Welcome to the Morning Comment—the replacement for the Morning Coffee. Every morning I'll talk about a reader comment from the last day or three. My responses are just my opinion. Even if I argue, I'm not necessarily claiming that I'm right and the commenter is wrong.
This morning's comment, from David Zivic: "I've heard it several times and I think right here in TOP. 'The best camera is the one you have with you.'"
This is an Internet truism, and I wouldn't bet the house that I've never repeated it. David's probably right—I probably have.
But I'm really not sure I buy it. Instead, I think I'd say something like "It's best to have with you whatever camera you need to get the shot you want." Of course that doesn't roll off the tongue.
But really, far more often in the history of photography, great photographers went to great trouble and toil to have the right cameras with them for the work they envisioned in their mind's eye. For some, this might indeed have been any camera at all; but for many, having the right camera was integral to the way they saw and to the results they got. Even photographers who did great work with toy cameras wouldn't have been well served if they'd had a 35mm SLR with them. Many of the great view camera photographers, at the very least, could not have done the work they did without the cameras they toiled to carry. No professional would ever say, "Well, it was the wrong camera for the job, but it was the one I happened to have with me." No bird photographer would not have a long lens because it was too difficult to carry.
Granted, one thing the truism emphasizes is that it doesn't matter how nice a camera you have if you leave it at home all the time, and that's true enough. But maybe that just means you're too lazy to schlepp what you really ought to be schlepping. Better to suck it up and lug along what you need than excuse yourself with some weak-coffee cliché. (I could be talking to myself here.)
We have to be prepared for what we want to do. That's just part of the game we play. It has always been so. The Internet truism seems to implicitly encourage people to be satisfied with any camera that happens to be undemandingly portable. That's really the wrong encouragement, I'd say. Better to carry the camera you need, whatever it happens to be. People will only judge the result. Nobody cares if your camera fit in your pocket or not.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
M. Guarini: "J.P. Caponigro has done great work with the iPhone."
Mike replies: Yes he has.
fiberstrobe: "I've just checked back my favorite photos from 2013 (you can see here) and none of them was a snapshot happened only because by chance I had a camera with me. All of them was somehow planned and the proper lens (and lighting) was selected. Of course I have many snapshots and typical tourist photos, but none of them reached to the selection."
Edie Howe: "Nope. Nope, nope, nope. You're wrong, Mike. The image is always more important than the camera that captured it. Carry whatever camera you will, but here's the kicker: know how to use it, and know its limitations."
Mark Steigelman: "How 'bout 'For grab shots, the best camera is the one you have with you.'"
David Zivic: "Well put Mike and a good example of your professed 'my responses are just my opinion.' I look forward to the times when I can choose one of my cameras with lens or two and go on a shooting walk, or to a particular spot for a shot I think I saw. I also go to a local wild bird sanctuary with a long lens. What my phone camera has done for me is to allow me to always have an image taking device with me. I need my phone with me for work so it's always there.
"I sell yachts for a living and drove two hours to get photos of a new listing. Halfway through the shoot my Leica decided to stop working. I finished the project with my iPhone and got acceptable shots, especially for thumbnails on the internet.
"(By the way I also learned yesterday that I don't need to unlock my phone to use the camera feature so I am finding these morning posts valuable.)"
John D.: "I have a job that puts me in the public eye from time to time, and I get photographed a lot. Frequently I have to wait several minutes as the various photographers fumble with their cameras, and then use their iPhones (or the iPhones of their subjects) to give them their own version to take home. I have to say, the only photos that ever get used are the iPhone ones. They don't need complicated resizing, they can be shared or uploaded to the web right away, and they often have better color balance and tonality that the DSLR out-of-camera JPEGs. By the time the pro photographer has finished playing with his RAW files, life, and we, have moved on."