Can the camera have an effect on your abilities as a photographer?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by cyrus_procter, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. A photographer new to photography posts a question like this: "Which camera will make me a better photographer?" Enter a few pros who get on and explain to the new photographer that the camera doesn't matter and that no matter what he chooses they all have excellent output if used properly or along those lines. (for the most part, a few exceptions)
    Now this has gotten me to thinking, I personally have used a wide range of professional DSLRs from Nikon and Canon. I realize in the grand scope of photography, these companies & their professional DSLRs represents one slice of the large photographic pie, with many other formats and options in existence. None the less, in my personal experience I find that the camera has a huge effect on how I take pictures, and could be summed up by saying that the marriage between myself a body has a huge impact, i.e. makes me a better or worse photographer depending on how I interact with the body. Before y'all start yelling crucify him crucify him! and before the newbies say "I knew it! I knew it, a better camera will make me a better photographer!", let me explain a bit:
    I'm a pretty straight forward kind of person, generally in life I know exactly what I want, and how I want it. This is not necessarily true for photography. Oh sometimes I get a "vision" in my head, but for the most part, the photography process is an exploring one for me. And its this creative process, which I don't know where I begin or where I end up that draws me into photography. What does this have to do with a camera body or lens? When I'm "feeling" my way around a picture, whether it be myself and some beautiful piece of landscape, or a studio shoot with a model, I've got to be in "the moment". I'm not actually thinking, nor am logically processing things, I'm feeling, and when I'm feeling things don't always make sense, and moments can be fleeting, a great moment of inspiration can last a matter of seconds and then disappear for no reason. There is no way to have a guaranteed stimulation of these creative senses, I just go out and give it my best shot. Often times a certain piece of equipment can be the source of inspiration for me. The reverse can be true too though! I can tell you certain things that can easily kill a creative inspiration once it happens, and number one on that list is having to fiddle with the camera body! Even if its something as simple as changing white balance, or how the AF points are laid out, can be enough to destroy a creative moment for me. I have become very sensitive to my body (not my physical body, my camera body), and even so much as a button out of place, or the programming of said buttons can interrupt my creativity, thereby making me a worse photographer. I realize I'm starting to sound a bit like a Howard-Hughes-eccentric-type, but the point is, that's me, that's how I work, and yes a different (notice I didn't say more expensive, just different) camera body can inspire me to take better and sometimes worse pictures than another camera body. I suspect at least at some level a lot of photographers can relate, and if you can, then I want to hear about it! I suppose one could argue that it doesn't really change a photographer, it simply inspires him one way or another. Its an argument I have no answer for, What I do know is, I've been inspired to the point of change, by moving up to a better camera and by moving down to a lower camera; by changing formats (cropped vs FF), by changing AF systems, by the color rendition of a sensor, etc. Choosing the right camera is very important, and its part of who I am as a photographer, and if you feel the same, or if you feel different, then post!
     
  2. Skyler--I know that really great and profound photographers can take fabulous pix with pinhole cameras, Holgas, etc etc.
    And I think that--at least for me--holding a really nice camera in my hands make me stop and consider what kind of photo to take.
    A good camera and lens can make a difference, even if it causes the photographer to slow down a bit and consider...
    Paul
     
  3. Gee, recently, somewhere around here I just saw the phrase, "It's not the arrow, it's the archer".
    or was it the other way around? hmmm
     
  4. JDM,
    I believe we got off on the wrong foot, I remember us being in a heated discussion on another forum not long ago.
    So let me start over, welcome to my post! I would really like to hear your opinion, so please expound on the "It's not the arrow, its the archer"! I've given my side of the story, please, share yours :).
    Yes, you did just see that phrase, and that's what got me thinking about it and decided to open a new post just for it.
     
  5. I think a camera can have a great affect on the photographer. If I were using a pinhole camera I would choose and approach subject very differently than I would with a new digital camera that could capture images in a coal mine at midnight,
     
  6. Yes, choosing the right camera, both for the task at hand, and for the person using it is important. Is that what you wanted
    to know? I'm not sure what your question was.

    For myself personally, I do not like using autofocus lenses. For what I shoot and the way I shoot, I want to have control over that.
     
  7. I know, I know. Just rattling your chain a little.
    Hell, if people generally held grudges here on P.net, I'd have been driven off long ago. ;)
    My personal view on the issue is that the archer is foremost, in the sense that a person with good aim and good 'practice' can substantially overcome the limitations of a poorly fashioned arrow (and bow, too).
    However, it surely is easier for a good or bad archer to get passable results with good equipment.
    The best equipment is that which facilitates good practice-- like an airplane that flies straight and level when you take your hands off the controls....
     
  8. Skyler, didn't you just argue in the last few threads around here about how much better the D7000 is, and not to listen to the people that say that stepping up to a better camera should be ignored? This is exactly why we tell new users not to get too sophisticated, because there's so much fiddling that a higher-end body can have, that it gets in the way of many photographers. Yes, a better camera is, well, better, but only in the hands of someone that knows how to use it or specifically needs an obscure feature. I would rather have my D200 than my previous D90, or a D7000, but that is because of the features available to me, while 95% of people will take better photos with a D7000, or even a D3100, than they would with my camera. The reason we tell new users not to worry about getting the better camera is exactly because of the reasons that you posted. I came from years of film experience, was a photographer for a newspaper, and had a formal education in photography, and my upgrade path was: D40, D80, D90, D200. Even with all of my experience, it still took me months to be comfortable with the D40. When I got the D80 about a year later, I definitely noticed that it was a much more intimidating camera; while I could take my D40 out and just shoot with it, or give it to a non-photographer friend/family member with them getting great results, the D80 takes a lot more conscious input, and it doesn't invoke the "just shoot great pictures" feeling that one gets with the introductory-level equipment. To say nothing of the D200, which even my film photographer friends feel uncomfortable using, and that's AFTER I adjust the settings to their liking!
    So, if the person is asking which body they want, then it is best to recommend a simpler camera, which will ensure that the person is satisfied and confident. This is not to say that the camera is any less professional, however. A landscape photographer friend wanted a new macro setup, and we settled on a D3100 for him. Now realize, this is someone whose main camera is a Linhof Technika 4x5, and his backup camera is a Linhof 220! He wanted nothing more than a shutter speed dial and Live View, so the D3100 was the camera for him. Basically, someone that will fully utilize a D7000, D300, or D700 is someone that doesn't need to ask others, "Should I get it?" If they don't know if they need the additional features, then they don't need the additional features.
     
