This is the trend I see: photographers want to differentiate themselves from the competition, by getting bigger cameras, bigger lenses, with more megapixels.
We are all (already) photographers.
Today, everyone is a photographer. If you have an iPhone or smartphone, you are a photographer. So is your mom, dad, and baby cousin.
The market for the compact and point and shoot market is already dead. The APS-C and Micro 4/3rds market will also probably eventually die.
In the future, everyone will either just use their iPhone camera, or invest in a digital medium-format (eventually, large-format) digital camera with 100+ megapixels. Because us silly human beings will always think that “bigger is better” and “more is better.”
But megapixels don’t matter!
We all know that.
But the rich are getting richer and don’t know any better. If I’m a millionaire or billionaire, I got “fuck you money”. I will buy what I consider the “best” digital camera. Most likely that will be a medium format digital camera.
A growing market for digital medium format
The population of rich people is going up. Which means the market for high-end and very expensive cameras is going to go up.
Is digital medium format worth it?
The colors, dynamic range, clarity, and depth of field of medium-format digital cameras is epic. If you can afford a digital medium format camera, yes, I think digital medium format is “worth it.”
I shot a bit with the Pentax 645Z from my friend Bil Brown. I was blown away by the color of skin tones, the 3D realistic look, and the pop of the images. I’m sorry, but you cannot get the same “look” on an iPhone, APS-C, or full frame digital camera.
Should I buy a digital medium-format camera?
OK, digital medium format is still very expensive, currently in the $7,000 USD+ range (only body). I imagine more advertising companies will want photographers to shoot digital medium format (let’s call digital medium format “DMF” moving forward).
DMF will soon be affordable to the masses. Maybe in 10 years or so.
If you look at digital technology, the price plummets over time. There will be a day where we can all buy a $2,000 DEF camera. But by then, there will be $30,000 digital large format cameras.
If you cannot afford it, do not buy a DMF. Don’t take out a credit card loan to buy one. If you need it for commercial work, rent it.
What will ERIC KIM do?
I’ll probably buy a DMF camera in the near future. Why? I prefer the colors that come out of it. I like the way my portraits and urban landscapes look. Also, I’ll probably be ahead of the curve, and dominate the photo blog world on DMF photography (you heard it here first).
There will be a market for DMF photography workshops, books, and education. And it will be rich people work disposable income who will buy DMF cameras. Not professionals. Because most professional photographers are generally poor.
Recommended DMF cameras
Don’t buy the DMF Fujfjilm GFX yet. Never buy first generation products. Remember the first iPad and iPhone, and how many hidden problems it has?
I’d recommend a PENTAX 645Z (used). It’s been through several versions. It is solid now.
Very small or very big camera.
I’ll still shoot street on my RICOH GR II. I still prefer small cameras. Human beings will always hate heavy stuff, especially when traveling and shooting.
So I see it as a barbell: either super small compact camera (Ricoh GR or iPhone) or DMF BIG camera.
How to become a better photographer
But as always, buying a new camera won’t make you a better photographer. Only way to improve your photography is:
- BUY PHOTO BOOKS: You are what you eat. Look at great photography books, distilled images over years, sometimes decades.
- Shoot more: You can’t get strong without actually getting on the floor and cranking out pushups. To build your visual strength, you got to shoot more. Jay Maisel calls this “visual pushups.”
- Analyze your photos post-mortem: Analyze which of your photos work and don’t work after the fact. There is no failure in photography, only feedback. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson said you can only improve your composition by analyzing your photos after you should them.
And lastly, don’t over think photography. Treat yourself like a kid with a camera. Never stop exploring your curiosity. Dance on the streets, with whatever camera you already own.
Do you think digital medium format is over hyped? What are your thoughts on the megapixel war? Share your opinion in ERIC KIM FORUM.