The Camera Matters.

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
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Re: The Camera Matters.
In reply to aftab, 10 months ago

aftab wrote:

Excellent write up, Howard. I agree, oversimplification can be misleading.

I think, 'camera (equipment) doesn't matter, is an extreme position of the argument. As I understand, the argument makes two observations to come to one conclusion.

One, a good photographer (with creativity, imagination, skill, motivation, dedication etc) can make excellent photographs with average equipment. You have covered this aspect of the argument at length.

Two, a not so good photographer (without creativity, imagination, skill, motivation, dedication) will make not so good photographs even with excellent equipment. Excellent equipment doesn't make their photographs automatically excellent.

So, these two observations lead to one conclusion: it is not the camera, meaning photographer is a lot more important than the equipment he or she uses. In internet forums and blogs, this argument is most commonly aimed at those who buy or want to buy expensive equipment believing that this alone will make them better photographer or will make their photographs better.

I think that originates in the false assumption that the equipment has more ability than it does.  In other words, without understanding what all that money is paying for how can people have any realistic expectations from it?  You're more likely to find a perfect creative tool by understanding your own needs and style in relation to what certain cameras are capable of, their ergonomics, size, related system components, etc.  The creative drive and energy have to match the tool.  This is where my own expectations for a day and my energy level come in to play when choosing which camera I will take with me.  If I didn't have more than one choice then there may be days when I would go camera-less (iPhone camera really doesn't count, although it is better than nothing).  Because I have two tools with overlapping abilities in some areas I can cover almost any mood or occasion.  I'm not going to haul my backpack with 7D and lenses out when I don't have a specific goal in mind.  However, if I think there might be something to shoot I will grab the G1 X even if the chances are slim.

I don't think this is an argument against better and more capable equipment. This is an argument against more reliance on the equipment and less on the skill, creativity etc.

Photography makes it far too easy to assume the equipment can compensate for the shortcomings of the photographer.  People assume they are getting something smarter or perhaps they think a perfectly sharp image with amazing colors will distract from the fact that the picture is garbage in terms of composition and subject.

As you have mentioned, the whole process is a lot more complex than the oversimplification would imply. But it is still a very powerful argument as long as we don't take it to the extreme and use it appropriately (to encourage people to learn, practice and think outside the box).

Thanks for posting this.

Thanks for your input!  I'd rather have discussions with others than try to deal with absolutists that don't accept balance as a reasonable conclusion.

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