Monday, January 5, 2009

Hard Facts about Photography

1. A SLR construction does not make a camera better

Digital camera marketing has been very successful. Lots of buyers are "monkey see monkey do" paying lots of money without knowing how their cameras work. I can bet that majority of SLR owners do not know what SLR means.

Today's SLR digital cameras can produce better pictures because most of them have a larger sensor compared to point-and-shoot cameras. Camera manufacturers would like to keep things this way to avoid fighting on price alone.

The ability to change lens does not require an SLR. Thankfully Panasonic has broken this mental block with their latest model.

A digital SLR is worse than a point-and-shoot when it comes to having a video viewfinder. Yes, some of us prefer to use the optical viewfinder up close with the camera touching our face. But there are situations where an indirect display is necessary, eg when holding the camera high to shoot over people blocking your view. The SLR was invented to achieve WYSIWYG, but when you need an external display the SLR prevents WYSIWYG. Inventions like Live View makes you lose some light.

The mechanical mirror in an SLR must be the most serious disabling handicap. I can't imagine flipping a mirror up and down to take a picture in this day and age.

So, all in all, a digital camera of SLR construction has nothing but disadvantages over cameras of other design.

2. The best and most expensive camera in the world is totally useless

when it is not with you when you want to shoot the picture you want to shoot.

Most people do not understand this basic fact. They spend $1,000 on an SLR, go for a special-purpose photography mission. Then for 99.999% of the time, they come across great picture opportunites but the camera is locked up in a climate-controled bank vault somewhere.

3. Megapixels

It's amazing that many people do not want to take the time to understand simple geometry. What's the point of having many mega pixels when no display is big enough, no paper is large enough, and worse the lens cannot resolve that many pixels. People are going for 5Mpixels on a phone camera with a lens of 2mm diameter?

Talk is cheap. Talk is free. I welcome you to the challenge here, single camera single lens, from 1cm to 240,000 miles.

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