Every camera is the same, whether it is the latest and greatest digital medium format, boasting an 80 megapixel sensor, to the Kodak Brownie cameras of yesterday. They all boil down to being a light-tight box with a hole in one side and some kind of shutter for the photographer to control the exposure. This could range from a piece of tape covering the hole of a pinhole camera, to the most sophisticated system ever engineered with
internal springs, gears, and computers.
Cameras have been around long before even the invention of the photograph. The Camera Obscura, when translated from Latin means Dark Room, was used by early artists to more accurately record the world around them. Children today will often make smaller versions in science classes to be able to safely watch a solar eclipse. Like the pinhole, these too can range in size, material, and complexity. Some of the more fun ones to experience are made from blacking out the windows, except for a small single hole, and turning an entire room into a camera. However, without the use of lenses or prisms, the image projected on the opposite wall may be slightly out of focus,and will be inverted both horizontally and vertically.
But what is the best camera? Commercial photographer Chase Jarvis once said, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Almost everyone these days carry a camera with them everywhere they go. If you go to any tourist attraction, you will see the majority of the photographs at the site being taken by some kind of mobile device. Most of these images are just snapshots, will never see the light of day, and will quickly be forgotten. However, in the hands of someone who takes the time to properly compose and edit theirimage, the cell phone can be a powerful tool to create with stunning results.
Regardless of how sophistocated your camera may be, you need to spend time with it in order to be able to use it effectivly. I will always take whatever camera is new to my collection, and solely shoot with it until I know its ins-and-outs. Don't be afraid to sit down and push every button, turn all of the dials, dig through each layer of the settings menu, and experiment. The more comfortable you are with the tool, the better the end product will be.