I think gear is important or I wouldn't buy any... I have to say that there is a lot of satisfaction from getting a very nice tack sharp picture with outstanding reproduction and being able to have all that creative control. The thing is though, and mind you this is just my own experience, very often the best shots come from luck, which is why I would rate it higher than gear by a substantial amount. Another example that comes to mind was during a jet car event that I attended a few years back. I had with me my old DSLR on a tripod and a 70-200 f/4L lens, decent entry level SLR stuff, certainly much better than the old Lumix P&S (I even forget which model it was) I had around my neck. Now I wouldn't have attempted to shoot this event with my P&S, and had I tried I am sure I would have had less than optimal results. The DSLR was the right equipment, and I needed the fast autofocus, increased depth of field, etc... Yet despite all this, I just happened to notice something happening, as you say, out of the corner of my eye, and without much thinking took a snapshot into the crowd with my P&S. When I reached home and downloaded all the photos, turns out the P&S had captured the best shot of the day by far. I cannot explain these seemingly odd results - maybe its just the way my luck works!