Photography: The big lie

Started Aug 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
karlreed Senior Member • Posts: 1,572
A good tradesman never blames his tools..Photography: The big lie

I posted something supporting the OP,

But I do think its not that simple..

My grandfather, a master carpenter, once berated me when I complained about some tool I was using. He said "A good tradesman never blames his tools". I thought about that and went back to him and said "A good tradesman never has bad tools".

He laughed and agreed.

My favourite builder buys only top-shelf Makita and Dewalt tools. Recently, I wasted hours because I couldn't work out why my (cheap) Ryobi hammer drill wouldn't cut through the concrete floor of my garage. The long and the short of it was that I should have gone and bought a real one, but I persevered.

I could go on about my power tools, and how I choose them.

When it comes to cameras, I think its different, in that great photographers get great images with crappy gear.

My wife thinks that many of the photos she took with her Olympus Tough TG720 are better than the ones I got with my D200 and 17-55mmf2.8.

But, it would have been hard for her to get the shots of the bridesmaids running towards the camera with the Olympus, while it was easy with a D700.

Similarly, with the D700 (and other machine with fast enough AF), it was possible to get good shots of passing alleys from the top of the a tourist bus traveling at about 40kph. Other people weren't trying!

Of course, choose your shutter speed, and your aperture and prefocus and one can get these shots.

So, while I do agree that its not the camera, I also think that it does help.

To illustrate my point, below is one of my very favourite shots. It could have been taken with almost anything. That is, if one had a tripod, or a very steady hand. But, it's one hell of a lot easier when you can shoot at 1600ISO!

Here is another


It's not great art, however, I still like it because, despite being a singe exposure, it appears to have multiple layers. It was taken with an Olympus ZX1 which I took back and changed for an S100, which I don't like much.

The second shot would be a bit hard to get at say 200 iso, that is, 3 stops, or 1/15 without VR. But, not impossible.

The issue of "good tools" IS an issue of what can be done, at an acceptable price, and, may require new gear. It would take VERY expensive gear to compete with some of the shots people are getting with a Nikon V1, an FT1 adapter and say, a 70-300mmVR lens. Have a look at that forum, and see what the wild-life and macro people are getting with a relatively modest investment.

So, I'm a bit ambivalent. I'm NOT sorry I invested in the D700, but, unless I win the lottery, won't go for a D800.

I think that one of the things that is spoiling the game for poor photographers like me is the amount of PP people are prepared to do.



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karl reed

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Sony RX100 III Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Olympus E-M1 II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR +7 more
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