It's not the photographer, it's the camera

Started Jun 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Marty4650
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It's not the photographer, it's the camera
Jun 25, 2013

We constantly hear the old cliche in these forums "it's not the camera, it's the photographer" which is always used to downplay the importance of technology and emphasize the importance of skill. This cliche is wrong, as is the reverse of it that I used in the subject line here.

Of course, it is neither photographer nor camera. It is a of both. You need both things to make photographs, and both are important.

There is absolutely no doubt that if you were forced to make Sophie's choice and could only have one of these two things, you would be much better off having "more skill" rather than "better gear."

But this cliche is based on the false premise that you can only have one, while in reality you can do both things. You can upgrade your skills as well as upgrading your gear.

If you hand a good photographer an outstanding camera, he or she will probably get better results than if you gave them a mediocre camera. Because it requires some skill to use tools to their best advantage, and this photographer might have the skill required.

Of course it is also likely that the good photographer will use the mediocre camera within it's limits and still extract good results from it. The good photographer might simply avoid taking shots that exceed the limitations of the mediocre camera.

If you hand an inept photographer an outstanding camera, you will probably get very little improvement in the results. You may see some slight technical improvement, due to better metering, better auto exposure, and better auto focusing, but the poor photographer will not make better compositions or become more creative.

However, there is absolutely no way that the inept photographer is worse off for having better gear. Except perhaps financially, because they might have wasted their money on better gear wile expecting huge improvements in results without making any efforts to improve their skills. But their photos won't be any worse because of this. In fact, they might even be slightly better.

So the old cliche is wrong.

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