When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine

When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine

It seems that these days I have been so busy I have opted for simple twitter/facebook posts of mobile pictures & videos, since I have not been able to post in my usual way on MrSikhNet.com.

My usual mode with photography and video has been using good quality cameras, however it seems that these days convenience and portability has brought on a new style of communication. In the past I think it was more about what was highest quality, but at the cost of complexity and inconvenience. 

An example of this is your typical video camera which records to a tape. I have recorded many tapes of my family over the years, but yet it is mostly stuck on these tapes because I have never had the time to do something with it & is complicated. I often suggest people to use the video mode on still digital cameras since it writes the video to a video file which is easily uploaded to the internet and shared.

I have been a photographer since I was a teenager, and in the previous years have used mostly more professional digital SLR cameras. These take high quality pictures which you can’t beat with portable cameras, however it can be a pain to carry around big heavy cameras (particularly now that I am a family man with 2 kids). I normally bring my small portable pocket digital camera when I go with family which is much more convenient.

I’m now in the mode where I most often don’t bring either of my normal cameras and just carry an iPhone. It doesn’t take as good pictures and video, but it is SOOO CONVENIENT! I carry my phone with me everywhere so if I need to take a picture or video I just pull out my phone and shoot away. Then, with a click of a button the picture/video is online for others to view. I use a free program from qik.com to actually do a live broadcast right from my phone and it then puts the video on facebook and my qik page. It makes sharing your experiences so much easier. I just downloaded an iPhone app called photoWALL which let’s me take a picture and right away post my photos to facebook, twitter & flickr all at once! I love technology!

Anyways, I’m just noting and thinking to myself how having something really high quality isn’t always the best. I am finding myself doing a lot more mobile computing these days which is great. I look forward to mobile computing devices really becoming full portable computers that you can do whatever you need on it.

 The wired article "The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine" goes into a lot of detail on this topic and matches how I feel.

I’ll be going to India at the end of the month and plan to make good use of my phone to capture lots of videos and pictures which I will be "Journaling" from during my travels. I’ll be bringing some of my higher quality digital cameras, but I expect that I might just be lugging them around and not using them as much.

5 Responses to “When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine”

  1. sukhjit says:

    Great points… I’ve shared your view too. What I have noticed now that I am with a manufacturer is that most people still value quality for really important occasions. I took a nice camera to India with me when I went in 2008 and I’m glad i did. Both audio an video quality are best for that kind of capture. It was also worth investing time in editing into nicer produced videos. That being said, I shot A LOT of media with my phone and use it for mobile posting. It’s excited to see where technology has brought us and anticipate what’s ahead. I have that edition of Wired.. I think I should go read it! Great blog post BTW! –Sukhjit

    • You are right sukhjit, that’s why I am still bringing my pro SLR camera ( though scaled down with minimal gear) and a portable digital audio recorder. It’s challenging photographing kids with mobile phones. They just move to fast!

      I’m looking forward to recording some “sounds of the Sikhs” while in india to add to the gurbani media center. Not gurbani , but different environmental sounds, like jakaras, chanting, dipping in the water, etc. We’ll see what I find. There are already a few in the GMC under the Artist/album sounds of the Sikhs.

  2. WJKK WJKF, dear bhaijee,

    I’ve read the article as well two days ago and exactly something similar happened yesterday. I promised another bhaijee to do photography on his cousin’s wedding in two weeks time. Last year I’ve purchased a Sony alpha 300 (a special manufacture for certain retailer chains in the US; UK and continental Europe) and so far I am just fine with 10MP. As a Graphic Designer I have to look for good quality pictures and high resolution otherwise I am getting into trouble when a customer wants to switch interest from non-print media (in which even 3MP is fine *LOL*) to print media (where I need 300 dpi at least).
    No I was troubled to choose a flashgun (so far the in-built was good enough). Of course one might say “Stick to Sony” which was my first option. But then the assistant behind the counter offered me an OEM (self-branded one) for more than 80 Pounds less. I was weary. Sony made the whole thing interesting by offering a nice pouch with it’s flashgun, but in the end we were looking at only 10m less light engulfment and a little more time to recharge.
    As a Mac-User you get spoiled rotten.
    I wanted to stick to the Sony one, but then opted for the less-expensive own-brand.
    I am happy. It does the trick just nicely.
    So, why are we spending more? – A question still need to be answered.
    Of course I was concerned that I bought a machine from a sweatshop in China or Taiwan but then I found out that the own-branded one is the same like the Sony-compatible one made by the German company Metz! Made in Germany and less priced.
    What to ask more for?
    I think we just have to learn to get more modest in demands and – when it comes to technical gizmos – so some research before making an impulse-purchase.

  3. coco singh says:

    i too share your extreme fondness for photography, but due to my physical state this fondness has been relegated to appreciating photography aesthetically only. I love pictures, be they
    profiles, landscapes, birds and animals or whatever that sets the mind tranquil through the “second lens” – the eyes.

    Most Welcome to India. Do let me know and it would be nice if we could meet.


  4. Atma Singh says:


    Khalsa Jee,

    I hope you are keeping well!

    Excellent article (enjoyed the one about patience too). Chase Jarvis, a photographer whose work I really respect says: “The best camera is the one you’ve got with you” – what a great philosophy. And to prove his point he takes pics with his iphone that make lots of other ‘professional photographers’ work look decidedly un-inspired. This is what photography is all about – vision. Unless our equipment helps us develop and express our unique vision, then it may as well be discarded.

    Hope to have your darshan soon. Drop me a line/mail when you’re next in the UK; would be nice to meet-up. Have a good time in India.

    I’ll be in Delhi and Anandpur (photography-related job) in late Feb-early March. I guess you won’t be staying around that long right?

    Ps – Whilst in Anandpur Sahib, I’ll be trying to stay long enough to capture Hola Mohalla; never seen it before. I’d love to Submit some sort of photo-essay and/or pics with an article regarding what I shoot and experience, via Sikhnet. I’d love to do that – if Sikhnet is up for it, let me know.