Any Camera Will Do

It doesn’t happen often, this. Water was everywhere, dripping, flowing, consuming anyone who dared take even the smallest step under that pitch-black sky. Not many did, too. Stores were crowded not with mothers holding their vegetables and sweets for unsuspecting children. Not with children and their ice cream, chips or, sadly, energy drinks. No, they were crowded with those who weren’t ready for the rain. And you should always be ready for rain in Lithuania in Autumn. I guess we’re not as pessimistic a nation as we think we are.

And then, surprisingly, there was silence. For a moment, the rain stopped, and with it everyone else did. A brief moment that was. Now, mothers were running, children were running, and everything came back to chaotic life. It was more peaceful with the rain.

It doesn’t happen often, this. Clouds split and, before they could cover all the blue again, sun shone through. It was both dark and immensely bright all at the same time. I could barely see where I was going, could barely hear people rushing by urgently, hands covering their eyes. Everyone was rushing, no one saw where. Natural order of things, I thought, and looked for a camera I didn’t have with me. Or didn’t I?

Any Camera Will Do

The review of my favorite camera, Mamiya RZ67 Pro, is long overdue. I’m in love with it, I love shooting with it even more so than the actual photographs. It’s a pleasure, it’s a time I can spend with myself, with my thoughts. But I didn’t have my favorite camera with me. I didn’t have my trusty Nikon D700, either – a DSLR that, coupled to a 50mm f/1.4 lens, would save me in any situation and not skip a beat. I didn’t even have my old and, let’s be fair, rather difficult to live with Kiev 4AM, which I also adore. What I did have was my phone. I think you know what I’m getting at.

It’s important what you use for your photography. It’s important that the gear feels right. The process of taking that picture should be as important as the result. It should make that result important. But in this situation, all I had was my smartphone and its 5 megapixel camera. So I took it out and made the shot. No, it’s no masterpiece. It’s not as sharp or clean as my D700 would’ve been, doesn’t have the dynamic range, either. But, crucially, I had it with me while my D700 was taking a nap on a shelf at home. I had a camera with me and I used it. This may not be a great photograph, but it is a great visual reminder of how I felt. And that, you must agree, is better than nothing.

Here’s to the little cameras with 5 megapixels.

  • Gary Clark

    I feel as though the moment was a real masterpiece. The camera, the picture and the panic may not have been great but the picture speaks 1000 words and has my mind captured.

    Well done.


  • Amar-Singh HSS

    Dear Roman

    Thanks for an insightful article. We need to be careful in getting trapped to produce that perfect image with the best gear. I have found that my hand phone camera or point and shoot compact can occasionally produce images that surprise me. I spent 6 weeks in Rotterdam on an elective and choose not to bring any DSLR or long lens and enjoyed taking images with simple devices.


  • Kumar Dosi

    That’s an excellent photograph Roman – real visual treat. And what a timing; I have recently moved to Bangalore which doesn’t have the type of open places and landscape beauty within the city as my previous locations. However, I saw something recently that fascinated me – cars’ and motorbikes’ lights beautifully diffracting through trees at divider and cyclists or pedestrians providing great silhouette. My 5 MP cannot capture it because of night, although I think my D5100 can, with tripod and low ISO. Soon, I will be less busy and I will post it here or send it to you.

    Cheers, Kumar

  • Jose Carlos

    I was wondering about a situation like this: you see the moment, a capture but you miss the camera (mine is a d300), then looses the opportunity! I thought if a cel phone at hands could fill it; so by your post you solved my doubt. I´ve just bought a used cel phone (nokia n5 w/ 5 megapixel carl zeiss lense)!

  • Peter

    As someone on the Ricoh site says ” the best camera is the one you have with you”.

  • Darren

    Absolutely right Roman…the best ‘anything’ you have is the one you have in your hands…including cameras.

    A little off topic, but I remember working on a project with a makeshift tool for someone that needed help. All they could say is that they had a tool that would do the job so much better. So I asked why they needed my help when they had this wonderful tool. Cause they didn’t have it with them :-) It’s what you have in hand that counts.

    Enjoy your picturing!


  • Luis

    That is why I always go out with my Canon S95