  9. mtk

    mtk

    Here goes my 2cents.....IMHO..this is how I perceive it:
    1. Tom gets an interest in photography
    2. "Hey Bob, love that picture(s) what kinda' camera u got?"
    3. "Thanks Tom, it's a Can-O-Niko-Shika with a 10-1000mm zoom"
    4. "Got it from Bandhadoramakehbestbuy in New York City on sale"
    5. Tom buys camera after reading all the reviews on Popoutdoorphotokenrockwell.
    6. Tom starts to fiddle and take pictures afterwhile he can't seem to get the NatGeo pics he was expecting.
    7. Posts on PNet that the metering and or focusing is off and that the lens he purchased is junk.
    8. Posters on forums tell him he should learn how to use his equip before he complains
    9. Or posters on forums tell him that he won't be happy until he buys the latest SonOlyTax with video and 35gazzllion megapickles
    10. Tom decides that he would rather learn how to fly fish than be a photographer.
    My point in this ramble is that for me on my 3rd digital slr camera and shoot with 3 film cameras I couldn't be happier. If you truly want to be a good photographer I recommend that you simply purchase what you can afford. To me ALL modern digital SLR's of any brand WITH THE KIT lens is probably more than adequate for most average people. I think that all of us that hang out here on PN are not average though...It's all about learning to get the most out of the tools that you have. It is very easy to blame the equipment than to push ourselves to the limit. Myself included. If you know how to use what equipment you have and push yourself to the limit you will succeed. If you don't and don't take responsibility for your own learning, you will suck as a photographer....no matter what you have.
    Mark
     
  10. What I do know is, I've been inspired to the point of change, by moving up to a better camera and by moving down to a lower camera; by changing formats (cropped vs FF), by changing AF systems, by the color rendition of a sensor, etc.​
    Word is cheap. Show and, say, give us a random blind test...
     
  11. Skyler,
    my self-confidence as a photographer changed over the years with changing technologies and cameras. In the late 90s I've felt rarely restricted in my abilities - my cameras, developing and scanning or printing film - everything seemed to work to my taste and I've even developed some kind of a personal style.
    This confidence ended 2000 with the purchase of my 1st DSLR - a Nikon D1. A tiny viewfinder, composing difficulties, massive problems with the digital workflow and so on - the easiness was gone.
    It took a couple of years until my self-esteem as a photographer began to rise again - still challenged by the tiny viewfinders I've learned to benefit from the digital technology - exploring multiple, off-camera flash-setups as an example.
    Three years ago I've purchased a D700 and I was in heaven - finally a useable viewfinder again, my old Nikkors worked better than ever on it and I started to play/work a lot with ultra-shallow DoF, available-light-photography and so on.
    I still make a lot of mistakes and I'm rarely absolutely happy with a picture, but don't feel handicapped by my camera anymore.
    At least for me it's important that a camera „feels right” - much more important than megapixel-count and so on. If the D700 had just 6MP I would still prefer this camera over every DX-format camera available today (shooting soccer is the only exception).
    And regarding the arrow/archer-phrase: while a bad archer will miss the target with almost every arrow - a good archer would be handicapped by a crooked arrow too.
    Cheers, Georg!
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The number one fact is that nobody becomes a better photographer by getting a new camera. And the number two fact is that most people aren't evolved enough as photographers to need a new camera. Photography is first and foremost about seeing. And secondly about translating what one sees into a flat print or screen image. Cameras don't have much impact on one's ability to do that, even if they have radically different looks, like a pinhole or a swinging lens panoramic.

    Now a lot of people pipe in and say something like "You can't shoot sports with a pinhole camera." While that's true, it's irrelevant to someone's capabilities as a photographer. The fact that someone can't take a certain photo with a specific camera is an indicator of nothing.

    I will add that most of the working pros I know have far fewer cameras and lenses than a lot of people on here. What they do have is a lot more lighting equipment (if they shoot studio in particular.) And that's it. I do 80% of my paid work with one lens and one camera. I do 20% of it with a second lens. I do most of my personal work with the same one lens and camera or a lighter one, just for carrying. I'm doing magazine covers, a lot of sports that gets published, portraits and live events. All with very little equipment. What has changed in the last few years came about because I looked at things differently and I learned to use external lights better than I had been. But the equipment didn't change...
     
  13. Jeff,
    I entirely agree that photography is foremost about seeing.
    And I'm sure that a good, big and bright viewfinder for instance helps a lot to create a photo that reflects/translates the scene one is seeing.
     
  14. I think that many photographers who began in photography recently with the highly automated digital gear available
    today, could become better photographers by switching to a less technologically sophisticated, all-manual film camera.
    The images may not be better, but the photographer would become more knowledgeable. Just my highly opinionated
    opinion, mind you.
     
  15. stp

    stp

    Jeff, I'll agree that photography is first and foremost about seeing (in a feeling sort of way), and that was a primary reason for me to purchase and use a square format film camera for a period of time. I wanted to shake up my view of the world, and looking for compositions in squares rather than rectangles (I don't like to crop if I can avoid it) did exactly that. I'm not going to claim that the square format made me better or worse as a photographer, but it sure was different and hugely enjoyable. I also appreciate your comments about lighting; I think that's an under-appreciated aspect of photography among many photographers.
     
  16. So I guess, yes, choice of camera can effect your ability as a photographer. But in the opposit way the OP was thinking.
     
  17. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I wanted to shake up my view of the world, and looking for compositions in squares rather than rectangles (I don't like to crop if I can avoid it) did exactly that.​

    I shoot CD covers, which are square, fairly often. I use the same dSLR I use for other things, I just look at the composition and see if it works as a square. Here's an example, I just made sure the composition was square, didn't require a different camera. If I was doing a lot more square shooting, I would just get a screen with etching for a square, just to make it easier, but it's not really a big deal.
    [​IMG]
    New Diplomat
     
  18. Cameras are tools and you need the right tool for the job you're doing. However the skill of the person using the tool is the most important factor in the quality of the end product. Still, even the best artisan needs the right tools to do his/her best job.
    In the case of photography, my first good camera was a Canon FX. It was a 35mm SLR with the light meter on the outside of the body. It was a good camera, but I had to take a reading with the meter and then transfer it the aperture ring and shutter speed dial, a relatively slow process. My next SLR was a Canon FT. It had through-the-lens metering so it slowed me down less. I still had to match needles in the viewfinder and focus manually. Next came a Canon AE-1 with auto exposure. It speeded thing up even more. Next came a Nikon n6006 with auto focusing. Even faster.
    Did this progression of cameras improve my photography. It did in that I missed fewer pictures while adjusting focus and exposure. Would I have done better with an 8008 or F4? I doubt it. The 6006 had all the features I needed for what I shot. I think that's the key. One needs a camera that has the features one need for the kind of shooting he/she does. Features beyond that are nice but not really necessary and will not improve ones photos.
    I now mostly use a Nikon D3100. I like it because it's compact, light weight, and still has excellent IQ. Would a D3 or D700 improve my photography? I doubt it. Neither gives me features that I need and that the D3100 doesn't have, and the added size and weight would actually be a hinderence to me.
    So the skill of the photographer is most important, but he/she needs a camera that has the features needed for the kind of photos he/she takes. I loved my Canon FT, but my D3100 has greatly improved my photography simply by increasing my percentage of good shots and decreasing my percentage of missed shots. BTW, I can say the same thing about modern zoom lenses.
     
