Lens, or behind the lens

I have seen a few posts lately about what makes the picture, the camera, or the person taking the picture. It seems a little silly to me. It’s the camera! You point, push a button, and out pops a picture. Oh, you mean a good picture. Well, that seems a little elitist. Lots of people take pretty good pictures, and some get really lucky and take a great picture, by just holding a camera in front of them, and pressing the shutter. David duChemin says that taking pictures is hard. And that we (armatures) expect great pictures by buying expensive gear, and don’t want or expect to put in lots of effort. Matt Brandon talks of his days in a store where some people would buy more expensive cameras than he could afford, when “he” was the real photographer.

I respect these guys. They take really great pictures, and I am glad that they now make a living off of something they love, but sometimes pros come off like sour grapes. You know what? More expensive camera’s do help. I want a different camera. I know that it wont make my pictures better automatically, but new features CAN help. I wonder if a pro sports shooter would like the the 2.5 fps I get. I hear pros go on and on about the D3 and being able to shoot low light at iso 3200. I wonder if they would give up their older lens collection to shoot with a motor less D40. If they really think that the person makes the camera why do they care if doctors and lawyers by MarkIIs and D3s. Who cares?

Blame the camera companies for pushing sales? Good grief. They are just selling electronic toys like dozens of other companies. People with disposeable income will by bikes, cars, computers, houses, and yes cameras that are more than they need. If you really believe that it is the person, you should just smile and say thanks yahoos, you just put the money in the pockets of Canon and Nikon so that they can come up with new tech that pros will use. Selling just to the pros will not make the camera companies enough money.

This is one of those things that should never be a debate. You need a good shooter to consistently make great photos. To get good you need to spend time with your tools. All artists/craftsmen need good tools. A good shooter with mediocre tools can still get good shots, but a good shooter with good tools will get better shots.

I find it funny that many shooters would be bothered by somone that doesn’t take pictures saying “Wow, that’s a big camera, you must take good pictures with it.”, or “Wow you take good pictures, you must have a good camera.” Why do you care? Just reply, “Well, you know what they say about big cameras…they take big pictures.”

3 thoughts on “Lens, or behind the lens

  1. Christopher, You make some very valid points. But.., you knew the “but” was coming didn’t you, I think it is somewhere in between. You summed it up very well when you said:

    “To get good you need to spend time with your tools. All artists/craftsmen need good tools. A good shooter with mediocre tools can still get good shots, but a good shooter with good tools will get better shots.”

    Well put. But I hasten to add, that a good hunk of my portfolio was taken with a Digital Rebel 350 (that is the first DSLR for you Nikon folks). I moved up to a 5D because many of my clients wanted a bigger image size than the 6MP that my Rebel could give and not because the camera lacked the ability to take a great picture. But, (there is that but again) would I go back to the Rebel, no way, I love the 5D.

    I think to be honest many “artist” are insecure and to have someone infer that their picture is good because of the camera makes us feel less than valued as a artist.

    I enjoyed your post.

  2. Thanks for leaving a reply Matt. I can see how someone could feel less valued as an artist based on another’s comments about their camera type, especially if it is their “life’s work”, or passion, but it is unfortunate. Some people will never appreciate photographs or the people that took them like you will.

    At my day job in a cube, a woman here was raving about this sunset her friend has sent her that was taken on an iPhone. I went and looked, and couldn’t tell if it was the Grand Canyon, or a beach. But she loved the picture. She just wont appreciate the pictures you take (or the work that goes into them), but she thinks that my D40 is a vary big camera so I must have great sunset pictures. Go figure. Shrug.

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