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Roger Hicks
07-17-2010, 05:17
Yes and no... The real question is what matters to YOU, and what YOU are happy with. If you're not happy, maybe you need a different camera -- or maybe you need to rethink what (if anything) would make you happier. Those interested in a more detailed argument might care to look at the most recent addition to my site, at http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/does%20equipment%20matter.html.

Cheers,

R.

FrankS
07-17-2010, 05:52
Does equipment matter? Yes, sometimes. (Horses for courses is the saying, I think.)

Don Parsons
07-17-2010, 05:56
Not if it gets the pictures you want to take. I could've used a Leica but I used a digital point-n-shoot cause for me it's faster. I don't care that it's a little less quality, I got the shot.

tbarker13
07-17-2010, 06:05
There are times when equipment absolutely matters.
I'll use an extreme example here, but you aren't going to be a successful sports photographer if you arm yourself with an M8 and 28mm lens. The world's top sports photographer might very well bring back some awesome images with that combo - but not with enough frequency to keep his job.

But of course the equipment does not make the photographer. If you give some average Joe $30k worth of DSLRs and telephoto lenses, that's not going to make him a great sports photographer. But he would have the right tools for the job.

Turtle
07-17-2010, 06:19
It matters. In some cases it matters a lot (like if you need a fast lens to shoot in very poor light) or not at all.

Most of all you have to be happy with what you are using to be at your best. For some people that will mean the very finest optical perfection and for others, a comfortable grip and light weight. Either way, it matters.

Some will fixate and produce awful photos from Alpas and Leicas. Despite this, they will still think it matters. Others will produce wonders from Holgas and Seaguls and would actively shun the perfection of a Linhof.

If you think it matters, it matters. If you think it doesn't it doesn't. Generally equipment matters to me less the more shooting I do, but every now and again it is the other way round. Thats when I really listen to myself... and the last time that happened I bought a 24 summilux asph. And I was right to do so, because I have the negs that I had not been able to take previously.

PKR
07-17-2010, 06:36
If it's equipment you're into, I guess it matters. If you're into photographs, your gear is a means to an end. I think HCB said, you should know your camera like you know your car. It's automatic, you get in and drive. You shouldn't have to look at the settings, you know where the shutter speed was set and you change it properly, without taking the camera away from your eye.

NathanJD
07-17-2010, 06:37
I never wanted to collect cameras but somehow i have. my current count is 10, which scared me earlier this week when i counted them. the truth is that most of my equipment is worth very little, and in as much the cameras are worth more to me than the little money i could get by selling them, maybe if they were worth more i would sell them and put the money towards expanding my lens collection for my 2 favourite systems.

I do, of course, have some expensive pieces (comparatively) in my collection which i wouldn't sell to keep the cheaper ones but i have sold cameras for cameras in the past.

I have a Zorki-4k! i love it and trust it enough to take it out with me during those occasions where i don't want to spend the evening worrying about the safety of my camera. it cost me £30 with a Jupiter 8 attached. it's not the smoothest camera in the world but it does everything that my M2 does except produce those unmistakably 'Leica' photos.

in a way yes it matters, just as much as everything else does. does it have to be expensive? no :) only as expensive as you want it to be!

Bowling, booze, fun, Zorki-4k, Jupiter 12, HP5+
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/4780129869_9df82450ef.jpg

tbarker13
07-17-2010, 06:47
If it's equipment you're into, I guess it matters.

Sure, but it's not just a black and white debate. There are many times in the world of photography where not having the right equipment means producing a less-than-optimal result.
Part of knowing your equipment inside and out is understanding when you have the right tool for the job and when you need a different tool.

Papa Smurf
07-17-2010, 07:17
Sure, but it's not just a black and white debate. There are many times in the world of photography where not having the right equipment means producing a less-than-optimal result.
Part of knowing your equipment inside and out is understanding when you have the right tool for the job and when you need a different tool.

I agree that ones' equipment does play an important role in the final outcome, but only if we use them correctly. Knowing what ones equipment is capable of is the beginning. It separates the novice from the experienced amateur from the expert. Only knowing how to use it to the fullest limits of its limitations (and beyond), will produce outstanding results.

My Grandfather's wisdom did and still amazes me. He had a favorite saying, "A craftsman does not blame his tools for shoddy work, but even a craftsman can only do so so work with shoddy tools." A Kodak Brownie camera could be used to take pictures of a high profile wedding, but would it be a professional wedding photographer's first choice?

