In this linked video I talk about using the right camera for the task at hand. I made it mostly on a whim with the help of two older average specification smartphones. There are a few similar videos on the channel.
I get a lot of questions like: “What is the best camera?” without any context about what the person is trying to do. Without knowing, I can rarely give any type of useful answer because most gear these days can work well enough. The line between what can work fine and what can work really well is thin.
It’s the details and subtle features, or ways a feature is implemented, that can make a world of difference in a photographic tool. The topic is important and I was also able to give everyone that watched it a better idea of what I’m trying to do with this channel. Here is my slightly enhanced list on that…
- To be a facilitator of photography and videography.
- To promote casual photography. Though, I do mix things up with videos and articles that touch on the professional side when I’m able.
- Using photography as therapeutic. Using it as a means to get out there and do things. It’s a great hobby for that.
- Focus on gear aspects such as ergonomics. I consider that one of the most important aspects of a piece of equipment. Even if a camera has amazing specifications, it’s not worth fighting with the interface and wasting time trying to find a hidden setting.
- I want to somehow reach that feeling in my videos like I’ve gotten throughout my life for PBS or related shows like the “Joy of Painting”, “Mr. Rogers”, “Yan Can Cook”, and others. I’m not sure how to get there, but I want to keep iterating and producing work that’s enjoyable, fun, educational, and thoughtful for viewers. Again, to facilitate others.
I’m about casual enjoyable photography, but sometimes I’ll get more serious when opportunity arises. That’s the great thing about photography. It can be the spark of motivation to get out there and create something or go somewhere. My goal when I started getting serious about photography wasn’t to produce the skills needed to get paid work in photography. My true start was with wanting to do cosplay photography and it grew from there.
My main plan for the day I made this video was to work on talking-point notes for a hands-on equipment video. After a hint of this vlog idea, I switched things up. I also was able to get a really enjoyable, yet cold (~19 F), walk in at the same time.
With the two smartphones, I use my main one that has a data connection to type out notes and a second older phone to display footage I had recorded. It’s a nice mobile way to get some casual work done while I have lunch or dinner out at a restaurant. I had brought along a flexible tripod just in case I decided to do any type of filming that day. So there was definitely some intent to avoid the more menial task at hand, haha.
The idea came while I was driving to the restaurant! So instead of working on the other notes, I wrote down a few topics to talk about in this video. This flexible way of doing work is enjoyable and can be productive if it’s managed well (yeah, I consider it work now. Though, sad to say, I’m no where near having a survivable income from all of this… yet).
Part of the point of this video is to show that you don’t need some special expensive gear to make something. I used two old phones here. Not amazing quality, but the audio turned out okay and the photos did too. I think the tools were able to get my point across well enough.
With my LG Stylo 3 phone I use the Open Camera application. It allows me to record the photos in DNG RAW format. That gives more flexibility to edit the photos.
Transcript of the related video
Hey, this is Scott of Photography Banzai. Today we're going to talk about using the right tool for the job. A lot of people are critical of things like phones. It's understandable if you're super into photography. But in my case a lot of my channel, a lot of what I do is just casual. Trying to enjoy photography. Trying to enjoy going out... Just doing something, so if you have phone on-hand it works out. I have been critical of cameras where they have small sensors and small aperture lenses. Like those big bridge cameras. Super zooms, so I'm really just critical of those because I try to understand or think about what a person expects from spending a given amount of money. So if they're gonna go buy a dedicated camera and they are probably expecting it to be better than their phone in a number of ways. Now, it will be. Especially with the long zoom lens, but they might not be thinking about other things that someone that has spent more time learning about it might know. And might expect from a given camera. So when I'm critical of those type of things, that's really where it's coming from. I do think they are useful cameras in many ways. Some tasks require higher-end gear. If you're doing things professionally, of course, you'll probably want to use high quality equipment that you can expect a certain level of quality from. So your lenses, larger aperture maybe. That way if you use a smaller aperture you'll probably get higher quality from that lens. Or a larger sensor. Just things like that where it does make a difference. You just have to know and learn what will work best for the given situation, for what you're trying to do. Let's talk a little bit about a phone as a camera. What does it give you? It gives you a small size most likely. It gives you a touch interface. so with that ergonomics are important in a camera, in my opinion. I think that's one of the most important things. If you're looking for a camera, try to get your hands on it. Try to use it... Ergonomics in, my opinion, are not good at all with phones for photography. You have the touch interface, but it's difficult to use. Especially in cold situations like this in the winter. The phone is just gonna be really challenging to use. Your gloves might have the touch capability to them like these. But still it's difficult. So that's a big drawback for phones is that ergonomics. You look at the bridge cameras. They're all-in-one. The drawbacks would be the small sensor size. Because if you want a huge zoom lens on a bridge camera you're not gonna be mounting a large sensor in there. Because it's just... the lens will be much larger as well. So those are the drawbacks or something like that. I think one of the main skills to learn with all of that is understanding what will work best for what you're trying to do. Ice is super-crunchy loud... One of the things I do with my youtube channel is I try to promote casual photography. If you'd like walking around. Take a camera out with you, and get some photos in. Enjoy that along with it. Doesn't always have to be focused on professional stuff. I don't see anything wrong with photography as a hobby, as a profession, as anything... It's really up to you. The main thing is finding out what interests you the most. Finding out what your goals are. And with equipment, trying to find something that works best for what you are trying to do. So if I see someone say: "What's the best came out of A or B???" You've got to give me some context, because I can't answer it like that. There might be some features that work better. Are implemented better in one camera or another. But besides that generally anything out these days is good enough for most use cases. When we're talking like a full camera, decent size sensor... You can go and take, like I used the M50s at a wedding. I think photos turned out okay. It isn't the best thing to use in that situation for sure. Because there's a lot of challenges with a camera like that. It's missing stuff. But it can work. Trying to decide what's best out of A or B camera, you got to really think about it. And think about what you're trying to do. See, with phones I'm struggling to press the record on there. There we go! So I've got my little B camera going. I keep tapping on the screens they're just not registering anything. Having a camera, almost any dedicated camera, but especially ones with a lot of nice large buttons.. dials.. where having gloves on is so much easier. Another important aspect of the channel I'm trying to push and promote is using photography as therapeutic. And it also gets you to go out and do things if I were not making videos and not doing photography, I wouldn't be going out in this cold weather... to make a video about this. So finding a goal, finding a reason to get into photography or videography or anything that has even just a slight interest to you at the start is good. Try to embrace it. Try to go for it. Little things just to test it out and see if it connects with you. So with these videos that I do, I try to show you what I'm interested in. What I do. What I focus on, and it's up to you to decide if it's something that has a similar interest to you. Or something that won't work out. You'll see that. You'll see me do the things that you don't like, and you just take it for what it is. Move on, find you something that does connect with you. Anyways, hope you enjoyed this little talk. My opinion on photography and trying to find the right type of gear for what you're doing.