  19. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Did this progression of cameras improve my photography. It did in that I missed fewer pictures while adjusting focus and exposure.​
    That says nothing about the quality of your end results. Percentages are nice things to improve, but that doesn't make photos better.
     
  20. Yes, the camera can have an effect.
    Suppose you have a pinhole camera and you want to photograph a children's birthday party. You can probably make some sort of surrealistic blurry photo of the experience with your pinhole camera, but even sharp snapshots will be outside of your reach.
    You go to your local drugstore and purchase a cheap disposable camera with a flash. You go back to the birthday party. Now you can use the flash to freeze the motion of the children. Every photo is reasonably sharp and their expressions are clear in the prints.
    Next, someone asks you to photograph the inside of a church. You have full access. The place is closed, and you can take as long as you need to capture the image. Which camera would you take? The disposable with flash or the pinhole? Either might provide interesting results, but personally I think the pinhole might make more interesting images.
    So, yes, gear can impact your ability to make images. It can extend or limit the technical aspects of your image making. But gear can't give you a visions. Gear won't help your selection of subjects or how to frame them. Gear can't help you choose a composition or lighting. Gear can't help you make more interesting photos. A piece of gear can't even tell you the best way to make use of its technical features. You have to figure all of these things out for yourself. The better you are at doing this, the more interesting your images will be regardless of the gear that you end up using to take them.
     
  21. As noted above: a camera body is a tool. A camera lens allows the camera body to capture light. You, the photographer, need to understand how the light will be recorded, or shaped, or be colorful, or in a monochrome scene. You, the photographer, need to be quick to respond to a given scene or action...the camera is not capable of picking the moment to expose that next great image.
    ...and you have to add in a little luck now and then.
     
  22. JDM,
    :D You made me smile. You're alright in my book JDM, you can comment on my posts anytime ;). Thanks for your point of view.
    Ariel & Mark, and in general, I'm sorry I've given the wrong approach, what I meant to say, what the purpose of this post is, the only time I see the people discussing the benefits of cameras is when its pro criticizing amateurs, I thought it would be good for pros to discuss with pros how they like the various features and how they improve or make it more difficult to shoot pictures.
    I think its 50/50. You can have the greatest vision in the world, but with no gear, you ain't doing nothing, and you can have the greatest gear in the world and no vision and still end up with nothing. Creativity to me is like having a baby, you gotta have a man and woman, just like you got to have a skilled artist and the right tools. Sometimes I feel the tools make me more creative. The first time I got to play around with a 14mm on full frame, oh the creativity that sparked, things I had never imagined. First time I played with a 400mm F/2.8, I never imaged in see the world that way. These are extreme examples, but none the less, these are ways I never really thought of to see the world.
    You know I come from the film business, and in the film business we have whats known as a "Director's viewfinder". Its sole purpose is so the director can roam the set, looking through the lens without having a camera, so it serves no purpose other than to let the director see what the world looks like through a specific lens. I believe that walking around with a different lens, or a different format FF vs cropped for an example, allows us sometimes to see creativity we miss. You couldn't do that without gear, that's the artist and the tools working together to breed creativity. I ask myself sometimes, if I walk around with an 85mm will I miss a shot if I had walked around with a 24mm? Or vice versa? How do you ever learn new things if you already have the vision and can already take amazing pictures with the camera you have?
    Leslie, with no disrespect, but I'm not offering something you can judge. I felt a new beginning the first time I looked through a viewfinder, it was the same and yet it was different, it inspired me to try new things, to try old things on the new format. I'm offering you my personal experience, which is when I tried new things it changed me.
    Jeff, why couldn't someone become a better photographer by getting a new camera? For an example, if I shot DX my whole life, and I suddenly bought a FX camera, even if it were an old 35mm film camera, that would open up a whole new world I didn't know, and perhaps that would spark something inside of me to try something in a new way, to have a new birth in creativity, does that not in some part make you a better photographer from that kind of experience? I feel it did me.
    Why is it that we photographers are expected to have the vision prior to taking a photo? Is it a crime to discover creativity while one is shooting, and is it ridiculous that your gear plays a part in discovering that creativity, that vision?
    I agree, Frank, I think going backward to older equipment will force the photographer to be apart of this gear\artist relationship, and it was as I was thinking :).
    Mark, interesting point of view! Thanks for the input :).
    Dan, fascinating view point! I loved the pinhole vs flash comparison. I agree, I don't think gear can give a you vision, but if you have a feeling already, but not something that has yet materialized into a thought, have you ever considered that by playing around with gear, that one can materialize his\her vision? As you don't know what you are looking for till you see it, and you can't see it till you have the right gear to see it with.
    Jerry, I loved the luck comment and how true it is! Regardless of your talent and\or gear level, sometimes a little truly goes a long ways! And thanks for pointing out the importance of light, because ultimately light is in its various forms is what we are photographing!
    Thank you all for input, it was very interesting to read everyone's points of view. I think this is an age old question and I'm pleased to discussing it with fine photographers such as yourselves.
    As a side note, I am a very technical person, I can pick up a camera and master it in very little time. The first time I got my hands on a Pro Nikon body was a D3s, having some experience with my D90 I jumped right in, and within an hour I was really comfortable with at least 75% of its features, and by the end of the first day (which was about 4 hours with it), I had completely mastered every aspect of the camera except flash functions as I had no flash, and I had not even seen a Pro body of any kind prior to that day. So for me, every part of the body of a camera is important, its what I understand best and how I channel my creativity.
     
  23. Leslie, with no disrespect, but I'm not offering something you can judge. I felt a new beginning the first time I looked through a viewfinder, it was the same and yet it was different, it inspired me to try new things, to try old things on the new format. I'm offering you my personal experience, which is when I tried new things it changed me.​
    I'm not debating that a camera can't change the photog, just that it doesn't make the shooter better. I have used RF, SLR, P&S, MF, DSLR, Mirrorless, phonecams, polariods etc...
     
