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01-16-2011, 10:41 PM   #16
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These point have been and will be debated forever. But I'll reiterate:

* It's better to have good gear than bad gear, but that ain't enough.
* OR: Good gear is helpful, but it's not sufficient.
* A bad photographer with good gear is still a bad photographer.
* A perfect picture of boring crap is still a picture of boring crap.
* Very few Death Valley snapshots will ever be printed in NAT.GEO.
* If you're really interested in resolution, use a big view camera.
* As a photo professor told me, ART IS NOT DEPENDENT ON PIXELS.
* As a legendary pro said, IF YOUR PICTURES SUCK, MOVE CLOSER.

Part of the problem: Photography means different things to different people. What you're thinking of may not be what I'm thinking of. To me, too many scenic landscapes are just so much wallpaper. (And yes, I shoot'em too.) Some people demand 'accuracy', which is impossible. Some care more for technique than for communication. Some focus on details and miss the big picture, if any. Whatever.

I'll repeat another point: Our visual systems are wired/evolved to react differently to things than to personas. With things, we want detail. With personas, we want noticeable patterns. We can recognize faces (human or otherwise) with very little detail. And for most of us, personas are much more interesting -- even small blurs of bodies can get our attention.

If you're interested in people, and you shoot people doing interesting things, or other interesting personas, resolution and 'accuracy' hardly matter. (Flowers and shacks and kittens can be personas too.) If you're not shooting vivid personas or other stuff, the quality of your gear won't be enough to make your shots interesting. Hey, look at my great Death Valley picture -- it's almost as good as that calendar, right? (People and beds and kittens can be things too.)

The camera is a tool. It's what you do with it that matters.

01-16-2011, 11:07 PM   #17
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It's always the photographer, not the camera

Real shooters can get it done with anything that clicks!

Anyway who blames their equipment is lacking in training and making an excuse.

Sure better equipment makes it easier, but a great camera doesn't make a monkey into a photographer

All of your favorite historical photographs were taken with what is now literally obsolete equipment, yet the images stand the test of time.



Obsolete yet immortal - it was obviously the man and not the machine. He could have made that with any camera but no one else could have made that image.

Last edited by spystyle; 01-16-2011 at 11:13 PM.
01-16-2011, 11:19 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by spystyle Quote
It's always the photographer, not the camera

Real shooters can get it done with anything that clicks!

Anyway who blames their equipment is lacking in training and making an excuse.
So you're saying a top pro should be able to create masterpieces with a VGA camera phone?

QuoteQuote:
Sure better equipment makes it easier, but a great camera doesn't make a monkey into a photographer
There has never been any challenge to this argument.

QuoteQuote:
All of your favorite historical photographs were taken with what is now literally obsolete equipment, yet the images stand the test of time.



Obsolete yet immortal - it was obviously the man and not the machine. He could have made that with any camera but no one else could have made that image.
However, those obsolete pieces of photographic equipment were at least able to render images with fidelity acceptable to the photographer, which is easy enough in film days, but totally different in the digital age where there are very ordinary cameras and lenses mass produced for fun rather than to satisfy a passion for photography.
01-16-2011, 11:41 PM - 1 Like   #19
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1. Yes
2. OK
3. I am convinced any camera can be used to make interesting works of art when it's held by a creative and well trained photographer

I like the argument that "It's not the camera, it's the person" - the argument reminds us to stop obsessing over the gear, also to take responsibility for the photos we are churning out. ie : if they aren't compelling with a 3 MP camera they still won't be compelling with a 12 MP camera.

It's a concept that we can't buy our way into better photos, we have to make them with creativity and knowledge of the craft.

But there are practical limits of course LOL, I'd hate to shoot an event with only a Kodak EasyShare Oh I suppose that was the point of this thread.

Have fun!
Craig

01-17-2011, 12:31 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by spystyle Quote
1. Yes
2. OK
3. I am convinced any camera can be used to make interesting works of art when it's held by a creative and well trained photographer
Tell you what Craig, I'll give you my fantastic Palm Treo 680 that is equipped with a fantastic 640x480 VGA sensor with 2x digital zoom and world-class lens (who knows what kind of glass/plastic it is?) and you create for me some photographic brilliance that is comparable to your current dSLR and focally-equivalent lens.

What I do agree with is the fact that with most current modern cameras, the fidelity and image quality is rapidly increasing even at the most fundamental level, so the gear becomes much less a factor in the equation.

Last edited by Ash; 01-17-2011 at 04:39 AM.
01-17-2011, 01:41 AM   #21
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Anything goes. I'm pointing to this notion cause I think there is a precondition involved in this discussion and so many others.

The belief (or is it a wish) that there is a right and wrong with any picture and you should stick to the correct guidelines.

I would call this the "realist" school. It involves the belief that there is one truth for everybody, one reality which is valid for all.

Other streams in photography, and that entails arts and philosophy too, would refuse to set up general statements (and they have a life, too :-).

In this latter vein you could give an answer to the OP's question but for yourself and yourself only and it would not make much sense if it is not related to your work, where you come from, your emotional history so to speak.

The above-posted cyclist photo is a typical example imo. It is one of the icons of photography just because the general public has said so. Same pic has been rejected by lots of people in show-and-tell threads. If you don't like this pic, you are entitled to. If you have good personal reasons for it, even better.