MCTuomey
07-17-2010, 07:20
Sure, gear matters. So does talent. And experience.

John Lawrence
07-17-2010, 07:41
Reading this thread reminds me of a job I was sent on from the studio I was working at, after I told the owner I could undertake anything with my leica outfit:

Sent out to photograph a collection of small objects with my Leica, visoflex 1, bellows and 135mm tele-elmar. Turned out it was 1000+ button badges!

I still need a stiff drink when I see a visoflex .....


John

ianth
07-17-2010, 08:14
I used a hasselblad SWC for almost all of my photography for many years ! (there are lots of 35mm neg areas on a 6X6 neg) a while ago I started using a Zorki 4K and a jupiter 12 . Scanned using a Epson V300 the pictures are excellent . I do not think it matters what camera you use , a Bronica RF645 rangefinder will be better than a Leica at 8X10 !, I printed for a living in the 1980's and looked at many photographers images , taken with lots of cameras , I feel certain its the photograph that matters not the equipment used , and I do not feel that one should "aspire" to own any type of camera , use what you can afford and use lots of film .Ian

Mackinaw
07-17-2010, 08:16
As much as I like medium format, for low-light shooting, there's no lens/camera combo in that format that matches my Canon 50/0.95 lens on my MP. Conversely, no matter what film I use in my Leica, I can't quite match the texture and tonality I can get with my Rollei 6006. So in that sense, yes, gear does matter.

Jim B.

Viktor Sebastian
07-17-2010, 08:18
Does having an opinion on everything matter?

JPSuisse
07-17-2010, 09:06
Roger, I liked ALL of the pictures shown in that short "essay."

Now regarding Sebben's comment, does an opinion matter? Yes, it does. If you are incapable of creating an opinion, you will wonder aimlessly not developing any kind of photographic style. It's important to have an idea of what you are trying to do before you just go out snapping.

Thanks for the essay, Roger!

Bike Tourist
07-17-2010, 09:25
Norman Rockwell worked from photographs. I never heard what kind of a camera he used. Nor did I ever hear what brand of sable hair paint brushes he preferred. Not a mention of paint brand or who manufactured the paper surfaces he worked on. Come to think of it, he missed out on a lot of lucrative endorsements.

Equipment might matter, however mistakenly, to the image maker, but not at all to the image viewer.

The Trash Heap has spoken.

Gumby
07-17-2010, 09:25
Does having an opinion on everything matter?

Interesting question.

For the masses: opinions are like... ; everyone has one.

For folks like Roger: profesional "opinionists" should have a well-defined opinion on everything they write about...whether critics deem that opinion right or wrong.

Whether anyone cares about anyone else's opinion is a matter of personal opinion. ;)

I'd offer my opinion on Roger's opinion-piece, but nobody would care anyway. So let me summarize and say that Roger is certainly entitled to have his opinion.

Gumby
07-17-2010, 09:30
I very much agree with the conclusion (this is my opinion):

"Third, and most importantly, unless your livelihood depends upon it, you can simply enjoy yourself with whatever you have."

Juan Valdenebro
07-17-2010, 09:41
A lot of words and examples could be used here... But I guess it becomes interesting if we're only allowed to answer yes or no, without using more words...

My answer is no.

Cheers,

Juan

paulfish4570
07-17-2010, 09:42
The gear matters in that it should fit: my hands, my posture, my cheek and eye weld, my eye itself. That frees my brain to see, instead of just looking. My FED-2d fits like that. So does my SP1000.

kxl
07-17-2010, 11:24
This thread reminds me of a recent tongue-in-cheek post about using an RF to shoot a grizzly. ;)

btgc
07-17-2010, 12:11
Do footwear matters? No, if you are born in the wild or are immovable in hospital. Yes, otherwise. Even more it matters, when you are out for specific occasion, be it climbing, fishing, or running marathon. Tell me it doesn't.

johannielscom
07-17-2010, 12:24
My equipment matters in the sense that this is the gear I like to use, I feel comfortable with. Some stuff is very common, some is rare/unusual/expensive, but I choose it for what I can do with it and for how comfortable I feel with it.

I use: Leica IIIa, M3 DS, M6 0.85, Chinon Memotron CE-II, Zeiss Ikon Box Tengor, Kodak Medalist II, Horseman 970 and lenses.

