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Owning Multiple Cameras – Part 1

…different cameras for different uses

By Marc B
If only a one-size-fits-all camera existed, one that had the optical and sensor quality of a high end DSLR but in the size of a compact, with a massive zoom range but also wide open apertures.  Such a camera doesn’t exist yet so it’s left to us to pick and choose the right camera for the right situation.  This is great news for us cameraholics who love an excuse to buy yet another cool camera.  But which camera suits which situation?
Most photographers find themselves in a variety of situations that call for different lenses and sometimes completely different systems.  Below are some suggestions of camera types that are suitable for specific situations although any camera is better than no camera at all.

Street Photography

Street photography calls for a small, unobtrusive camera that still produces high quality images.  There are two popular choices for this area.  The first is a compact, fixed lens camera like the Fuji X100s or X20, Canon G16, Nikon Coolpix A or the Sony RX1 R at the high end.  These cameras are relatively small in size but give an outstanding result in challenging conditions.  The advantage of them being so small is the ability to take photos unobtrusively and candidly in a street situation or even a social occasion like a wedding (if you aren’t the primary photographer) where you might want a more relaxed and less posed photo. 
Another option would be a full size DSLR but with a small prime lens attached, like a 50mm or 24mm large aperture lens.  These are cheaper than a high quality zoom lens but can be of similar or better optical quality and in a much smaller form factor.  These cameras can be set up easily for pre focusing (a technique that involves pre focusing a known distance from the camera so you can shoot instantly without waiting for the camera to focus) so you don’t miss that vital moment.

Special Occasion Photography

This refers to things like professional wedding or portrait photography where the image quality is of absolute importance.  For this you want to have the best quality you can afford and ideally this would be professional quality glass with a full frame DSLR.  Size and weight factors are less important here than in other types of photography as the final result needs to be of the upmost quality.  The lens selection is basically the ‘three amigos’; 16-35mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses (or very similar focal lengths).  This gives the range required for almost any situation you are likely to be in.  Here is a link to our lenses page.
As an extension of this, the cameras listed in the street photography section would also be appropriate as a second camera as long as you understand the limits of the cameras.
Next blog, I’ll be exploring cameras to use for landscape photography, everyday photography and travel photography.


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