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Real Photographer/Real Camera?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by BOB-R, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. BOB-R

    BOB-R Member

    Richard Sibley asks what a "Real Photographer" is. A Real Photographer will most probably consider photography to be one of their hobbies, and as such will have studied it in books and subscribed to magazines such as AP in an attempt to understand at least the basics such as exposure, depth of field etc. etc. Essentially they will see photography as a challenge and attempt to competently capture images to the best of their ability. More importantly, the images will be retained in albums and portfolios, and possibly displayed in frames. How successfully they achieve this goal is a matter of importance only probably to them because deriving enjoyment and facing the challenges is really what matters. By contrast, I think it unlikely that they would take endless photos of trivial things on a smart phone and leave them there until the memory finally seizes up.

    A "Real Camera" is the sort that the above "Real Photographer" would like to own, and at the very least it will be capable of being controlled and manipulated to capturing the image before them in the best possible way to suit their particular requirements. A decent optical viewfinder is invariably better than an often smudgy LCD monitor in bright sunlight, and a range of easily accessible dials and buttons to make the essential adjustments of aperture, exposure, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation etc. Serious and enthusiast photographers are always being encouraged to use a tripod to give them time to consider and compose their images, so a tripod attachment point is an obvious necessity, as is the ability to attach a remote release, be it a simple cable threaded into the shutter release (rare these days!) or a more expensive electronic type. If budget is a consideration, then a fixed zoom lens with a modest range can usually suffice, provided that it is reasonable fast, and of decent quality. For those who don't mind carrying a load of equipment, then good quality interchangeable lenses are the obvious choice. Whatever, the facility to attach a hood and filters to your lens(s) is highly desirable.

    With the incredible rate of technical and optical advances these days, there is a bewildering choice of competent "Real Cameras" out there. The reviews make much of sensor sizes, pixel counts, dynamic range, speed of focus, buffer rates etc., but at the end of the day it has to be horses for courses. How many serious and enthusiast photographers ever use all these features, or print their images larger than A3? How many actually print any these days? How good a camera do you need to own to get a really decent A3 print? When you look at image quality in the reviews, you mostly only see what your particular device's monitor is capable of revealing, so you take the reviewer's word for it. I am an avid reader of reviews, and value them highly when comparing or considering a particular camera, but at the end of the day, after more than 60 years as an enthusiast and one time professional photographer, I'm left with the opinion that manufacturer's are loading on more and more features, many of which I consider to be gimmicks, just to keep ahead of the competition in a rapidly declining market which is being overtaken by the smart phone brigade. I know quite a few photographers who have spent a fortune on a massive great enthusiast/prosumer DSLR, plus a range of lenses, only to find that they are too much trouble to carry. Quite often they will come to accept this, and invest in a quality compact camera as "a back-up", only to find that this is the camera they mostly use. I've owned both, and have realised that 85% of my images are taken on my Fuji X-30 (previously my X-20), and surprisingly they are often the best ones simply because that's the camera I had with me.
    So, to finalise, I would say that a camera in the class of the Fuji, and several others in that range are the starting point for "Real Cameras", but that's just my personal opinion.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Anyone who enjoys making images and cares about the results, any device whose primary purpose is image making.
  3. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    [cynic mode] A real camera is one that doesn't make phone calls, access Facebook or tell you it's currently 6:15pm in Yogyakarta...[/cynic mode]

    Honestly this is as meaningless and done to death a subject as the film/digital debate and probably far older - Daguerre could easily have said it about Fox Talbot, wet plate users likely said the same about the dry plate brigade and doubtless large format users looked down on those dreadful little oiks with their toy Leicas with a similarly unjustified loftiness...;)
  4. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    That sums it up completely and I have nothing more to add.
  5. BOB-R

    BOB-R Member

    That,s put in me in my place! You say "life would be better with less crap & more cream cakes". Unlike you, having subscribed your views on an average of more than 3 per day over the past 14 years, I've more interesting things in my life, so I am sorry if my thread was boring you. I was simply adding to a previous thread whith my own views without being critical of others.
  6. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    ^^ What PeteRob said.

    A "real" photographer isn't defined by the kit he uses.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Nah. On a real camera you set ISO by changing films or varying development; adjust white balance with filters; and of course you don't need exposure compensation because you set aperture and shutter speed manually.

    All of which illustrates merely that one man's "real camera" is another's "idiot-proof toy". As for "real photographers", let's not forget that regardless of the criteria you choose there are bad ones as well as good ones.


  8. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    Makes a change
  9. Gezza

    Gezza Well-Known Member

    :) (just in case)
  10. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    A real photographer sees the shot no-one else does.
  11. Ilovemycam

    Ilovemycam In the Stop Bath

    OP, cam does not matter. Final result matters.
  12. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    In me dotage, I'm wondering whether a real photographer needs a real camera at all? Strikes me that a little folding of the hands and closing of the eyes while in a comfy armchair can start to bring all manner of photographic images to mind: those by other people, those I have taken, those that I would like to be making and those that I can construct from imaginary items or locations.

    Hmmmmm. Szzzzzzzzzzzzzz. :)
  13. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    It seems the only people who ask what a 'real' {whatever} is are those that want to be considered one, surely? Who really cares?
  14. Ilovemycam

    Ilovemycam In the Stop Bath

    Yes a photog can have the most expensive camera in the word and produce crap. A photog can get one lucky shot and win photog of the year and the rest of their body of work is garbage. There is just no saying ...and who is to say anyway?

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