I’m a big fan of NCIS, and anyone who watches the show will know of Gibbs’ rules, so I got to thinking about my own set of rules when it comes to photography. So here goes…
Rule 1 always choose a camera that feels right
When shopping for my first SLR camera, I looked and looked and decided I wanted a Zenit 212. Don’t ask me why, but I really liked it and it was within my budget. The only problem was, the only camera shop that stocked it was just over an hour away. I called them up to check, and they said they did have one, so off we went. We parked and even then had a fairly long walk to get to the shop – My wife was pregnant and not happy about the walk and our first-born was nicely asleep in her push-chair, but that wasn’t going to last – and we arrived only to discover that they didn’t actually have the 212, but a 122.
I wasn’t happy about that, but my wife threw me a look that said, we walked here, you’re buying something! The shop was what I would describe as an old style shop, the sort that are almost extinct now, with lots of bits and pieces and a shopkeeper who knew his craft and new his customers. He quickly intervened and offered a couple of suggestions from his used stock that fit within my budget.
So on offer was a Zenit 122, an Olympus OM-10 and a Ricoh KR-10x. I looked at each of them, picked them up, played with them, and still didn’t have a clue. My wife threw me a look of urgency as the push-chair laden child was stirring and all hell was about to break loose, and then I got probably the best piece of advice I’ve ever received – photographically speaking.
‘The most important thing is to choose one that feels right in your hands. If you’re happy holding it, you’ll be happy using it.’
I picked each one up again and the choice was made. I bought the Ricoh. It was a good move, and because it felt right when I picked it up, I picked it up often. After all, what’s the point of a camera if you’re not going to pick it up and take pictures? If you don’t like picking it up, you won’t take pictures, or the camera will just get in the way when you do pick it up. The camera should be something that enables you to capture what you see without too much thought. It shouldn’t be an obstacle.
Make the right camera choice and that’s the first battle won. That doesn’t mean that there is a right choice for everyone – one man’s pie is another man’s pudding. It’s also means you don’t have to opt for the most expensive option.
Admittedly, it’s not always possible to pay a visit to a camera shop, but it’s well worth the effort.