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A camera system is a combination of the camera and lenses that you use to get the results that your creative vision and ambition has envisioned. Selecting the right camera for your needs and using the right lenses in combination with it gives you the maximum control over the work that you are able to produce.
Choosing a camera that can house multiple lenses will allow you to experiment with new set ups or camera systems so you can better express yourself and get the best possible results in your photographic niche. Of course, once you find a camera system that you enjoy using and are getting great outcomes it can be tempting to stay with it for the long term. There are many advantages of doing this but there are also downsides because your technique and technical knowledge base will stop evolving so fast without the challenges and opportunities of new equipment and camera systems.
When does the Evolution of Your Camera System Stop?
Every professional and keen hobbyist will have their own personal favorite pieces of equipment, cameras and lens combinations. This is their own personal camera system and will be unique to each photographer which they have discovered through trial and error. The question is though, when does the trial and error process come to an end? Can you really ever afford to stop experimenting with your camera system or is it better to just stick with what you already know?
Until a few years ago, I for the most part was using Canon cameras and lenses. But recently I have switched to Olympus. I live in Philadelphia. So the size of the camera and the lenses and their combined weight is important to me. It is not practical and safe to carry heavy camera gear and walk around the streets of Philadelphia.
Popular Camera Systems.
One of the most popular modern camera systems is known as the compact or hybrid camera system. This is an extremely versatile system that gives you great creative control over the outcome of your photography and allows you to use multiple lenses, attachable flashes and almost any camera strap you like.
Since the release of the first mirrorless digital cameras that utilized a high tech sensor to capture the light, cameras have shrunk in weight and bulk while maintaining excellent picture quality. The first camera to make the leap into the new paradigm of high quality mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses was Panasonic who released the Lumix G1 in 2008. Since then many other cameras have followed suit and the compact camera system has rapidly become one the most popular camera systems among hobbyists and professional photographers alike.
A compact camera system (CSC) allows the user to change the lens which gives a good scope for creativity and high resolution images. The high tech light sensors that replaced the need for a mirror, capture more information than ever before and the traditional viewfinder has generally been replaced with an LCD screen.
The modern compact camera system has challenged the dominance of the DSLR camera system and as technology continues to advance the quality and functionality of the CSC looks set to continue its growth.
Why Use a Compact Camera System?
- Good Creative Control and excellent image quality.
- Lightweight, compact system that saves on bulk and is easy to carry with you.
- Interchangeable lenses give you great flexibility.
- Ideal for travelling and travel photography.
- Perfect option for budding photographers and new freelancers.
Different genres require different tools. Creating the right camera system for a specific genre will always require some research as well as hands on testing of the equipment.
Working from the comfort of your own studio with controlled lighting and environmental factors gives you more freedom than an outdoor wildlife photographer for example, and so you can really create a tailor made camera system for your precise needs.
Generally speaking, for high quality portrait photography a 85mm prime lens is the go to option for freelancers and working portrait photographers. This is mounted on a DSLR camera and takes great photos of your subjects that really helps to bring out their best features and gives top quality perspectives. This medium telephoto lens allows you to get close up shots of your subject without having to be uncomfortably close to them which will help them stay relaxed and feel at ease as they pose.
One of the most highly recommended 85mm lenses on the market is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM. This lens is extremely versatile providing very sharp wide aperture images and superb portrait shots making it the first choice for many working portrait photographers.
Real Estate Photography.
For freelancers and professionals working in the real estate and architectural photography niche the requirements are different to those of a portrait photographer. You need to be able to capture the depth and width of rooms and commercial spaces as well as work comfortably in varying light conditions since you are often indoors and have limited access to natural light, particularly in apartments and condos.
A great camera system for real estate photography might include a camera such as the Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR which is amazing value for its price. The camera has an interchangeable lens feature and 24MP Resolution making it the perfect starter camera for those getting into the real estate market.
You can combine the Nikon D7500 with a suitable lens such as Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Zoom Lens that works very well in poor lighting conditions, has an excellent zoom while delivering top quality contrast and sharpness making it the ideal companion for your real estate camera system.
Street and Urban Photography.
Every environment and photographic genre is different and in some circumstances less is more! Street and urban photography often requires more discretion than other genres and so a smaller, all in one camera system may be the best choice for you.
The Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II is a superb choice for working in urban environments. It’s easy to use and carry with you and with autofocus, a large 1.5 inch light sensor and a 24-120mm f/2-3.9 built in lens the camera has all the capacity that you’ll need while you pound the streets looking for the perfect shot. The camera comes with built in Wi-Fi, shoots 1080/30 HD video and has a useful optical image stabilizer.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of sticking with the same system?
There are pros and cons of switching up your camera system. Of course one of the main factors that you’ll need to consider is the cost because buying a new camera and lenses can become quite expensive quite fast! However, if you are breaking into a new niche, such as professional portrait photography, then you will need the correct gear to make the most of the available opportunities and produce work that is of a high enough quality to effectively market your services.
That said when you do stay with the same camera system for a long period of time you will learn to master every aspect of your gear and be able to fully utilize the capabilities of your camera and lens.
When should you switch your camera system?
If you are perfectly content with your current camera system then you may think there is no need to change it! However, there’s always room for improvement, to try new things and evolve your style and capabilities. If you are finding that you are running up against a technical brick wall though it may be time to upgrade your camera system!
Another situation in which you will definitely need to modify your camera system is if you are moving into a new genre, such as portrait or real estate photography which definitely require specific lenses, as well as if you are transitioning from amateur photography to working as a freelance professional.
Which camera system do you use?