The Best Tool For The Job

(c)Jerseystyle Photograpy_Whitney_022016_IMG_0725

I’m a little betwixt and between right now.

Trying to decide what the right course of action is, if there even is a right course of action.

In my last post, I showed you the gear I took to Mexico: A small Canon S110 point-and-shoot and a small fixed lens Fuji X100T.

Since about a month ago (I know that because a month ago, there was a full moon – which there is now – and a blizzard in New Jersey), my Canon dslr, the 50D, has sat on my shelf.


The Canon has been acting up ever since the Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge on January 1, and continued its funky ways during the blizzard Perhaps too much salt water, finally, got into the innards of the control panel. Electronics+ Salt Water = not a good mix. Getting it slightly wet again during the blizzard didn’t help.

So, like a coach looking out for his star player, I’ve had him sit the bench in the hopes it’ll magically get better.

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_skeet red2_022016_DSCF1403

But in the comments section of my last post, reader David, in all honestly asked “Don’t know, do you need a big dslr?”

Hmmm. That’s a pretty good question, and one I’ve been mulling over the last few days.

I had, knee-jerked, expected to look into getting another Canon dslr should the 50 be capootey for good. The other night, I even had a dream I was shooting small concert, and I could see the black device in my hand, could almost feel the slight pebble grip in my path, could even notice how good the camera felt in my hand,  like the way a lover’s hip feels as you put your hand around it.

Of course, this may all because I had just read a review of the new Canon 80D.

Yet, David’s question continues to still pinged around my brain. In the past week, just toting the Canon S110 back and forth to work, and then this past weekend, where I spent some good time with the kids (and the Fuji), I made some frames I really like. All of the frames are high resolution and could a) run at nice quality in a magazine or newspaper for an article and b) printed pretty well, probably up to 16X24 if I wanted it.

Both are benchmarks for me when i think about images. Oh, and visually, I liked them, too. That counts for something.

So…Do I need the big dslr?

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Skiff_022016_IMG_0689

It’s a question I really want to figure out and not just from a cost perspective. Joe McNally and I still laugh at the time when I first met him back in January of 2000. We were embarking on a work-related two-week, six country swing in Europe.

He had piles and piles of gear to get through customs to do the work he needed to do.  I had one of those old Kodak disposable point-and-shoots. I probably even bought maybe another one in an airport at some point, though, too.

He wasn’t being uppity or anything, but we all chuckled when I would pull out the little yellow-and-black Kodak to take a snappy. The bike-with-training wheels of cameras.

As I progressed with my photography passion, so did what was in my hand. A Canon Rebel film camera. Some other smaller point-and-shoots. A Canon G9. Then the Canon 20D. A new lens here and there. Then the 50D which I’ve had for six years now. The 50 has basically traveled the world with me, and shot more noir than Fritz Lang (ok, maybe not, but it’s come close.)

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Motor Gazzi1_022016_DSCF1411

Then I started carrying around the little point-and-shoot a few years ago, and finally, picking up the X100T last October. I’m still learning it, frankly.

The thing that keeps tripping over in my brain: When I shoot certain events, like the TriRock Triathlon, or the hockey tournament like I did last spring (and expect to do again), I rent an extra dslr body (usually the Canon 70D) and a nice long lens (often the Canon 70-300mm f/4, sometimes the 70-200mm f2.8. Pairing those with my 50D and my 24-105mm lens, I’m confident I can get the shots I need to get. And I really love those long lenses, to boot.

But how many times, really, is that a year? Should I just rent the bigger stuff when I need it? I CAN shoot portraits with the X100T, as I did on January 1 with Zach Sandler. I CAN shoot reportage with either of these cameras, as the images on this page show (they are a mix of S100 and X100t – you decide which is which.)

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Matt_022016_DSCF1380

Should I spend the money on a new dslr body just to have it (mostly) sit in my closet? Or, like when I rent lenses, should I just rent the body for those events and situations that arise throughout the year?  With some planning, it probably can be done. Obviously, to rent, you have to plan in delivery and mail-back dates. There are a few camera shops in and around New Jersey that partner with BorrowLenses (my favorite), but they aren’t terribly convenient. I’m sure other photographers do this, to some extent, right? They all can’t own Phase Ones and Hasselblads, right?

Do I have the money to pick up a new or used dslr body, to have it “just in case”? Yeah, I probably do, without too much squeeze in other areas.

Am I ready to go non-dslr full-time, though, and just do the rent thing?

I don’t know.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

5 thoughts on “The Best Tool For The Job

  1. I had parts of your story. I’m not a pro or even a semi-pro, just an enthusiast. I had a Canon 60D and it just felt like a large piece of metal around my neck/arm/shoulder. Big lenses too. Need a big bag to carry everything. I finally ditched it for a Fuji XPro1 and never looked back. Same sensor size, right? Much smaller and feels good in my hands (like my Leica M6 used to do).

    • Thanks for your thoughts. Indeed the 60D, and the lenses, are a bigger machine, though not so bad with, say the 60D body and a 50mm lens. I actually got away from the neckstrap and use a wrist strap with my 50D. I like it. It’s not the weight or the heft for me – one knows that going in. Like I said, it’s what one needs to do the job they are shooting. Thanks for the comment!

  2. I think it comes down to how much you intend to print. Your small camera photos work well on the web! Your skill with whatever camera you have is what makes you stand out. And you’ve got those skills. Save some green, rent when you might have to print and put the dough away for your kids college fund. I’m there now and there’s never enough money for that!!!!!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Mike.I don’t know if it comes down to printing, though. Both camera make nice prints up to at least 16×20. I think it’s more what I’ll be shooting. I really don’t think I can shoot a Polar Bear Plunge with the S110 or Fuji. But, yes, maybe I rent for such occasions. Or get the best deal I on a used body. Don’t worry, I won’t let it affect the college fund! 🙂

      • Sure, your right too Mark. Tough to shoot those events with those rigs. Good luck finding something…. interested to see what you get!

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