Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

8 March 2005

A Big Camera

We’ve been back a week now and it feels like it’s been just a few days. I’m still working through how being away from America for a month changed me in some ways. More on that later… maybe…

So, one post I wrote while we were on the road was about cameras. Here it is:

I always recommend to people when they buy a digital camera to pick one that’s pocket-sized. I know from experience that I take a small camera places that I wouldn’t normally take an enormous one. As much as I love the control that an SLR camera provides, for most people a point-and-shoot camera that fits in your pocket is the best choice. The “fits in your pocket” requirement is key, and for two reasons:

  • You are more likely to bring your camera with you everywhere if you can slip it into your coat pocket.
  • You are more likely to take photographs if you have your camera with you.

Big cameras are a pain to carry everywhere. They hog an entire bag all on their own, so that means one hand is always holding something (or, if you go the backpack route, you’ve got to carry the camera case inside the backpack – less room for, well, everything else). Small cameras are blissfully small and convenient. Say you’re walking around in, oh, I don’t know, a medieval town in Belgium. You see a cool something that you’d like to photograph. Your hands are in your jacket pockets – same place as your blissfully small camera. Snapping any “on the whim” shots is super easy.

So, what did I take on the trip? A big camera. I’m using the best digital camera I’ve ever laid hands on. A Nikon D70. It’s enormous. Do I regret bringing it instead of our little Sony cybershot? Not at all. The Nikon just plain and simple takes better pictures. I love being able to control the light settings and focal stuff. Plus I feel like I’m able to get pictures that there’s no way I could get with a point-and-shoot. Lots of our trip has been in low-light situations where the flash just doesn’t cut it. It’s also incredibly fast, meaning no lag time when you turn it on and between shots. And the battery is great. I shot about 400 photos before the battery died.

All that said, it is a pain to lug the thing around, and there are times that I pass on a shot because I don’t want to dig out the camera from the backpack. Alas, maybe I should have brought both the Nikon and the Sony.

So, what do you think? Do you prefer the big cameras? Small cameras? What’s your photographic tool of choice?