A fast digital camera will make you a better photographer.

Don’t get me wrong. The best equipment in the world can’t train your eye to good composition. A jillion dollar Nikon or Canon still knows nothing about good light. And not even a Hasselblad will take itself out of your kit and go take some pictures for you. All a good camera does it make it easier to take good pictures; it can’t take good pictures on its own.

But a good digital camera can help even more.

Photography is an expensive hobby. Once the bug bites you, you’re going to spend more money than is wise, and certainly more than you can rationally justify. And that’s just on equipment. Once you factor in film, processing, and printing, the costs really add up.

When I was a kid, I always tried to take the One Perfect Picture of whatever it was I was shooting. My hobby exceeded my budget, so I had to make every shot count. Even then, there were more wasted shots than keepers. And now I’ll let you in on a little secret: Pros throw away most of their stuff, too.

I’ve seen a little of the business of photography close up. My cousin Trip von Hoffmann was once one of the premier advertising photographers on the East Coast. (The 1991-92 recession and subsequent