Which camera to get? Literally: Any!

A few days ago Leica introduced the Q2 Monochrome. It is one great camera and it costs an arm and a leg. Even if one has the money and the willingness to part with it in order to get one, there are some caveats: it is a fixed lens camera, so you are stuck with a 28mm wide-angle and you will have to live with it and, get this, it ONLY shoots black and white. Why? Because by designing it this way will actually (arguably some say) give you better tonality and IQ on your B&W than a regular (=color) sensor. There are endless discussion in fora of enthusiasts and pros about the merits of getting a Monochrome camera and one that is restrictive anyway due to the fixed lens. Arguments go back and forth and this is just one announcement of one camera by one maker…

Cameras are being introduced literally every day; small cameras, big cameras, entry level and pro, cheap and expensive, you name it, they are coming in droves. Not to mention the new crop of smartphones with cameras that give the “real” ones a run for their money. So, people ask which camera they should get and they ponder and contemplate and compare and test and read reviews and… STOP!

There is an easier answer to the question “which camera to get” and it is a single word as you have probably seen in the title of this here article: ANY! That’s right, get any camera and go out and shoot with it and have fun and make some beautiful images with it and tons of crappy ones in the process and get this: whether you get the top of the line pristine jewel of a camera or the bottom of the barrel, run of the mill entry level digicam, you will still have fun, you will still make some beautiful images and yes, tons of crappy ones.

Why is this so, one might ask. Let me let you into a little secret: you are not as good a photographer as you think you are; neither am I for that matter. And there’s more: The overwhelming majority of cameras out there today outperform you. There, I’ve said it. In a nutshell, in the couple that influences what kind of images you make, that is you and your camera, the constraining or limiting factor is you, not the camera.

Modern day cameras are tech beasts that have more firepower than serious computers had just a few short years ago. The sensors are great, the processors are ultra powerful, the feature set even on the most basic cameras is very rich and the lenses are a whole different story anyway, but suffice it to say that they are still being designed according to the same blueprints that Carl Zeiss and some other enlightened visionaries created 100 years ago.

Personally I would go about it as follows: How much money do I want to spend, or rather can / should spend? After deciding on this, the second most important question to ask is: do I want a small / compact camera or a bigger DSLR-lie camera? Then, having decided on that, I would ask: Which brand do I like to own, or if you don’t want to put it in these terms (although many times it comes down to exactly that), which camera in this price / size segment feels better in my hand and will make me want to take it with me and shoot?

The rationale behind this process is simple enough: the first question tackles a potential objective problem – you may want to get a MF Leica but forking out 20k may be not exactly feasible. If there is a budget, you should stick to it. If not, get whatever you want anyway, don’t listen to me:) The second question answers a real life concern – if it is not the right size / weight you will end up not using it, no matter how good it is. There are those who really want a very compact camera to carry around at all times so that they are ready for the right moment all the time. Then, there are those who want to feel like a pro and only a hefty DSLR would do. It doesn’t really matter which group you belong to, as long as you answer this question truthfully, in order to end up with a camera you will actually use and not just own. Finally, and do not underestimate this, answer what you really like to have and shoot with. This may be a function of several different factors, so I will name a few to give you an idea: there are people that cannot even imagine shooting with anything other than a Nikon or a Canon – they are brand aficionados and there is nothing wrong with that, because every major brand has some really great offerings out there. There are others that want something discreet or something big and in-you-face, something minimal looking or hi-tech gadget and everything in-between.

Answer these 3 questions (don’t take more than 10 minutes – it defeats the purpose really) and you have your camera. Now go get it or order it online (thanks to COVID19…) and start shooting. Remember, no matter how complex, the camera is a tool; the art is in the eyes and hands of the photographer (that’s you by the way!).