Do You Have A "Professional" Camera?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by JEgbert, Jun 11, 2005.

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  1. JEgbert

    JEgbert TPF Noob!

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    At almost to no end, I am asked this every day... I almost want to climb atop Pikes Peak and Scream as loudly as I can..." What does it matter!?" Seriously, I have used almost every brand of camera made and guess what? They're all quite capable of making the greatest photograph ever made, but the real key to the puzzle is, it all depends on who's hand they're in and how they are used.

    To define how great photography is made, you need to take the camera out of the room for a moment. Great photography is made first through a visualization in the mind made by an optical impression captured by the eyes and sent to the brain then emotionally filtered, spiritually filtered and then frantically but purposefully stuffed into the lens and little black box where the film or digital sensor is waiting to record the result of your short term mental breakdown.

    Actually when I am teaching my workshops or speaking to those who are gearing up for one, I don't say it quite that way, but this is the point I try to convey in a more politically correct fashion. When seeking a camera system for your photographic journey, consider what you need to capture the images that your eyes and mind tell you are the best thing since slices bread or a six pack of bottled beer. the questions you need to be asking are, what am I trying to capture, what is my main subject matter, what do I want to do with the images I capture. Each of these will determine the equipment needed to do what you want.

    When a potential student asks me anything about what they need, I turn in to Socrates and start asking questions of them so that they can answer their own questions. I do this in the field when teaching as well, but the best way to find answers is to ask questions and sometime the best answers are questions. When I go out to buy equipment my primer is usually that I saw an image in a magazine or website that made me stop and go wow. Then if I am lucky the photographer left some notes on how he or she created the photograph and thus I find some gadget or tool I must have or I will surely die. that's what I tell my loving and patient wife and as she rolls her eyes and hands me the credit card I am off to buy the holy grail of photography. Thus the moral of the story is that a smart photographer will never have the credit card on them at all times, or they will surely become the poor starving divorced "wanna be" photographer. personally I know some really well equipped photographers who never get out to photograph anything because they spent all their money buying the latest and greatest, "bestest" and most highly rated equipment known to man kind and now they're broke. I know "bestest" isn't a real fancy or even a real word, but it works for me.

    When I buy my equipment, I make Abe Lincoln Scream in pain as I pinch every penny I can, while not compromising on quality. I look for the basic functions versus the bells and whistles. I ask myself, do I need a camera that does it for me, or the one that makes me think for myself and create the images I want to create. Hint... the answer is go cheap! Heck I can't drive 255 mph so I don't need a Ferrari I'll take the beat up abused jeep in the corner that's going to get me where I want to be when I get there.

    I used to work at a camera store and a lady came to the counter and asked to see a professional camera, I grinned turned around and grabbed a throw away Kodak box camera and handed it to her. With puzzlement she looked at me and pointed at the super gigantic Nikon F5 sitting on the golden pillar of honor bathed in a warm glow of halogen light saying, "No that's the camera I was talking about I want a professional camera for my husband to learn on." Again I grinned and pushed the little Kodak disposable her way and said, "This is as much a professional camera as the one you pointed to as well." I had her hooked and confused. She then asked me, "What makes that camera a professional camera like the one I was pointing to?" "It depends on who is holding it." I explained, "Every camera in this store can be a professional camera in the hands of a professional, but on that same note every camera including the one you pointed to is also an amateur camera in the hands of an amateur."

    Once she saw that I wasn't going to sell her a camera that her husband didn't need and was the most expensive, I began to ask her what his interests in photography were and what he hoped to do. I also asked her if he planned to do this as a casual hobby or become an overnight professional. I asked about his current knowledge of photography and equipment and by the end of the sale I sold her two lower priced fully functional Nikon F100 bodies and lenses so she could learn photography along side of her husband. She came back once a month after that and always asked for me when buying new equipment. By the way they have also attended many workshops and classes that I recommended as well.

