Choosing a new digital camera? But do you need one?

Photographers are always being asked to recommend cameras to friends or clients

My answer is generally to ask what they will do with the pics? Normally that is met with a confused look. Maybe they're wondering what I'm insinuating?!  But what I mean is - ask yourself how often you print your pictures? When was the last time? A Christmas present for a relative perhaps but not often? More than likely its Facebook and Instagram or staying forgotten on your hard drive.

I am increasingly asking myself similar questions about my professional food photos. I invested heavily in a Phase One IQ260 Camera  18 months ago. Capable of outputting amazing quality files with its 60 megapixel digital back. But even in the time I have had it the photography world has changed. As a rough guess I'd say half of my jobs since have been screen resolution  for the web or social media usage. This means the final images might be used at less than a megabyte!

Not really getting the full impact of my amazing bit of kit then?

Do clients care what kit we use anyway? No one checks what our setup is and what files we can output when they book us. Fair enough they would be right to assume the food photographer they book has at least got the gear as well as an idea. There's a lot more to being creative than the tools you use anyway. (Never underestimate lighting, composition and your "eye"). But I do wonder whether they notice?

But forget me and my shiny toy - what does it say about the industry?

Is print dead? Perhaps just slowly dying?

Our newspaper and magazines are now on tablets or phones. Even billboards and bus shelters are digital.

Ironic that when high end digital camera kit is so accessible the use of photography is increasingly low resolution

How are camera manufacturers going to "upgrade" our kit? Faster? Better batteries? But surely our megapixels are already big enough to satisfy?

Meanwhile I'm happy knowing that the camera I have chosen for my food photography is future proof. Whether that's  a high resolution future or a more pixelated one time will tell?

I am intrigued - what do you think?

Stephen Conroy
Food Photographer & Director