Pablito
07-17-2010, 12:26
thread reminds me of this brilliant old classic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQFKtI6gn9Y

Juan Valdenebro
07-17-2010, 13:01
Maybe the question could be formulated a bit differently... Like "Even if he picked a brand to be used by him because he likes it, could Tiger Woods play golf well with other equipment?" or "Would Salgado's photographs be inferior to the world if he was forced to use a different camera?" or "How different would have been Cartier-Bresson's shots if he used Russian lenses and cameras exclusively?"

Cheers,

Juan

NathanJD
07-17-2010, 13:04
"Even if he picked a brand to be used by him because he likes it, could Tiger Woods play golf well with other equipment?"

He's not doing that great with the stuff he's got :D

sarcasm, the lowest form of whit - i know i know :D

Sparrow
07-17-2010, 13:15
Why, yes; one cannot take a photograph without photographic equipment ... beyond that refer to the law of diminishing returns

helenhill
07-17-2010, 13:31
Gear Does matter
but its a 'Good EYE' & being able to 'Capture the Moment'
that Really matters.....:D

MCTuomey
07-17-2010, 13:54
Does having an opinion on everything matter?

post-o ergo sum

Sparrow
07-17-2010, 14:03
post-o ergo sum

Corripe Cervisiam

Michael Markey
07-17-2010, 14:13
Corripe Cervisiam

Ah...that`s what we were doing today.You should have said.

Chris101
07-17-2010, 14:35
Yes it does.

Juan Valdenebro
07-17-2010, 14:53
Then it looks like the answer is yes, gear matters, but matters less than the things that really matter, so gear doesn't really matter that much...

Cheers,

Juan

sepiareverb
07-17-2010, 14:57
Sometimes it matters very much.

I've done this with a Leica:
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff221/sepiareverb/P1000036.jpg

But would never try this:
http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff221/sepiareverb/P1000035.jpg

yanidel
07-17-2010, 15:09
It does, but does not serve as a substitute to other needed skills.

peterm1
07-17-2010, 15:36
Of course you can make excellent photos with cheap kit but on the whole my answer is yes it does matter.

Mostly with lenses of course but to some extent with cameras too, I find for example that there is no substitute for a fast lens to isolate a subject from its background for portraits - for example. You just cannot do this adequately (without a lot of Photoshopping in post processing ) with a slow lens and / or a small format sensor camera where everything tends to be in focus from a few meters to infinity. But that's an issue of the characteristics of the kit (although fast tends to equate to expensive .)

As to quality of equipment yes it does matter too, but the law of diminishing returns sets in quickly. I have a Nikon DSLR in addition to my rangefinder kit and with it I have, amongst other lenses, an 18-70 cheapish kit lens that is a few years old. A very nice lens as it turns out. As an experiment I bought the 17-55 f2.8 pro lens and apart from the aforementioned issue of isolation from the faster lens, mostly I cannot tell the difference apart from a bit of distortion at the wider end of the less expensive lens.

Mostly it then comes down to skill as most photographers do not know enough to be able to get the best from their top end kit.

The final issue I think about is how sturdy the kit is. Pro kit usually has much better build quality and this can count when you do a lot of shooting.

Finally one caveat. I upgraded my DSLR from a Nikon D70s to a D200. I then proceeded to lose a lot of shots while I learned how to use the new cameras fancy capabilities. So sometimes equipment can matter but not in a good way.

Juan Valdenebro
07-17-2010, 15:54
What is funny is how little gear matters, and how many people with bad photographs, as next step buy more expensive gear instead of finding out why their photographs are weak...

That's why internet galleries are full of thousands of mediocre photographs made with Leicas and Hasselblads... Gear doesn't matter at all in my book (if we talk about brands) as long as the camera used can technically do the job...

Several concepts, skills and experience are a lot more important than gear, to the point of making gear secondary:

1. To know how to be in the right place, and be there.
2. To be unobtrusive.
3. To have the camera as prepared as possible.
4. To have technical skills (light, previsualization, media, camera controls and meanings...)
5. To hit the shutter in the best possible moment.
6. To decide very well the point of view.

With those well covered, it doesn't matter the camera or lens used. Decades ago all brands have enough quality. What matters in photography has NEVER been image quality or gear used, but the strength of the visual narrative an image has for emotional communication... No gear is better than other gear there: that's why it doesn't matter...

