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Best picture?

I heard an interesting question. Rather than the usual “what’s the best picture you’ve ever taken?” Or “what’s your favourite camera?” It was “which camera has given you your best pictures?”.

None of these

It could be that you have just the one camera, so all of your pictures were taken with it. But it could also be that the pictures that mean the most to you were taken with quite modest kit. Friends, family, children and holidays may have been snapped on something small and unsophisticated, while your big camera was only used for ‘serious’ photographs which you have never looked at since.

I suppose there will be two definitions of best though. The one above is what means the most to you. The other version is what you want to show other people. Or perhaps I stop the sophistry and accept that you will have some pictures you like the most, whatever the reason.

I’ve been taking pictures for a long time though, so my best pictures were taken on a variety of kit. First, and for a long time, my best camera was my only camera. My humble Ricoh took pictures that I still like. The pictures of friends and family become increasingly precious as the subjects fade. But the camera itself had little to do with it, other than exposing correctly and allowing me to use different lenses.

With the kids growing up I went through a phase of using a 35mm compact point and shoot. For a while I had one of Canon’s waterproof cameras. This made great pictures because it used flash by default, and colour print film loves lots of fill-in light. Then it broke and was replaced with something that could switch between a 35 and 70mm lens. This was swapped as soon as possible for a little Canon digital compact (yes, I do like Canon compact cameras). The joy of digital, of course, is that you are not constrained by the size of a film or the costs of developing. You can snap away, grab shots, try things and simply delete the junk. This camera was reincarnated several times as bits broke and was eventually morphed into a better model in the range. (And reading this, I do seem to have broken some cameras over the years)

If I think about the pictures that I’m most pleased to have taken (being the ones I would show other people), then very much the same rules apply: an SLR or some form of point and shoot are the choices. I don’t think I’ve ever had a special camera though, in the sense of one camera that I prize for giving me the best pictures. It’s more that various cameras have come and gone, serving in a particular role. It’s almost Trigger’s broom: I’ve always had an SLR but the make and model has varied as they wore out or broke. Same with the compact – many actors have played the role, some better than others.

I might actually favour some lenses more than the cameras that carry them. I’ve got a very humble Industar 50mm lens that renders very smoothly as a mild telephoto on an APS-C camera. Longer lenses are very nice for pictures of people, and my wide-angles are good for action.

So, to answer the original question, do I have a special camera that has produced my best pictures – the camera I would save from a house fire? The answer has to be no. What mattered more than the make or model of camera was the type of camera. I took good pictures with an SLR because of its capabilities. I took good pictures with a compact camera because it was easy to carry and have it with me. Some cameras were easier to use than others, which would make me favour them, but that’s it. There are some lenses that I like, but none of them rate as the magic lens.

There is no magic camera for me either. What about you though – do you have a special camera that makes the best pictures?


Author: fupduckphoto

Still wishing I knew what was going on.

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