Welcome to my first blog of Photography Bluff.
I have written a few reviews base on what I have in my rolling case and have used in the past. As a professional photographer, unlike some professional reviewers like Steve Huff or Kai at Digital Rev TV, I don’t get to play with the latest greatest stuff on the market. As now I have caught up reviewing most of my ‘current’ gear, I want to start writing something new like commenting and bluffing about the photographic industry and current gear trend. You are free to leave comment in the box below on every one of my blog (should I not find them offensive or abrasive).
Even though I don’t get the latest and greatest, it doesn’t meant that I don’t pay attention to what happens NOW. So here I am starting a new series – Photography Bluff.
Like what the name suggests, it’s all about bluffing about and have some fun talking about photography and the industry in general, so don’t get personal!!
This blog is about SIZE!
Yes, I know it’s a very board subject. In the golden days of photography, things were very defined and identifiable. Nowadays, everything is crossed, mixed and blended. Why? Well, during the film era, we had large and medium formats, then the smaller formats like the 135 (35mm photography) and 110 formats. They are distinctively different. Each camera is different because the film back dictates the size of it. Nowadays, it’s not so clear. You can have all kinds of sensor sizes to start with, 1/1.7, 1 inch, 4/3 (essentially 110 sized), APS-C, APS-H, full frame, larger than full frame (but not quite 120 size), then medium format size. You get the idea. Then the cameras themselves are even more mixed up. You can have a micro 4/3 camera almost the same size as an medium sized DSLR (Panasonic’s GH4) or the other way around, a full frame system camera more of a size of a micro 4/3 camera (Sony A7 series).
Confusing huh? Well, these days, when a product is designed and launched, there’re always two sides of critics. I am not talking about features here but rather, size and handling. When a new camera is launched, some will always say it’s very pocketable, nice and light, while the ‘other side’ will always complaint and says something like “Oh, the grip is too small, fingers feel awkward, flimsy..” The truth is that we are all different and with different sizes. Petite people will find those tiny camera right at home and feel comfortable. Bigger guys with bigger hands will definitely find those traditional DSLRs more of their choice of tool.
Size vs weight?
Of course, size also associates with weight. Bigger size always equal to heavier weight. Unless you are super fit, hauling around heavy DSLR and a few pro lenses can break your back after a day. That means that smaller form cameras are better suit for carry around all day.
Size vs people’s perception?
This is a funny one. I get this a lot at weddings. It isn’t uncommon that an ordinary folk thinks that the bigger the camera and lens you use, the more professional you are! That’s very true in terms of appearance. I’d heard so many times that people talked about me using a smaller camera and wonder if I was a professional. Yes, apart from my Canon 5D, I also use Leica M and OM-D cameras (they are both small). The days of haul around two 5D bodies with all the pro zooms are gone. I don’t like the weight around my neck and shoulders. Of course, now more and more people are educated with digital cameras so they are less confused about what a professional uses for the job. In the end, it doesn’t matter as long as beautiful images are in the album for the bride and groom. Jason Lainer uses a Sony A6000 for a wedding job (which is a consumer-grade mirorrless camera).
Then smaller size is also more discrete if you want to stay invisible. It’s not a problem for sports or wildlife photographer to show off their 500mm lens but for a street photographer, a journalist or a wedding documentary photographer, a more discrete tool is needed. Subjects are less intimidated with the giant glass in front f their faces and will definitely appear to be more natural in the picture.
Size vs robustness?
Yes, biggest the better. Why? Because professional cameras have a higher design criteria and higher cost limit. These parameters allow them to be constructed with thicker ‘metal frames’ and covers. Smaller camera usually are constructed with posh plastics, even though they have a metal frame to enhance robustness. Leica is a different beast in this category because the entire thing, though small in size, is constructed in metal. It can certainly kill an elephant with it. But generally, I always believe that the bigger camera are definitely design to take knocks and bumps and that’s pretty much a professional’s daily life.
As a daily shooter, the camera is always around my neck rather than in the back so it gets abused by the surroundings. An amateur or normal enthusiast will look after their kit so the camera stays in the bag more than it’s out in the sun. And that pretty much sums up why the manufacturers have different materials used in different end-user category. So, professional cameras are usually big (or bigger) and heavier and more robust. Consumer stuff is smaller, lighter and less knock-resistant.
So there you go, a few things to think about when it comes to size. Does it matter? Yes it does depending on what you do with your camera. If you are a professional and need a reliable camera that’s able to take a few punches at a wedding or on the street (or even use it to defend yourself), then always a bigger camera. If you are on holiday or a party and want to snap a few nice pictures, then of course any of the smaller cameras will do just fine. There’s no point taking your pro-grade DSLR to someone’s birthday (well, unless it’s a kid’s birthday then your pro DSLR is likely to survive after the kids knock it to the floor and step on it).
These are my opinion only but happy to share your view about size and experience.
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