Basically there are people who look at gear and tests and reviews, and people who look at what an image conveys... When you go deep in any of those two visions, you don't care too much about the other one... One of those visions crowns brands, and the other one crowns photographers. One is related to engineering, crafts and precision, and the other one is related to creation, feelings and art.

Cheers,

Juan

MCTuomey
07-17-2010, 16:02
Corripe Cervisiam

whence my avatar ...

johannielscom
07-17-2010, 16:10
Pardon my Latin.

What's with the beer tonight?

tbarker13
07-17-2010, 19:58
Gear Does matter
but its a 'Good EYE' & being able to 'Capture the Moment'
that Really matters.....:D

Amen to that...

MCTuomey
07-17-2010, 20:04
Pardon my Latin.

What's with the beer tonight?

it rhymes with gear ... as in:

"the more i drink beer
the less spent on gear"

also, the beverage is known to improve bokeh

sig
07-17-2010, 20:06
and the world more beautiful.

shadowfox
07-17-2010, 20:30
Equipments matter when you are serious about becoming a better photographer. But if you just want to play around, then equipment is *all* that matters.

maddoc
07-17-2010, 20:43
Equipments matter when you are serious about becoming a better photographer. But if you just want to play around, then equipment is *all* that matters.

Very well said !

Juan Valdenebro
07-17-2010, 21:00
Equipments matter when you are serious about becoming a better photographer. But if you just want to play around, then equipment is *all* that matters.

That's great, Will!

Cheers,

Juan

jan normandale
07-17-2010, 21:12
I think I'll go take a photograph now..

rpsawin
07-17-2010, 21:15
Dead on Roger! It's largely how it matters to the individual. Great thread.

Best regards,

Bob

Pablito
07-17-2010, 23:15
But the real question is, does equipment matter in the Art of Making Love?
;-)

Roger Hicks
07-17-2010, 23:15
Equipments matter when you are serious about becoming a better photographer. But if you just want to play around, then equipment is *all* that matters.

Dear Will,

Elegantly phrased!

Cheers,

R.

PKR
07-17-2010, 23:48
I agree that ones' equipment does play an important role in the final outcome, but only if we use them correctly. Knowing what ones equipment is capable of is the beginning. It separates the novice from the experienced amateur from the expert. Only knowing how to use it to the fullest limits of its limitations (and beyond), will produce outstanding results.

My Grandfather's wisdom did and still amazes me. He had a favorite saying, "A craftsman does not blame his tools for shoddy work, but even a craftsman can only do so so work with shoddy tools." A Kodak Brownie camera could be used to take pictures of a high profile wedding, but would it be a professional wedding photographer's first choice?


Years ago, in Pop Photo or Modern Photography, the editors gave cheap point-and-shoot cameras to the 10 best (their choice) photographers in NYC. Among these were the likes of Penn, Avedon, Stern, etc (Bill Pierce may remember this) the results were amazing. They did this to prove a point. I don't think you will find this happening today with all the remaining publishers needing the $$ from high end camera vendors.

Roger Hicks
07-18-2010, 00:14
The stunt of getting good pics from disposables is just that - a (substantially pointless) stunt. Bert Hardy did it for Picture Post in the 1950s wth a Box Brownie. Of course a good photographer can produce good pics with an extremely limited camera, working within its limitations. This is one of the points I make in my 'Does Equipment Matter' article on the site. But so what? As soon as you need different focal lengths, or faster lenses, or controllable shutter speeds, or control of depth of field, or even rapid wind-on, the stunt is exposed for what it is.

Cheers,

R.

DabCan10
07-18-2010, 00:28
Not to me it doesn't. I have several nice cameras, and I love them, but the best picture doesn't necessarily come from the best camera, my P&S digital has made some very nice shots lately, but then again so has my xpan.

PKR
07-18-2010, 01:08
What is funny is how little gear matters, and how many people with bad photographs, as next step buy more expensive gear instead of finding out why their photographs are weak...

That's why internet galleries are full of thousands of mediocre photographs made with Leicas and Hasselblads... Gear doesn't matter at all in my book (if we talk about brands) as long as the camera used can technically do the job...

Several concepts, skills and experience are a lot more important than gear, to the point of making gear secondary:

1. To know how to be in the right place, and be there.
2. To be unobtrusive.
3. To have the camera as prepared as possible.
4. To have technical skills (light, previsualization, media, camera controls and meanings...)
5. To hit the shutter in the best possible moment.
6. To decide very well the point of view.

