Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Leica, Panasonic, Olympus… Or?

Does the Gear You have Really Matter? Or How I learned to take a “Pitcher…” or is that a “Picture?”… I’ll take both, just in case the Picture doesn’t turn out!

Well, I will commence with a simple answer “NO”… Whether it is a Nikon, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, Samsung , Pentax or any Medium format camera and digital back out there, it really is of no great consequence which brand you own! You want to know why? Based on a recent survey, 90 percent of all DSLR camera owners rarely print their images larger than A4 (8×10”) format. In other words and in most cases, a good 5 mega pixel camera with good noise specifications would be more than sufficient to do the job and do it very well.

Now, if what you spend most of your time doing is pixel peeping your images at 100 percent on your screen to see if you can notice any anomaly of any sort, than yes, do go out and purchase a $40,000.00, 50 mega pixel back for your Hasselblad. However, if you do so, you will find that you might notice some interesting phenomena, like high chroma noise issues at anything above 400 iso.

Another interesting problem is that when you go to press, the tram noise or pattern will destroy most of those fine pixels that you observed on the screen, a kind of natural grain producer of sorts.

Of course the quality of the sensor is very important, but I believe that any of the 10 mega pixel plus camera’s out there could do an admirable job.

I have watched with bemusement the wars that are ongoing on the forums between this and that brand and usually come away thinking that unless you know why you have purchased a brand and  to what purpose, than you might as well close your eyes and do a “eenee, meenee, mynee, mo” exercise to determine your choice.

So, if you have no plans to produce an image larger than 12 x19″ and have a limited budget, feel confident that no matter what you buy, it will be overkill for that format.

Just be happy that the technology provided for the photographer today has easily out specified the top end camera that existed just 3 years ago.

Enjoy your toy and go out and play…

About Benjamin Kanarek
Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…
  • doctorontop

    Brand does matter but not in the sense, of how to take the picture.

    The “Brand Trap” affects all of us who have invested in expensive lenses. Now I know Fuji and Nikon lenses fit are the same. But for example if you have bought into Cannon …you are tied in. Unless you want replace all your kit from scratch, a costly endeavour.

    Ben I know you are lucky enough to be sponsored, so the manufactures will fall over themselves to give you kit. The only thing they require is the odd attendance from you at a promotional event. And maybe a few words written for their company magazines.

    There is no doubt that as you have mentioned before a great shot can be taken with a 20D. But it is also true that a MF gives more studio lighting options. Each tool has it’s uses, at the end of the day it’s what tool will work for that specific job, and give the results your client requires and is prepared to pay for.

    Incidentally I still have a 20d in my bag, cracking little camera :).

    Freddy Baby will tell you how easy it is to deal with Chroma Noise in PS, I’m sure you know already 🙂 The print debate may be true but high detail hair/beauty shot’s will give the retoucher many more options to enhance that detail or hide it through choice. Dare I mention a crop from a MF will still contain all that detail. An interesting point is the best commercially available lens’s max out at 25-28 mega pixels. So anything above 30MP sensor has to be a waste. 🙂

    Now I agree you can go overboard, and I would never pay the prices that MF’s sell at. But for a specific project I would rent one.

    One point you make that is very true, if you can’t get a picture that works with a throw away then you are not going to be able to make it with any other camera.

    The digital camera is just a throwaway – ( Way too harsh 🙂 )

  • Jeffery

    You are ignoring the full frame verses cropped sensor issue. I like the idea of saving money on equipment but I need full frame for a number of reasons. So yes, I agree, all full frame camera’s will do fine printing on A4. That is, of course, if your crop is not too large. Btw, what dpi are you printing at for A4? 200+, 300+?


    • Always at 300 dpi, but I no longer have a print book. However, all of my files are still 300 dpi for magazine published work.

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  • If you can win the race in a Honda, why buy a Ferrari?

    I’ve been using Canon Rebels for years, I’ve not had a compelling reason to drop $3K+ on a body.

  • Erol Oran

    Excellent post. A poor tradesman blames his tools.

  • Great post… as a reviewer I often sit back and wonder if my carpenter friends sit around and argue about what hammers make better houses. In the words of my grampy, if you want to take better pictures, take more pictures.

    Thanks Benjamin!

  • I am with Irena in that I like the Sony colors and that is what I have, the A200 works great with my Sigma lenses, 28-105, 55-200 and 18-200

  • Well.. The most probably there is no difference for the camera you use.. the lens is what makes a difference..

    Although, I have always liked Sony colors.. the exposure and wb of Nikon is excellent.. Canon makes very Canon-like portraits with a particular color tones, but i don’t like these plastic like silky skins.. Olympus pictures are so natural..etc.

    But I am in love with a dynamic range and detail what I can get with Pentax.. I have made my choice..

    Thanks for sharing!