The Camera Matters.

Started Sep 17, 2013 | Discussions
Erik Magnuson
Forum ProPosts: 12,081Gear list
Like?
Re: Sad indeed.
In reply to howardroark, Sep 19, 2013

howardroark wrote:

Technique and composition may not require a lot of discussion about the specific equipment because those are the focus of the learning at that point.

That learning never stops. Sometimes dealing with gear limitations can inspire new ways of thinking.

At some point figuring out what camera to use does come in to play.

Of course: some specific photography goals do require specific equipment unless you thrive on failure. For example, shooting birds in flight with an P&S will result in frustration unless you have a significant masochistic streak.

Learning concepts and making daily use on a personal and unguided basis are two different things.

Exactly: the "oversimplification" helps to focus the novice on learning to use what they have first. And sometimes upgrading the gear is just not an option - that doesn't mean you should give up photography.

I learned on a manual film camera and it was very useful later in my photographic advancement. I won't pretend that that's the only path to follow.

I don't either. I've taught local workshops on composition, image critique, and "using your camera." I don't care what kind of camera someone has - you can do interesting photography, learn and improve with just about anything.

Right for what purpose is the question. Some purposes may require specific features but there is a lot of photography that doesn't require much at all other than a lens (or pinhole) and a medium to record light.

And that's the kind of argument that I was trying to discuss. Those two extremes don't have any meaningful use to most people, great artists or amateurs.

I must hang out with a different group of "most people" photographers than you do.

what is REQUIRED to get their shot. Not desired, required.

This is the "pseudo-pro" attitude I referred to earlier. Pro's have to get "the shot" that satisfies a specific customer. If you learn more about visual technique and less about gear, your definition of "the shot" can be flexible enough to handle gear limitations.   One interesting exercise is the photo scavenger hunt: take a group of photographers and give them a vague list of things to shoot.  Then compare their results.  You can learn quite a bit about different ways to "see".

The lack of perfection also does not prove the lack of the best camera to match what the photographer needs, wants,

By definition, "best" is an absolute - there is only one. To know if a camera is "best" you'd have to try every possible camera.  If you spend all your time evaluating gear, you have little time for actual photography.

You've stated exactly my point...there is such a thing as a better camera,

There is an old saying: better is the enemy of good enough.   Think about it in light of my statement above.

If you'd read what my post you'd see that I state people with expertise in equipment may be less affected by camera choice because they can adapt their style or they can adapt to the camera itself very quickly, but they still have to work within those confines.

I read your post and am simply elaborating on these hedging statements.  If you have read what I've written, I've also said that "your mileage may vary" and gear *can* matter.  But threads that make only reasonable statements that allow for variations of POV tend to be short

For example, if someone's passion was street photography but every time they pointed their EF 600mm attached to a 1D X at someone standing twenty feet away the candid scene was ruined

This has a simple solution, the same as shooting any skittish wildlife: use a blind.  So the problem here is not the gear, but how to use it

You are intentionally being argumentative

Your OP was intentionally argumentative. Are you actually disappointed someone is taking the time to argue the other side?

-- hide signature --

Erik

 Erik Magnuson's gear list:Erik Magnuson's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EOS 450D Sigma SD10 Sony Alpha NEX-5 Nikon D3200 +28 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
skanter
Veteran MemberPosts: 6,583Gear list
Like?
Re: The Camera Matters.
In reply to howardroark, Sep 19, 2013

howardroark wrote:

skanter wrote:

While the premise of the OP's post is somewhat dubious IMO - who really thinks the camera doesn't matter, and what does that mean, anyway? Of course it matters, without it there would be no photography. I think this thread has offered some interesting thoughts, however.

Exactly! What does that even mean? And yet some people say it as though they mean it literally and then in discussion you find out they really do mean that they think the camera must only exist in some form and that other than the fact that it exists and must be adjusted to take a picture it should basically be ignored.

I'm usually in the camp that says gear is overemphasized over talent, eye, creativity, and hard work. But as was mentioned, the FIT is more important than quality of gear. For most people, the iphone is a better fit than a 5D3.

Gear certainly is overemphasized here on a gear site. I'm not sure the posts around here are representative of what one feels about their art necessarily, but it is obvious that there are some people who only care about their gear and don't pay much attention to improving their artistic skills.

Besides specific situations, i.e. fast action sports, birding, huge prints, I think that most modern cameras and lenses are good enough for general photography. A good photographer will take good photos with most cameras, a bad one will take lousy photos with the same gear. The camera needs to fit the photographers skills, subjects and shooting style.