Best, Georg
01-17-2011, 03:19 AM - 1 Like   #22
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of course its the photographer

gear isnt important, its the creativity of the human brain & skill.

if jimmy hendrix gave you his guitar could you play as good as him...

sharp photos are boring anyhow & easy too, creativity using blur & use of out of focus is far more interesting & creative too..
01-17-2011, 07:13 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by spystyle Quote

But there are practical limits of course LOL, I'd hate to shoot an event with only a Kodak EasyShare Oh I suppose that was the point of this thread.

Have fun!
Craig
+1
Kodak EasyShare P880.
Love the camera and its sweet Schnider glass.
Not good for a lot of things though.



S5 Pro with SB-800 mounted in hot shoe.
Better, right?


QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Tell you what Craig, I'll give you my fantastic Palm Treo 680 that is equipped with a fantastic 640x480 VGA sensor with 2x digital zoom and world-class lens (who knows what kind of glass/plastic it is?) and you create for me some photographic brilliance that is comparable to your current dSLR and focally-equivalent lens.

What I do agree with is the fact that with most current modern cameras, the fidelity and image quality is rapidly increasing even at the most fundamental level, so the gear becomes much less a factor in the equation.
I had a Trio.


My Droid kills it.

QuoteOriginally posted by cabstar Quote
of course its the photographer

gear isnt important, its the creativity of the human brain & skill.

if jimmy hendrix gave you his guitar could you play as good as him...

sharp photos are boring anyhow & easy too, creativity using blur & use of out of focus is far more interesting & creative too..
Yeah...At the risk of death threats, I'm gonna go ahead and say the flip of that; Jimmy wouldn't have been Jimmy without that old Strat.

01-17-2011, 07:42 AM   #24
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Interesting discussion all around

You mention a digicam with a 640x480 sensor - that reminds me of Flickr. Most of the images on Flickr are resized down to 1 megapixel (1024x768). It's interesting to think about. Most of the photos I look at from around the world are only 1 megapixel

Here are some photos I've taken of my daughter with different low end cameras

Here is a good photo I made with a 1.2 MP Fuji digicam :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4276985817/

Here is a good photo I made with my daughter's Kodak EasyShare :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4277732254/

Here is a good one from a 1983 Canon point and shoot :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4637083171/

I have an easier time with the Nikon D40 because it has more control :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4731300140/

But it's still possible with another Kodak EasyShare (my mother's camera) :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4755902240/

To me, having better gear makes it easier, especially in challenging light. But what's more important is creativity and knowledge of the craft. I personally have a lot of "gear knowledge" but am still learning composition - and I really think the knowledge is more important than the gear itself.

For example - I used to struggle with indoor event photography (without flash) until I understood the consequential value of shutter speed. The magic number 1/60

Now that I know that I can shoot an event (without flash) with any camera that can get 1/60 in that particular light.

The blurred wrestling pic above, even that camera could possibly have made it to 1/125 if the ISO was cranked up.

That's technical knowledge but also important is creativity - the ability to show something ordinary in a new and interesting way.

Does a better camera make me more creative ?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4711482391/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41681212@N02/4731234402/

No. But it does have more control that makes it easier for me to make the photo. So it's kind of a chicken and egg scenario LOL.

It should also be noted that some people are making money taking photos with their iPhones. I am not familiar with the iPhone but it's camera can not possibly be very good by our standards.

So is it the gear or the composition in that case ? Definitely the composition. But again I wouldn't want to shoot an event with an iPhone LOL

OK have fun

Craig

Last edited by spystyle; 01-17-2011 at 08:17 AM.
01-17-2011, 07:47 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Photography is sort of complicated.
Ya think?

But, come on, this is a silly debate. Of course gear matters: good photographers obsess about gear because they obsess about everything that affects their photographs.

I'm proof of course that just because you obsess about gear doesn't mean you're a good photographer (but I can pretend I'm good because I have a K-5 ;~).
01-17-2011, 08:24 AM   #26
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That's a good point, we are an obsessive bunch

I guess this thread really asks the question - how much should we obsess ?

LOL

Last edited by spystyle; 01-17-2011 at 08:40 AM.
01-17-2011, 09:00 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by spystyle Quote
The blurred wrestling pic above, even that camera could possibly have made it to 1/125 if the ISO was cranked up.
Not only is it blurry from being hand held at long exposure catching action, but it's also very noisy. I grab this (my wifes old PS) little camera occasionally, because it has a very wide range zoom. Unfortunately, the highest ISO setting is 400!

It's great for stuff like this though.


01-17-2011, 09:07 AM   #28
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Groovy

If I recall the Easyshares I handled could go to like ISO 1000 but it resulted in extremely noisy images of course.

Many of those cameras do have a 2.8 lens at the wide end though, so cranking the ISO, staying at the widest end, and simply cropping (rather than composing) later is a possible way to shoot with a low end camera in poor light (without flash).

But I didn't have any knowledge of photography until I started using dSLR, so the pics I made with Easyshare during events looked bad too. I did not know the secret of 1/60

These days I just use a fast lens and keep it at 1/60 The magic number ! Ironically now that I know how to do it, we have less events occurring.

OK, have fun
Craig
01-17-2011, 09:16 AM   #29
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I just started a thread for photos taken with camera phones. Post up and show everyone how important the photographer is!

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-photography/129637-camera-phone-gallery.html
01-17-2011, 09:22 AM   #30
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Cool, I'll partake

The difference between a medium format sensor, a full frame dSLR, a small dSLR crop sensor, and a tiny camera phone sensor, will be dynamic range. As sensors shrink the dynamic range gets smaller and smaller. The small camera phones' exposure latitude is probably best served by rainy days.

Last edited by spystyle; 01-17-2011 at 11:32 AM.
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