  24. The myth that somehow equipment makes one a better photographer has existed for the 38 years I've been a photographer and existed for decades before that. And what have those years given me from using just about every type of camera and lens, film and digital, ever made? Perspective. Sure, I believed it once myself. If only I had a real SLR instead of this old, obsolete rangefinder then I could really see my picture, imagine the pictures I could take if my SLR had that fancy auto exposure feature, actually in the camera, then that would free me to really take good candids, I simply must have autofocus. With such technology the sky is the limit. Then, I must have faster auto focus, better metering to truly make my creativity flow. Zoom lenses were the keys to great composition. Then "better" zooms were required.Who could possibly make good pictures without the highest optical "IQ". Then larger/smaller formats because of the advantages they offered, then, the holy grail, digital. And better digital and, let's not forget the major key ingredient for creative flow, having the camera buttons in the perfect right places. And so it goes.
    In looking back, none of it made any difference to the quality of pictures I made. Yes, some gear helps you make certain types of pictures but none of it helped me make better pictures. Not a single thing, no camera, lens,or feature ever made me more creative, more willing to get out of bed before sunrise, or be able to approach strangers better or help make my compositions better. No camera design ever made me feel more deeply or see the beauty of life better. The only thing the change of gear did was to change the way I worked, not the why I worked.
    That's when It came to me, like a bolt of lightning, that the path to better picture making was inside of me, not something external to me. Self examination helped me more than matrix metering. Maintaining a child-like curiosity about the magic of light helped me more than zoom lenses. Becoming more sensitive to others helped more than well organized menu systems. Passion, preparation and sheer persistence helped me far more than more precise auto focus or optics with higher "IQ". In the end, it's all about who you are inside that makes the real difference in the pictures you make.
    Sometimes I think all this touchy-feely stuff is difficult to discuss, especially for men. It's easier to talk about camera specs and features than emotions. The search for the "right camera" is easier than the search for self-realization. Perhaps there is a fear that, under it all, one doesn't "have it" artistically. I say we all have "it". Let go of the camera and watch your creativity bloom.
     
  25. I'm a professional photographer who also served an apprenticeship as a carpenter. Five years of learning all about wood. When I started I used a crappy old hammer and could start with a nail and two pieces of wood and after some intense flailing the nail was fully 'home' and the wood joined. There were a few hammer marks in the wood, and the nail was slightly bent, but I managed. Although my shoulder hurt after a few hours.
    Today I use a well worn Estwing, whose grip my brain recognises, and I can start with a nail and two pieces of wood and after only a few wrist flicks, the nail is 'home' and the wood joined. And I can do this below me, above me, to the side of me, even upside down. I can even start the nail into the wood only using one hand, hammer AND nail in the same hand. And I can do this all day with no effort or pain.
    When I started I did not appreciate how much difference a well balanced hammer made, what difference a certain grip shape makes, what difference a face-angle makes to hitting a nail.
    Funny thing is, I can now do the same with a crappy old hammer too. They must make better crappy hammers today than they did years ago I guess!
     
  26. A good camera does not get in your way when you want to take a photo, and does the things you need to make your vision into real images. But no more than that. Which means, you first still need a vision, an idea on how to create your images. And then you select a camera to match. The camera does not make you the better photographer, but it's there to realise your potential.
    If the potential isn't there, no camera on the world is going to help.
    As you grow, your requirements for a camera may grow. But then we're beyond the point where you need others to tell you what you need - you know already. The same applies to lenses. Or, in John's case, hammers.
     
  27. This has always been a never ending debate, but I do think that gear can make a better photographer, even (may be especially) starting from low-level. But not at all in terms of image quality or upper end specifications; I just think that, at amateur level, each of us has his sweet point camera. I did take photos with Canon and Voigtlander film cameras, as well as with digital equipment, and I know at least 99% of my photos could have been taken with the same success with any of them. Nonetheless, I think my photography (I told you I'm speaking of low level...), years ago, improved going from my dear Canon FD to a Panasonic LX-1, even if I've no doubt IQ was lower. Simply, I started looking at a small 2D screen which help me remind the difference between the perception and feeling from a full immersion view and the small 2D image I'd produce, simply I started making more photos and experiments, having immediate feedback, and this allowed me to interiorize a few useful technique. And I'm sure that if I had an heavy full frame DSLR rather than my handy E-PL1 I would simply give up shooting.
    Quoting Leslie: "I'm not debating that a camera can't change the photog, just that it doesn't make the shooter better": different photog means different photos. And a different may be a better one...
    And quoting: Louis: "Not a single thing, no camera, lens,or feature ever made me more creative, more willing to get out of bed before sunrise": I've always been willing to get out of bed before sunrise, and I've often done that (a healing broken ankle remind me of my last sunset - full moon - sunrise mountain excursion...). But without a 'proper' camera, may be I would not even attempt to record that feelings.
     
  28. Jeff Spirer said it all. If you can't see, equipment makes no difference.
    I use mostly point and shoots.The weight of those serious cameras an absolute "no" for me! Magnum pros, Fashion shooter Peter Lindbergh and many other "top" pros now working with point and shoots!
    I have a ton of equipment which was fun! Now I shoot seriously, like I never have before..with a little as possible. If it's not a P/S compact, I carry an old battered Leica M and one lens..
     
  29. Some pearls of wisdom here. I've been inspired to take up archery!
     
  30. From what I've seen, as you suggest, it's the loadacameraguys who promote the 'it's the photographer not the camera' statement. Which says to me, they thought that getting a better camera would make them a better photographer and in the purchase and subsequent use found it didn't make them a better photographer - if it did then why shouldn't a better camera be better for everyone?
    Of course, with the top of the range camera/lenses there really is nowhere to hide if you still don't take 'good photographs'.
    Setting the photographer aside, would an expensive top of the range camera produce a better photograph than a small compact of the same subject/scene. Personally I think it would - but whether the degree of 'better' is worth the expense against the said subject is entirely another matter. e.g. creating images for ebay.
    My advice would be to buy the most expensive kit you are willing to afford - but don't get hung up if your purchase has to be somewhat less than your psychological ideal. At the moment I'd love a 5dII - can't afford it, and I know my old 30D is capable of producing good quality images. Of course this is anchored on the knowledge that should I get the 5dii my photography would not improve ........ course it would, otherwise why do I convince myself I need (I really do) a 5dii.
     
  31. A better camera may take a better picture ("better" being subjective), but that doesn't mean the photographer is better. It usually means we can now see his or her mediocrity better.
     
  32. Photography is first and foremost about seeing. And secondly about translating what one sees into a flat print or screen image. Cameras don't have much impact on one's ability to do that, even if they have radically different looks, like a pinhole or a swinging lens panoramic.


    If you only ever had a pinhole camera, you wouldn't be able to make good images of boxing or bands indoors in concert, because that kind of photography requires practice to develop the required skills. Without a useful camera for the application you wouldn't be able to develop the timing, reflexes, composition in the case of a moving subject, editing, interaction with your subject in the case of portraits etc. appropriate for that field of photography. Virtual shooting in your mind, I am afraid, doesn't do the trick. A camera is needed to learn, and for specific subjects the camera may need to be of a specific type.
    If you want to make a detailed image of Jupiter's bands, you cannot do it with a wide angle from your front terrace. If you want to shoot close-ups of baseball players in action, or tern grabbing fish you can not do it well with a point and shoot. If you want specific lighting at a specific time for a portrait, you have to bring in specific lighting equipment (and lighting equipment is no different from cameras in that gearheads get a lot of it and others - more subject and content oriented people - make do nicely with very little).
    In my opinion, the subject is the most important ingredient in the image in most types of photography. The photographer's vision is also important but without the subject there is little chance the image will have lasting value.
     
