Brand aware!

An acquaintance-via-the-web asked:

“I’m not a photographer. I’m a very busy mother of three. Having said that I’m looking for a “stupid- proof” dslr camera. We’d love the quality of the photos but want something simple to use. I was looking at nikon d series as well as the canon rebels.”

Well, as you might imagine, I have a few things to say in reply!

First: the camera does not really matter. You should be in manual mode for best result, and a camera is just a camera. The lenses matter: get a fast 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 lens. And both brands are superb. I can, and do, use both and I love them both.

But then: for the low-end cameras, go Canon. A Digital rebel has all functions including (for most) remote TTL flash master, flash compensation, flash exposure lock/flash value lock (FEL/FVL), and many others The Nikon leaves out many of these functions in the low-end models. And believe me, you will grow to need these. So definitely, between those two, the Canon.

Third: there is no fool-proof camera. The camera is a fool. In any picture, only YOU know what should be sharp. The camera does not. Only you know how bright or how dark you need the picture. Only you know what colours you like. There is no way for a camera to know these things. You need to learn things. Get the “mastering your camera” book from and read this. Read this web site. Learn how to use the camera on manual (the free chapter will help, too). Asking for a stupid-proof camera is like saying “I want to do brain surgery but I just want it to be easy: I want stupid-proof scalpels”. It just does not work that way. We distinguish Uncle Fred snapshots from real pictures by the amount of knowledge the photographer has.

And the good news: not that much knowledge is needed. Learn how to:

  • Operate the camera in manual mode (manual IDSO, manual aperture, manualshutter)
  • Focus where you need, using just one focus point
  • Set the right white balance (colours)

Learn these simple things.. get a digital rebel with a 50mm f/1.8 portrait lens and do just a few hours training and your photos will be superb. You will be grateful later in life, when you have brilliant shots of your kids. Shot like this, which you can easily take with a Rebel and that 50mm lens:

Go for it, and enjoy photography. It can be easy, but you do need to learn a few basic things.


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