Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What camera should I get?

So, on Sunday we took the kids ice skating. What a great time to get some practice taking shots on the rink for ice hockey. It was free skate time at the local rink and the girls were meeting some friends there.

First axiom, it never hurts to ask. I asked the skate guard if I could stand in the team box to take pictures. He sent me to the front desk and after a couple of minutes they let me walk out to the box as long as I was escorted. I got some great pictures of the girls. Katie, my youngest, is still getting the kinks out so she likes to be closer to the wall but she skates very well and after a while will move away. Kimmy has always skated well but is a great big sister and likes to help Katie out.

Second axiom, if you are taking pictures in a public place, people invariably come up and ask if you are the photographer for the rink. That was an easy one to answer. Then I got approached by a very nice guy who wanted to know if I could take a few pictures of him skating. Je was a hockey player so it was great practice keeping him in frame.

He stopped by a little later and asked me whether I liked my camera. Of course, I love it. He asked, "So Nikon is a good brand?" yes "How about Canon?" After I showed him how my camera worked I explained that he couldn't go wrong with either brand. Some poeple look at me funny when I tell them that.

Cameras are just tools. If you can't see things before you pick up the camera the brand doesn't help you see any better. One of my favorite pictures that I have blown up to an 8 x 10 in my office is one I took with a 5MP Canon point and shoot 3 1/2 years ago. The camera itself doesn't matter. I saw a view that I liked and snapped the picture. I still have people come into my office and ask where I bought the photo.

Canon does some things better than Nikon and Nikon does other things better. The good news for us photographers is that the longer they keep going at it the better our gear will get. Figure out where you are as a photographer (beginner, using cameras for a long time etc.), what you want to do with the camera, and with your pictures. You may not want the same camera if you are just taking family pictures versus sports etc. Choose a camera based on how feels in your hand and whether you like the controls. Is the camera to big for your hands? Does it feel to heavy? Is it uncomfortable after a few minutes? For some, Nikon feels better and for others Canon does. Don't let anyone convince you just because they use something different then you that their camera is better. Ansel Adams was taking pictures many moons ago when they didn't have digital or precision ground lens etc and his photos endure to this day.

Many people - myself included, will tell you to get good lenses (or glass as some people call it) and you can always upgrade your camera later. If you wantto shoot indoor sports you need fadt glass where is if you are outside all the time and don't have moving subjects you may be able to use slower glass.

Time to get off my soapbox, just remember - the camera doesn't matter - it's the person behind the lens.

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