Exactly. I've owned cameras and lenses that were miserable to use. There were times that I didn't even want to try to get a shot because I knew chances were good I wouldn't get the shot and that likelihood was more depressing than not even trying.

I've owned many cameras over a period of 50 years. Luckily, the technology and my skills have increased at a similar rate, and accordingly most of my cameras and lenses have been good fits.

And despite your above average ability to adapt there are still certain things you prefer and that make the mechanical processes involved in photography more pleasant for you. If you read much from iPhone shooters or self-professed artists you will see people who have either lost their perspective or never had it. Those are the mindsets I was addressing. If someone really does seem to believe the only important consideration is the photographer's talent and not the photographer's psyche and preferences when it comes to gear then I wanted to attempt to dispell that dubious way of thinking.

This type of discussion reminds me of the strong opinions some people have about JPEG and RAW files. No, I don't want to get into it, but I want to make a point. The argument that JPEG is really good, perfect for some situations, and has advantages and that those points make RAW meaningless is an equally self-centered approach to take. The fact that RAW has different properties that give it advantages over JPEG files depending on what the photographer wants or how much and what type of post processing he plans on doing is important. If one thing is good why is another thing therefore not good? That's exactly the type of position some people take. So JPEG works for you and is great and that means I'm not supposed to like or use RAW? These are very self-centered, egocentric mindsets that don't help anyone. Explaining differences, advantages and disadvantages, and reminding someone that other issues like composition and art still matter will allow people to use their own judgement about what is good for them.

-- hide signature --

Sam K., NYC

Didn't know I was agreeing with you about everything, but glad I did.

Honestly, at this point in my photography, I consider PP skills having more of an affect on my photos, and more important than camera or lenses.

-- hide signature --

Sam K., NYC

 skanter's gear list:skanter's gear list
Canon EOS 60D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
unknown member
(unknown member)
Like?
Re: The Camera Matters.
In reply to skanter, Sep 19, 2013

skanter wrote:

howardroark wrote:

skanter wrote:

While the premise of the OP's post is somewhat dubious IMO - who really thinks the camera doesn't matter, and what does that mean, anyway? Of course it matters, without it there would be no photography. I think this thread has offered some interesting thoughts, however.

Exactly! What does that even mean? And yet some people say it as though they mean it literally and then in discussion you find out they really do mean that they think the camera must only exist in some form and that other than the fact that it exists and must be adjusted to take a picture it should basically be ignored.

I'm usually in the camp that says gear is overemphasized over talent, eye, creativity, and hard work. But as was mentioned, the FIT is more important than quality of gear. For most people, the iphone is a better fit than a 5D3.

Gear certainly is overemphasized here on a gear site. I'm not sure the posts around here are representative of what one feels about their art necessarily, but it is obvious that there are some people who only care about their gear and don't pay much attention to improving their artistic skills.

Besides specific situations, i.e. fast action sports, birding, huge prints, I think that most modern cameras and lenses are good enough for general photography. A good photographer will take good photos with most cameras, a bad one will take lousy photos with the same gear. The camera needs to fit the photographers skills, subjects and shooting style.

Exactly. I've owned cameras and lenses that were miserable to use. There were times that I didn't even want to try to get a shot because I knew chances were good I wouldn't get the shot and that likelihood was more depressing than not even trying.

I've owned many cameras over a period of 50 years. Luckily, the technology and my skills have increased at a similar rate, and accordingly most of my cameras and lenses have been good fits.

And despite your above average ability to adapt there are still certain things you prefer and that make the mechanical processes involved in photography more pleasant for you. If you read much from iPhone shooters or self-professed artists you will see people who have either lost their perspective or never had it. Those are the mindsets I was addressing. If someone really does seem to believe the only important consideration is the photographer's talent and not the photographer's psyche and preferences when it comes to gear then I wanted to attempt to dispell that dubious way of thinking.

This type of discussion reminds me of the strong opinions some people have about JPEG and RAW files. No, I don't want to get into it, but I want to make a point. The argument that JPEG is really good, perfect for some situations, and has advantages and that those points make RAW meaningless is an equally self-centered approach to take. The fact that RAW has different properties that give it advantages over JPEG files depending on what the photographer wants or how much and what type of post processing he plans on doing is important. If one thing is good why is another thing therefore not good? That's exactly the type of position some people take. So JPEG works for you and is great and that means I'm not supposed to like or use RAW? These are very self-centered, egocentric mindsets that don't help anyone. Explaining differences, advantages and disadvantages, and reminding someone that other issues like composition and art still matter will allow people to use their own judgement about what is good for them.

