Is it time to think bigger and better ?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
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Venger Junior Member • Posts: 30
Is it time to think bigger and better ?


I’ve spent a day or so thinking about the best way to word want I want to ask as I’m keenly aware of not wanting to offend anyone and, moreover, I really don’t want this to descend into a row about what constitutes ‘proper photography’.

I’ll say from the start that I am not a photographer and I have nothing but respect for those that have spent years learning their craft and I fully appreciate that the camera you are using is only a small part of what makes a great photograph and the skill, knowledge and patience of the person behind the lens means everything.

I’ve recently had to replace my aged Samsung Galaxy S6, a phone I’ve had for 6 years and in that time it’s never missed a beat and even if I do say so myself , I’ve taken some lovely photos and video with it - mainly of the birds, insects and flowers in my garden. Many were taken simply because I had the phone in my pocket at the right time when an opportunity arose, while others were much more planned and thought-out.

Several have been good enough to blow up and frame for pictures, canvas prints and cards.

I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy S21 and given that the 6 years between these phones is something like a lifetime in technological terms, I was so excited to start using the camera, thinking that I would be nothing short of blown away by the improvement in picture quality…how wrong I was!

I’ve still got the S6 so I was able to do some comparisons with the phones set up on a tripod and I would say that, in terms of picture quality, at best, the S21 is more or less the same as the S6 and in one set of pics (an orchid flower, indoors, taken in bright sunlight) the S21 is not as good as the S6 imho.

I haven’t taken any video with the new phone yet.

The discussion on why the S21 may not be the giant leap forward in photographic quality that I thought it would be is for another time and board on this forum (I’ve already posted there tbh) however, something my sister said to me this week when I was talking to her about it has got me thinking.

She said, ‘…you do realise that you may now be at a stage where what you are expecting/wanting from a photograph in terms of quality, sharpness, focus etc etc may actually be beyond what a smartphone can achieve’…perhaps she has a point, I don’t know.

Again, I would reiterate, I’m not a photographer but it has got me thinking about whether I should consider a camera and perhaps learn a bit more. Trouble is I really don’t want to be carting around a huge camera and lens because (a) I don’t have the budget and (b) it would totally defeat the point of having a camera on you at all times to grab that lucky shot.

I have some questions and as I said at the start, I’m not looking to offend anyone by my lack of knowledge, I appreciate that a lot of what makes a good photograph is the photographer and sometimes, perhaps, what they also do in post production.

If I can use the orchid mentioned above as an example and, just for a moment, put to one side the skill of artistic composition etc  and just focus purely and simply on the technical ability of the device.

Would a small compact (the type with the small motorised zoom that can retract flush to the body, with the whole camera small enough to fit in a pocket), set up on a tripod, 6-8” in front of the flower, walk all over a top end smartphone in terms of picture quality, sharpness of image etc ?

Would the difference between the phone and compact camera be VERY noticeable, even to an amateur ?

My feeling, having read a couple of articles on the whole smartphone vs compact thing, is that the gap is probably getting smaller and I wonder if, to my eyes, I could tell the difference?

This has led to even more reading on this excellent forum and got me thinking that to get the noticeable improvement in image quality I want, should I be thinking of cameras more in the range of Panasonic G80/GX80/GX9, Canon M50 etc ?

I have seen a listing for a used Panasonic FZ1000 for GBP 360, condition graded as ‘very good’ – would a camera of that age (5-6 years old ?) still blow a brand new smartphone out of the water in terms of image quality ?

At that price, I’m almost tempted just to get it and see how I get on with a ‘proper’ camera.

In terms of what I want to achieve, the camera would need to be happy focusing on small wild flowers, larger blooms in a garden boarder, the occasional dragonfly at rest, bumble bees, butterflies and moths etc. along with wider shots of the garden, sunsets etc. There are various species of bird that I can get hand tame and I’ve had a lot of success filming them in slow motion coming to feed from my hand, so filming in slow motion is a definite requirement and I'd also require the ability to shoot burst shots of the birds flying towards me to capture their back-lit open wings.

In a nutshell I guess I’m asking, what camera can I buy, that would still be small enough to have on me most of the time, that, when needed, can be point and shoot to capture a subject at a seconds notice and would still give me a considerable, noticeable, improvement on what I can achieve with a brand new smartphone ?

I don’t know whether I have to accept that what I want to achieve is not possible with one device, maybe I need to get my head around the concept that for those lucky shots where you’re fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, ANY photograph is a bonus and a smartphone will do and for those situations where you’re going to plan how to capture a shot you want, a larger, less mobile camera will provide far superior photographs.

I do apologise for the length of this post, reading it back, it feels like its turned into War and Peace but I kinda got on a roll, fuelled partly by my disappointment with the camera in my new phone lol.

If you’ve got this far, thanks very much for reading.

Many thanks for your time.

Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M) Panasonic FZ1000
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