With those well covered, it doesn't matter the camera or lens used. Decades ago all brands have enough quality. What matters in photography has NEVER been image quality or gear used, but the strength of the visual narrative an image has for emotional communication... No gear is better than other gear there: that's why it doesn't matter...

Basically there are people who look at gear and tests and reviews, and people who look at what an image conveys... When you go deep in any of those two visions, you don't care too much about the other one... One of those visions crowns brands, and the other one crowns photographers. One is related to engineering, crafts and precision, and the other one is related to creation, feelings and art.

Cheers,

Juan

Juan; Ernst Haas when asked about his Leica use (he used SLR Leicas) said "Leica-Schmika, just get a camera that works" p.

Kent
07-18-2010, 01:23
As we all know, some say it doesn't matter at all. The real artist shoots a great photo with the cheapest cam.
OK, but how does the "real artist" shoot a lion on a safari with a 35mm lens on a plastic compact cam? OK, you might say, he doesn't, he doesn't need to. Well...

I think that you do not need the best equipment available in order to shoot great photos, but without a decent equipment shooting fantastic images is very hard if not virtually impossible. Sometimes you might get an amazing shot but not on a reliable basis.

But then, I am a gearhead, I cannot be objective with such a question. ;)

Now, I'm off to read Roger's article...

PKR
07-18-2010, 01:40
The stunt of getting good pics from disposables is just that - a (substantially pointless) stunt. Bert Hardy did it for Picture Post in the 1950s wth a Box Brownie. Of course a good photographer can produce good pics with an extremely limited camera, working within its limitations. This is one of the points I make in my 'Does Equipment Matter' article on the site. But so what? As soon as you need different focal lengths, or faster lenses, or controllable shutter speeds, or control of depth of field, or even rapid wind-on, the stunt is exposed for what it is.

Cheers,

R.

So, you're saying it was a "stunt" and didn't prove anything? Naturally no one thinks a point and shoot is going to do the job of 5 radio-remoted cameras at a sporting event. I don't think these folks are foolish. You know many of those stunt guys worked with a minimal amount of gear. Penn and Avedon used 8x10 and fixed lens (Avedon had a Mamiya c330 too) TLR cameras. For commercial work you take what you need for the job. No argument. I think for most of the equipment guys, the time and money would be better spent in a gallery looking at paintings. p.

TareqPhoto
07-18-2010, 02:28
Yes, it does, it does, it does
I don't want to hear anything else, just it does means it does........

Roger Hicks
07-18-2010, 03:03
So, you're saying it was a "stunt" and didn't prove anything? Naturally no one thinks a point and shoot is going to do the job of 5 radio-remoted cameras at a sporting event. I don't think these folks are foolish. You know many of those stunt guys worked with a minimal amount of gear. Penn and Avedon used 8x10 and fixed lens (Avedon had a Mamiya c330 too) TLR cameras. For commercial work you take what you need for the job. No argument. I think for most of the equipment guys, the time and money would be better spent in a gallery looking at paintings. p.

Well, the only thing it 'proved' was something that everyone knew anyway, viz., that a good photographer can get good pictures working within the limitations of the gear. So yes, it was a stunt. And pointless unless you'd never seen the same stunt performed before, which it has been, many times, back to the dawn of snapshot cameras in the 1880s.

Very few 8x10 cameras have a fixed lens (in fact, even those with 'fixed' lenses do allow the use of other objectives) and of course the Mamiya C-series aren't fixed-lens either.

Looking at paintings? It's certainly a good idea, but I'd back looking at photographs as being a lot more important, because the lighting is a bloody sight more difficult (the vast majority of paintings are, in photo terms, 'HDR').

I'd completely agree that a trip to the Rencontres Photographiques d'Arles will do most photographers more good than spending the same money on yet another of the same camera (replacing last year's Nikon with this year's Canon, Gandolfi with Deardorff, etc.) but then again, this assumes they are photographers. There are plenty of people who, despite their protestations, are more interested in acquiring more gear than in becoming better photographers. And who are we to deplore their choice? Click on the site link in my signature and for a week you'll see the current Short Schrift about the 'one camera, one lens' fantasy (it'll be accessible in the back issues after that). For last year's Arles, see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/arles%202009.html. I'm still working on this year's report (I got back on the 12th of July).