  33. Capabilities of the camera and capabilities of the photographer are two different things. A photographer at a baseball
    game with only a 50mm lens isn't a bad sports photographer, even though he's not going to be able to get a good shot
    of a base runner sliding into second. (Once I found myself in that position when one of my friends invited me
    unexpectedly the same day - I photographed everything but the game.) A non-photographer with a pro grade DSLR
    and an amazing tele lens won't get the base running shot either, if he doesn't know what to do.

    The reason people are always replying to the "how should I upgrade my stuff" questions with "take a class and get
    some practice instead" is that most of the askers confuse camera quality and photographer quality and think that if
    they buy more stuff they will automatically take better pictures. Often this is because they're reading too many
    "photography" magazines that are actually about gear and get the mistaken impression that their 2 year old kit isn't
    good enough. But somebody with a D80 and a 55-200 VR lens who can't shoot a base runner at a day game won't be
    able to shoot a base runner at a day game with a D7000 and an f/2.8 lens either - instead he should concentrate on
    learning.
     
  34. Well let me put this in a simple way: We have our own idea's as to what a camera must be to us, to My Pentax K-10 D is my cats meow, Yes I owned canon before even the F-1. But when I am using a camera Will be my tool at that moment. Now when I take out my Rollieflex and use , now there comes something else , Its old and still gives great photo's for its age, But Its also pride when using it , to me its like Respect of the camera, Does it make me a better Photographer , I doubt it but I know if I do things right, it will give me darn good Photographs: What else can I say when you love your Equipment :
     
  35. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    If you only ever had a pinhole camera, you wouldn't be able to make good images of boxing or bands indoors in concert​
    That doesn't have anything to do with the question here. There seems to be a desire to interpret "ability" as shooting anything. That's not what it's about. If I couldn't make good images of boxing or bands, my "ability" isn't affected. It's totally irrelevant. My ability comes from how I see what's in front of me and a certain amount of training and knowledge (with the boxing, for example, I shoot training regularly to hone my sense of timing). My ability comes from looking at photos and understanding why they work. But my "ability" is completely separate from whether I can take a specific photo.
     
  36. There have been many great opinions voiced here, and I am continually interested in them all.
    I remember a story about Anthony Hopkins, who was starring in a film alongside another actor who's name I cannot remember, but the point of the story was Anthony Hopkins believed one had to work in the moment, he refused to do any rehearsals, prior to set or on set, and preferred to do one take, letting it flow naturally. The actor with whom he was starring opposite refused to do a take without at least 5 rehearsals before hand, and insisted on many takes. Does that mean that Anthony Hopkins was the better actor because he didn't need a rehearsal, or could get it one take? Or that the other actor was better because he was more prepared and had more options to choose from? Neither are true, in fact both are right, because they worked in a style that fit them best. So I think its similar with photographers, some of us work one way where gear is a big part of our creative equation, and some of us work where we are the only equation and the camera is simply a means to solve the equation. But as I see all these responses I do not think its fair for one side or the other to criticize how the other works, but to offer our point view so that we may learn from each other.
    For me when I'm just being creative with photography, it means I'm doing something new, it means I'm outside of my box, no formulas, no visions, for I find that rarely does a vision occur that is not based on a previous piece of work that I have done or seen. Often when I'm in these moments, I don't know why I take a picture. Its true, there is no logical reason, there is no vision to take a picture, the most I do as a photographer is realize that the moment is worth capturing. I, the photographer, simply recognize the creative moment that is created partly by the camera & lens. In this kind of moment the camera & lens are a very crucial part of the image, because they determine what kind of images I'm seeing and how I'm inspired by them. But that's how I work. I don't see myself creating the equation, I see myself as part of the equation as the camera is also part of the same equation. A good photographer needs the right camera as much as a good camera needs the right photographer.
    So I offer you the age old question, did the chicken or did the egg come first?
     
  37. I think that Wouter made the best point when he wrote that a good camera doesn't get in your way and does the things you need to make your vision into a real image. That ties into what I said about my D3100 increasing my percentage of good pictures compared to my old 35mm manual focus manual exposure SLR's. In other words my D3100, or any modern DSLR, doesn't get in the way as much as my old Canon FT did. There are a lot of good photos that I've gotten with a modern DSLR that I wouldn't have gotten with my old Canon FT. In that sense it's made me a better photographer.
    To use a sports analogy, a 350 hitter is generally a better hitter and a 200 hitter. Likewise, a camera can make you a better photograher by increasing the percentage of good pictures, and by allowing you to get pictures you would have missed with a lesser camera.
    A better camera won't improve your photographic vision, but what good is the vision if you can't turn it into a photograph.
     
  38. Well, as a learning tool, the right camera can possibly make you a better photographer (at least at the craft, not the art).
    First, notice I said "right camera" and not better camera. Why, because as someone else mentioned, different cameras, have different advantages/disadvantages. By using these differences at tools, you can work on perfecting certain aspects. For instance, say I wanted to learn studio lighting, I would start with a digital (SLR or MILC) to get the basics. Then I would move to 4x5 view cameras because the larger negatives amplify and make it really hard to not screw up. So as you move closer and closer to perfection, the camera is a tool in teaching you the betterment of the craft.
    Digital is nice in that you can basically shoot galore, but film is king in making people stop to think of composition. If I have 1 shot, or even 36 shots, I'm going to slow down and make them count more.
    Of course, this is all for craft, and nothing is exactly pertaining to the other half that makes it art.
     
