Back to a Bayer


After a few days with the Fuji X-Trans and Sigma Foveon sensors yesterday was back to a Bayer sensor, with an Olympus OM-D and Panasonic 12-35mm lens. 




Whatever the benefits of different sensor arrays, there is no doubt that the ubiquitous Bayer sensor works. There is this constant debate around which is most important, image quality or ease of use, but the two don't exactly work in isolation. In film days a view camera shooting a 10 x 8 inch image was pretty much the pinnacle of quality, but taking one of those to photograph a rock concert wasn't a great idea. 

I'm certainly no subscriber to the idea of "The best camera you have is the one you have with you" because first of all its a trite cliched truism and secondly it gets used to justify people not being bothered to take out a decent camera with them and snapping away on some cameraphone. I would however put forward a different statement. "The best camera you have is the one that lets you work creatively and comfortably as you attempt to produce quality work, both aesthetically and technically." Now that works for me.

If we walk around with cameras all day that take technically superb pictures, but give us no pleasure in using them, then the probability is that we will either have no enthusiasm for what we do or just give up. I've always been keen to stress the importance of using a camera that you enjoy. Now I do seem to enjoy using more than most, but it is important, I believe, to want to go out with a camera and lens (lenses) combination that stimulates us. I've always felt that if we keep on using the same cameras and the same lenses then we may end up taking the same kind of pictures. Now that may or may not be a good thing, but I personally always like trying out a new combination. And yes I may still end up shooting pictures in the way I always have, but at least that was the result of some kind of thought process and a different way of working.

The Bayer sensor seems to give us more versatility than most. Cameras that use them are fast, responsive and generally fit nicely into our preferred workflow. No odd software packages, no serious restrictions on what and how we shoot. And no ultimately it may not yield the best quality, but if it enables us to get the images we couldn't with the camera with the better IQ, and we find the camera that houses it is a pleasure to use, then that makes it the most useful sensor we can use. There are differences between files created with different sensors, but as I'm always keen to point out, those differences are often greatly exaggerated and much less than some would have us believe. 

In these days of digital we are constantly having to deal with new product launches that promise this and that and would seem to move us on, but in the end give us little we don't have already. What we choose to use is up to us and we may well choose something other than ultimate image quality. And if it gets us the results we want, with an IQ we find acceptable, there is nothing wrong with that. 


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