Monday, June 21, 2010

Bigger v. More v. Better
In this "bigger is better" world many folks select a camera by buying the most pixels they can afford. I guess it is really a "more is better" idea. Cameras with more pixels than grains of sand in the Sahara are now available and the technology of some of those cameras exceeds that of many computers. But, do they result in better pictures? Almost never. Many of us who have shown at juried art shows have had someone say to us, "You must have a very good camera." Yes, and Benny Goodman had a very good clarinet. And...we both knew how to use them.

The finest camera cannot keep you from walking past and failing to recognize the finest of images. More pixels often means the person will be sloppy, compose poorly and end up cropping an 18 megapixel image down to one that could have been taken with a 7 megapixel camera. As for the technology, I bet that less than 1% of camera owners can use all the programs on a 4 megapixel camera.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if all you have is a mini-pixel phone and some knowledge of lighting and are down in the Washington, DC subway, you can still get a nice image...if you know what to do with those few pixels (even if you have to e mail the image to yourself).
(as sent)

Paddle safe...


gnarlydog said...

So it's true: "It's not what you have, it's how you use it" (...that's what she told me).
Seriously, I get that comment too, occasionally: "You must have a good camera..."
Actually I don't.
I am dissatisfied with my camera since it's not reliable.
It does have TOO MANY megapixels (for such a small chip) that I would rather trade for a better lens, but the camera is compact and fits in my PFD pocket.
And as you said: even with the most basic tool (I draw the line with some camera phones though) in the right hands it can capture incredible images.
I used to schlep a Hasselblad (!) around the countryside (backpacking) and while the sharpness of those images was insane, the camera alone did not capture better images.
These days I make do with inferior "megapixels" and rather concentrate on "the moment".

Silbs said...

I remember my 4x5 view camera and the 45 lb. back pack. The tripod also was hefty, but I got great images.

paddlingOTAKU said...

In a past life - meaning decades ago, not actual lifetimes ago - I worked professionally in photography.
I despise the phrase - 'that camera takes great pictures' which is the same outcome as 'you must have a great camera' So I can sympathize.

There was a period of about 3 years, when we shot slide film, and scanned in house and could use photoshop to tweak. it was the best of both worlds, amazingly sharp - but still the feel, or look I suppose - of film, with all the control of photoshop.

I left the industry when it went all digital, as I didn't like a lot of the effects it had on the professional end of things.


Silbs said...

OTAKU, we are kindred souls on this issue. I still go down in the basement and stand in my darkroom while I review my 11 x 14 black and white prints. I miss the alchemy.