  39. Skyler, sure, what the heck? ;-) In my opinion...
    I am confident I can take some sort of good picture with any camera you care to hand me. If you are so inclined, you can buy an image of mine that I took with a $10 disposable film camera. People often comment positively on the image. I have other images for sale that I took with somewhat humbler gear than I ordinarily use. One of my more popular images was shot with a Canon EF-S 18-55 IS lens. Other popular images were shot with a Canon EF 28-135 IS lens. Some of my images were shot with a Canon G11. If I use any of this cheap equipment in a way that is respectful of its limitations, I can produce a good image, with often superb image quality.
    Does that mean that cheap gear will always do what I need it to do? No. Let's say I want to photograph the lead goose in a flock of geese heading south for the winter. I grab my little G11 and head out the door when I hear the approaching honks. I zoom as much as I can, and I shoot into the air at the lead goose. No good.
    The next day I get out my best camera for telephoto work -- a Canon 40D (higher pixel density than my 5D). I get out my best telephoto lens -- a Canon 70-200 f/4 IS. I run outside with my better rig and try the shot. Better, but still no good.
    I might eventually buy a good quality of mirror telephoto (e.g. Nikkor) and find that I'm able to get a few successful shots in some situations if there is not an issue with the crazy donut-bokeh the lens produces. Ultimately a flock flies close enough, and I manage to catch that stunning lead-goose photo I've been wanting. Mission accomplished.
    Now if I decide I want to do a lot of goose-in-flight photography, I will eventually find myself wanting some pretty high dollar telephoto optics that give me more light and and let me include OOF objects in the foreground and background without the donut blur pattern (e.g. when the geese are flying close over the water). As I might also need to do a lot of cropping, I might want a camera body with higher pixel density, such as a Canon 7D. I might also want to upgrade my tripod. All of these upgrades will allow me to capture more images, more easily, with greater consistency.
    This is my round-about way of saying that SOME things are impossible to shoot with humble, ordinary gear (e.g. a compact camera), and sometimes an equipment acquisition is necessary to complete a given task. Furthermore, there is sometimes utility in getting the top-end gear that will better enable us to deal with subject matter we photograph frequently.
     
  40. When I see a sports photographer taking action shots using a pin-hole camera, then I'll believe that equipment doesn't matter.
    Or a macro photographer using a pin-hole camera.
    Or a pinhole for bird photography.
    Or even a P&S digital camera consistently taking great action shots.
    Face it folks, photography is an equipment oriented craft and equipment does matter. The part that one needs to figure out is where does it matter and where it doesn't.
    Where it doesn't:
    1. composition.
    2. message or story; which is really an extension of #1.
    Everywhere else, equipment matters.
    Damn! I should have been a marketing guy for the camera makers!
     
  41. While a photographer is gaining knowledge and skill, a more capable camera can certainly make for better abilities. The photographer who knows what she or he wants will generally reach for the best camera for the job, or else will adapt to the job a camera that may not be the best for it. Once you know your camera well, you can (within reason) do most things with it -- and you can do them better than with less familiar cameras. I think here of the word capable (which is not so different from flexible) and familiar (the old line about camera being extension of eye and hand).
     
  42. 1. composition: Gear influences. I am not going to compose the same with an ultra-wide angle that I am with a telephoto. Doesn't make you better, but does influence.
     
  43. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'll believe that equipment doesn't matter.​
    Please show where someone said that equipment doesn't matter.
     
  44. A photographer new to photography posts a question like this: "Which camera will make me a better photographer?" Enter a few pros who get on and explain to the new photographer that the camera doesn't matter ...
    Of course the camera matters. Of course. Pros know no more or are any better equipped to answer this than skilled, experienced amateurs or semi-pros.
    Philosophical question deserves a simple answer in my book: ANY (modern) CAMERA that will get you to get out and start taking pictures and learning photography is the right camera to get, to start making you a 'better' photographer! A camera and some books on photography... simple. Follow your path.
     
  45. Perhaps it would be better to discuss how a photographer, and the images produced, can be affected by camera choice. The pinhole camera at a sporting event argument doesn't really address the betterment of a photographer's technique. What it really does look to is how camera choice influences the kind of image produced. Obviously, this photographer is not going to be producing crisp action shots, but this won't be a reflection of the skill or artistry of the photographer. Furthermore, to then compare images captured with a pinhole camera, and an SLR at a sporting event brings apples and oranges to mind. If there were two photographers at the same sporting event with pinhole cameras, then we could perhaps analyse their skill.
    What I am trying to say is that choice of camera affects how and what images a photographer may capture, and that choice may have a large impact on images produced - especially in the case of pinhole vs SLR - but there could also be subtler differences, I've recently purchased a d7000 after using a d80 for years and years and I find myself taking different photographs, before that I used a nikon FE and again took different photographs. When I'm feeling brave I have a 6x6 I bring out. I think that more then improving my technique, using each of these cameras has subtly and not so subtly has changed the way I take photographs, for better, or for worse.
     
  46. Obligatory trite quote for essay:
    "A poor craftsman blames his tools"
    This has a lot of implications for this discussion...
    The usual interpretation is that a master can create a masterpiece with crappy tools, and the knowledge or effort is to blame for shortcomings. As anyone who has mastered a craft can attest, this is only partially true--and see other discussions for the difference between craft and art, if its not immediately clear to you. A master knows when not to bother with a certain job with certain tools. A joiner is the right tool for cutting a mortise, but I can do it well enough with the tablesaw. A bandsaw is right out.
    For much of what I shoot, a 35mm (or digital equivalent) SLR wound be adequate to communicate the "vision", if I were just showing snapshots. It's the tablesaw of cameras--perfect for some jobs (action, fluid situations), adequate for most others without being the best, and completely wrong for a few. That is where being the master craftsman comes in--picking the right tool for the job, and the right job for the tool.
    So, if your vision is nothing but infinitely detailed, perspective-controlled indoor shots of architectural masterpieces, moving from a D3^9 with a kit lens to an 8.5x10.5 (just a little bigger) ArsTechnikaPretzel will improve/complete your abilities. For many of us though, there are many competing "visions" as well as other goals in photography, so there are many tools needed for the job, and the challenge is to find the tools whose capabilities and limitations match and complement our own.
     
  47. Whatever folks. I do what I need to do to make my job easier. And if someone asks, I tell them that I used "stone knives and bearskins." to make myself look like a creative God.
     
  48. I see different components of the photo system -- camera, lens, processing (digital or chemical) etc. as have a profound effect on the photo. Just like painting with oils is not like painting watercolor or and etching. I see the components of the system as tools for the artist to select from once he or she has the vision in mind. You fit the camera to your vision, or the other way around. But in either case they are connected and do effect each other.
     
  49. I really like the comparison of Photography to Archery. I shot competitive archery for many years. I regularly recommended that people start out with basic equipment that didn't cost too much because you will spend the first year in archery conditioning muscles and working on good technique. That is if you practice a few times a week, seek out help from pros, and shoot thousands of arrows. When I was at my peak I had three different bows all very different from each other and meant to do different kinds of shooting each with their own specialized arrows that where precisely weighed and balanced. Some were aluminum arrows just for indoor shooting or hunting and some were very expensive carbon fiber for outdoor field target or 3d target shooting. Ultimately after years of shooting and conditioning it becomes a brain game. Your own brain can be your worst enemy or your best friend. You also have to pay attention to fine details to ensure that nothing goes wrong.

    I once discouraged a young man who came into the archery shop from buying a new bow. He had three weeks earlier bought a nice mid priced bow to start out with. I explained how long it would take him to get reasonably competent if he practiced a lot and got good coaching. That would have made him ready for a better bow about the time the following years bows were coming on the market.

