Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Do new cameras make a difference?

Recently I've read about more and more photographers turning from digital to film cameras. Many of them never took photographs seriously before the digital age and now that they've discovered the joys of capturing an image, well it's natural that they want to find ways of improving their photography.

I've written before about the fascination photographers have with the technology involved in making an image. Judging by the latest trend of photographers turning to film, and praising it, I think that the ever present marketing spin has lodged firmly in their minds.

What's the spin you may ask? Well the heart of it is that using a different camera or medium like film or digital is going to improve your photography. Of course that's nonsense. I see many photographers not quite getting the results they want with their digital SLRs. So what do they do? Switch to film. If you are such a photographer my advice is stick to the minimum equipment you can. Travel light. Pick the right lens for the job and stick with it.

Switching cameras or from film to digital or the other way round is purely a question of workflow. Yes the fine aesthetics of the results are different. Each medium has it's own quality but you have to be a really exceptionally talented and visionary photographer to extract the benefits and play to the strenghts of the different media.

Concentrate on improving your images. Not on equipment. Time and again it's been shown that if you put a disposable camera with a crap lens in the hands of a talented photographer she'll get an interesting result, the product of a creative vision. So equipment really doesn't make one a better photographer.

There is a rider on what I've said above. Using new equipment can stimulate a photographer's creative vision. Any new technology can inspire. I remember when I first used a super wide lens. Mind you it took awhile of trying things before I got my first really good photograph. But yes, it can stimulate creativity.

To sumarise: the main thing is to concentrate on improving your images. All the best photographers know their equipment inside out. That's the answer. Not switching from digital to film. You'll probably switch back again in two months and upgrade to a more expensive digital camera, still chasing that elusive improvement in your photography.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Paul Indigo
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