Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is My Camera Too Good?

I bought a pretty nice camera a couple months ago. It is a digital SLR, and set me back more than a thousand dollars. I know that's nothing to professional photographers, but I'm not a professional. I wouldn't even consider myself an amateur photographer because photography is not a real hobby of mine or anything. I just happen to like taking pictures of action sports and occasionally submitting these photos to various online magazine websites for publication. So now I have this nice camera with a big lens that looks pretty imposing, and it just feels awkward sometimes. Let me explain.

There are a few times when I need the capabilities that a digital SLR provides, such as when I am covering motorcycle races or other sporting events. But that happens only once in a great while. The rest of the time, I just need my camera for everyday events that anyone else would want to take snapshots of, such as birthday parties, days at the park with my toddler, summer festivals, etc. On these occasions, it can be a little embarrassing to pull out this big camera and have to attach the lens, fiddle with the settings, and do a number of other things prior to taking a picture. It feels like too much of a big production and calls undue attention to what I am doing. I invariably get questions and smart remarks from friends and family, such as, "If I had known we were doing Glamour Shots today, I would have worn more makeup." Needless to say, it's getting a little old!

Another bad thing about having a good camera on informal occasions is that it raises everyone's expectations in terms of the final product. They think that just because I have a nice camera, every single picture I take will be flawless and suitable for framing right out of the box. This couldn't be farther from the truth. I have to touch up almost every image in photo editing software in order to make them printable. I guess this is kind of a common problem for average Joes and Janes like me now that the digital revolution has made the price of good cameras and equipment come down to reasonable levels that almost anyone can afford.

So I'm beginning to think that my camera is too good for a majority of the times I want to use it. I am seriously looking into spending another few hundred dollars to get a regular digital camera for taking snapshots. A smaller camera will be easier to tote around, won't stand out so much when I'm taking pictures, and won't unduly raise people's expectations. I think it will just make things easier for me in the long run.

Who would have thought that you could have a camera that's too good? It sounds strange, but it can happen. I am living proof of that. So if you have a relatively nice camera and are experiencing similar problems, maybe you should just bite the bullet and buy a regular digital camera, too!

No comments: