What camera do I take to El Camino de Santiago?

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Many people want to have such an authentic experience that they choose to unplug 100% from their routine, to the point that they don’t even take a Casio watch with them. Others think that the authenticity of the experience is not incompatible with technology and are fond of creating a special place for their memories other than rely on memory itself and for that purpose they use a wealth of devices.

Usually my articles are based on cultural or art subjects, but today I’ll introduce you to my photographer self. Having said that, photography can also be a  form of art. I believe that Photography does not deter from the authenticity of living the experience of El Camino. Photography, as we know it, has been available since 1828 and the important part of it, is not so much what camera you have but the actual fact of making photography.  

MOBILE PHONE CAMERA

Cámara de smathphone

Pixabay.com

Who hasn’t got a mobile phone with an integrated camera nowadays? If you do not want to complicate things or you do not own another form of camera and you are not planning on acquiring one, this is a perfectly good option.

Pros

  • Probably you were already thinking of taking your mobile, even if only for safety. You will then also have a camera without adding any more space or weight.
  • If you also like to share your pictures often with your family and friends, there is not a better and quicker way.

Cons

  • Depending on the model of your phone the quality of the photos can vary greatly, in some cases they can be very poor.  
  • Because your mobile is so handy, there is the danger  that you will use it more than you were planning. Remember, you only need the VOJO app, it everything you need for El Camino!
  • It only has a digital zoom, which usually are of low quality.

COMPACT CAMERA

Cámara compacta

Pixabay.com

In my humble opinion, this is one of the best options in relation to the ratio quality of image/ease of transportation. Currently there is a wide range of this type of camera, the quality of image is usually excellent.

Pros

  • It is very easy to carry.
  • It is possible to get one with many good utilities at an affordable price.
  • The quality of image is much better than the one most of the medium range (even some of the high range) mobiles can give you.

Cons

  • It does not let you use a lot of photographic resources to style your photos. If you are interested in photography or you want to learn something about photography as you walk, this is not your ideal camera. 
  • Limited zoom.

SEMI REFLEX CAMERA OR BRIDGE

Cámara semi reflex

Pixabay.com

This option is almost halfway between the compact camera and the reflex camera. This camera has the appearance of a compact one, but with the manual utilities characteristic of a reflex, but without the reflex visor (you would need a digital screen in order to see the frame) and generally it only counts with one lens.

Pros

  • The zoom is already a better one than that of the previous options. Bear in mind that there is a big difference between the optical zoom (the one that comes with the lens) and the digital zoom (generated by the software). The optical zoom is the interesting one to look for when you choose a camera, it is the one that will allow you to play with the distance to create impressive images.  
  • It is still a relatively small and light camera.
  • In some models you can create photographies in RAW format (digital negative), a format that retains the quality of the image, unlike the jpg format.
  • The latest models allow you to change the lens.

Cons

  • Apart from the optical zoom, there is not much difference with the compact camera.
  • The sensor tends to be smaller than in the reflex or even the compact camera.
  • The price of these cameras is not cheap, so you’ll have to think about it.
  • The models that allow to change the lens are very expensive.

CAMERA REFLEX OR SLR

Cámara Reflex o SLR

Pixabay.com

If you are a photography lover, possibly I won’t need to tell you that this is the camera for you. They are heavier and more uncomfortable to carry than any of the others (specially because of some of the lenses), but the possibilities that they give you overshadow the said handicap.

Pros

  • Even in the amateur range you can already find cameras of surprisingly good quality.
  • Lenses with zoom or fixed focus lenses will make possible that you can adapt to any type of photography.
  • Being able to change the lens makes possible that you can photograph people or landscapes with fantastic results.
  • When using the manual mode, which is what for a photographer is the real deal, you will have the satisfaction of learning a lot of tricks.

Cons

  • Although it depends of the range, the price is something to bear in mind, even more the price of some of the lenses.
  • They are not precisely small, and the mirror system inside them makes them  fragile.
  • The lenses, especially the far reaching ones, are very heavy to the point that carrying them around one’s neck for a whole stage of El Camino is simply crazy.

ANALOGUE CAMERA

Cámara analógica

Pixabay.com

This is the perfect camera for those who still resist the use of technology on El Camino. Although they have been mostly outshadowed by digital cameras, there is still the possibility to buy one of these and take your photographs in a more traditional way.

Pros

  • Although they are almost extinct, the magic of photography is still there.
  • The styling possibilities are as many as with a reflex camera (if it counts with this feature).
  • It is quite easy to find good photographic equipment on the internet at a good price, something that was unthinkable some years ago.

Cons

  • You will not be able to see your photos until you develop them (although for some this is not a bad thing).
  • Hacerse con un carrete no es nada fácil, así que lo mejor es que salgas con ellos de casa.
  • In comparison to digital cameras, analogues are more difficult to operate correctly.
  • Printing films from traditional way of development of a negative is not cheap.

DISPOSABLE CAMERA

Cámara Desechable

Pixabay.com

I don’t know how easy is to find this kind of camera in the shops today. What is clear is that with smartphones and their cameras, the advantages of a disposable camera are fewer. However I have decided to include them because in the past they use to be very convenient.

Pros

  • They are analogue cameras. If you are a fan of photographs on paper, and you are one of those allergic to technology, this might be a good option for you.
  • If you forgot to bring anything that can take photographs, buying one of this won’t break the bank.
  • They are light and take no space.
  • It does not work with electricity, so you do not need to be wired.

Cons

  • Printing photographs from an analogue camera is not a cheap option.
  • The creative options are reduced to framing and not much else.
  • No zoom.

INSTANT CAMERA OR “POLAROID”

Cámara instantánea o "Polaroid"

Pixabay.com

These mythical cameras were very popular during the 70’s and they kept going until the 90’s. Currently they seem to be having a revival although nothing like in their heyday.

Pros

  • All your photos printed instantly. You can share them in a very close and personal way!

Cons

  • They are a bit bulky.
  • The paper used for printing is not cheap and it cannot be bought everywhere.

I personally choose the SLR because its creative possibilities are greater than its cons and because I think the landscapes along El Camino deserve to be captured with the best possible quality. But that is enough of my opinion, now it’s your turn. So, which one is your favourite?

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About Author

Sergio De Arriba

Graduado en Historia del Arte, trabajo como Gestor de Contenido Cultural y arquitecto de rutas en VOJO, aunque de vez en cuando también realizo vídeos corporativos e ilustraciones. En este blog mi intención es mostraros el Arte de la forma más atractiva y sencilla posible, alejándome de descripciones complejas pero sin olvidar los métodos científicos que acompañan a la teoría artística.

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