RANT There is no such thing as "the best"

Started Oct 15, 2011 | Discussions thread
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RANT There is no such thing as "the best"
Oct 15, 2011

Against my better judgement I got sucked into a troll about one camera being better than another, with side debates over one lens or another being good or horrible. This is the sort of debate the people love, because it is so simple: this or that, black or white, yes or no, true or false. A convenient, easy to understand dichotomy that is flawed to its very core.

Every brand, every model of camera, or lens, has it's strengths and weaknesses. You cannot say that one piece of gear is unequivocally better than another. You can only judge the suitability of the entire system for a particular job.

Another important factor is the performance each individual photographer is capable of extracting from their gear. Camera A might be able to outperform camera B in certain situations, if the photographer puts it in full manual mode, knows the best compromise between ISO, shutter speed and aperture, for that situation, and is able to manually adjust the focus and exposure as conditions change, but someone who has always shot in full auto mode, may have much better luck with camera B if it operates better in full auto, than does camera A.

Another point that seems to go whizzing past the ears of far too many measurbators, is that beyond the limits of the total system: Lens, sensor, tripod, photographer and mode of display, any improvement in the performance of any one of those items is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if my FA31 is sharper than my 18-250 if I'm shooting in good light, at f/8 and on an 8x12 print you can't tell without a jeweler's loupe, if then. The quality of the image is no stronger than the weakest part of the system, and that will almost always be the photographer.

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The first step is learning to take great photos,
the second step is learning to throw away ones that are merely good.
photos at http://flickr.com/ellarsee

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