One of the mistakes “I think” people make when they become interested in photography is to start buying gear. Of course you need to have a camera to take pictures, but I mean buying the biggest and best cameras and lenses. I am an advocate that you can use any camera to take a picture, you just need to learn how the camera works and its limitations. You also need to understand the subject.
Yesterday I took a friend’s son to the Palm House (a greenhouse/botanical garden). Over the summer I have been introducing him to photography and on day trips we have been taking pictures together; first with is point and shoot and then with an old DSLR (300D*) of mine that I lent to him. During our trip to the Palm House the camera he had starting playing up, I decided we could switch cameras as this was really a trip for him and not for me. I got the 300D, he was using, working although it was being temperamental and I used it instead.
One of the reasons for going to the palm house was to see the butterflies they have there. On the 300D I had the kit lens while my friend’s son had a macro set up with my camera now.
If I was to say let’s take pictures of butterflies I am sure many people would attach their macro lenses or wish they had one to attach. This is logical, you want to get in close and get some fantastic pictures. However a macro set up would be nice, a kit lens can make just as good images. Selecting the sharpest aperture and the longest focal length I got off a few shots until the camera gave up the ghost for the day. Not to be deterred I put the camera back in my bag and whipped out my phone. Yes, My phone.
Now my phone has an 8mp sensor which sounds better than the 5mp on the 300D, yet the sensor is smaller as is the output resolution. Using the voice activation I approach a butterfly as close as I could and then focused on the head with my finger before taking the picture by saying “cheese”.
The pictures I got at the end of the day were slightly noisy but usable.
To take good pictures you don’t need an amazing camera just an understanding of how you can use what you have got. Saying I need this or that to take pictures is relying to heavily on your tools which you will blame when things don’t go to plan. An entry level DSLR and kit lens can be an amazing combo to learn from and later on still take great shots. Even a point and shoot camera with the current scene mode can take better pictures than a DSLR. It is not the camera it is the person taking the picture that matters the most.
*The 300d was the first canon rebel camera released in 2004 sporting a 5mpx Cmos sensor which had high noise at 800ISO with 1600ISO being nearly unusable even after a firmware update.
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