How to Buy a Camera


I have a lot of photography friends that obsess over every technical aspect of a camera. They are constantly talking about what camera to buy, which is the most powerful, best in low light, pretty looking, so on, and so forth. I take all of their advice with a rather large grain of salt — a big chunk of that pink Himalayan salt. All they blab about are these meaningless aspects of a camera that - quite frankly — I could give two shits about. I buy cameras for a very different reason, love.

So go on and start the hate thread, but honestly it's the truth. I've had a Rebel, E-PL1, 5D Mk I, a77, X100, and OM-D E-M5. I love cameras. I really do. So what camera do I actually shoot with? The OM-D E-M5, of course. I fell in love with this camera the moment I shot with it. It's beautifully designed, and a wonderful tool. It has something special about it. It's far more special than my 5D ever was; that's why I traded the 5D in on it.

You see, love is a funny, fickle thing. I had the privilege to shoot with the Sony a77 a few months ago. This camera came close to being a love affair, but here's why it didn't work out in the end:

The Sony a77 SLT was a mighty fine camera. I was torn between it and Olympus OM-D E-M5. The a77 takes gorgeous photos. It has a larger sensor than the OM-D. I'm certain it's images are more wonderful in every technical aspect. The place where the a77 fell completely flat for me was emotion. The sound of the a77 shutter is dreadful. It sounds like a Micro-Machince-sized song bird being run through a similarly sized paper shredder. It is atrocious. The hand grip on the a77 is wonderful, but the rear button layout looks like one of those spray-on popcorn ceilings. It just doesn't work.


When I took the a77 out to shoot, the photos were gorgeous. The sensor inside that camera is a widow-maker of sorts. Funny thing though, while shooting with both the OM-D and a77 on the same shoot — I shot the Olympus three times as much. I blame this on the fact that the Olympus had me laughing with enjoyment the whole time. I couldn't believe what that tiny camera was accomplishing. I was firing off seven exposure bracket shots, handheld. It felt organic and built for me. The shutter was near silent. Everything was in it's place, and the RAW files looked stunning. I fell in love.


(Taken with OM-D E-M5)

Now many of you have cameras you love, I'm sure of it. How did you fall in love? Why did you buy that camera? I'm very curious.