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How Important is Equipment?

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Roger Rex View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How Important is Equipment?
    Posted: 24 November 2019 at 19:34
One of my two favorite photographer's current newsletter addresses the subject. Scroll about half way down the newsletter to see the start of his essay on the subject, same title as the subject above.

Perhaps an interesting fact to some. There have been approximately 629,000 posts in Dyxum's photograph forums; approximately 584,000 posts in the equipment forums (not counting buy/sell posts).
Hatred corrodes the container it is carried in. http://rogerrex.zenfolio.com/
 



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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2019 at 19:48
When I read things like:
"How important is your equipment?

Not nearly as important as you think!"

My response is: it is much more important then you think!

I find it interesting when people using the latest, greatest gear (in his case the Canon 5D IV) state that equipment is not important. It is true, you can make great pictures with really limited equipment and the best equipment does not make most of us brilliant. But, newer, better equipment (even better: better suited equipment) will help all of us.

I find the "how important is equipment" discussion not that interesting. It is about how you use your equipment.
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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2019 at 19:53
As a general statement I wholeheartedly agree with Cole Thompson and for a lot of subjects and reasonable light most lens/camera combinations are entirely sufficient.

There are however (imho) a few exceptions.

The first is low light capability where later sensors just perform so much better than what we had 10 years ago. My A7 and A7ii aren't even the latest/greatest but for instance the photo's I make from our youngest daughters dance performances are so much sharper and better colours that it is much easier to achieve a pleasing image than with the older muted colour/grainy results I got from my A700.

The second is tracking AF for fast moving action like sports or birds in flight. It's not a type of photography I do but looking at what can be achieved with the AF-wise with the A9 it's clear that better equipment helps in those areas as well to achieve photo's that can show the photographers vision unincumbered by an AF system that can't keep up.

Bottom line, chasing newer equipment just for the sake of having the latest/greatest usually doesn't lead to better photo's, but analysing where better equipment helps achieving your vision based on the type of photography you do can still be worthwhile, again imho.

And thanks for the link to Cole Thompson's website. It's now bookmarked
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nandbytes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote nandbytes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 November 2019 at 19:58
I spend my beer money on cameras

So to answer your question.... its more important than beer (at least for me)
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stiuskr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 November 2019 at 12:14
Rob Suits Jr.
a99M2 a99 a77 a700 KM7D|Min24/2.8 Min35/2 So50/1.4 So50/2.8 Min85/1.4G Tam90/2.8 Tam180/3.5|Tam17-50 CZ24-70G2 KM28-75D So70-200G1 So70-300G So70-400G1| SonyF60 AD200R2
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Jozioau View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 November 2019 at 12:53
I generally agree with Cole Thompson, but also with Pieter.
I've known photographers who have bought extremely expensive kit (going back to Hasselblads and Nikon Fs the film camera era and through to the present) but who weren't particularly gifted in their mastery of it, nor in their aesthetic creativity. They could produce perfectly exposed but unexceptional images.
I've also been blown away many times by images taken with quite basic kit where the moment has been captured with originality and to perfection.
That having been said, there is no doubt that the best and latest technology assists in realising images of remarkable definition, dynamic range, colour, that are light years ahead of that what was possible in the early days of digital photography, or for that matter film photography.
I've always taken great pleasure in using well designed tools or equipment that are best fit for purpose in terms of ergonomics and functionality, in whatever field of endeavour, and this goes for photography as much as any other activities I get involved with.
I guess one should aspire to the best gear that is manageable and affordable, to learn to use it properly, hone one's skills by getting to use it as often as possible, and most of all to enjoy it.
All that having been said, there's still no known cure for G.A.S. as far as I know.
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sybersitizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 November 2019 at 20:59
This is what's important: Knowing what you want to do, knowing how to approach doing it, and having equipment that can do it.
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 November 2019 at 22:01
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

This is what's important: Knowing what you want to do, knowing how to approach doing it, and having equipment that can do it.
This is insightful.

Equipment is important to do what you want to do.
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jvandegr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jvandegr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 November 2019 at 22:59
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

This is what's important: Knowing what you want to do, knowing how to approach doing it, and having equipment that can do it.


I completely agree. Equipment is just a set of tools. Without vision, the best equipment in the world isn't worth much. Find your vision, with your camera phone if need be, and it will be easy to choose the right equipment later.
Jon Van de Grift
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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2019 at 15:29
I mostly take the same kind of pictures I did in film days, and I therefore find any of the digital cameras I use will do the job perfectly well most of the time. But occasionally I need either stabilisation or low light performance and then some work better than others.

Generally I find the smaller the camera is the more likely I am to have it with me when I get photo opportunities, and to me this more than makes up for any lack of performance or features most of the time.

But I have found absolutely no correlation whatsoever between my judgement of the results and the Mp of the camera, or (with a few exceptions) the F no. Indeed, many of my favourite night pictures have been taken with my 8.7Mp phone.
FWIW I am firmly sceptical of the value of 30, 40, 50, and 60MP sensors, though they may be excellent in other ways.

But you could argue that says more about the kind of photography I do (and how I use the results) than it does about the capability of the equipment.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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pegelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2019 at 16:03
Originally posted by sybersitizen sybersitizen wrote:

This is what's important: Knowing what you want to do, knowing how to approach doing it, and having equipment that can do it.
Well said
A much better summary than my long response.
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Roger Rex View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Roger Rex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2019 at 17:21
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

FWIW I am firmly sceptical of the value of 30, 40, 50, and 60MP sensors, though they may be excellent in other ways.B


One reason, not applicable to me, is if someone wants to print VERY large, then I assume the extra mp facilitates that.

After 8 or 10 years with the same camera I upgraded for primarily one reason - to facilitate not shooting on a tripod so as to lighten my load. The newer camera has much better high ISO performance, much better image stability and much better dynamic range, all letting me shoot hand-held in more situations and with better results than with my old camera, off tripod. MP increase had nothing to do with the change and certainly did not effect my vision.

Edited by Roger Rex - 28 November 2019 at 17:33
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 November 2019 at 18:36
Yesterday I visited an exhibition of photographs by Robert Frank - with a focus on his work for "The Americans" including many images that did not make it into the book.
Although many of his images are blurred (without loosing their message, though) I was really amazed how sharp these prints were. He used 135 b/w film (overwhelmingly Koday Tri-X - as the contact sheets showed) and a Leica camera. I can only conclude that the Leica lenses really contributed heavily to the quality of his work, given the circumstances under which the images were taken.

A good lens will never harm your photography (only your budget)!
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