    Modern Archery is much like Photography in that you can start out with lower priced equipment, but at some point if you stay with it, you are going to benefit from top notch equipment.
     
  50. Mr. Crowe, your point is well taken.
     
  51. Good thread. No two photographers are exactly alike, it seems. To me, seeing the camera as a tool, includes using it as a tool for exploration. Also, "mastery of a craft" isn't necessarily perfection, is it? Anyway, I hope I'll always be learning. (I have a lot to learn, too!)
     
  52. I would have to say that it depends on whether the camera is the limiting factor in the person's photography. If it is, a better model (with regard to the feature(s) needed) may help him/her improve. But I have to agree with the general sentiment that typically, photographers get gear envy long before they hit the limits of their initial cameras.
     
  53. Modern Archery is much like Photography in that you can start out with lower priced equipment, but at some point if you stay with it, you are going to benefit from top notch equipment.
    Cycling is no different. A pro athlete on a $600 road bike will easily beat an elite cyclist on a $6000 bike.
    To a beginner the only goal of equipment is to GET OUT and USE IT -- whether it's a bike or a camera. Eventually equipment makes a big difference. Simple stuff. No need to write 1,000 words.
     
  54. Well a new camera will not change the the photographers ability. That is something only the photographer can work on. A new camera can certainly change the results that a photographer may get.
     
  55. My view is that a trully great photo is aboy 90% inspiration, and 10% hardware.

    Sure a better camera allows me to capture an image in a way that I can do more with it later, but the soul of the photo
    isn't that, it's the image I captured when I pressed the shutter. Some of my favorite pics were taken with a cheap Pentax
    film camera, or my first digital camera (a 1 MP Kodak)

    Buying a full set of Big Bethany clubs won't make a golfer make an excellent shot. Its a tool.
     
  56. If you are shooting high speed action wildlife sport then you need fast tracking camera like 1d or similar and here the
    camera makes a huge different
    But if you are shooting land scape or similar with prepared Sean than entry level dslr is more than requirement
    Infact I use compact camera that has manual setting
    Most of people that do such argument are camera collectors and not photographers
     
  57. A camera that will make you a "better photographer" IMO is one that doesn't do your thinking for you so you have to learn something about the principles of the photographic process and apply it to your work, because there are too many "photographers" these days who if the cameras automation can't do it are completely lost because they don't know the basics.
     
  58. Scott Norville , Nov 22, 2011; 01:09 p.m. Obligatory trite quote for essay: "A poor craftsman blames his tools"​
    Scott, there is another side to your quote. A poor craftsman does blame his tools, but a good craftsman owns all the right tools. You simply would not use a 12 pound sledgehammer to build a picture frame. Yes, a hammer is a hammer ... but no matter how strong you are and how great your control is, you're just not going to be able to do it without wrecking the frame.
    John Crowe [​IMG], Nov 22, 2011; 06:20 p.m.
    [more archery references]​
    I'm a rifle shooter and not an archer, but I think that they're close enough that I understand the point here. It's the archer, and not the arrow that makes the shot. But then again, it's the arrow, and not the archer, that hits the target. To use a gun analogy, I can very easily get a bullseye at 50 yards with just about anything with a decent scope and acceptable ammo, since 50 yards is not a very difficult shot. At 100 yards it's harder. More expensive ammo generally shoots truer, while some cheaper ammo will drop in flight. If I know that the round is going to drop an inch over 100 yards, it's very easy to just aim an inch higher.
    But if the ammo in inconsistent, and shoots wild (or to use the arrow analogy, if the fletching is bad and the flight feathers are all banged up), it doesn't matter how good I am at compensating, because the shot is going to go where the shot is going to go. No amount of skill will let you get a bullseye at any distance if there isn't reliable performance from your equipment.
    I think with digital cameras, the camera is darn near unimportant. They build so many of them so fast that in order to keep up production, a lot of the parts come from the same places, and they usually make them to similar designs, aside from Leicas, Fujis, and a few new Sonys. With digital cameras, if basically breaks down to size/versatility vs. print quality, and new vs. old. I still get great results from my D70, largely because I rarely shoot over 400 ISO.
    For film cameras though, the camera is a lot more important. There are pinhole cameras, view cameras, twin-lens cameras, and all sorts of other designs that all operate very differently from each other. Digital doesn't have that. I know some cameras have a flip-up LCD, but anyone that's used a good twin-lens can tell you that it's not the same; you don't see the same way. And this difference in seeing and operating changes the way you as a photographer work. For instance, almost all of the really good photos I've taken over the last few years were done with my Hasselblad or my Yashicamat. It seems like I just see in the square format, and viewing on the ground glass feels more natural to me. I own a good 4x5 and a good DSLR, but those cameras don't feel as 'correct,' and it usually shows in the prints.
    I would liken camera choice to using different paint brushes or guitars, at least for artistic photography. Different brushes or guitars simply feel different, and you will use them slightly differently subconciously; you almost can't help it. If a certain camera suits the way you work better than another, then the camera is VERY important, regardless of whether or not it is actually a better camera. A hog bristle paintbrush is much cheaper and "worse" than a fine Kolinsky sable, but Van Gogh could not have made the paintings that he made with a softer brush.
    I'm actually beginning to think that the Yashicamat is a better camera for me than the Hasselblad. I like them both, but if I'm not doing studio work the 'Mat just seems like a more organic way to work for me. But to others, I could see how it would be confusing as hell.
     
  59. A lot of talk. I am hopeless. Nothing will make me a better photographer. I became passable when I had my wedding and take anything if someone would pay for it business. I leveled off there. I have had at least ten Canon bodies (actually more like 15) in the last 20 years plus four or five MF bodies, lenses, etc. I got pictures I got paid for with a Canon 650 and Bronicas in 1990 and the last time I got paid for pictures was a year or so ago. I have much better equipment, now. I still take the same mediocre pictures. Better cameras don't make me better just more versatile. I can do more run-of-the mill pictures in lower light and I still fix my pictures in LR and PS. The best camera for my jobs is the one I own. I still love doing it and do it for my own satisfaction so the fact that I don't keep improving doesn't bother me. My pictures look a little better because my processing gets better.
     
  60. Better equipment will give you better pictures if you determine to bring yourself up to the level of the better equipment. I bought a camera that was way above my skill level and made that determination. I'm not there but I am on my way.
     
  61. This subject gets rehashed on a regular basis, and I read the same old chestnuts about how it's impossible to shoot sports with a pinhole camera, etc. Well yes, it's also impossible to win a horse race on a donkey, so why would you try? Obviously you need the right tools for the job you want to do - that's a given whatever field you are involved in. Once you have the relevant tools, it's up to you to create the images. The equipment has no say, or control whatsoever, in any of your choices about content, composition, impact, lighting, styling, model direction, etc.
    All I require from my equipment is that it doesn't limit me, technically or creatively. I don't expect it to provide inspiration or make my images better in any way.
     
