Mark Bunting Photography | Review the Reviewer!

Review the Reviewer!

July 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment



Review the Reviewer!


There is, as you might expect, a mountain of online advice, guidance, hints, tips, reviews, etc on every possible aspect of photography.  I have my own favourites and I will cover them in a later post, but today, I just need to point out a flaw with all that online advice.


All that advice is written by a human being with their own opinion. 


Let me explain.


I am - mostly - a concert & theatre photographer.  So my nirvana is a camera that has superb ability to focus near-instantly in low light conditions and has extremely good high ISO performance.  Those two key features govern my choice of camera.  So, at the moment, I am wedded to my (relatively large & relatively heavy) DSLRs.


A landscape photographer will crave megapixels.  A 24 megapixel sensor, a 36 MP or a 50 MP?  More megapixels, typically, means more detail (when matched to a high-quality lens) and landscape photographers crave detail.  (How do you know you are a landscape photographer and not just someone who takes landscapes?  Firstly, you get up hours before dawn to drive to a location to get 'the shot'.  Secondly, you always shoot using a tripod.  So as I don't do either, I am a Landscape lightweight!)


A wildlife or sports photographer will want long reach and a high frames-per-second rate.  So might prefer a smaller sensor size - APS-C or compact system camera - which (it's a physics thing) - gives more magnification for a given lens length.  But the trade-off is the smaller sensor will not be as good at low light, say, as a full-frame sensor.


A wedding photographer might prefer the light-weight and small size of a mirrorless system.  And one real advantage I look longingly at in mirrorless cameras is the ability to have a completely silent shutter.  (There are times in my concert & theatre work when I wish my big & bulky DSLR had a quieter shutter - but I love its ability to practically focus in the dark and its superb low light ability.)


Film?  Yes.  Film.  There is a core of enthusiasts who lovingly use film SLRs and produce superb results.


And there are medium format camera users, who despite having to be a champion weight-lifter to transport their camera, just love it.


So, before you read that review, just take a moment to read the reviewers bio (most reviewers will give a little 3 or 4 sentence biography on themselves.)  And just bear that in mind as you read the review.  A good reviewer will argue the pros & cons of all systems and not be - overly - biased to their own system.  If the answer is always a DSLR or always a mirrorless - then just be wary.


Given an infinite budget I would have:


1 - a 2 or 3 body DSLR full-frame system for concert & theatre photography

2 - a 2 or 3 body DSLR APS-C sensor system for sports, wildlife & aviation photography

3 - a 2 or 3 body mirrorless system (Fuji - your mirrorless cameras are works of art......) for wedding photography

4 - a drone - just because I want one

5 - and a small truck to carry all of the above


But until then, I will use my DSLRs - full-frame (concert & theatre) and APS-C sensor (sports, wildlife & aviation).




Weight!  You may not think it, but the weight of your camera & lens is a major factor.  From experience I know that I can carry a DSLR (about 750g to 1 kg) and a lens (say 1 kg) pretty much all day.  If I am really serious I use a double-shoulder harness with a DSLR (750g to 1 kg) plus long telephoto (1kg plus) on one shoulder ad a DSLR (750g to 1 kg) with medium zoom (1kg plus) on the other.  And I can wear this all day.  (I do look a bit of an eejit whilst wearing the harness but one needs to suffer for one's art!)


But even I look at wedding photographers who use lightweight mirrorless cameras and prime lenses and I think - yep - that is just soooooooo light - with a degree of envy.


Even I, if I am 'Dog Walking with camera', will take a lighter lens (say a 500g to 1kg lens) rather than a heavier 1.5kg plus.


Those of you who use compact system cameras / mirrorless will just laugh at me carrying such a load of gear - and you are right!  But for me, at the moment, DSLRs are the best compromise for my kind of photography.


So, bear that in mind when you read my advice!


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