How do specific cameras shape your shooting?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by blb, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. blb

    blb Guest

    When using Flickr's "camera finder" feature to check what folks are doing with cameras I have or may be interested in, I've noticed that I consistently like what people are creating with their NEX systems. I don't mean that I simply like the look of the photos, or that I've latched on to one or two favorite photographers' streams, I really seem drawn to the chosen subjects, to the angles, etc. I know the adage "horses for courses," but that would suggest that the NEX users have a particular target in mind and have simply chosen the best horse for that course. I'm wondering if it's actually the other way around - more in the way that a particular fishing lure or bait will attract one species but not another. In other words, do you believe your camera "chooses" particular shots or leads you to a particular sort of image? And, if so, how?
  2. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Yes. And no. ;)

    I know that the camera I choose to carry on a given day influences my choice of subject. Each has a different "performance envelope" which, together with handling differences and of course lens choice, has a bearing not only on what I shoot but often on what I "see".

    Thing is, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy; as I type I am sitting on a train on a business trip up to Derby. In the briefcase at my side is an old Leica M2 with a 35mm lens and a roll of 400CN in its tummy. I will "see" shots appropriate to my choice. If I was carrying my GXR I would see with a different "eye".

    Does that help?
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  3. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Certainly the field of view that my camera's lens offers will shape the images I make. I've not had a telephoto lens for many, many years...therefore I really don't take pictures of much wildlife at all... When I had my Olympus PEN and the 9-18mm lens, I almost always shot at the 9mm end of things. When I had my LX5, 99.99% of the time I used the camera at its widest angle, too. Now I have my X100 and don't have to choose.:wink:

    I will say that because the X100 offers me the option to up my ISO to 6400, I am much more likely to bring it inside into places where flash just wouldn't be certainly in that way, it has changed my thought process as to what I might consider photographing. Its fixed lens is not that much of a narrower field of view than I was used to, however it is different, and has taken me some time to get used to.... So yes, I do think that a camera/lens combination does shape my shooting, though because it had been so many years since I had had a long lens, I haven't experienced anything too dramatic.

    Oh yes, and size is important! For me, that is, it is. I really don't like to carry anything heavy or bulky so small and light frees me up to feel comfortable about bringing my camera with me - which of course will shape my shooting more than anything else.:biggrin:
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yep, every camera feels different in the hand and and looks somewhat different to the eye. Each encourages a slightly different type of shooting than any other. When I've had a film SLR in the old days or a GH2 more recently, I instinctively raised the camera to my eye for pretty much everything. I do the same with the X100 most of the time but its a somewhat different view and a very different feel. With the Ricoh GRD3, I very rarely even look at the LCD when I'm framing a shot. With the Nex, I shot almost exclusively looking down into a flipped up screen, much in the way of a TLR. And now with my EPL3, I do a combination of all of these things - look down into a flip screen, put the EVF on the hot-shoe and frame with that, just look at the LCD at a typical near eye-level angle, and sometimes I just frame by instinct and don't look at any part of the camera - just focusing on the subject. Every one of them feels a little different, every one of them encourages shooting in a particular way, except the EPL3 is pretty good at shooting in any of the manners I've used over the years.

    And regardless, I don't think my images look terribly different regardless of what I shoot with. So, go figure. It all comes down to what feels right at the time.

  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    For me, it's vision first. So the camera has to allow me to see and capture what I see with NO intrusion. I test many cameras. Only a few survive after testing. So I guess my vision shapes the camera, not the other way around. A camera doesn't inspire me to work. Other photographers do.
    Case in point. My friend Jeh Song Baak & I were doing a lot of night work. We printed in my darkroom many images. Jeh moved to Paris. I could never get the digital image to equate with the prints we made.
    The other day, Will posted a thread about the GRD3 and Hi B&W. Eureka!
    I saw for the 1st time in over 10 years what I was looking for.

    Will and his image of the milk bottles inspired me. So, the camera didn't shape anything. It just showed a path that I could set foot on.
    It doesn't change my vision, it just made something possible.
    What influenced my vision was Will.

    A camera is more than a tool. It must be an extension of the eye, heart & mind. If it doesn't intrude on any area as stated above, it's a keeper. If it does, it's time to rid yourself of it.
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  6. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Different cameras encourage you to use them in different ways depending on their configuration. Framing through the viewfinder on my Canon DSLRs feels as natural as breathing, yet on my Panasonic GH1 I barely use the EVF, and don't miss the lack of a viewfinder on the Olympus E-P1 at all. Sometimes a new camera can influence your style as you explore it's capabilities, but I find that anything new learned can be applied retrospectively to your existing cameras. I credit my Olympus E-P1 with having a big influence on how I approach photography in the last 12 or so months, yet everything I have learned with that camera I would now apply to any camera that I pick up. I wouldn't expect to produce a significantly different style of image on one camera or another.
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  7. blb

