If there’s one phrase I see time and time again on photography forums that makes me laugh it is the “It’s the photographer and not the equipment that makes a good photo”
I totally accept that if you give a professional photographer exactly the same camera, lens and equipment as a newbie the professional photographer’s photo would be better than what the newbie’s would. Similarly, if you give a newbie professional spec top end equipment the photos they produce won’t be as good as that of a professional photographer using the same kit. This is obvious, common sense and you don’t need to be Einstein to work that out.
If you give a professional photographer an entry level dslr camera and kit lens and give a beginner (but one who knows the basics) a top end camera and professional grade lens and then ask them to take a photo of the same subject, in the same light etc. the photo taken with the high end equipment (i.e. taken by the beginner) will be better than the photo taken by the professional. The professional’s photo may have better composition and look a little more polished but overall it won’t be as good because of the difference in image quality between an entry level setup and a professional set up, and that’s where it matters.
Let’s look at this from a different point of view. Let’s take a look at an individual person, a keen amateur photographer. For arguments’ sake let’s say this amateur photographer is using an entry level dslr (Canon 1300D, Nikon D3300 or whatever) with the kit lens. Modern day entry level dslr cameras and kit lenses are very good, and it is possible to capture some good photos but they will never be as good as if a more advanced camera and high end lens was used.
The more advanced cameras have better sensors that are typically larger and contain more megapixels. In addition to this they top end cameras tend to deal with noise better. The bottom line is top end cameras will product better photos than entry level cameras regardless of who is using it.
As with better cameras, better lenses are far more superior to the kit lenses supplied with entry level dslr cameras. The professional grade lenses have wider apertures (to isolate the subject and intentionally blur the background), render the colors more accurately, are sharper and simply produce a better photo than any kit lens could. Once again, using a high end lens will produce better photos regardless of who is using the camera.
So, if anyone ever says “It’s the photographer, not the camera” as an argument against you upgrading your camera body or moving up to a professional lens ignore them.
“It’s the photographer, not the camera” was a popular phrase at the local camera club I used to be a member of, and whenever I talked to fellow members about upgrading my camera body or buying a new lens this was the response I always got. Even when I wanted to branch out in to something different and try something new it was the same response, even when the type of shots I wanted to get required specialist equipment! The thing that really got me, and ultimately confirmed my decision to leave was the fact all the members who cited “It’s the photographer, not the camera” all the time all used top end photography equipment. Looking back I think they felt threatened that some new blood who has only just started their photography journey could end up taking better photos than they could. Needless to say I got out of that scene pretty damn quick.
There are times when you need specialized photography equipment in order to get a particular style of photo, and if you don’t have this equipment you can’t take the shot. Let’s take macro photography for example, if you don’t have a macro lens there is no way you can get true macro, i.e. 1:1 photo. It doesn’t matter whether you are a total newbie, a keen amateur or a professional photographer – if you haven’t got a macro lens you won’t get a macro photo. Period. An example where it is the gear that matters.
As another example, let’s say you want to take a long exposure photo of a coastal scene at mid-afternoon to give the water that smooth silky effect. If you don’t have a strong ND filter there is no way you can achieve the effect regardless of how much you stop the lens down or decrease the ISO. Once again, it doesn’t matter whether you are a total newbie, an enthusiast or a professional photographer, I’m afraid it isn’t going to happen. Another example where it is the gear that matters.
The examples above are just two and there are loads more I can think of. How about motor sports photography? Trying photographing that with a standard lens. How about bird photography and taking photos of birds in flight? What about ultra-wide angle and fish eye photography? And then there’s architectural photography…….. the list goes on.
When it comes to photographing specific subjects the photography equipment you have makes a huge difference and is the game changer.
The photography gear you have will play a large part in determining how good your photos are – Fact, and those people out there who still think “it’s the photographer and not the equipment” are simply deluding themselves and need to wake up, smell the coffee and have a reality check.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.
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