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01-15-2011, 05:40 PM   #1
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It's not the camera; it's the photographer! Or is it?

I've heard it said, several times, that it's not the camera that's important, it's the photographer. Whilst I recognise that there is a lot of truth to this statement, it's not ABSOLUTELY true. If it were absolutely true, then the professionals would all be using disposable cameras - and clearly they don't. And surely, given the choice, most of us would opt for cameras which give us options, control, flexibility and the scope to be creative. That being the case, this idea that it's not the camera, but the person behind it must be re-evaluated.

I'm suggesting that it's not the camera that's of prime importance, BUT it helps.

ANY thoughts on this and other related issues?



01-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #2
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I'll take it a step further. In order of importance:

person
light
lens
sensor/film
processing
01-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Quote
I've heard it said, several times, that it's not the camera that's important, it's the photographer. Whilst I recognise that there is a lot of truth to this statement, it's not ABSOLUTELY true. If it were absolutely true, then the professionals would all be using disposable cameras - and clearly they don't. And surely, given the choice, most of us would opt for cameras which give us options, control, flexibility and the scope to be creative. That being the case, this idea that it's not the camera, but the person behind it must be re-evaluated.

I'm suggesting that it's not the camera that's of prime importance, BUT it helps.

ANY thoughts on this and other related issues?

Great photographers can make great pictures with any gear. Better gear just makes it easier for them to do it.

Just like Tiger Woods could use your clubs and still shoot a great game, if you used his clubs, you'd still be nowhere near as good as him.
01-15-2011, 09:28 PM   #4
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I talked to a woman today buying a 7D who sells her photos for a living. She only upgraded because she was jealous of the lady near her at the beach who had a fancier camera, but worse photos.

If you can make money off of your work, why not get the biggest, baddest thing you can. More to play with.

01-15-2011, 09:31 PM   #5
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Yes, it's the photographer, not the camera. Read Ansel Adams' POLAROID MANUAL. If cameras really mattered, all pros would use Leicas, eh?
01-15-2011, 10:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
If cameras really mattered, all pros would use Leicas, eh?
Not if they wanted telephoto, wide angle, macro etc. etc.
01-15-2011, 10:59 PM   #7
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Take two photographers of equal abiliity. One has a point & shoot and the other has gear of their choice.
It's a dramatic sunrise in Monument Valley. Who is going to get the better shot?

Yes, it is the photographer first. But you can't devalue the equipment that enables the artist.

Last edited by OrenMc; 01-16-2011 at 06:25 AM.
01-16-2011, 05:56 AM   #8
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There is no one thing. Sometimes it's the person...sometimes it's the gear...and sometimes it's the opportunity/subject matter.

01-16-2011, 09:25 AM   #9
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Photography is sort of complicated. The more you know about dancing with the light the better photos you will take, regardless the equipment. However, the more you know the more you can utilize advanced equipment and options for creative effects, and the more you learn the value of good glass.
The auto functions on modern DSLRs are so good, anyone can use them like a P&S and get good photos, similar to the way so many people with spell-check think they are automatically authors.
Therein lies the rub.
01-16-2011, 09:33 AM   #10
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It is 100% the photographer.

The photographer selects the gear used, the exposure, the composition, the processing. All of this leads to the final image.

Without the photographer, the gear would just sit on a shelf.
01-16-2011, 09:44 AM   #11
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80% photographer
20% camera

This is why average photographers can improve their photos with better gear.
This is also why good photographers can take better photos with an iPhone than a bad photographer with a Leica.
And why focusing more on gear than skill is a fool's errand for most.
01-16-2011, 10:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by grainbelt Quote
I'll take it a step further. In order of importance:

person
light
lens
sensor/film
processing
+1 Clearly it is not only the photographer, but this order is about right, and imho the photographer is the most important.

QuoteOriginally posted by alohadave Quote
Great photographers can make great pictures with any gear. Better gear just makes it easier for them to do it.

Just like Tiger Woods could use your clubs and still shoot a great game, if you used his clubs, you'd still be nowhere near as good as him.
Well put alohadave..
01-16-2011, 10:48 AM   #13
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I think you're all ignoring the benefits of setting/opportunity. There's a reason why there's a lot of truth in the old saying, "f8 and be there."
01-16-2011, 12:06 PM   #14
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I love shooting with my Droid X and I've gotten some pretty decent photos with it. It has 2 megapixles more native resolution then my S5 Pro! You won't see me covering a :fill in the blank: with it though. The IQ (unless you really nail it) is unacceptable for publication. The plastic protective cover over the (excellent for a) lens the size of a 'BB' is a flair/haze monster. The auto focus and auto exposure is so slow you'd have to catch someone dead asleep to get a candid. You need the world to freeze for 10 seconds. Then you can whip out the phone, boot the camera, compose the shot and press the shutter....at which point, you wait another two seconds for focus and exposure lock. Finally, you get (if you're lucky) a capture. You have very little licence over how the capture is taken.
It's fun, but totally inadequate for serious picture taking.
01-16-2011, 12:43 PM   #15
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What a variety of responses, but I see both the camera and photography as important - at least to the point where the camera is capable of capturing images of decent quality. Castrol's phrase 'oils aint oils' applies here: cameras aint cameras to a photographer unless they can deliver - photographers do demand a level of image quality below which their results would be stifled by.

I have no doubt a pro can create magnificent work with a Polaroid, but just think of what could be done in the same conditions with a MF camera loaded with top-class film instead. Same goes between a camera phone and a dSLR with a modern sensor. The photographer and the gear are inextricably vital to the results produced.

This has been brought up before, and probably will be again, many times, probably because the technology is filtering down so well to the entry-level model cameras that the IQ gap between them and higher end models is quickly reducing. This means a pro with an entry-level dSLR can still produce images that will sell - so in this setting the gear is less critical. It's all relative...
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