    So does it matter what Camera I use? What Film I use or what lens? The answer is both yes and no! Yes it matters what I use for functions I need, but brand and model do not. Go out and buy whatever brand you find that has the functions you need and enjoy!:er:
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Alfred Stieglitz said this in 1899. It's always been one of my favorite quotes.

    http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/stieglitz/stieglitz.html
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    It would have been nice if you had written something original for us and not just reposted something off of your website.
    I find it amusing the number of people who bang on about it being the person and not the camera that is important when taking a picture - but who themselves use expensive 'professional' cameras. If this claim is true then surely you should practice what you preach ;-)
     
  4. Kent Frost

    Kent Frost TPF Noob!

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    Way to get the new people to stick around, van.
     
  5. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    I've bought myself more than one consumer camera and regret it very much. Money should be spent once to obtain a functional tool for the job. I prefer to actually think of my creations instead of fighting lacking equipment.
     
  6. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    Gee, I hope you work for yourself, otherwise the boss wouldn't be too happy.

    On another note - you would really piss me off if you did that to me.

    And I kinda don't get the point of your post... This forum's topic is "General Photography and Camera Q&A" (Q&A means Questions and Answers).

    So - wheres the questions?

    Personally - if you turned up to my wedding or something, with a disposable camera, I would tell you where to go.I think in order to make great pictures you do need a "professional" camera. One with functions that allow you to set the Aperture, Shutter speed, etc.
     
  7. hobbes28

    hobbes28 Incredible Supporting Member

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    Ahhh still so much emotion in this topic. Everyone here has valid points to both sides of the coin. I often wonder where the line is drawn between consumer grade and professional grade. Is a professional camera one that you can change the aperature or shutter speeds on? If that's the case, you should call my cheap Konica a professional camera. For that matter, my old point and shoot digital would let me make those manual adjustments so, where's the line? I think the term "professional" comes from the cameras that cost so much that you wouldn't want to buy it unless you were a professional. The features are great on them but the regular consumer wouldn't want to purchase them nor would they need to. That would mean to me that the term "professional camera" is more for cost/feature purposes vs the kind of picture it takes.

    I often find myself falling into the category of person that Hertz is outlining. I'm a firm believer that you don't have to have a "professional" camera to take professional photographs but I do find myself moving away from my old manual cameras (I don't consider them "professional") when I take my pictures. I'd like to get back to using them half time at least but that's a personal goal.

    Glad you could get that all off your chest. I feel better. ;)
     
  8. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    My belief is, id rather spend £1000 on a camera, than waste £200 on a poor camera I dont want, and personally I do feel that I need a nice pro camera, cause I want one, simple as that.
    BUT I also feel I need a compact, for everyday use when bringing my huge chunky SLR would not be a good idea, like when out late at night? :p
     
  9. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    Well, this could moved to the photographic section anytime.

    It is a subject that I have been thinking about lately though. I am going to be shooting my first wedding in a week. I invited a former student(welding) to shoot it with me(this is a family wedding, really no money involved). He has some pretty impressive equipment. He is going to shoot digital, and I am shooting film(mainly B&W). He keeps going on about his equipment and I keep trying to explain to him that, sure it's nice to have that stuff, it still doesn't make him a great photographer. This just doesn't sink in.

    To quote Brooks Jenson from Lenswork
    "Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own"

    Except maybe Matt. :D
     
  10. LizM

    LizM TPF Noob!

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    I look at it this way...a skilled carpenter can build an intricate puzzle box with a chisel and hammer...but if they have a jigsaw it takes a whole lot less time!


    I like SLRs (digital and film) because of the control of the recorded image they allow. The bells and whistles on some SLRs aren't a necessity but they are fun!

    I remember I was meeting a family at a local park to take portraits of them and their 4 year old son. Another photographer came up (she was waiting on another family to do basically the same shots). She saw the digital camera and was all excited about it until she found out it was a Digital Rebel. Then her nose wrinkled up and she said something about waiting until she could afford the "professional" 20D. :er:I just gave her the indulgent smile you give a slow-witted person and let her drift away to scout her preferred photo location (I had scouted the entire park the day before to make sure the rains hadn't muddied anything up). She quickly found out that one site was not accessable due to the creek rising. Oh well, maybe one day she'll start thinking like a professional instead of just depending on equipment.
     
  11. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    :thumbup:
     
  12. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    What do you mean?
     
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