  62. I have to go back to the beginning of this post with the hilarious post of the Popoutdoorphotokenrockwell recommendation that the Nikon D7000 is really good. (Ken Rockwell highly recommends the D7000.) I own 2 of them and cannot blame any other factor on my photography except myself. It makes life pretty simple and makes me focus on my personal vision instead of all the other surrounding noise.
     
  63. Tudor ApMadoc: "My view is that a trully great photo is aboy 90% inspiration, and 10% hardware."

    Concise and insightful, this quote sums up the entire discussion quite nicely.
     
  64. John Bellenis: "This subject gets rehashed on a regular basis, and I read the same old chestnuts about how it's
    impossible to shoot sports with a pinhole camera, etc. Well yes, it's also impossible to win a horse race on a donkey,
    so why would you try? Obviously you need the right tools for the job you want to do - that's a given whatever field you
    are involved in. Once you have the relevant tools, it's up to you to create the images. The equipment has no say, or
    control whatsoever, in any of your choices about content, composition, impact, lighting, styling, model direction, etc."

    If your position is that "you need the right tools for the job", then you are in effect responding that yes, the equipment
    has an effect. Otherwise it would be common to see pinhole cameras on the fifty-yard line and disposables at fashion
    shoots. This overrides any discussion of composition and lighting, does it not? It's obvious that cameras don't
    compose photos.
     
  65. "It's obvious that cameras don't compose photos."

    At least, not yet.
     
  66. it

    it

    If you are a good photographer (i.e. you can 'see'), good gear makes a difference. Just like a quality instrument makes a difference in the hands of a good musician.
    Too many people think they can spend their way to good photos.
     
  67. If you buy a Stradivarius violin, it makes you a Stradivarius owner, not a wonderful violinist. The masters of photography became legends with equipment that most amateur photographers nowadays would scoff at.
     
  68. If your position is that "you need the right tools for the job", then you are in effect responding that yes, the equipment has an effect.​
    Well if the question was "Can you take pictures without a camera, or can Eric Clapton play music without a guitar" then of course the answer would be no! I don't think anyone would argue otherwise, and if that is the point of this thread, then it's a pretty silly subject. My mistake was thinking there was a larger issue.
    Let me clarify, as clearly there is some confusion. Yes, you need a camera to take pictures so it has an "effect on your abilities as a photographer". It's amazing that it took seven pages for us to clear up that point. Thanks.
     
  69. Yes and no.
    • If you don't master your equipment this might seriously hamper your photographic abilities.
    • Low quality equipment can influence the photographic output. In my case a poor quality lens has largely spoilt a photo with a content/situation which I liked very much.
    That said, a "better camera" is no guarantee whatsoever for photographic ability, nor for better photographic output (i.e.: better photographs).
     
  70. Luca, I highly disagree. Was it Terry Richardson that first shot an entire ad campaign with a Yashica T4? Whomever it was, that style is common now. Annie Leibovitz usually shoots with Canon gear instead of her digital Hassys. I can go on forever.
    The fact remains that 'better' isn't always better. Leibowitz is known for how she connects with her subjects, and that's harder to do connected to a tripod. Robert Mappelthorpe printed almost nothing himself, and would be called on on this very board for not knowing how to use his camera. I can go on here forever too. But he didn't need to learn to make amazing images.
    I guess to sum up, I'll go back to the guitar example. Some guys are technical players. Randy Rhoads or Eddie Van Halen never would have been the same with Sears guitars. Jack White uses Sears guitars, and the first several Zeppelin records were done with Sears amps, because the sound was interesting. But if you ask anyone that's played professionally for a long time, they'll tell you that most guitar players sound similar with any guitar, because they play the same notes. As long as the guitar doesn't hamper your playing, it is good enough.
     
  71. Zack,<br>
    I did not define "better".<br>
    On purpose. It can mean all or nothing.<br>
    But I think you will agree that optical - and technical - flaws do exist. I referred to these.<br>
    Printing is unrelated to "camera". Also William Eggleston does not do his dye transfer prints on his own.<br>
    And what you say is completely in line with my last sentence.<br>
    A better camera will not make you a better photographer or produce better photographs.<br>
    L
     
  72. While there are elements of truth to both sides of the above argument, this post reminds me of an article in National Geographic decades ago about finding 3,000 year old mummies that had successfully survived brain surgery. NG showed images of skulls where the top of the skull had totally grown back after being removed for brain surgery. I'm sure the ancient Egyptian surgeons were geniuses. However, if I needed brain surgery today, I would much prefer modern techniques and equipment and a surgeon that wasn't quite a genius.
     
  73. The answer may well depend on what sort of photographs you want to create. The skill set to use a pinhole camera is different from that need to use a full swing/tilt/shift large format camera or a top of the line DSLR. Having said that, using a fully functioned DSLR on settings other than P will improve your abilities in areas like dof, selective focus and exposure compensation, for example. But a good photographer can attain good results with a disposable or toy camera, especially if they have learned how to extract the maximum from these consumer products.
    I think any camera can influence the abilities of a photographer if they are willing to learn and experiment. I know that I have learned a lot about photography trying to overcome, and facilitate, the limitations of my toy cameras, just as I do with my DSLRs with their lenses costing more than the body, my home-made pinhole camera, and as I do when I drag out my Mamiya C330 TLR.
    It's up to the individual to allow their abilities to be affected by their gear, whether positively or negatively. In fact, one of my tools to be creative I use often is limiting myself. That may mean only shooting at a given lens length, one aperture, only from a prone position or with funky equipment like a toy camera with its limitations.
    So, yes, cameras can affect your abilities as a photographer, and they should. It's up to you to make them positive, learning experiences. The only reason boxes exist is to give us something to think outside.
     
  74. As the last post suggests, it can if you are willing to experiment and use the better camera at its full or near full potential. But that is a rarer situation than it would seem. In a somewhat analogous sense, my Microsoft Word word processor can do a great many things I have never even attempted, and although I achieve quite satisfactory results with my limited knowledge of it, I could do a lot more if I was as fully trained to use it, like the adminstrative assistant who occasionally rescues me at my client's office. You only need to ask yourself whether a better or more flexible camera system will suit your objectives, or not.
     
  75. effect ? no, not really, excluding that you have good glass, good flash & filters. I could shoot a beautiful wedding with a Pentax K1000 film camera as well as I could with a Canon 1D Mark4.
    You may try harder with a expensive camera. Like thinking you will play better golf with a set of Pings opposed to Mcgregor's. Serena Williams can beat the !#$%& out you with a $9.00 tennis racket.
     
  76. I happened to look back here, as the old year fades.
    I realize now, that when people say to me "You must take great pictures with all your great equipment" -- well, I never deny it.
     

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