The Best Camera is... The One You Have With You!
Camera manufacturers from most brands put out new models every 12 to 16 months and often several versions of each model. Lenses complete with the finest optics made. Prices can range from a $500 for a starter lens/camera to several thousand dollars for just the camera body alone. Cell phones with high end optics can run well over $1,000 per phone. Yet, is there an ideal for everyone in each circumstance?
Before I go any further, this is not a camera comparison post nor is it is to recommend a specific camera. I have blog posts in the past that deal with various cameras and there are many sites such as DPReview that can help you if you are looking at your first camera and lens, or are just thinking to upgrade what you may already own.
As mentioned, cameras can be expensive and many are bulky. The trend toward mirrorless cameras is certainly making things a little lighter to carry around, yet they remain VERY pricey. So, do you want to take $10,000 or more equipment to be beach with you to lug around on a hot day, risking sand and water damage? Do you want your modifiers to fly off the end of cliff like a kite? Do you want to be walking around in a crowded street with someone who may be looking to steal an expensive camera and sell it within 30 minutes?
One does not necessarily need their best camera with them under all circumstances. Of course, if a photographer is being paid by a client, the client will want the best results possible. Yet, suppose the photographer is just on a family vacation? A studio photographer has almost total control of the environment, yet once outdoors many things can and do happen unexpectedly and sometimes fairly quickly.
In every circumstance it is really necessary to set everything in manual mode? Aperture priority can lead to some pretty bad ISO or shutter speeds. Shutter priority can also lead to some unfortunate choices in aperture or ISO. Yet, there is the dreaded PROGRAM mode, that some professionals try to avoid at all cost (By the way, depending on the camera, it is a very viable option in some cases).
The next time you go out, especially for a personal project, consider what you really need (or don't need). For anyone who may choose to read this blog to the end, the images shown were taken with a $200.00 cell phone!