Cheers,

R.

igi
07-18-2010, 03:19
Gear matters...

but a moment captured is a moment captured

We could wish that photos of the Tank Man could have have been a little more perfect with better equipment but it simply cannot be

PKR
07-18-2010, 04:11
Well, the only thing it 'proved' was something that everyone knew anyway, viz., that a good photographer can get good pictures working within the limitations of the gear. So yes, it was a stunt. And pointless unless you'd never seen the same stunt performed before, which it has been, many times, back to the dawn of snapshot cameras in the 1880s.

Very few 8x10 cameras have a fixed lens (in fact, even those with 'fixed' lenses do allow the use of other objectives) and of course the Mamiya C-series aren't fixed-lens either.

Looking at paintings? It's certainly a good idea, but I'd back looking at photographs as being a lot more important, because the lighting is a bloody sight more difficult (the vast majority of paintings are, in photo terms, 'HDR').

I'd completely agree that a trip to the Rencontres Photographiques d'Arles will do most photographers more good than spending the same money on yet another of the same camera (replacing last year's Nikon with this year's Canon, Gandolfi with Deardorff, etc.) but then again, this assumes they are photographers. There are plenty of people who, despite their protestations, are more interested in acquiring more gear than in becoming better photographers. And who are we to deplore their choice? Click on the site link in my signature and for a week you'll see the current Short Schrift about the 'one camera, one lens' fantasy (it'll be accessible in the back issues after that). For last year's Arles, see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subscription/arles%202009.html. I'm still working on this year's report (I got back on the 12th of July).

Cheers,

R.


Roger;
I’m new here.

When I began posting to this thread, I knew that you spawned the thread. I didn’t, at the time, realize that you were “in the business of reviewing photo equipment”. In the light of that knowledge, I think it would be foolish of me to continue our exchange.
I understand that you like photo equipment. I have nothing against photo gear; I own a bunch. When the cases are packed and stacked, they are about 5 feet high. Again, the guy behind the camera makes the photo. The gear is a means to an end. Most the work I generated over the years was made with one camera and 3 or 4 lenses. Now with zooms, it would be one camera and one lens. I wonder what kind of brushes Vermeer favored? How many did he have?

I advocate people taking photos with whatever equipment they may have or can easily afford. You say “Of course a good photographer can produce good pics with an extremely limited camera, working within its limitations”. I would think that unless you’re taken with rubbing up against your photo gear for fun, one would spend ones time striving to become one of those “good” photographers.

Spend your money on film-digital capture materials and museum and gallery visits. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the latest camera gear to get great photos you can be proud of, though many photo equipment manufactures will disagree. Cartier-Bresson cautioned his friend Koudelka to take care of his eye, not his Leica.

Cheers to you we just disagree, p.

Chris101
07-18-2010, 05:09
Roger;
I’m new here.
...[/SIZE][/COLOR]

As you are new, I have a suggestion. Do not try to over ride the default color/size/face selections when posting. It makes your posts difficult to read in color schemes (they are user selectable) other than the one you have.

I'm sure your latest rebuttal is salient to the discussion, it's just that, for members with light backgrounds, it is nearly unreadable.

PKR
07-18-2010, 05:20
As you are new, I have a suggestion. Do not try to over ride the default color/size/face selections when posting. It makes your posts difficult to read in color schemes (they are user selectable) other than the one you have.

I'm sure your latest rebuttal is salient to the discussion, it's just that, for members with light backgrounds, it is nearly unreadable.

I'll try. When posting real time, the system has been loggin me off in the middle of writing and I loose my content. i tried to pick a reverse color that matched. i'll look for a better one. Thanks, p.

PKR
07-18-2010, 05:27
I'll try. When posting real time, the system has been loggin me off in the middle of writing and I loose my content. i tried to pick a reverse color that matched. i'll look for a better one. Thanks, p.


Is this any better?

Charlie Lemay
07-18-2010, 05:44
Love of gear and vision in photography are not mutually exclusive in my experience. Back when I was a kid the picture magazines would occasionally give a monkey a camera and then publish the result as the work of some new photographic genius before revealing the ruse. Avedon, or monkey, the individual images were great. More gear means diversity. You can make a great folk tune with just three cords on a guitar, but that does not diminish what Motzart does with an orchestra. People who insist on limits for themselves need these limits to push against to summon up a creative response, but different people need different limits. Recognizing that these are self-imposed, rather than absolute is a step in maturity within the personal creative process. It's liberating to know that you chose your limitations. I absolutely love gear and absolutely love selecting from an arsenal of wonderful tools that each add their own unique contribution to my seeing.

