Cheap Camera Challenge with a Paper Camera

Does a good photographer take good photos because of the quality of the camera or in spite of it?

In this episode of Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera Challenge, professional photojournalist Alex Ogle is challenged to do a photo shoot with a tiny, discreet, and cheap paper camera. Since he is normally equipped with a professional camera, it’s interesting to see how he handles the paper cam and what he comes up with. Watch as he makes the most out of what he is given:

Ogle, who has been covering the Hong Kong Occupy protests, leaves the protests behind and takes to the city streets for low-key, everyday street photography using the Paper Shoot paper digital camera. Typically, Ogle uses a Nikon D810 with a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G to capture impactful photos, so the little camera was a big adjustment.

The Paper Shoot camera features a 5 MP sensor, uses an SD memory card, weighs 80 grams, and is only 12mm thick, which kind of makes it the perfect camera for capturing discreet street photos. But it has a lag, which can be a problem, especially since Ogle is used to the fast shutter release of the D810.

cheap camera challenge

The camera lacks a few common features that we have become accustomed to, like an optical viewfinder, LCD screen, adjustable lens, manual settings, so it’s really just a guessing game when you’re out there.

“It’s very much a case of point, shoot and hope that something is going to be either in focus or in the frame.”

Considering the lack of control for the photographer—no LCD screen, no real viewfinder—the images turned out surprising good. It just goes to show that even with a cheap camera that doesn’t provide an accurate representation of what you’re framing, you can still get great images if you know what to look for in an interesting street scene.

street photography

Ogle’s talent shines through in the final images, proving that having a good eye and great composition skills are more important than the equipment.

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