Why

Nikon D810 with Nikon 70-200mm f2.8G; ISO 100, f3.5, 1/125s @ 100mm

I like the question “why” because a person’s answer will reveal a lot about them. Why did you buy the camera you bought? And no I’m not referring to why you picked brand A over brand B but rather why you picked the specific camera that you did? Was it based on feature set or price?

Most people choose a camera based on price. I have X number of dollars to spend so I want to maximise the amount of features I can get for the amount of dollars I have. But consider for just a moment, if you had unlimited funding, which camera would you choose?

Let us consider the Nikon lineup of full frame DSLR at time of writing: aside from the Df which is a black sheep in the family, all the others are really excellent cameras and I wouldn’t mind using any of them. Most people would grab a D5 because it is the top of the line – Nikon’s flagship and their most expensive DSLR without giving much thought as to why one would choose that camera over any of the others.

So let us quickly consider the cameras: the D5 is a 20 megapixel camera that shoots 12 frames a second and handles high ISO very well in a pro body with integrated vertical grip. Next in line is the D810 which boasts 36 megapixel and shoots 5-6 frames a second in a pro body without integrated vertical grip. Then we get the D750 that is hailed as the low light king and handles high ISO extremely well with 24 megapixels in a robust consumer body. Lastly we have the D610 which also boasts 24 megapixels in a consumer body and is seen as the entry-level full frame DSLR.

Immediately you should realize that each of these cameras offers different features and is therefore intended for different purpose. If I were shooting portraits I would be very happy to use the D610 coupled with an 85mm f1.8 prime lens. On the other hand, if I were shooting action, I’d want the D5’s 12 frames a second. If I were shooting a wedding in low ambient light I would like the D750 in my hands. If I were shooting landscapes then the D810’s resolution is a large selling point. That’s not to say that you cannot shoot anything with any of the cameras mentioned but that they are best suited to a particular purpose.

I shoot primarily on a Nikon D810. As a fashion photographer I like to capture as much detail and texture in a dress as I possibly can which the resolution on the Nikon D810 gives me. The photograph above is a prime example, when faced with a beautiful dress such as this you want to capture all of that detail as best you can. I also like the pro body which can withstand more abuse – not that I abuse my gear but as someone who shoots a lot on location my gear is often exposed to the element a lot more.

However this comes at a dire cost. When I shoot portraits I tend to do a little more editing and skin softening than the next guy because of all that resolution. It catches skin blemishes and imperfections that are virtually imperceptible to the human eye. If I was primarily a portrait photographer my choices would have been between the D750 and the D610.

So before you purchase your next camera, consider all the options and think about what it is you are trying to achieve photographically and which camera is best going to get you there. Some people just purchase a camera without much thought as to what purpose it best serves. But that then begs the question: do you know what it is that you are trying to achieve photographically?

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