The Least-Discussed Aspect of What Makes a Camera Good

The connection between a photographer and their camera can significantly impact their creativity and enthusiasm for photography. This unique relationship often goes unnoticed but is crucial for nurturing a photographer's passion and drive to explore and capture the world through their lens.

Coming to you from The Photographic Eye, this thought-provoking video explores the often overlooked emotional aspect of photography gear, emphasizing that the best camera for an individual isn't necessarily about specs, resolution, or technological prowess. Instead, it's about how a camera makes the photographer feel. The video narrates an experience of using a modern Leica camera, which, despite its prestige and capabilities, did not evoke the same emotional response as older, less advanced cameras did. This personal anecdote underscores the importance of finding a camera that resonates on a personal level, beyond its functional attributes. It's a reminder that the joy and excitement a camera brings can significantly influence one's motivation and love for photography.

Furthermore, the discussion extends to the idea that the choice of camera should be influenced by how it inspires the photographer to shoot more often and with more enthusiasm. The video suggests that if a camera or a specific piece of equipment makes you smile and look forward to shooting, then it has served its purpose well, regardless of its technical specifications. This perspective is vital for anyone who might feel bogged down by the endless pursuit of the latest gear, reminding them to prioritize their emotional connection to their equipment over chasing the newest features or highest performance metrics. Check out the video above for the full rundown.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments
1 Comment

Great video and sentiments worth which I completely agree. There are people who don’t seem to care what camera is in their hands and I wish I was one of them! For me, if the camera doesn’t feel right, I’m not driven to pick it up and take pictures. I guess that if I were a professional there would be that motivation but I’m not.
However, for me there are also practical concerns. I take a lot of action pics of my dogs - Lurchers, fast moving dogs and the camera needs to be able to keep up. For example, one of the loveliest cameras I have owned in recent years was the Sigma FP. It really was a poor man’s Leica. The form factor was great, sensor was good, etc etc BUT the autofocus was comically inept and in the end it had to go. I can only afford one camera and it has to be able to do everything. It probably wasn’t helped by the fact that my previous camera was a Nikon D850 which in tactile terms was average at best but consistently delivered the goods to such a degree that I was in constant awe of it, even if I was never in love with it. The sum of ability+experience was sufficient that I kept it for several years.
Now, economic considerations dictate that I’m using an old Canon EOS 7D which has a bit of heft and is quirky enough in its handling (for a long time Nikon user!) to keep me interested and I do love its lenses but the dynamic range, or lack thereof, is shocking. The balance is slowly tipping to the side of the shortcomings and I fear I won’t be keeping it much longer.
Bizarrely, and pretty much confirming the message of the video, I used to have Leica M3 and I loved it. If I could afford a Leica M Monochrome and a couple of lenses I would probably be happy forever - despite the fact that it would do very little of what I require from a camera at the moment. The sheer exquisiteness and the tactile experience of using it would keep me picking it up.
Back in the real world, I’ll probably try to work towards a Nikon ZF which, I suspect, would combine enough positive user experiences to keep me happy.