How Much Does Your Gear Matter?

How many of you out there can honestly say that your camera does more work than you do? With PhotoPlus Expo close approaching here in New York City and vendors prepping with meetings with all of us, it may be worthwhile to check out the education lectures and information sessions being offered. Of course, some cameras are more capable than others so there may very well be two sides of this fence that are well defended.

Before we go into this, I’ll readily admit that I shoot with a Canon 5D Mk II, 50mm F1.8 II, 24-105mm F4 L IS, and 80-200mm F2.8 L. This came after switching from an Olympus E-510 with the two kit lenses. Have I become a better photographer? My editors and clients feel so. Do I feel it was necessarily because I went to Canon? Not totally.

Different cameras offer more or less options to photographers depending on their preferences and needs. However, it can surely be argued that giving a Nikon D3x to a total amateur won’t make them a better photographer. Cameras like that are meant for studio shooters that manipulate every single little detail. To be fair, a higher skilled photographer can do quite a bit with an entry level DSLR like a Canon T1i. A lot of the most popular work on my Flickr was done with entry-mid level DSLRs.

Even further, Magnum Photos photographer Alex Majoli uses an outdated Olympus Point-and-Shoot camera to do all his work (not sure if he still does, but I know that during the time that I worked there he did.) Most professional photographers are likely to use something off of Getty Image’s accepted equipment list.

There are also photographers that can just be handed a camera and they immediately get the shot.

In contrast, your gear can make it easier for you to obtain the image you need. If a user decides to shoot wildlife with a 70-200mm with a Canon 5D Mk II or a 7D they may have an easier time with a 7D because of the cropped sensor allowing them to photograph their subject from further away without disturbing it. Further, something like a Nikon D300s shoots a faster framerate than a Nikon D90, so a D90 user may have to time their shots a bit better in order to get the same results as the D300s user.

This can go for more than just digital though. There are many users who have chosen to stick with film because they’re so used to using it and find that they do well with it. Like digital though, different film cameras allow the photographer do accomplish different things. There are variables such as framerate, types of film it takes, settings that are allowed to be manipulated, whether or not the camera allows the use of image-stabilized lenses, etc.

On a slightly different note, one may choose to shoot portraits with a Canon 85mm F1.2 L II over a 70-200mm F2.8 L IS. Either way, they are achieving the intended goal of taking someone’s portrait. As a personal preference, I use the latter usually simply because I have shaky hands. The image stabilization helps me to handhold the camera better. However, this can also be easily solved if I used a tripod. As you may know, I don’t like tripods and am a huge fan of traveling light.

All this being said, do you think it matters what gear you use as long as you can achieve the the results you are after?

 

Comments

  1. ossme says

    My opinion on this matter is that Cameras and lenses are just tools. Cameras like every other thing got sizes and specs. The photographer can shoot with almost any camera. But for best results he/she have to choose the best tool for the job.For example, you can dig a tunnel with a tea spoon (granted that you will live for a 1000 year), But it is not the right tool for job isn’t it? Thats why professionals and advanced amatures always have multiple bodies, lenses and systems. Each of them are tools that are designed for a specific job. The photographer needs to know how to choose and use these difference tools or they are as good as useless.

  2. FedkaTheConvict says

    “In contrast, your gear can make it easier for you to obtain the image you need. If a user decides to shoot wildlife with a 70-200mm with a Canon 5D Mk II or a 7D they may have an easier time with a 7D because of the cropped sensor allowing them to photograph their subject from further away without disturbing it.”

    That statement is demonstrably false. A cropped sensor/body does not give you any extra reach; all it does is give you a narrower field of view.

    There are literally thousands of websites that explain this concept; here’s one: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Canon-Lenses/Field-of-View-Crop-Factor.aspx

  3. ossme says

    Fadka,

    Yes, you are right and thats why it is called cropped. The thing is though, If you cropped the 5d mark II’s sensor to 1.6 then you will end up with an 8MP image while the 7d have 18.1MP which gives a great difference for further cropping.

  4. FedkaTheConvict says

    My point is that a cropped sensor does NOT allow you to shoot from further away as claimed by the author.