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2007.03.01

How would you complete the title of this post? Lets consider some options:

So many cameras, so little…

  • time: thats the most cliche answer, but really, would you have time to use lots of cameras?
  • money: this is a more practical answer. Perhaps your money has something better to do than buying cameras.
  • hands: having a camera does not get you anything, using a camera does.

So we know that different cameras are ideal for different needs. If we were rich and retired, none of the above would be a problem and we could buy the ideal camera for each need and hire a porter. He’d follow us with several camera bags and pass us the right camera upon request. Pass me the sports camera! Now the social camera!

Now lets imaging we can’t afford a porter. Really, imaging you can’t afford one! If we could still afford all the cameras we want, what would we do? Buy them all, carry one or two each time? We’d have to decide which type of photography before heading out. Sometimes its easy. If we’re going to see a game, just grab the Canon 1D Mark III. And for the party after, bring the Fuji Finepix F30 not to be too bulky and intimidating. If we’re going on vacations, it’s much harder. How can we know what will catch our eye? We may have an idea depending on the destination but being in a foreign land often provides unexpected opportunities.

Graffiti and Light RaysWhat if we can’t afford all these cameras? It’s time to compromise. Some cameras may not be the ideal fit for every time of photography but they can be versatile enough to satisfy us with various types of situations. For those you need a small social camera and also do higher end photography, an ultra-compact and a DSLR can be used. If you can only afford a single camera there are a number of very versatile compact cameras with full manual controls for creative photography.

With digital SLR cameras, choosing which one or ones to buy is trickier even if we can afford several. The main issue is lenses. They make a huge difference in the performance and versatility of a DSLR but they can significantly add to its cost. Sometimes people get 3 or 4 DSLRs because they like them all or they find that some are best suited for certain situations. Unless money is practically unlimited, buying so many digital cameras means limiting the number and quality of lenses we get. It is generally better to add lenses to a good DSLR than to add another DSLR with its kit-lens to our collection. Remember that while traveling, bringing each DSLR means bringing the lenses, batteries, charger and sometimes memory for it. Also, if you have only a single DSLR, you do not have to choose in advance which one fits your current plans. To vary your travel weight, you can always build yourself different lens bundles: a single long-zoom lens for minimizing bulk, 2-3 average quality zooms for everyday shooting and 3-4 high-quality zooms for top-quality images and better available-light photography.

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