Photographing Bands > Part One
Part One: The Camera ( July 26, 2000 )
Well, since you're going to be photographing bands with a camera, this might be a good place to start. There are several kinds of cameras out there you can start off with, but there are 2 main kinds of cameras you can be using. You can start off with a point and shoot camera, or an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera. The difference between the 2 is that the SLR camera, when you look through the viewfinder, you actually see what your lens sees, while point and shoot, you don't. It's my opinion that if you want to take some decent photos of bands, you're going to need an SLR camera. They are more reliable than point and shoot cameras, and offer much more control over the photo to the photographer. The SLR camera also offers a flash mount, and a flash is very important, and if you're photographing bands indoors, you'll want to use a pretty powerful flash, much more powerful than the flash built in the point and shoot cameras.
But, before you run out and by a brand spanking new Canon Rebel, let me say what I think is a good SLR camera to start with. There is the choice between getting a fairly new camera and an older model. My preference is to stick with the older and perhaps used model. Why? I find that the older models, such as my Canon AE 1, offer much more control than the newer models that are loaded with new features, such as auto-focus. I think if you're trying to start off, and learn stuff about photography, then you're going to want a simple camera that offers the basics ( control over shutter speed, aperture, etc. ). Also, I find that older cameras have a much more solid body, and can take a beating ( because if you're going to photograph bands, you're going to need a camera that will take a beating). The new models tend to be a little on the wimpy side, and are mostly based around plastic materials. They may be lighter, but they may also break. So, with more control, and a more sturdy body, I suggest getting an SLR older camera with a good lens. I have grown to love my Canon AE 1 that my parents bought in the late 70's ( yes, the camera is older than me, I know ). I also see that used, sturdy cameras are much cheaper than the new SLR models, so you're going to get more camera for your buck.
You can see the difference in photographs between point and shoot cameras and SLR cameras from my Earth Crisis photos. The first time I photographed them I tried out my new Kodak Advantix camera, and the photos didn't turn out that great, but the second time around I used my normal Canon camera, and received better results.
Go to Part Two (Lenses)