Is The Best Camera the One You Have with You?

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The internet meme has surely proselytize the idea that:

The Best Camera is the One You Have with You

But like so many other “facts” bantered about, I disagree with this one. But I’ll start off by saying that if the goal is to record fabulous memories and capture experiences, then grab a smart phone with a great camera, almost any of them these days, and shoot away. But… If the goal is to capture the best images possible, I say grab the most capable gear that you can afford to own with a weight you can just manage to schlep. See here’s the deal, serious photography is hard work. Often, okay most, times requiring extensive planning, hiking, travel, standing out in the cold, and no small amount of expense. So to me it just doesn’t make sense to spend that time and effort and not capture the best possible images that one can.

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But obviously cost and weight matter so difficult choices have to be made. And I think the key here is to cull hard. Decide what beauty inspires you and chase it passionately with a finely honed camera system that best fits the task at hand with nothing extra.

At this point I’d love to be able to say that I was born with this divine wisdom and after many years of smugly bathing in my photographic nirvana I finally decided to generously pass along my gift of knowledge. But sadly, and I’m sure quite obviously, this wasn’t the case.

I, like I imagine many photographers, initially followed the “sage” online advice which laid out the “necessary” extensive set of gear required to be a “proper” photographer. Which ended up weighing a ton, cost a fortune and sacrificed the above mentioned quality. Basically a “Jack of all Trades, and a Master of None”. The winner in this path is rarely the photograph but often the Photo Store.

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But eventually I saw the light, or more accurately saw thru this facade. See many, okay most, of the photographers I admire are keenly focused with a tailored set of gear that fits their needs. They also tend to hold onto that gear for quite a while since familiarity often breeds competence.

The additional beauty of culling hard and carrying the simplest kit that can get you the shots you desire is that you can spend more on less which up the quality and reliable of the gear you do carry. Basically a win-win.

All of these images, and many more, took a determined effort, a great length of time or a fair bit of expense to capture. Some took all three. So, for me, it just makes sense to own high quality gear and use it to snag the best possible image.

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