Free Photographic Advice
This originally appeared in the Photo Information Almanac 1982 (page 11), from the editors of the now
defunct Modern Photography magazine. Some of it is dated but it's worthwhile nonetheless.
- If you don't need a super fast lens (f/1.4, f/1.2), buy the slower (f/1.7, 1.8 or 2) which will probably be
cheaper, of as good or better quality and far superior for getting good sharp close-ups.
- The more features on a camera, the more that can go wrong, but the more convenient it may be.
- Fit the camera to your needs or growth of your needs. Don't buy a camera just because someone else has the same
model—unless you take the same kind of pictures.
- Cameras with prestigious names often may not be mechanically or optically superior, but repair is easier, will
be available longer, and can be found all over the country and world.
- Try out the camera in the store and with film [or digital media—James] at home before sending in your
filled-out warranty cards. Once card is filled out, the camera is yours and few dealers will exchange it.
- Don't let the dealer talk you out of your choice unless you trust him immensely.
- Don't buy a new model as soon as it's introduced. Wait at least four months for the bugs to be ironed out.
- Beware of used electronically-controlled [or digital—James] cameras. Too many I've seen have [defects—James] that are undetectable until after you've bought the camera.
- Don't let your dealer tell you that you'll get used to a feature you do not like.
- Don't sacrifice features you really need for fripperies.
- Don't buy a camera unless you've handled it.
I'm going to make a personal comment about this last one. It's absolutely true. Some people have large hands, some small hands. Every camera maker has a different idea of where to place controls,
what's ergonomic, how the camera balances, etc. Always pick the camera up, hold it, and try different things. Some cameras will feel better in your hands than others.—James
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