666 – The Real Thing

SONY NEX-5 (19mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO200)

A camera is a camera and a phone is a phone. It’s as simple as that. The fact that this is the year 2020 doesn’t change anything about that.

Why do I write this? Because I think that everybody who thinks that a phone is good enough to cover our special moments in life is wrong. Terribly wrong.

This week I had lunch with a colleague who has become a father recently. Of course he proudly showed me some pictures of his little daughter on his phone. When I asked if he also uses a real camera to take pictures of his daughter his answer was no, those are good enough. Really?

The images of this blog post span over two decades and they have nothing in common except that they all have been taken with real cameras that I have owned. It’s over 30 because I added the ones taken with the cameras of my wife.

NIKON D200 (300mm, f/4, 1/800 sec, ISO400)
NIKON D2H (200mm, f/4, 1/6400 sec, ISO200)
Panasonic DMC-FX100 (6mm, f/2.8, 1/400 sec, ISO80)
Canon EOS 5D (105mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO100)
NIKON D300 (300mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO400)
NIKON D1 (70mm, f/8, 1/320 sec, ISO200)
SONY DSC-T3 (20.1mm, f/4.4, 1/160 sec, ISO100)

With very different cameras. From small and light to big and heavy, from cheap to expensive, from cameras with tiny sensors to full frame.

The camera with the lowest resolution sensor here is the Olympus E-100RS with a resolution of just 1.3MP! The camera with the highest resolution sensor the Sony A7R with 36MP. The smallest camera I ever had was the Sony DSC-T3 and the biggest the Nikon D2H.

But the most important thing on a camera is the lens that is either built in or attached to the camera. The smallest lens here is the lens in the Sony DSC-T3, the biggest lens Nikon’s fantastic AF-S 2.8/300 ED.

Sensors and lenses are the main reasons why even the best smartphones today still can’t match the image quality of any modern digital camera as long as the sensor in the camera is 1 inch or bigger. Any Sony RX100, even the first model, will blow any smartphone out of the water. There is simply no comparison.

I have an iPhone Xs that I really like but I recently added a Sony RX100IV to take it with me on bike rides and hikes because I wanted to have better image quality and a better shooting experience.

SONY DSC-RX100M4 (8.8mm, f/4, 1/320 sec, ISO125)
SONY ILCE-6000 (22mm, f/9, 1/250 sec, ISO100)
SONY ILCE-7R (24mm, f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO640)
SONY DSC-RX100 (13.25mm, f/3.2, 1/40 sec, ISO125)
FUJIFILM X-H1 (11mm, f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-M1 (16mm, f/9, 1/450 sec, ISO400)
FUJIFILM X100F (23mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO500)
FUJIFILM FinePix X100 (23mm, f/2.8, 1/105 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-T1 (14mm, f/8, 1/400 sec, ISO200)

Every single image of this blog post is taken with a different camera. The images are shot with compact cameras, DSLRs with APS-C sensors and full frame sensors, mirrorless cameras with APS-C and full frame sensors and compact cameras with 1inch sensors.

As you can see in the EXIF data there are many cameras from the traditional camera makers Nikon and Canon. Those were the first cameras that I bought when I transitioned from analog to digital. I got my first digital camera in 1999 and fully converted to digital in January 2002 when I bought a second hand Nikon D1. Beside my big DSLRs I always had a compact camera for the times when I didn’t want to bring the big gear.

I also used to own cameras from Olympus, Panasonic and many cameras from Sony before I finally settled for Fuji four years ago. Of course my love for Fuji started much earlier with the Fuji X100. A camera that changed everything for me. Just like the Fuji X-Pro1 that I got in late 2012. Since then I mainly shot Fuji until I finally understood that it makes no longer sense to hold on to my Canon/Sony full frame gear. That was in 2016 when I bought my Fuji X-Pro2 that is still my main camera today.

But the real game changer for me was the Sony NEX5 that came out in 2010. A super small mirrorless camera with a massive APS-C sensor and interchangeable lenses. Back then there was nothing like it. I loved the experience. That’s why the Sony NEX5 deserved the entry picture of this blog post.

FUJIFILM FinePix F31fd (8mm, f/2.8, 1/320 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro1 (35mm, f/5, 1/680 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (23mm, f/2, 1/6000 sec, ISO200)
NIKON E950 (12.7mm, f/3.2, 1/35 sec, ISO80)
Canon PowerShot G7 X (36.8mm, f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO125)
Canon DIGITAL IXUS 800 IS (5.8mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO80)
Canon EOS 500D (70mm, f/8, 1/100 sec, ISO125)
Canon DIGITAL IXUS 700 (7.7mm, f/2.8, 1/500 sec, ISO50)
Canon DIGITAL IXUS v2 (5.40625mm, f/2.8, 1/500 sec, ISO50)

The main reasons why I shoot Fuji today are:

  • the shooting experience
  • their lenses
  • their sensors

The shooting experience is extremely important to me and Fuji just works. Manual dials for everything, unique viewfinders and bodies that are compact but still handle brilliantly. Perfect! Their lenses are excellent. They offer a vast selection of primes but also some very nice zoom lenses and the aperture ring on the lens just adds to that great shooting experience.

And finally their sensors are excellent regarding resolution, high ISO performance and dynamic range. And most important for me my Fujis just get white balance and colour right almost every time. No need to waste time in front of my computer to post process images.

Canon PowerShot S60 (15.15625mm, f/4.5, 1/320 sec, ISO50)
Canon EOS 6D (200mm, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO125)
Panasonic DMC-TZ5 (47mm, f/4.9, 1/320 sec, ISO100)
Panasonic DMC-GM1 (45mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO200)
Panasonic DMC-FT1 (4.9mm, f/3.3, 1/320 sec, ISO80)
OLYMPUS OPTICAL CO.,LTD E100RS (29.8mm, f/8, 1/500 sec, ISO100)

Back to the main topic. Why you still should use a real camera to record your memories today. Because cameras will give you a much better image quality, more possibilities to use different lenses and last but not least a very satisfying shooting experience.

No smartphone can give you that. For me that shooting experience is the main reason why I still shoot with real cameras and why I think I will still shoot with real cameras a long time from now when a camera will be as exotic as a tripod is today.

Noting compares to the real thing!

That was blog post number 666 just in case you have asked yourself what the number was about.

RICOH GR (18.3mm, f/4, 1/10 sec, ISO2200)