geniereddick

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This might seem like a dumb question, but as a beginner, do you think gear is more important? Do you think expensive gear makes a difference to a beginner photographer?

I'm asking because I came across this video on YouTube this morning. I thought it made a strong point about the gear we use vs our skill level. I'm personally guilty of the "gear lust" way of thinking. Curious to see what you think about this...

 

480sparky

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Gear is just a tool.
 

Derrel

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I think skill is the most-critical aspect of getting good photos, but with that said, I feel that beginner and intermediate-level shooters are the ones who benefit the most from having high-level cameras and lenses. I used to sell photo/video gear; I've seen beginners and intermediates do very well once they bought "decent" gear. Beginner-level stuff often has a lot of limitations, which an experienced shooter can work around or compensate for.
 

ac12

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NOT the gear.
If you cannot compose a shot, the most expensive gear won't help you compose the shot.
If you cannot pose people for portraits, the most expensive gear won't help you pose the subjects.
If you cannot visualize what you want, the most expensive gear cannot read your mind, then figure out what/how to shoot.
 

Destin

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There are professionals shooting weddings strictly on iPhones and charging $10k to do so.

It isn’t the gear; but the gear can help you overcome a lack of skill.
 

Overread

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So he didn't actually make a point, just kinda showed a load of photos and then said "well it speaks for itself."

Of course if you give two people of different skill the same tools then the one with the better skill will typically produce better results. That's a given and is the same in any medium or area of interest.
However the "how good a bit of gear do I need" is an interesting question sadly answered very poorly by most because they often go to the silly extreme end. "Well if I compare my 0.1mp phone camera to a 1bazillion mp large format camera..." Which honestly doesn't really help anyone come to any sensible conclusions at all.


In general better gear will produce better results, even if just at a purely technical level. Furthermore, as Derrel points out, some times gear of a sufficient standard does actually help a person produce better results from a skill point of view. A DSLR compared to a phone, lets you control settings easily thus meaning that those theories and ideas can quickly start to make sense. That the beginner can now make use of those tools and develop into a better photographer - whilst with a camera stuck in full auto or with slow to change settings through menus, they were left mostly with just composition and trying to secondguess how the camera would auto the scene.

Generally speaking my view is that you should always aim to have equipment that you can grow into rather than gear you will quickly grow out of. A machine won't improve over time, but a person can; so if you've very low end gear you might find that you quickly outgrow it if you're a keen photographer and study/practice a lot.

Of course budget then comes into it and that's a choice you really have to make on your own, though you can base it on your intentions. Some ideas of photos require certain types of gear to achieve; but outside of that you've got to take your own finances and interest into account and decide on what level you can justifiably afford.
 

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There are professionals shooting weddings strictly on iPhones and charging $10k to do so.

I don't deny that there probably are; but I'm, willing to bet that they don't shoot the whole wedding on the iPhone; I'm also willing to bet that those who DO shoot the whole wedding on the iPhone got paid to do it by the iPhone marketing department.
 

ClickAddict

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A few years ago the posted an ad which was "shot by an iphone". They showed the behind the scenes. Yeah it was shot with an iphone AND multiple thousand dollars worth of lighting.
 

IronMaskDuval

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A friend called me two weekends ago and told me his photographer bailed for a neighborhood Santa shoot. I quickly packed up my lights and my cell phone. At first, everyone was confused as to why I was taking pictures of their kids until they realized that I was using my phone to take the photos. You could hear people whisper about me using a phone, and a few parents rolled in with their dslrs. My portraits turned out amazing and better than the parents with cameras, and everyone in the neighbor were really happy with the photos. Of course, I had the phenomenal Galaxy S8. I wouldn't have done this with any other phone besides the iphone 7plus and up.
 

Braineack

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I'd much rather do focus stacking on a D850 than an iPhone.
 

Destin

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I'd much rather do focus stacking on a D850 than an iPhone.

You wouldn’t have to on the phone. The depth of field is damn near infinite unless your subject is extremely close to the focal plane.
 

jcdeboever

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To me it's a moot point or debate. You use what you have. It's a camera, the camera is a tool. Buy the camera that meets the needs of what you want to accomplish. For me, it was a digital camera that operated externally like a film camera... Aperture rings on lens, top shutter dial, and large viewfinder. Lens build quality was important to me as well.

Sent from my [device_name] using ThePhotoForum.com mobile app
 

Rick50

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Haven't you people learned anything?
It's not the gear or the photographer.
It starts with the available light........... :)
 

Gary A.

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I think the difference between good/great gear and intermediate gear in the hands of a beginner makes no significant difference.

I think crappy gear in the hands of anybody sucks and can actually be frustrating roadblock to good photography, especially in situations when the beginner is on their own with no mentor of outside help.

I think a pro level photographer can work around crappy gear. Crappy gear in the hands of a beginner is more frustrating than useful. Crappy gear in the hands of a pro is more of a challenge than frustration.

I think a photog with pro level skills can take advantage of good gear to where gear does/will make a significant difference in image impact and an increase in consistency/ease of capture (keepers).

Top level gear in the hands of a pro will make the image capture easier, their images better and elevate the keeper rate.
Top level gear in the hands of a beginner will make little difference in ease of capture, image impact and keeper rate.

But ... if a beginner is serious about photography and has a passion and drive to get better. There is nothing wrong with starting out with good gear (especially lenses) and grow into the equipment. One can save a lot of money by skipping the intermediary steps of gear acquisition.
 

Braineack

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I'd much rather do focus stacking on a D850 than an iPhone.

You wouldn’t have to on the phone. The depth of field is damn near infinite unless your subject is extremely close to the focal plane.

it's still incredibly narrow shooting macro. Have you seen the focus stacking feature of the D850? it's pretty clever.

Even if I was the most skilled pro in the world, I wouldn't want to use an iPhone to shoot a wedding.

If anything give me a Pixel phone or Samsung :p
 

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