Friday, September 22, 2006

My equipment


I've often been asked what I shoot with. I think many of you would be surprised at the answer.

This is my camera. It's a Kodak C330, a basic 4.0 megapixel digital unit with a lovely glass lens and a fairly intuitive set of controls. It gives me a lot of room to play with the settings to get the results I want. Most of the images on my blog and accompanying Flickr site were taken with the Kodak.

I also have a lovely old Nikon F-801s 35mm SLR. I've had it forever, and love it to bits and pieces. But in this day and age of digital, shooting 24 images at a time and then paying for development just doesn't seem to be the way to go. I'm holding on to my old camera because it's become more than a mere piece of equipment, and I'll always want to have the ability to rack off a roll of black-and-white. But I have ordered a digital SLR and am counting the days until it arrives.

Which begs the question: isn't the Kodak a bit out of its league?

The answer may surprise you. Technically, it probably is. It lacks the gee-whiz features and downright sexiness of a full-blown SLR or higher-end all-in-one. It doesn't look cool. It doesn't impress.

And that's the point. Its very simplicity is what makes it such a great tool. It's inexpensive, so I carry it with me virtually everywhere I go. It takes a lot of pictures on a pair of NiMH rechargeables, so with a couple of extra sets of batteries and a big memory card, I can shoot all day. It allows me to play with exposure time and ISO settings to coax some neat-looking scenes. It sometimes demands a little creativity to coax the more unique shots out of it, but that's the point, after all.

I grew up listening to people with more money than brains explain how their camera was so much better than any other. They'd wave their expensive equipment around whenever they felt the need to impress other folks. Oddly, they never seemed to be willing to share the results of their work. Those who did showed shot after shot of flat, dull images that didn't tell a story. I call these folks posers. They're usually the ones who walk around with the lens cap off.

Ansel Adams
, arguably the greatest American photographer in history, shot most of his work with simple box cameras. He often made his own cameras to suit the needs of a particular shoot. His contention was that photography was driven by one's creativity and not by one's equipment.

I just love that perspective.

Your turn: What do you shoot with? Do you agree/disagree with my perspective? Have you enountered posers in your neck of the woods? How do you handle them?

20 comments:

Florence said...

I have a HP Photosmart r717 6 MPs and my phones's a Sony Ericsson k600i (the camera's 1.3 MPs). The phone's handy for those snaps that occur out and about and the HP camera I use for my more professional art stuff. I do a lot of manipulation of the computer so the photos often are just the raw product for me. I have found that lots of people buy the fancy SLR digitals usually haven't had a digital camera before and are a bit sucked in or just don't understand the whole digital thing. I have had to show a few artist how to set their fancy cameras because they are too powerful for what they need. (I think need is the operative word to remember when buying tech stuff)

I enjoy using photo editing suits as a way of experimenting not to get the perfect image but to play with it. Its speed appeals to me and there develops a feel for the tools, like the keyboard of a piano, discovering chords and melodies that work together.

I was over at Michele's and I thought I'd look you up. Its been too long :)

Nicole said...

::Delurking::

I think you've hit a really important point here. I shoot with a simple Kodak EasyShare camera. I take a lot of photos. While I sometimes wish for fancier equipment, I manage to get some pretty good shots with creative perspective and thoughtful framing.

Last year, I gave sets of photo cards to friends using some of my best photos. The most frequent question I got was "What kind of camera do you have?" And my response was, "It's not the camera."

Not to say that equipment doesn't matter. It certainly does. But even a simple point-and-shoot can do nice things in the right hands.

Ontario Emperor said...

I use a US$200 Sony digital camera, and frankly I don't use any of the more advanced features on it (once I have regular access to a tripod, I may start doing so).

I agree with your views wholeheartedly. Right now I'm sitting at my desk at work, and just above me I can see 8 1/2" x 11" plain paper printouts of three black and white pictures that I took a couple of years ago, during a visit to Red Rock Canyon (just west of Las Vegas, Nevada).

The picture on the left is of my German exchange student daughter, smiling with the desert vegetation behind.

The picture in the middle is of my wife, using HER camera to take a picture.

The picture on the right is of my natural daughter, who was 12 years old at the time. In the picture she's sitting on a wall, looking away to the right, displaying a combination of girlhood and womanhood.

(And no, I'm not posting the pictures on the Internet; I don't have their permission to do so.)

The amazing photographic technique that I used on these pictures? I set the camera to black and white (rather than color) mode. Yet the pictures, especially the latter one, tell a story to me.

Another example of a moving picture is one that my daughter took with her cell phone. She pointed the cell phone camera toward a ceiling fan, and got a wonderful picture - one that reminds me of your pictures, in fact. I enjoy your pictures, and the way that you'll focus on some small thing in a way that leaves your viewers guessing as to what the object is (seeing the tree for the forest, I guess).

My two cents...

Azgreeneyes said...

I use a kodak C330 as well, and now I know that I can't blame the camera anymore! I could probably use some practice, I guess!

Jennifer said...

I have a kodak z740 easyshare, I chose that one because it was easy to use ( I am pretty challenged with computers and tech in general, and it had a zoom lense that was a little bigger than most...but not too clunky or again too tech. I'm just a mom who likes to scrapbook and stuff so it works for me. I think it takes great pictures, I love that I can pop regular batteries in it not special camera ones. It does eat up those batteries too quick because when you turn it on it pushes out the zoom every time. Hopefully by the time I am ready for a new camera they will have that worked out.
First time at your blog, it's nice and very creative.
Jenny in Ca

Jennifer said...

