” Which Camera should I buy ” ? the Classic Question
Many people ask which camera should I buy, which system is better, should I get a DSLR or a Mirrorless cam, is FF better than APS-C better than M43 !!! and all the different silly questions we all know.
Well, I tried and owned many different digital systems cameras through the years, maybe except Canon and Pentax, so I will skip talking about those … Actually I started with Canon in the film Era, and shifted to Nikon in the digital Era, then went to Leica, Panasonic M43, Nikon 1, Sigma DP Merrill, Sony, Fujifilm and lately Olympus. I sold some of them, and kept some. I even tried the Leica M10 and Fujifilm GFX lately and decided to skip both.
Different cams I used, owned or still own
It’s not really important which system I use today or which one I prefer … It really doesn’t matter. Different photographers have different needs. Some of them have many needs: I’m one of those. I will try to be as rational and objective as possible in this post in order to see things like they really are. Although One can not deny that sometimes we buy a cam with our heart !
You won’t find the perfect camera system : you won’t find a lightweight, fast, silent, with all the lenses that you might need. You won’t find a camera that can shoot wildlife and sports that fits in your jacket pocket or in a small shoulder bag. That’s why many photographers have more than one camera, even if they are specialized in one field.
Many of us won't travel with a D5, and won't shoot sports with an M
I like to try new things, new food, new tastes, new tech
I usually don’t follow any specific brand, and am not affiliated with any specific company. I use and try different cams. I dislike some of them, like some others but skip because i know I don’t need them, like others and keep because it serves my different photography purposes. I like to try new things, new food, new tastes, new tech. Some people don’t like to try. Some people go to a restaurant and order the same food every time, because they like it and they don’t want to take a risk of trying something new. They don’t know if what they are missing is better or not to their taste. They don’t know if what they are missing fulfills their need or not. This reminds me of a French proverb: “On ne change pas une formule qui gagne” .
"On ne change pas une formule qui gagne" .
From my experience, all cams are good if you know how to use them. If you understand their limitations and advantages, if you care about the shooting experience as much as you care about the final result, if you know which camera serves which need. Five years ago, the 1/1.7″ sensor cameras were very popular, and gave great results for a point and shoot: Cameras like Canon S90, G9 or Panasonic LX7 to the larger ⅔ inch sensor of Fujfilm X10, SX1. At that time, back in 2012, Sony launched the first 1 inch sensor Point and Shoot camera: the RX100. and suddenly all the smaller sensor cams died. Well I had the RX100 back then, used it for couple of months and decided to sell it to get a smaller sensor LX7 that I used extensively, along with my Nikon FF DSLR system. The RX100 back then gave better image quality due to the larger sensor. But the shooting experience, faster lens, and better ergonomics of the LX7 were a deal breaker for me. The LX7 gave me great images, so did my older LX3 and LX5. Actually I sold the LX7 later and got me a Leica DLux 4 Special Edition ! If all point and shoot cameras went today to Micro Four Thirds sensor like the Panasonic LX100, you will see everyone bashing the 1 inch sensor cams.
The Shooting experience, Image Quality and Tech
What I am trying to say is that every camera you use you can give you excellent images, if you know how to use it, If you don’t, a Nikon D5 won’t give you good results. Some of my favorite images I took with the Lumix LX7, Leica X1, Nikon V1, V3 or AW1. Some others I took with Nikon D3s, D800E, Df, Sony A7rII, A7II, Fuji X-Pro1, X-Pro2, X-T2, etc… The Shooting experience and the bond between the camera and the photographer is very important for me. Some might prefer the direct controls of the Fujifilm X cameras. Others can find that the Fujifilm Cameras are too retro designed. The Truth is that most of us, especially the older generation who started with film cameras like the nostalgic aspect of the retro cameras. Many Leica users love Leica because it has a very simple interface and a retro look. And it FEELS good to shoot with it; Of course these are not the only reason to go with Fujifilm or Leica. The Look and Shooting Experience of some cams are the first marketing catch to many photographers. I won’t go through the Image Quality difference between different cams, the net is full of similar comparisons .
DSLRs are still leading the market today, for many reasons. Last month, Sony took the 2nd place from Nikon, coming after Canon of course, in the U.S.. Mirrors have some advantages and some disadvantages as well. Some people consider that everything other than a DSLR is a toy for the boys.
