The best camera

Everyone hopes this is being made or already exists!
And…indeed, it’s true. The best camera does exist. Although it is not easy to to keep up in the jungle of super fast technology development of digital photography, digital cameras and other related digital possibilities. Not to mention the enormous offer cameras in all sizes and ranges these days.

There really exists one best camera.
The one that can do ‘everything’ – photographic technique-wise and digitally image-wise possible, that can make your photographic desire come true.
The one which guarantees the best images you have ever made.

Personally, I like to keep up lightly with the newest developments on digital cameras, because it is part of my profession. Luckily I really enjoy this current time of fast developing technology; as part of this fast stream the cameras become user-friendlier, better, smaller, lighter and also cheaper. And when I feel curious about a new camera or lens I first check out the websites of these professional testers to find out:

Steve’s Digicams
Camera Labs

So then, what is the best camera?

That is simply your camera.

Your camera is the best camera. Always!

No matter how many menus, gadgetries or pixels or fast zoom a camera has, or promises the advertisement shows you, if you really get to know your camera and become familiair with the workings of your camera it naturally becomes the best camera. The best camera ever.

Whether it is a mirror reflex with interchangeable lenses, a compact camera, a superzoom compact camera or a mirrorless camera. The most expensive, the cheapest or a mid range.

As long as you can express your visual perceptions with some kind of ease and a lot of confidence, with enough user-friendliness to adjust a few settings on your camera.

But, no matter what camera you have – the most advanced or a simple compact camera – you need to know a few basic photographic techniques.

I use only 4 settings, always.
In my experience I consider these 4 crucial to work with, as for the basics of the medium of photography. These basics is what I work with both of my cameras, with my compact camera and my mirrorlesss camera.

1. Aperture modus (you adjust the dept-of-field/f-stop you need, and the camera automatically adjusts the shutter speed)
2. ISO
3. Depth of field
4. Exposure compensation.

As far as photographic technique goes, this is what I do.

Understanding how this works, you need to understand the triangle of ISO, aperture/ depth of field (DOF) and shutter speed. See the picture below if an image helps you. And there is a lot to find on the internet on this. My advice: find a simple explanation, or find someone who can help you practice this.

And, something else that you might want to learn and understand is how the zooming of your lens works.

From the perspective of contemplative photography this is really it, as far as the photographic technique goes. There is of course some more subtle knowledge to explore later, but (digital) photography is not rocket science.

In the approach of contemplative photography it is all about expressing your perceptions precisely and elegantly – as you have seen it – by using the few necessary settings. By doing and photographing you will learn over time what your camera and lens can and cannot do. Knowing the possibilities and the limitations of your camera and your lens make your camera the best camera. And your best friend.

Take pictures.
Take your time when taking a picture.
One moment at a time.

Press the shutter no earlier than when you feel confident about the settings you have adjusted.
The right ISO(always check this), the right f-stop(definitely check this), and for sure check the shutter speed(makes sure it is not too slow!). Now go ahead!

Of course, no, you don’t take every single shot like this. I don’t.
But if you, so now and then, deliberately do this without any hurry(that is always helpful) and with your attention on the basics, the easier it becomes and the more natural you start handling your camera.
Simply trust in the natural progression and pacing when doing so.

When afterwards selecting your images on the computer, look up the settings you have actually used for each image. The settings info is always included in each image file. By checking this info you can learn a lot about the photographic technique and will help you understand why an image is an successful equivalent of your perception technique-wise, or why it is not.

Let your camera be your best friend.
As with all friendships: it takes time, and over time because of outings and spending time together trust and love  grows.

Relax with and do not get caught up too much in best advises of enthusiastic or cynical photo friends, or advertisements that tell you you need the newest gadgetry. And don’t let your camera discourage you because you think you cannot handle it.

Simply take an interest in a few but crucial photographic technical basics and how you can apply this by using the settings on your camera. Keep it simple but focused. Become familiair with a few crucial settings and photographic techniques and you might find that you can photograph almost everything that strikes you.
And let go when your vivid direct perception doesn’t work out to express this with your camera 🙂

Miksang Contemplative Photography is all about enjoyment and going about with your camera in a light buoyant manner. It’s not about suffering.

©Hèlen A Vink, Zandvoort, NL, March 30 2015