Friday, July 4, 2008

What's in a name?

The world of photography contains all kinds of cameras, and even if we limit the 'world' to amateur photography, the variety is still huge. Sometimes, I get the impression that people are afraid of diversity and feel the urge to tame diversity through classification. There is nothing against classification. In fact, classification can be very useful. If you do it right, that is. And that's where the shit hits the fan.

Some people seem to think that they can divide cameras into the cattegory of Single Lens Reflex cameras (SLR's) and 'point-and-shoots'. I think this is a silly distinction. 'Point-and-shoot' refers to the way one uses the camera rather than the type of camera.

In the very early days of digital photography, point and shoot was all that you could do with a non-slr camera. But times have changed. Many of the non-slr type cameras have a range of possibillities and their use can go way beyond pointing and shooting. Sure, you can still point and shoot with these cameras, but you can do that with an SLR as well.

But wait. There is more. The people that use the term 'point-and-shoot' often use it in a condescending fashion. They seem to think that people using those cameras are low quality photographers. They make the classic mistake of thinking that it's the camera that makes a picture. It's not, it's the photographer. In fact, pointing and shooting are the two things that the photographer can not leave to the camera. Exposure and focus can be automated pretty easilly, but picking a subject, composing a picture and timinig the shot can not. Those (and not the price of the camera) are the core elements that make a great photo. Pointing and shooting form the shere essence of photography.


Tim said...

Single Rens Reflex cameras?

CamAbs said...

Thnx for pointing out the typo Tim. :)