Why I Need To Know Which Camera Made Each Photograph

When I first started using Flickr, I only had one camera – the one in my phone.

I didn’t feel any need to create an album for all photographs made with that phone, or tag the photos for a similar purpose.

Because all of my photos were made with the same phone!

However, a few years later, I reached a point early in my film photography where I realised I needed some kind of organisation and labelling.

I simply wanted to know when flicking through pictures, which camera had made which images.

It will be easier, I thought, to be able to look through a batch of images made with different gear, then pick out your favourites, and from the tags, albums or coded filename (something I used religiously for the first half dozen cameras).

From this approach, I believed I would soon identify the camera or cameras best suited to me, then focus on using only those. 

A few things happened to scupper this plan, not least of the realisation (eventually) that most cameras, as long as they work (and sometimes even when they don’t fully work!), can make pleasing images.

I reached a point where I was trying to radically simplify and pare down the gear I was using.

So in an effort to support the idea that the best camera is the one you have with you, I stopped tagging my photos in Flickr with the camera and/or lens they were made with, or adding them to albums made for that camera/lens.

In recent months though, whilst I haven’t suddenly gone and bought a dozen new (old) cameras, in my regular collection is in single figures, I have returned to using tagging and albums.

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Why?

Well, for much the same purpose as originally.

To see which camera and lens combinations give me the most pleasing images.

I like being able to go to, say, my Pentax K-m album, and see the strengths and charms of that camera – at least in its output.

It’s also useful when shooting with one camera for an extended period – even if only a couple of hundred photos – to compare that with other cameras that are already favourites.

The Pentax K-30 I’ve been using a great deal lately I’ve managed to get some pleasant colour photos from, for example.

But I then want to compare those with one of my “benchmark” colour cameras, like the K100D or K-m.

If, even after all the fiddling about and decision making the K-30 seems to require, it still doesn’t compare with the K100D or K-m, it brings in to question why I need it, or would continue to use it.

I realise this revived approach to tagging and albums doesn’t wholly support the idea of just being happy with whichever camera you’re using at the time, and getting the best you can from it.

But if a camera is too much of an effort to use (therefore the enjoyment becomes compromised) and even still doesn’t deliver as lovely images as others you have, then is there any point in having it?

What are your thoughts? Do you use tags and albums to identify which photos you made with which lens/camera? If so, why? If not, why not? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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13 thoughts on “Why I Need To Know Which Camera Made Each Photograph”

  1. I haven’t used flickr since last year.
    I am using a new site to upload my pictures, but I realize this is probably temporary… and the new site doesn’t support tagging. Honestly, it’s not as big a hindrance as I thought it was. I can usually tell what camera and lens were used – and if I can’t, it doesn’t matter all that much anymore.
    Maybe if I forced myself to be less gear-centric I’d be happier… because once I know a certain camera/lens combination gives me great results that I’m pleased with, does it really make sense to keep evaluating everything else that is out there?
    If my DA 16-45mm lens wasn’t failing, I think I wouldn’t even need to be looking at any other gear right now…

      1. The DA 16-45 is great in my opinion, and it is selling for not much more than the kit lens 18-55.
        You do have to take very good care of it though. The barrel extends for wide angle (it’s unusual but might be what makes it so good at the longer 45mm end), and the construction isn’t great – with time the inner barrel gets wobbly and one or two of the corners might start to get blurry at 16mm. That is what is happening with mine.

      2. Chris have you found it good at both ends of the focal length range? I’m curious about using a wider angle lens on my DLSRs, but it would be useful to have a good quality tele end within the same lens. The F 35-70 I have gets most use at 70mm. How close does the 16-45 focus at the long end?

      3. I forgot to mention, the DA 16-45 focuses much closer than what the specs say. I have had a few lenses that are 1:4 macros (0.25x magnification) and the 16-45 is said to be 0.26x, hardly much more than those 1:4 “macro” lenses. But I have made real world comparisons seeing how close I can get to objects, and the 16-45’s images at minimum focusing distance were almost 50% larger than the 1:4 close focusing lenses. So I would say it is probably around 0.32-0.33x in magnification. Quite handy for a walkaround lens is this ability to focus very closely on details if needed. And the minimum focused distance picrtures are nice, sharp and contrasty too – quite the opposite to my Tamron 70-300mm which is a 1:2 (0.5x) macro lens, but the macro distance pictures lack sharpness and the colors are just not very good (the same lens can produce quite strikingly good pictures in its “sweet spot” and close-ups at 180mm are quite a bit better, but then it doesn’t focus nearly as close).

      4. Oh that’s great to know, ignore me asking in the previous reply about how close it focuses! Is this all through the zoom range?

  2. Sometimes it’s good to not identify the equipment used to make the image: it eliminates the “snob evaluation factor”. There are those people who will dismiss an image because it wasn’t made with a “quality” camera, and who will praise an unworthy result because it was. This is usually a function of public evaluation, but sometimes we fool ourselves even when we try not to.

    1. This is all true, and one reason I started to upload stuff to Flickr without any details is so the photographs could be evaluated (and hopefully enjoyed) purely on face value and not from any kind association (good or bad) to the gear they were made with.

      I must admit an influence myself though, sometimes if I don’t much like a camera I’ll try to see less in the photographs, and vice versa, a camera I love using I’ll overrate the final images.

  3. The camera and lens info is in my image Metadata. If by some mishap it isn’t I add it into Lightroom. I can perform a search for lens, date or and combination.

    1. If I was starting over I would somehow do this I think. I’ve always used Flickr for this, as I just love the whole visual look and feel of it. But it would make sense to do within the files on my computer too.

      I know when I view my photos on my Mac in Preview, if I use “Show Inspector” it reveals all kinds of data, including camera, lens, shutter speed etc, even the colour settings, so I guess I do already have this embedded in the files, and don’t need to rely on Flickr for this kind of tagging and albums.

    1. I guess I just like having the visual aspect of Flickr, I just find it so much easier and more rewarding to browse through (my own images and other people’s) than files on my hard drive.

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