Why it matters.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Iron Flatline, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. First, some thoughts.

    It is frustrating to read the same old online conversations covering certain tired repeating topics. But to be honest, I like TPF because of it - this forum presents one of the few places on the internet where people new to photography can have these kinds of Café conversations - and why not? It's fun, and healthy, and if you don't want to be part of it you don't need to participate.

    Anyone serious about photography knows the debate ad nauseum - and the simple answer is "gear does matter." It was best illustrated by these two essays, in response to Ken Rockwell's comments.

    Michael Reichmann: Your camera does matter

    Sean Reid: Yes, It Matters

    I didn't want to tack this post on to the back of the current version of the "Does the Camera matter?" thread because I think these two essays go a long way, and I didn't want them to get buried.

    Enjoy.
     
  2. ksmattfish

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

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    Show me one photo by Michael Reichman that couldn't have just as easily been made with a Rebel or D40.

    Here's a book by another "master" of his craft: It's Not About The Bike, Lance Armstrong

    When people say the camera doesn't matter what they mean is that the skill set of the typical photographer still has so much room for improvement that's really where they should concentrate their effort. But it is much easier just to buy a more expensive camera.
     
  3. keith204

    keith204 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Both concepts are good as long as they're not taken too far - such as the guy on the Today Show awhile back that gave a lesson on why a cell phone camera is all you'll ever need.

    Great post, Iron. (yet another does camera matter thread...;)) I'm glad you are here - your posts and opinions are some of my favorite to read.

    It's the beginner who needs to hear "your camera doesn't matter" so it whips them into shape. The problem arises when somebody with this mindset shoots at a wedding.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Which shows that your camera gear matters. Canon 300D, 18-55 kit, & 70-300 variable aperture lens of your choice vs. 5DMKII, 24-70 f/2.8L, & 70-200 f/2.8L IS.

    In your typical badly lit church, the more expensive gear will prevail. 6400 ISO with considerably low noise compared to 1600 ISO with a ton of noise. f/2.8 constant aperture zooms vs. lenses with the widest aperture at f/3.5 and going up to f/5.6 most likely.

    The same photographer shoots the same wedding conditions, he's going to have more properly exposed and technically correct photos with less chance of blur from camera shake with the 5D setup.

    Same thing goes along with sports photography. 1D MKIII with 300mm f/2.8L IS vs. XSI with 70-300 variable aperture zoom.

    These articles are titled, "Your camera does/n't matter", not "Your camera doesn't matter when considering artistical ability". Technical aspects have to be taken into consideration unless you place the caveat in there that you're just considering the artistic ability of the photographer and not the ability to use their tools to be able to capture certain events and scenes.

    Lance Armstrong's bike does matter. It's his tool he uses to win races. If you gave him a single speed road bike with very low gearing, he's not going to be able to win the Tour de' France because he's using the wrong tool. Same thing applies to any situation. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he never goes hungry.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    photos are made of 3 things

    art
    technique
    luck

    art is having the eye - one can be born with this or learn it over time. Generally those that have the natural eye can get better artistic looking shots (for what ever style they are in) as they can visualise what they want the photo to show far easier than those that have to learn by trial and error and application of rules.

    technique is using the kit - one can have a great eye, but its a waste if they can't expose a shot properly (properly being to get the effect they want). This is tied to 2 sides - one is the technical skill of the operator and the other is the technical limitations and abilities of the equipment being used.

    Luck is being in the right place at the right time in the right light with the correct lens fitted for the perfect shot

    A person that has all of the above is often called a "master" or an expert (or a pro at times). They have the eye to see a shot; the kit to allow them to expose the shot correctly; the techinical understanding to use the kit to take the shot; and the luck factor.
    To say that one component is not needed is false - all the components are needed to get the shot, however one should note that a person can and will adapt to the kit that they have at the time - though there will be limits if they are using the wrong kit - a disposable camera in the hands of an expert is going to be just as limiting as in the hands of a novice - the difference is that experience might teach the expert to use the camera to frame shots that might not suffer from its limitations. Force him to shoot a certain scene though and unless the scene plays to the strengths of the kit then the shot will be technically poor - artistically it might still be a 1st rate shot.

    Equipment does not matter - like many short terms its a pointless statement as it conveys no true information in its telling. Its a false statement which requires explination and thus should not really be used as its definition is different for different people.
    Rather like "its a snapshot"
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why limit your quote to the body. I am sure he could do it with a D40 if he had the same 70-200 f/2.8 lens on the body, but that is still a $3500AU investment. And even with a cheaper 70-300 you are still $2000AU down.

    I do agree with you though, but I think you have taken a too subtle approach here. Many people applaud the quality of even basic DSLRs, but the other thread was started by someone with a run of the mill point and snap film camera. Show me one photo by Michael Reichman which COULD be taken by such a camera.
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I love to watch the dichotomy develop on these types of threads. The wagons form a circle and the "I'll be damed if you can change my mind" attitudes stand staunch. No one opinion is an absolute truth, regardless of which side of the chasm you stand. The nuances are too vast. I'll just stand over here in the shade (in the grey area), sipping on a lemonade. Please carry on.
     
  8. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've put a little check next to Ken's name in my notepad so I know his opinion matters.

    I was just checking out his web site. In February he'll be close by for a workshop. Maybe I'll stop by and meet him- Let him know how much influence he has on the crowd here.
     
  9. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Of course glass matters. Is that even in question? KR has said some explosive things, but if there is one area where I think the man is consistent is that all glass is most definitely NOT created equal.
     
  10. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    There are two girls running a photo stand for children in the local shopping centre near my place. They are not there all the time but few days in every fort night or so. The equipment use were nikon D40 with kitlens and two umbrellas. The big sample photos on displays were all good.

    A month ago when the holiday season approaching there were three photo stands there. One stand again using D40 with similar setup from the first one (maybe same company) and the other one used D300 with 18-70 lens with two umbrellas.

    Their photos on displays in all of them are the same as far as the public are concern. And above all they all making money.

    With such powerful artificial lighting from that umbrellas, and the photoshopping - the distinction between different type of cameras was really blurred.
     
  11. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    ^^ Kinda reminds me of seeing photos of the menu items for (any) restaurant and the difference of how it arrives at the table.

    I've got a fiver that says those kiosk shots were in JPEG format with in camera settings used for sharpening, contrast and saturation. The processing was maybe three to five minutes. Just a guess though.... no real idea.
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How much your gear matters is directly related to how much you spent on it and how long ago you spent it.

    I also think that differing standards on just what constitutes a "good " photo is in large part fueling this fire.

    Some would be happy with a nice 4x6, others wouldn't consider anything less than something that could be printed at 16x20 flawlessly.

    Until a chiseled in stone standard of the minimum required for a "Good Photograph" is written out, I think we have an example of perpetual motion here. ;)
     

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