better for my uses.

 

That said I will state that the new D800e body is a game changer. The more responsive and higher resolution sensor is far superior to any DSLR on the market at the time I bought it. I spend much of my time shooting in near to complete darkness.....lightning, stars, moon, etc. The sensor has at least two EV wider range of sensitivity. Why is this important? Consider a lightning bolt in a cloud. The older D700 sensor will miss much of the detail in those subtlely lit areas adjacent to the bolt. Those darker shadows in a sunset will have detail with the D800e and not the D700. If you can afford it, it is worth it.

 

But, if I ever had a chance to pickup a 4x5, 5x7 or even an 8x10, (contact me if you have one) I would do so in a hurry. Even if it means a purchasing darkroom equiptment an supplys. Of course a high resolution scanner would be in order too.

 

BTY for those of you having trouble with focusing in low light, you can use the "live vew" and associated zoom in to get round it. Say you are shooting the moon. Infinity right? No, some lens will go beyond infinity. Focus on the subject, viiew the image in the live view and zoom in very tight to adjust the focus. This works well with points of lights, stars, street lights, etc. The downside is that live view functions on most DSLR rapidly drain the battery. Carry a spare. 

 

Thanks for the opine FallisPhoto.

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