If we all think this way, we will still be listening to vinyl,cassettes and watching VHS
I hear it many times… that Sony cameras are like computers and not like a photography tool. Well we are in 2017, and if a computer can perform well and deliver good results, I will go with a computer, Why do we want to use a camera that looks like a 1960s camera? Is it Nostalgia?
Many say that an M43 sensor is too small and it serves for nothing. Well, I say Medium format sensors are too large for many users as well.
If you want to know about the sensor size differences, check the net, it’s full of talk on this subject.
Some of us started with film, and shifted to digital photography. Did they shift because it’s better or because it’s a newer technology ? and some still use film today; Some still listen to vinyl as well. Film is not dead. DSLR won’t be dead also.
Yesterday, cameras were all about optics and mechanics. Today, Technology is the main thing to look at
Last week, Sony launched the A9. On paper it shook many of those who think the mirrorless world is not but a toy. It’s still on paper. It’s early to judge. But even on paper it had a strong impact on many. You might not be one of those who were impressed by the spec sheet of the A9. Many of those who believed that the mirrorless world is for amateurs, had their second thoughts. Btw, I didn’t pre-order the A9. I don’t have the need for it today.
Here are some images taken with different cameras. To see more samples, check my Flickr account HERE
Most manufacturers use different marketing tools and hype to convince you to upgrade or change your gear: Every time a camera is launched we hear about : “this one has the fastest AF in the world”, “this one has an ISO performance that can go to 3 million”, another one is made for “Pure photography”, a 3mm thickness difference of a new cam makes it a very thin an sexy cam, etc…. Well, how many times you use the fastest AF while shooting, How many times you shot above ISO 3200 or 6400, How much you care of having a sexy cam ? I am not saying that those features are not important, but in my opinion are over hyped trying to convince you to make the switch, cos your camera is 1 or 2 years old today !
Technology is moving very fast today. Many brands share the same technology. And if for some reason you see a camera missing some tech, it is mostly made on purpose.
- Sony and Olympus share IBIS
- Most of the brands today share Sony sensors
- Many brands share Fujifilm Lens expertise
- Leica and Panasonic share some cams and sometimes some lens tech.
Ego and Financial Reasons
I believe that one of the main reasons for someone not to change to a new system is a financial one, and this is normal, even if they say that they are convinced that the system they are using is better than others. When many of photographers invested in Nikon or Canon for example, it’s hard for them to sell everything to change for another system, even if they are convinced that at this point in time, another system is more useful for them. And this is applicable to Fujifilm, Sony, Leica, M43 users as well. That’s why we see many who keep the system they use and shift gradually to other.
Another reason is the photographer’s EGO, and this is very common. Many photographers consider that the system they use is the best because they chose it, and many of them close their eyes and don’t want to know what it looks like on the other side of the river.
Which is Better?
Five years ago the Question was which is better : Nikon or Canon? Today the main Question are: Sony or Fujifilm ? and what about Olympus ? Leica ? and the others ? How do they compare? is Mirrorless better than DSLR ? is DSLR dead ? Well, I don’t have a straight answer to those questions, because i am convinced that all of them are good and bad in some points. It really doesn’t matter which is better ! Was Canon really better than Nikon, or vice versa ? Of course not ? So why should any of the rest be better than the others ? the net is full of reviewers affiliated with a brand and they can push their brand on the expense of others . Fujifilm affiliated photographers bash Sony and Olympus. Sony photographers bash Fujifilm and Olympus, and it never ends. Leica users consider all the rest useless. Nikon and Canon are still on their DSLR cloud. Fanboys are everywhere
Fanboys are everywhere
In my modest opinion, all cams today deliver great image quality and all serves different purposes. I find many advantages of a Nikon 1 V3 and Olympus Pen-F for example over a Nikon D750 or D5. And vice versa of course. If you use one system, it doesn’t mean that the others are not good enough. If you use a Medium Format camera, it doesn’t mean it is better than a Full Frame camera: It might be better in some aspects and worst in others.
I have some suggestions:
- Know your (different) needs
- (Don’t be afraid) to try a new camera before you buy
- Understand and Connect with the camera you are using
- Read less reviews
- if you don’t print large, don’t pixel peep on your computer screen.
And the most important thing,
- Don’t listen to an advice from someone who is affiliated with or used one camera system all his life. When I used Nikon only, Nikon was the best camera in the world 🙂