Why Equipment Matters

Maybe this article should be titled: Why Equipment Matters Even If It Should Not, but I think  that it would be a bit too long and tedious.

I know that the heading might sound a bit unpopular, but stick with me for a moment and maybe you will agree by the end of the reading.

If you are into photography, I am sure that you have already watched some videos, read a few articles and maybe even bought a camera. I guess that you have realised that the photographic world is split into two quite opposite factions: the ones who love to have the very last piece of equipment and the ones who are good with their old cameras, lenses, etc.

The former will argue that only the latest equipment can deliver the best performance and they are even right to a certain extent. I remember using an old Nikon, whose maximum ISO was 6,400 – to be honest it was unusable after 800. This is ridiculous compared to modern cameras – especially compared to the latest Nikon, whose native ISO can reach 102,400. The more you read into articles that discuss the importance of gears, the more you get stuck in a negative spiral. By many this is called ‘Gear Acquisition Syndrome’ – GAS. You always need to stay up to dated, trade your old camera – that might just be 6 months old, to buy the latest arrival. You feel the urgency to upgrade from a smaller sensor to a full frame, from a full frame to an iconic range finder up to a digital medium format. This is both harmful for your bank account and for your creativity. You care so much about video reviews, articles, press releases to forget to take the camera you have, get out and shoot. This is natural, time is limited and if we use it to stay updated on the latest gears we cannot use it to be creative.

The latter faction will respond by saying that what makes a photograph is neither the camera nor the lens, but is the photographer and one’s creativity. I agree with this opinion as well. Indeed, if you have read the previous article I posted, you will know that photography is a creative act to me. However, sometimes your camera features are so poor to limit the possible applications. I remember struggling to use my old Nikon when shooting night street photography due to poor ISO performance. Of course this struggle can make you more creative as well. You will have to find new ways to get around the equipment technical lack of performance. If you do not believe me, have a look at the Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera Challenge videos by Digital Rev. However, in my experience it is very hard to achieve sustainable good results if you do not get along your equipment.

This photograph shows a man looking inside a window while some smoking a cigarette.
Rome, 2015

 

Good Equipment Empowers You

My point is that no matter what your equipment is, whether it is 20 years old or brand new; what matters is how you feel about it.

For instance, when shooting on the streets, I prefer to be as ‘invisible’ as possible. Thus, the smaller, lighter and more compact the camera setup is, the better. By making photographs with this kind of equipment I feel better and surer to be able to capture candid moments. Maybe I could do the same with a bulky camera but I would not feel as comfortable. So what is the point of doing something you love, using something you hate?

This is a street photograph of a cotton candy merchant, selling her product to some customers in Madrid

Madrid, 2015

So, if you genuinely believe that only the latest camera can deliver the tech specs you need to be as efficient and as comfortable as possible, then the investment is worth the money. But do not get caught in the trap of pixel count, resolution, image quality, etc. This matter, it is true, especially if you are printing for advertisement campaigns – and I doubt that most of us would have that type of need.

If you do not trust me, just have a look at the two photographs on this article and let me know which is the one shot on an older camera setup and which is shot on a more modern one.

27 thoughts on “Why Equipment Matters”

  1. Had an opportunity in the early 1970s to attend a talk given by Ansel Adams and will never forget that he said anybody can take snapshots with a $10 or a $100,000 camera but only a photographer can make a photograph with both.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! I can only imagine how much one could have learnt from such experience. Thank you vey much for sharing these wise words with us.

      I completely agree. In my experience any tool can be used to make great art, no matter the price. What really matters is the connection between the tool and the photographer.

      Hope you will enjoy the other articles too and stay tuned for more posts on the upcoming days

      Like

  2. I have both, a crappy older camera and a semi-pro one. I even dare to shoot with my old mobile phone sometimes… You know what they say : the best camera is the one you have with you 🙂

    But on a more serious note, very good article. I’m just missing something… the “power” of editing your pictures. Never underestimate that. I always have to laugh when somebody I know spend 1000’s in the newest top-camera… to be very dissapointed afterwards by the quality of his shots. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that shooting with a phone is a great exercise, especially to improve composition and become more creative!

      I totally agree with you, editing is so important. I think that I will blog about it in the near future because this factor can’t be underestimated!! Thanks for sharing your thoughts ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good stuff and makes sense of course. Its all about the end result and what you intend to do with it. If the camera i have at the moment gives me the results im happy with – no need to update and change it. If i just want to post on SM for likes and hearts – i can just do it on a phone… Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

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