Jason808
07-18-2010, 06:44
Photography is a technology derived art and technology has impact on the aesthetic - study of gear and lust for gear is natural.

It's just important to know when to say "when" and just go take pictures with what you have.

_mark__
07-18-2010, 08:15
"First of all, you have to have a bad camera" Miroslav Tichy

Roger Hicks
07-18-2010, 08:53
"I advocate people taking photos with whatever equipment they may have or can easily afford. You say “Of course a good photographer can produce good pics with an extremely limited camera, working within its limitations”. I would think that unless you’re taken with rubbing up against your photo gear for fun, one would spend ones time striving to become one of those “good” photographers." (PKR)

First sentence: so do I.

Last sentence: as you say, you're new here... But surely you'd be an idiot to struggle with a camera you don't like, or with a camera that won't do what you want it to, if you have an alternative. You may choose a box camera or a Leica or an 11x14 inch Gandolfi, but trying to become a 'good photographer' with the wrong camera is a mug's game. The purpose of photography is either taking good pictures or simply enjoying yourself taking any old pictures, or a mixture of both. It is not purifying the soul through suffering, unless that's what turns you on.

I'm not sure we are disagreeing, except perhaps about whether asking a good photographer to use a snapshot camera is a stunt or not. The Vermeer thing is a complete red herring: all of the painters I know are fairly passionate about the equipment and materials they use. And most of the professional and amateur photographers are pretty picky too. If they can't get what they want, they'll use second best - we all will - but to pretend that there are no personal preferences and that all cameras are the same is hardly defensible.

Cheers,

R.

Aurance
07-18-2010, 09:07
A Great PhotographerTo quote Rockwell (http://www.kenrockwell.com/) “An underlying metric for cameras is how well they get out of your way. Great cameras never get between you and your pictures. With a great camera, you can concentrate on your pictures instead trying to figure out, or wait for, your camera........the Leica is elegant because it makes it extraordinarily easy to carry and to create great images”.

I like Rockwell's phrase “Great cameras never get between you and your pictures” and perhaps he has a point? However, I feel that phrase has to be expanded upon for my accuracy, lest I truly believe that it means a great photographer can take great pictures with any camera. For me it means that the photographer understands his camera, he knows it's image capturing limitations, its strengths and he especially understands it's operation in his hands when he is working with it..........it never lets him down or gets in the way of his photography. Not every camera is great and very often one can get between you and your pictures........the wrong camera for capturing birds in flight can certainly ruin your optimism when the image has flown right past the lens before the shutter closes.

Just like painted art, photography has its many critics and to much be read into what makes a 'great photographer' and why his or her work can be defined as 'great' whilst others are not recognised. It is a fact that more great images are captured through 'opportunity' rather than planning and this can be broadened to the 'opportunity by association' such as photographers who socialise with celebrities and who later publish their images. Some will say that you become a good photographer through the ability of common sense, fortitude and tenacity to 'forward develop' your skills with your camera and concentrating on what type of pictures you wish to shoot. These actions create luck and the ability to capture (every now and again) a 'Class A' image........I would add location, material and opportunity to create that luck!

Some will say that a good photographer can 'see the picture' before it is captured. This is what makes them 'stand out' as photographers and able to use the camera in a way that others cannot. This is portrayed as a 'gift' rather than achieved through teachings or experimentation or indeed experience of use. I am sure than many photographers would like to assume the mantle of being 'gifted' but I doubt very much that being gifted is the reality? The only time that a photographer actually 'sees the picture' is after he has fired the shutter.

Recognition of a persons photographic talent is a 'fickle' thing and sometimes it is very difficult for others to agree on that recognition. It is very easy to 'see the picture' after it turns out to be a good one but how many negatives have been binned or digital images have been deleted that were also 'seen in advance' of that shutter firing? I admit that you do have a 'sense of feeling' that the image is right when you frame it and fire the shutter but I am not so sure that the majority of 'Class A' images are seen in advance - I am sure that the majority of photographers 'if truth be known' actually achieve one 'Class A' image out of many images taken. How often have photographers taken a picture only to find that it does not match up to their expectations in print......if it is ever printed......these days they are usually downsized and judged on a website.

