What Role does Story Play in Choosing the Right Camera?

Caveat: The purpose of this article more than anything else is to get us thinking about the ideas presented and perhaps start a discussion about how the decisions we make (the story) affect our photography if at all. Perhaps there are other variables, and I'm sure there are; nevertheless, my hope is to simply nudge the topic into the open for further reflection. Thus, please consider this a work in progress.

Most people serious about photography will recognise the name Ansel Adams and the large format cameras he is noted for in his art. Or the small 35mm variety of Leicas and SLRs photojournalist Ted Grant used or those who uses pinhole cameras. What was it about them and all photographers for that matter that affects the choices made for the equipment we use, primarily cameras. The Internet is filled with photo enthusiasts, amateurs, and even professionals (those that are fortunate enough to derive a substantial part of their income from photography),

who spend a significant amount of time discussing photographic tools. The rationale or story behind a professionals equipment choice, however, is going to be different than that of most other types of photographers. Professionals need specific tools to do specific types of work, e.g. billboards or corporate brochures.
Within the demographic, there is also a portion that may even be enticed by carefully placed, craftily worded "sales" pitches to convince them to buy a product.
Why is it that some photographers prefer Nikon cameras while others prefer Olympus? Does either camera guarantee the photographer better results than the other?
I wonder how many buy primarily on the basis of marketing or word-of-mouth, or the sheer aesthetics of a piece of photographic equipment? Nothing wrong with this I suppose, I admit I've been pulled-in sometimes due to the pitch, but this may not be the best way to select equipment that fits your hands, style, accessibility, budget, and that intangible feeling you get when man and machine are like one. For some, this is non-other than a Leica M-series camera, for others it may be the technological wonder of an advanced DSLR, while others (like myself) also appreciate pinhole photography.
Nevertheless, although marketing can help inform us about the differences and advantages of certain products, it cannot replace the actual relationship between one and one's equipment. Once you have found the perfect fit, will this improve your photography? I would suggest the affirmative, or at least it is a move in the right direction not for marketers, but for you.
So read reviews, check out product information, talk to others if you have the chance and make the best decision you can based upon the knowledge you've acquired. Moreover, I feel that a significant portion of the equation for the perfect camera will be the intangible feeling, the-right-fit that you discover when using a specific camera.
For example, I am primarily a film photographer who works with lens and pinhole cameras. Although I can appreciate the ease of use and the capabilities of digital cameras, they do not appeal to my workflow at this time. I may start off with some research, but then actually handling cameras with features and capabilities is another way I get to decide if they are for me or not. How one got started in photography is also a very important part of the story and selecting cameras that fit one's photographic endeavours. Sometimes its as simple as, "this was my father's camera," or "I started with Canon because it was the only decent choice at the small camera store." The story of why we chose a certain type or brand of camera is just as important as all the effort that goes into trying to get one to make a purchase.
A photographer needs tools that do what they need them to do whether it is recording life, street photography or commercial work in a carefully light controlled environment, you need certain types of equipment and with the choices we have today, that produce basically the same/similar results, other factors come into play.
So what are the factors that lead one to choose a Nikon over a Canon camera or vice-versa? I'm interested in beyond the bells & whistles, beyond the features and marketing to the story behind a photographer's choice of equipment. How does this work and how long does it take, I cannot answer. These are just reflections from someone who has been passionately involved as a photographer and teacher for many years.


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