I'm just jealous because I don't know how to use mine. I don't get the lighting effects you do. I know that I shouldn't use the flash for everything, but have no idea how to work the settings on my camera. I'm basically a point & shoot kinda gal.
I agree that it's not the camera so much as it is the person taking the pictures...what they know about photagraphy makes a big difference :)

barbie2be said...

i shoot with a kodak easyshare CX 7430 and i love it!

reddirtroad said...

Carmi:
Just posted a post for you.

Karen said...

Carmi, I have a teeny-tiny digital camera that fits easily in my purse or my pocket so I can take it everywhere and always be ready. (It's a Canon Powershot SD300.) I love that I can share digital pictures with friends and family. So fun.

Just popping by from Michele's this afternoon. Hope you're well.

Nikki-ann said...

I beleive it's the photographer and not the equipment. After all, anyone can have a top of the range camera, but it doesn't mean they know how to use it or even how to compose a picture.

I've had a Ricoh compact camera for over 12 years and I've used it for some of my favourite shots. I also have a Canon Powershot S2 IS (digital), a Canon EOS 300 (film) SLR and have recently invested in a Canon EOS 350D (digital) SLR camera.

kenju said...

My digital was given to me by my daughter and son-in-law. It is a Gateway DC-M42, 4.0 megapixels. It has 8 settings and dos video as well. The only thing I have against it is that the viewing screen is fairly small (compared to some cameras) and when it is sunny outside, I cannot see it due to glare. Otherwise, I like it a lot and I get some pretty good photos from it.

Yes, there are posers around. They think they have to have the newest and most expensive camera on the market. If you don't have a creative eye for framing a photo, it doesn't matter what kind of camera you have. The pics won't be the best.

srp said...

Let's see. I have a Nikon Coolpix 995, very old but still works well. My brother got me a Canon PowerShot SD500. It has 7.1 MegaPixels and does really well to carry around, its small and such. If you can vary the time for the shots, I haven't figured it out yet.

Someday I'd like to have a SLR digital. The Canon that Stephen got me looks like it has been through a war as it goes everywhere and has been dropped in dirt and on the ground several times. But it's small. Fits in a purse. Great for sneaking shots.

Teena said...

Very cool pix! I have a Canon Sureshot 200. It does what I want it to do.

SB said...

I use an Olympus E-300, I still have just my one lens (15-45mm) but I am hopeful that I will get the 18-180mm lens soon.

I probably have more camera than I need, but it's always good to have. Like horsepower in an engine. I still have not watched the DVD that came with my camera. I learn way more from just shooting and messing up....

I love my camera. It's probably the ONLY material thing I would grab if my house were on fire.

Seriously.

Suz
www.suzannebalvanz.blogspot.com

Sweetie said...

Ha! Cool!

We still have and use regularly, our Olympus D-550 Zoom. It is big, clunky, and noisy in comparison to today's digital cameras but it does the trick.

We'll upgrade eventually but for now, it suits our needs.

Maverick said...

Olympus C-5050 5.0 MP Zoom, that and an old SLR from the StoneAges given to me from my mother, which takes awesome B&W's. The Olympus is a bit clunkier than I'd like for a digital, but it takes amazing pictures, including the SuperMacro mode...love it! I have yet to have a need to upgrade at all.

And of course, PhotoShop can make a mediocre photo into a piece of art...if you have an eye for it.

I, too, have noticed that the "posers" are the ones that have the fanciest, most expensive cameras that they know nothing about and call themselves "photographers." The Title doesn't make thee.

Killired said...

i think i told you before i have a nikon cool pix 880... yes it's loike 6 years old and was probably 880 bucks back then too! i think that's when digital cameras were first coming out and i just had to have one becasue i love to take pix and when i do, i take a million! for example, at the boys school they did a pinwheels for peace presentation out on the lawn... took the camera and by the end of the program, i had snapped 81 pix!!!!!!!! imagine that with roll film! yikes! so i love my digital and i really dont see a need to get a new one... yes they are smaller... we were admiring them at best buy the other day but... it's still an awesome camera and the best investment i ever made with it was to buy the rechargeable battery and charger for like $75... it has more than paid for itself since the batteries it takes are priced anywhere from $9.99 - $12.99 depending on where you get it!

i think it's part the equipment and part the user... because there are a ton of features on mine and they are confusing so i have to read the book often... but since you've inspired me so much, i take pix a lot differently these days!

Shannon said...

I use a Nikon N65 or a Nikon FG20 if I want to back to the stone ages.

rashbre said...

I mainly use a little Panasonic for most of my blog shots. It also has a big glass lens and a good manual mode which I use more than the automatic.

It also doesnt look intimidating like my big Nikon which can stop me getting into places {hmm - are you a professional?}

The other thing for me that is really important is that when you click the button it actually takes the photo. Many Sonys and some Canons and even the low end Nikons have a discernable delay which is hopeless for anything moving.

So ideally try before you buy for small digital cameras.

Like Florence's comment, I also use Photoshop and Yellow Mug quite a lot for cleanup.

Ketan Ramji said...

Hey buddy - my camera history. First camera was a Fujica ST 605. Five years later my wife bought me a used Pentax ME - I was in heaven. That stayed with me in conjunction with 2Mb Fuji followed by a 8Mb Samsung point and shoot. Finally in 2008, after 20 years, my Pentax SLR took a back seat to a Nikon D80. I'm done. I can do more with it than ever before.