Now we have Photoshop and it becomes even harder to judge photographic talent as the real image is lost in post processing and emerges.........more often than not, bearing very little resemblance to the original. The edges become blurred between photographic talent and digital image manipulation. We even have reviewers of ‘gear’ openly admitting that they dramatically alter their images in post processing. Perhaps Rockwell as a reviewer is more honest than most, as he usually shoots Jpegs straight out of the camera onto his website? At least we have a more accurate analysis of what a photographer and his camera/lens can achieve!

One has to take onboard the reality that people have different ideas of what is a quality image. I believe that location and material are all important as these stimulate ideas and the ability to help create new photographic projects. There is no doubt that 'self satisfaction' in one's photography is all important, no matter what people think of your work and perhaps niche work is more rewarding and yes 'gear' is important for it has it's photographic rewards in handling.


Sorry about the long text - its from an article on my web!

Kind regards

Richard

Gumby
07-18-2010, 09:58
Now, I'm off to read Roger's article...

I sure hope others follow your suggestion. It is one of the better articles Roger has written.

_mark__
07-18-2010, 10:00
/\ very interesting post, I think that K. Rockwell is a gear head more obsessed with the machine than most, why else would he maintain a website dedicate to it?

Photographers, published or not, have equipment preferences and I am fairly certain they are very aware of the camera between them and the subject.

It has become fashionable to say, "A camera is just a tool." but it's all about semiotics!

Roger Hicks
07-18-2010, 10:32
I sure hope others follow your suggestion. It is one of the better articles Roger has written.

Thanks, Ed.

Cheers,

R.

DanOnRoute66
07-18-2010, 10:36
What is funny is how little gear matters, and how many people with bad photographs, as next step buy more expensive gear instead of finding out why their photographs are weak...

That's why internet galleries are full of thousands of mediocre photographs made with Leicas and Hasselblads... Gear doesn't matter at all in my book (if we talk about brands) as long as the camera used can technically do the job...

Several concepts, skills and experience are a lot more important than gear, to the point of making gear secondary:

1. To know how to be in the right place, and be there.
2. To be unobtrusive.
3. To have the camera as prepared as possible.
4. To have technical skills (light, previsualization, media, camera controls and meanings...)
5. To hit the shutter in the best possible moment.
6. To decide very well the point of view.

With those well covered, it doesn't matter the camera or lens used. Decades ago all brands have enough quality. What matters in photography has NEVER been image quality or gear used, but the strength of the visual narrative an image has for emotional communication... No gear is better than other gear there: that's why it doesn't matter...

Basically there are people who look at gear and tests and reviews, and people who look at what an image conveys... When you go deep in any of those two visions, you don't care too much about the other one... One of those visions crowns brands, and the other one crowns photographers. One is related to engineering, crafts and precision, and the other one is related to creation, feelings and art.

Cheers,

Juan

Very well stated, Juan!

Juan Valdenebro
07-18-2010, 16:46
Thanks, Dan... Hey! You made a photograph of Emmylou Harris! Nice shot! She looks beautiful! As I had never heard of her for a long time, for years I wondered who was that girl "Emmylou Harris" singing Evangeline with The Band in The Last Waltz... I like that song a lot...

Cheers,

Juan

paulfish4570
07-18-2010, 18:08
She's an Alabama girl, Juan ... :)

Juan Valdenebro
07-18-2010, 18:12
Then I could go there one of these days... :)

Cheers,

Juan

raid
07-18-2010, 18:21
I am reaching a point in my life where it is becoming boring to get lenses and cameras for enjoyment of collection and occasional use. I am much more interested in taking photos with any gear, but since I have really good gear, I might as well use what I have. I find myself not even looking at threads about lenses and cameras anymore.
I sold equipment to get a 75mm Lux. I find this lens to be superb. Do I actually need such a lens? I really doubt it.

Neare
07-18-2010, 18:23
You just have to work with what you have.

A plastic lens wont take a picture that looks like it was shot with a biogon and likewise. That is not to say that a plastic lens can't take a great shot.

In photography, anything goes. It is art.

ChrisN
07-18-2010, 21:57
... OK, but how does the "real artist" shoot a lion on a safari with a 35mm lens on a plastic compact cam? ...

A real artist has to be prepared to suffer for his art.

And yes, that is a silly comment, in keeping with the discussion.