Are you still struggling to find the perfect present? We hope you are inspired by this fabulous blog by our very own Oisin Flynn, Move Revolution’s Creative Design Manager & Professional Photographer…
Christmas time is upon us. It’s a great excuse to stick a few little useful gadgets on my wish list to Santa. This year though, we’ve been asked to recommend a few cameras to those in need. Myself and Jack have picked out a few models that will appeal to different types of photographer. I hope you might find something that you like here.
Before I start talking about Cameras, I want to first remind everyone of a well known quote by Chase Jarvis, in fact it’s the title of his book. “The Best Camera is the One That’s With You” Chase is referring to a couple of things here. Firstly, the common perpetual craving for newer, better equipment in the hope that it’ll vastly improve the quality of your photography. But also, here, he’s alluding to the fact that those amazing cameras are often too bulky to carry round day to day. So often these cameras aren’t even considered when going on holiday, or simply having to hand when the kids are playing in the garden.
There’s thousands of photo opportunity that the “Best” cameras will never even see. More likely they will stay buried in their bags after the initial burst of excitement after the purchase, being used to photograph everything under the sun. These days though, we nearly all carry a half decent camera with us in our pockets. It’s not like me to praise mobile phones for their photographic capabilities. However, given a bit of practice and an understanding of their limitations, the latest generation of phones from Google, Apple, Samsung and One+ are surprisingly great little cameras. It’s quick and easy now to whip out your phone to capture what’s in front of you, where you might not have even thought that you’d need to bring a camera with you.
About those limitations though, this is where dedicated cameras can show their worth. Camera phones produce images which look good on the device itself, or shared on social media. We’ve become accustomed to viewing photography in this way. However, beyond that display, those photos begin to fall apart. No marketing claim or boast will change that. When it comes to printing those photos, or even viewing them on larger monitors like 4K TV’s is normally when people wish they’d used a proper camera…
The other huge issue is battery life. We use our phones for so many things, sat navs and mapping, social media, currency conversion, research, translation on and you know, communication. The camera is a real battery killer though, especially if you use it for video. Running out of battery on holiday or even out for the day with the family can be a nightmare. So having a dedicated camera can help in this situation. Whether or not you also get better pictures depends on your budget though. It could be worth considering a power bank to keep that phone juiced up for the day!
So, here we are. Looking at proper cameras! Jack and myself both use quite different systems at work. That’s mostly because I made the decision to switch from a traditional DSLR to a Mirrorless Compact System. The decision for this for me was mostly down to the size and weight. I use my camera a lot on holiday, and my holidays tend to be more of the adventurous type than the relaxing beach type. So, the carry weight and size of a DSLR was beginning to bug me when I knew there was an alternative.
It’s for that reason, that my big recommendation is the Sony Alpha 7R III (£3200 body only) It’s the newer version of my own camera, and the model which has me checking my figures to see if I can warrant an upgrade. This camera improves on all of what could be considered the previous models shortcomings. It has a brand new processor which means more shots in the buffer, more shots per second and faster autofocussing. The full feature list is enormous. Too long to tackle on this blog. But if you’re looking to get into photography in a big way and have the budget, or you’re looking to change over from DSLR, or even if you’re looking at an upgrade from a Bridge type camera that you purchased a few years ago, then this model really is King of the realm at the moment. If you need lens recommendations, then I would say don’t skimp. This huge Full-Frame sensor will show up bad optics, or rather, bad optics won’t get the most out of this lens. There’s plenty of choice now from Sony (if you can afford the G master series, buy one) or The Zeiss Batis range are all great performers.
If you’re looking for performance and speed without the need, inconvenience or cost involved with changeable lenses. Then take a long hard look at the Sony RX10 IV. It has a slightly smaller sensor, with fewer megapixels. However it has an inbuilt lens that covers a 35mm equivalent of 24-600mm lens. That’s insane. With glass by Zeiss and really quite impressive F stop figures, this lens is something else. With its 24fps still shooting and up to 1000fps 4K video shooting you’re looking at being able to slow down that action in a way that most cameras could only dream of. Again, the specifications go well beyond the scope of this blog but this machine marks one of the biggest advancements to bridge cameras that the market has ever seen. At £1800, it’s not cheap. But for some perspective. If you wanted to be able to reach this speed and resolution from a camera with interchangeable lenses to cover this range, you would be spending over £7000.
As you can see, we’re running into the issue of having a camera that isn’t convenient to carry around all the time though. I’m a professional photographer and even I find carrying a (albeit small and relatively light) bag full of equipment a bit of a pain at times. If you’re into hiking and camping, adding another few kilos of equipment that probably requires it’s own bag is something you want to avoid. So let’s look at small one box wonders.
If you walk into your nearest cameras shop, you’ll find a mindboggling array of compacts, and from £75 to £750 they don’t look vastly different from each other. I’ll make this simple. If you can’t stretch to this next camera budget wise, don’t despair. You probably aren’t going to be missing anything by reverting to your camera phone. A budget camera will carry the same feature set as your phone camera with very few worthwhile advantages. Even those can be over come. I’ve mentioned power banks already but a budget compact with upgraded memory can trump your mobile for storage. However a WiFi connection and a cloud storage deal will negate that and be safer. If you lose your camera, you’ll lose your photos. A phone using cloud storage will be backing itself up when you’re on a WiFi connection.
Any image quality increases will be negated by viewing on a small display. A budget compact camera won’t be able to offer you more detail or depth than your phone. So if you were thinking of spending up to £200 on a camera, my honest advice would be not to bother. A power bank, Cloud storage and insurance would cost you less than £60 and would be arguably more convenient and safe.
If you’re still after that perfect little camera to carry when you need to keep things light, but you know you need to stretch beyond what your camera phone can do. Then you’ll hardly go wrong with this little Panasonic Lumix TZ90 at £380. At the time or writing, and I think for the Christmas period, Panasonic are offering £30 cashback too.
If you’re wondering why I chose this over the TZ100, it’s the zoom. I’m not even a fan of zoom lenses, but I know full well that it can mean the difference between getting a shot and not. I know that the people I’m recommending this camera to, are the type to pick a safari trip over a day by the pool. Or will take their camera to the zoo to photograph the animals rather than a selfie in front of the gorilla enclosure. There’s times when you simply can’t get close enough to your subject, and the big 30X optical zoom is a technological marvel, considering it all folds down into an almost flat body.
There’s a little trick up this cameras sleeve that I don’t think has been mentioned enough. You can press the shutter button, the camera will take multiple version of that image and stack them together. The effect is, that you can increase the perceived bokeh effect, or even… get this… choose your focal point, and refocus your image after you’ve taken it. Mind blown.
As you can see, choosing a Camera can be a minefield. If you’ve managed to stick with us then thank you! If you choose one of these models then let us know how you like it!
If you are thinking of moving or letting your home please give us a call on 0330 223 1000 to book a viewing. As you can see our creative team are passionate photographers – you will have the most stunning photographs take of your home!