    blb Guest

    Interesting perspectives and experiences. If you have a chance, or the inclination, look through the flickr collections for some of the cameras favored on this forum and see what you think. How would you characterize not only the look of the images, but what photographers tend to be doing with each - IF you sense a distinction. My trouble is that I'm haven't really been drawn to the NEX cameras, but I love what's showing up in the flickr streams. It seems folks are doing more architectural stuff, more abstracts, still life's, etc. And that the portraits have a unique look. I don't know...
  8. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Dunno about flickr searches. I do know this forum has a broad range of good natural talent. Even those just getting started have an eye. Does a particular camera spark a talent? I think that talent sparks a camera. Sure a certain camera lends itself to a certain ease in vision but the eye has to be there first.
    On this forum, that is a non issue. Every other forum in the known universe has that issue, not here.
    You could see the members vision come thru with any camera they use.
    I guess you could simply put, call it a Point of View.
    POV = Concept and Execution.
    A camera either supports that or it doesn't.

    So it's nice to see what cameras everyone is using but I am certainly more excited by the results they get.
  9. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I've always liked what people do with the Ricoh GRD cameras, and my own work with them follows in the same vain. You get interesting wide angle shots and good depth of field (in most cases, but you also see excellent macro work). Often B&W, often grainy B&W. Often at "spontaneous" angles because the GRDs are so easy to use in one hand and catch a quick shot.

    The camera lends itself well to spontaneity and people use it that way. I do as well. It may be my most fun camera.

    In this case I would say that the camera does lead to a certain style and certain kinds of pictures.
  10. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    Andrew. Do you find that you do hip shots more with the GRD? Do you do that with any other camera?
    Just wondering....
  11. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Maybe not exactly hip shots but along the same lines, yes. I'll hold it out and shoot blind at times or hold it out from any angle and watch the LCD for the right moment.
  12. vincechu

    vincechu Veteran

    Sep 14, 2010
    Not really cameras, but lenses. Some how with primes I seem to think more about composition and get more involved and take less photos but get more keepers - primes seem to make me get something more interesting because I think about (preconceive? might be the word i'm looking for?) the photo I take, before I take it. Being 'forced' to use that focal length and field of view makes me anticipate photos more and frame them in my head before shooting - I guess my favourite focal length, the good old nifty fifty helps as its similar to human vision?.

    When I use zooms I tend to get trigger happy and machine gun shots off lol, I also get lazy and zoom more.

    Now that i think about it more, when I use my film rangefinder (canonet) as opposed to digital, I think even more before I take a photo and I take far less photos than I do on digital - in 3months I 've only taken 24 photos on my canonet vs 700 digital! Perhaps its because I don't want to 'waste' film with 'bad' shots and because of the fixed lens and reasons in the first paragraph?
  13. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf All-Pro

    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    The GRD reignited my photo hobby. There's just something about the the wide angle, the look and "feel" of the images produced, and the ease of use. For some reason it has forced me to really think before I take a photo. Not that the camera is in the way, but different from my DSLR. With my Nikon, it was more of a point and shoot than what I do with my GRD.

    Don't know if the above made any sense at all but the GRD has allowed me more freedom and has squeezed what little creativity I have to art out of my imagination.
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    The idea of associating an image style to a particular brand or model sells a LOT of cameras.

    The forumla is well-proven: Company 'X' announces a new model, and pre-releases it to a selected group of photographers. These early images begin to show up on image hosting sites, blogs, forums, etc. We all marvel at the CONTENT of the images and assume that if we buy Camera 'X' they will be able to take beautiful night time images of an Asian street market or somesuch, notwithstanding the fact that a few thousand kilometres seperates us from such a scene.

    Analyse images based on the image quality (as YOU define it, not everyone's tastes are the same), not the quality of the image. More importantly, judge your camera/s based on how they feel in your hand and the way they operate. A photographer may well be capable of producing similar output regardless of the camera, but they will gravitate towards the one that feels most comfortable for them.
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  15. blb

    blb Guest

    It seems that maybe 2 or 3 different things are being discussed. I understand that those marketing particular cameras go out of their way to link a specific camera to shots of lovely models in exotic locals, or simply to show their camera being used in exotic locations - just as auto manufacturers and clothing companies show their wares in often beautiful and extreme locations, but I don't think that's what I'm picking up on. My original thought seems to be in line with the folks here who are talking about their Ricohs and those who have suggested that certain cameras do seem to make certain types of shots easier - if not possible at all. Maybe it is that folks who are drawn to certain types of images are drawn to the appearance or functioning of certain cameras? Maybe, for instance, those who love design and architecture may be drawn to something like the NEX series while those who are pulled toward the PENS enjoy and pursue another aesthetic and therefore may create different images. It's really just an extended interpretation of "horses of courses" isn't it?