Sticking to one camera and becoming familiar with it's ins and outs may seem like a good idea. You'll soon be an expert with that particular piece of kit, and will know exactly how to get the shot you want. The problem is that, by sticking with one camera, you will never really expand your skill set as a photographer.
This article will be putting forward three compelling reasons and tips surrounding how (and why) you should regularly swap and change your camera.
1. Feel Comfortable With Different Brands
Although many photographers have a die-hard preference for one particular brand of camera, this generally isn't the best way to look at your kit. I'm not suggesting that you build up a complete set of lenses for both Canon and Nikon (for instance) - more that you experiment with radically different types of camera when the opportunity arises.
As well as a professional DSLR, it's also useful to become familiar with a smaller compact camera. You never know when you'll be caught out without a battery, and will need to do your best to capture a moment with a fairly basic point-and-shoot. You'll feel much more confident if you've spent time getting to know the limitations and characteristics of that particular device.
Without experimenting with several different brands, how do you know that you've settled for the one that works best for your particular requirements?
It Doesn't Need to be Expensive
Cameras tend to be fairly good at retaining value, and there are plenty of places to find excellent second hand equipment. Don't be afraid to sell your camera to give another a try. Your skill as a photographer won't come from a magical relationship with one particular camera, and you can always swap back again if you find that a previous brand worked better for you!
2. Understand the Principles
By regularly moving between different cameras and brands you'll start to see photography less as something related to one particular device, and more as a bank of versatile techniques and skills. You'll better understand why a particular camera works as it does, and learn the basic principles of light and composition.
If you feel this is an area that you'd like to spend a little more time understanding, we have several great tutorials that make a good starting point - whatever camera you use!
- Tips for Shooting in Natural Light
- Understanding the Power of Colour
- An Introduction to White Balance
- Mastering the Art of Black and White Photography
3. Experiment with Constraint
One of the most interesting things you can do as a photographer is to work with constraint. Incredibly powerful and versatile lenses are available if you have the budget, but often some of the best photos can be taken with prime and fixed lenses (or cameras).
Another worthwhile exercise is to spend a day or two shooting with film rather than digitally. You'll spend more time ensuring your in-camera composition is perfect, and will put a great deal more thought into whether you should really press the shutter.
Alternatively, you can always create your own pinhole camera (see above). This really is the ultimate in constraint, and is very inexpensive. Our in-depth guide will walk you through the process from start to finish.
Article photo by The Suss-Man.