Bringing Out the Big Guns

Most striking in the comments for the Plate to Pixel giveaway was how apologetic most were. Almost everyone mentioned a desire to upgrade, or general unhappiness with their camera phone, point-and-shoot, or dSLR. Such is the nature of the beast, as technology continues to advance and improve, but not all cameras regress into obsolescence at the same rate as, say, laptop computers. Don’t write off your “rinky dink” equipment just yet… But before I get too far into that subject, down to business.

As chosen by everyone’s favorite random number generator, the winner is…

Christopher Nguyen! Shooting with a point-and-shoot, this is a great example of making the best of what you have. Don’t sell yourself short because of that! Which brings me back to the point: Should you trash you crappy old camera and funnel a couple hundred dollars into a shiny new dSLR?

Please note, this is not my treasure chest of camera bodies and lenses, but Lou Manna‘s that I stole a quick snapshot of.

I know that you won’t want to hear this, but the answer is complicated, and it depends. In defense of the entry level point-and-shoot, I want to mention that I did in fact photograph all of My Sweet Vegan using one- The Canon PowerShot A75, to be exact; An extinct dinosaur of a machine that’s anything but cutting edge now. Though a dSLR will give you much more control, higher quality for making prints and large reproductions, and more creative tools to carry out your vision, there’s much that can be done with a point-and-shoot as well. It’s as much the equipment as it’s the photographer behind it.

For most bloggers, I would advise you not to feel pressured to get an expensive camera because you’re not happy with your photos. The principles behind it are the same, so first master what you have, learn composition, use that macro feature like your life depended on it, and then ask yourself if you want to take the next step up.

If you’re very serious about the art and craft of photography, want to possibly become a photographer as more than just a hobbyist, then yes, let’s not beat around the bush here: You NEED a dSLR. Sign up for classes, learn about those f-stops, and get out there! I would advise those on that long and winding path, however, to save some money by purchasing just the camera body of your choice, forgoing the kit lens, and instead funneling that cash into a nice lens. The lenses do end up being a bigger investment than the camera much of the time, but a really nice macro or telephoto lens makes all the difference in quality food photos. My most frequently used lenses are the 50mm f/1.2 L USM and the 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM, for reference.

Now, on the question of Nikon vs. Canon… Well, I happen to be a Canon person, so I think you know what I would say.