-- hide signature --

Sam K., NYC

Didn't know I was agreeing with you about everything, but glad I did.

Honestly, at this point in my photography, I consider PP skills having more of an affect on my photos, and more important than camera or lenses.

-- hide signature --

Sam K., NYC

I don't think we all have the exact same opinion, but there is always common ground.  I think your opinion on post processing could start a whole new forum battle. 

 howardroark's gear list:howardroark's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
caspianm
Senior MemberPosts: 1,841Gear list
Like?
Re: The Camera Matters.
In reply to howardroark, Sep 20, 2013

From creativity stand point equipment plays much lesser role if any. However a sport shooter needs his high frame rate body. Landscaper needs his hi rez equipment. Wedding shooter needs to knows his software and the market. Hence in basic terms equipment (camera, lens, software, etc) are secondary ONLY to basics of picture taking such as composition, exposure or what have you. I have seen truly breath-taking photos taken with very simple gears. On the contrary, I see day after day poor photos taken with hi end gears on this forum.

Equipment is a tool and consequently photographer's skill & creativity becomes a major player in final output. Given an advanced photo equipment to a novice can be disastrous.

All in all it really depends. In advance world of photography the photographer's skill/talent and the equipment's capabilities are mutually exclusive. That is meaning that both have to be satisfied in order to achieve the desired results.

 caspianm's gear list:caspianm's gear list
Samsung TL500 Canon PowerShot G1 X Canon EOS 7D Nikon D800E Sony Alpha NEX-3N +8 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
unknown member
(unknown member)
Like?
Re: The Camera Matters.
In reply to caspianm, Sep 20, 2013

caspianm wrote:

From creativity stand point equipment plays much lesser role if any. However a sport shooter needs his high frame rate body. Landscaper needs his hi rez equipment. Wedding shooter needs to knows his software and the market. Hence in basic terms equipment (camera, lens, software, etc) are secondary ONLY to basics of picture taking such as composition, exposure or what have you. I have seen truly breath-taking photos taken with very simple gears. On the contrary, I see day after day poor photos taken with hi end gears on this forum.

In order to create there must be the ability to create and the will to create.  The ability to create involves everything from physically being able to hold a camera and see all the way to the camera itself existing and being able to do what you want it to do.  The will to create encompasses the desire to create, be creative, and improve one's creativity.  Typically people who want to pursue photography are phsyically able and we're all aware of the vast array of cameras to choose from.  Technology also makes photography more easily undertaken by those with vision or physical impairments.  Anyway, the point is that's where some people stop, with the ability to create, the desire to create.  There is no real attempt to be creative, which is perfectly acceptable when the goal is simply to record a moment...snapshots of birthday parties, vacation snaps, etc.  There is no desire to take control of the process, practice composition, or even create something vaguely artistic.

I personally don't think anyone needs to create art simply because they have the ability.  It is still important to have something that will respond in a way that allows for whatever the user wants, even if that means having a huge depth of field and the camera doing all the thinking.  Of course, like you said, there is a point where the gear won't do any more good (or very little additional good) and as far as the creative aspect goes it doesn't matter how high res a turd is, it's still a turd.

Equipment enables creative will to be expressed but won't take over the creative process any more than attempting at getting some mechanical adjustments as correct as it can.

Equipment is a tool and consequently photographer's skill & creativity becomes a major player in final output. Given an advanced photo equipment to a novice can be disastrous.

That's a great point.  Another example of why the camera matters so much.  Ironically if the camera is too capable or too complex it can have negative effects on the desired outcome.  The photographer's lack of knowledge has put them in a situation that doesn't match their needs and wants.

All in all it really depends. In advance world of photography the photographer's skill/talent and the equipment's capabilities are mutually exclusive. That is meaning that both have to be satisfied in order to achieve the desired results.

Agreed and another good point.  That's another reason the camera is something that can't be dismissed, because not only are the particulars of the camera important for enabling the creative process but also the skill of the photographer in understanding and using the equipment to express their creative intent.  If skill or desire to improve skill in using the camera doesn't exist, then the camera can actually interfere with the creative process even dissuade someone from finding the motivation to improve their skills and creativity.

 howardroark's gear list:howardroark's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads