Picking Specialized Cameras vs Do It All Cameras
There is this epidemic in the photography industry right now where everyone wants every camera to do everything better than every other camera for a lower price. This is why you always see walls of complaint comments when new cameras are announced, it does this well but not that, or lacks in this one feature that so and so really wanted. It’s just the reality of a camera, some will fit better for certain people and certain uses better than others – and let’s remember, virtually no one is making a ‘bad’ camera these days (at least if we are talking about the traditional camera makers).
So I wanted to talk about this idea of buying a specialized camera that is heavy on the features that YOU need for your photography niche and style, vs buying a camera that is good at a lot of things but may not be the best at any one thing. This actually came to mind for me when I was talking to someone about shooting with the X-Pro 2, and they mentioned that they really enjoyed just taking it around with them and shooting portraiture, but that as a whole they didn’t see it as a camera that was ‘ready’ for professional use.
I didn’t say anything, but in my mind, the idea for this post formed. Using the above example, the X-Pro 2 is a great camera for travel, street, and portraiture – professional or otherwise. But then we already knew that – didn’t we? I don’t recall anyone claiming the X-Pro2 to be a jack of all trades perfect for any use case. In the case of the Fujifilm system, that camera would more be the X-T2 (though I still say there is no such thing as the perfect camera for everyone).
As many of you know, I use an X-Pro2 as my primary camera (having come from an A7R II and a Canon 6D before that.), and my primary forms of photography are my poor attempts at street photography, and portraiture. So for me, the X-Pro 2 is a great camera that gives me what I need while still being stylish and rugged.
If I was a wedding photographer, or a fashion photographer, or sports photographer – then the X-Pro 2 may take a seat compared to other options, and that is OK. The fact that a camera is better suited for one use case or a handful of use cases vs all use cases is not a downside to the camera. I mean, let’s be real here, sure the idea of having a camera that is great at everything is enticing, makes you think you can do anything with it… but how many of us really practice photography in every niche regularly enough to justify buying a camera for that? I would be willing to bet not many – most of us have our primary areas of specialty and sure we may do other things on occasion, but for the most part, we focus on a handful of things and mostly stick to those. So why get a camera (for likely more money) that can do a bunch of things that you won’t use regularly, if ever vs a camera that is heavy on features that you will use regularly, and may not be the best in those areas that you shoot every once in a while but is still capable?
That said if you really do shoot EVERYTHING then a jack of all trades that is good at all things but master of none is a good way to go. However, just be sure you are being honest with yourself about it.
So here is my advice to those of you who may be looking to pick up a new camera anytime soon. It is easy to get caught up in gear hype about this camera or that camera, but really take some time to think about features that you WANT vs features that you NEED. Write it out on a list with two columns, and then match that list up to cameras that you may be considering. Then go for the camera that covers your needs (and if it also covers some of the wants too, then great!).
Everyone needs a reality check when it comes time to drop a lot of money on a camera. Good luck!