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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Jan 2011 (Sunday) 23:07
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Does your equipment match your skill?

 
czeglin
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Jan 03, 2011 09:09 |  #46

This is inherently a question of value. Do I really need anything I use? I guess I would like to be more skillful, but I certainly don't regret my purchases. Someone with even moderate skill will notice the advantages of the pricier gear and enjoy the benefits.


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colbyb25
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Jan 03, 2011 09:13 |  #47

smorter wrote in post #11563502 (external link)
Hieu, Neil, I concede the point that additional skill is required to utilise the better equipment properly so that it improves the quality of the output.

But say I was to take away all your gear now and give you an iPhone. Will your photos be better or worse?

I personally think worse. The equipment you have right now improves your ability to capture a wider amount of subject matter and better allows you to leverage your creativity.

Therefore, again, better gear = better photos?

Colby: My view is also based on my experiences shooting professionally. I still have my old gear and I know my wedding photos will be much worse if I ditch my 5D2 and 35L/85L and 580EXII and go back to a 400D and built in flash. I know certainly in my situation, better gear = better photos.

But you miss your own point and you again use a blanket statement which isn't accurate. Your wedding photos are better with your better gear BECAUSE of your skill...that is the variable you leave out of your statement. You had to work over the years to improve your skill set before you could take advantage of the new generation of technology and gear...not the other way around.

Better gear with the right skill level = better photos

People thinking that better glass or cameras will yield them better images is misleading and as I mentioned, all that is wrong with the photography industry that has now turned into a prosumer market.

Buying more expensive equipment in no way constitutes better images on its own.


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MorganL
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Jan 03, 2011 09:19 |  #48

chomish wrote in post #11561870 (external link)
I see so many people still taking pictures with old camera systems. Most would have no problem updating but see no need in doing so. They just enjoy taking pictures.

This got me thinking what i enjoy about photography. It seems to me that i enjoy buying new lenses, bodies, and anything else that has to do with photography as much as i enjoy taking pictures.

I think my equipment is way over what i would need skill wise, but i just enjoy playing with and buying new lenses. I wish this wasn't the case because i would save alooooot of money!

Do you guys also seem to have the same problem or do you consider your skill level to match your equipment?

The only real upgrade that I think I logically made was from a 400D-40D purely because having learned on the 400D and focussing on sports (kiteboarding) the extra frames and better AF/build/ISO performance etc.. was a logical step for me, I think budget as well as skill tends to be a deciding factor in equipment purchases. I now have a 5DII because my focus yet again shifted and it was a toss up between the 5D or the mkII and the current budget when I upgraded allowed me to go for the 5DII I'm sure there are things that I'm not doing that the 5DII can do but thats all part of learning :).

Get what you can afford & if you feel it doesn't quite do what you want upgrade :).


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hieu1004
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Jan 03, 2011 09:25 |  #49

Smorter - I get what you're saying and would agree with you if you defined "better." Better is just a very broad term and like colbyb25 said, we're just going to sit here and argue semantics all day. :D

If by better you mean sharper/contrasty colors, then sure. But it doesn't change how a beginner composes his photos, chooses his subjects, lights the scene, etc.

It's a tricky argument because for an expert, the skill level (composition, lighting, etc) is already there - so the improvement in color and contrast will make the overall image "better." So yes, for an expert, better gear will complement his skill and ultimately make a "better" photograph. For a beginner, he may lack the fundamentals of a good photo (composition, lighting, subject, etc) so better equipment may just give him better colors/sharper images - not change the dynamics of composition, lighting, etc. Whether that's better, is really up to interpretation.

So better equipment MAY give sharper images, (better) colors, quality rendering while skill generates good composition, interesting subject, dynamic lighting, etc. You need all of the elements to create a compelling photograph.


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bohdank
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Jan 03, 2011 09:39 |  #50

I don't think that is a valid question. It's like asking a painter, do your brushes exceed your skills.

A camera's main function is to allow you to set an exposure using ISO/aperture/shutter speed, nothing more. The rest are features allow you, if used, to have a better opportunity to capture the image under less than ideal conditions. If you don't use them, then you have more camera then you need.

Personally, the 5DII is not more camera than I use, except for some features that serve no purpose, for me. My need in a camera is first most the best image quality at high ISO since I mostly shoot at high ISO. Second is pixels since I need to be able to crop and to print large. The more I can get away with cropping, the better. Virtually all the other features in a camera, to me, make taking an image easier, or more comfortable but do not directly address any overwhelming need, for me. If they weren't there it wouldn't affect my ability to get the shots. I'm not going to go through each one other than focus. Of course, a camera is nothing if the AF system does not meet the tasks you set out for it. In the case of the 5DII, it does, for me. It works fine and does not make my life harder. If you are a manual focus only shooter then AF is not important to you.

So, the question should be, do yo have more camera than you use. In my case, only in the "options". It's like buying a car. You might really want power windows because you use your windows a lot but you can only get it in a bundle with some other useless, to you, option.


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merp
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Jan 03, 2011 10:01 |  #51
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bohdank wrote in post #11563643 (external link)
I don't think that is a valid question. It's like asking a painter, do your brushes exceed your skills.

A camera's main function is to allow you to set an exposure using ISO/aperture/shutter speed, nothing more. The rest are features allow you, if used, to have a better opportunity to capture the image under less than ideal conditions. If you don't use them, then you have more camera then you need.

Personally, the 5DII is not more camera than I use, except for some features that serve no purpose, for me. My need in a camera is first most the best image quality at high ISO since I mostly shoot at high ISO. Second is pixels since I need to be able to crop and to print large. The more I can get away with cropping, the better. Virtually all the other features in a camera, to me, make taking an image easier, or more comfortable but do not directly address any overwhelming need, for me. If they weren't there it wouldn't affect my ability to get the shots. I'm not going to go through each one other than focus. Of course, a camera is nothing if the AF system does not meet the tasks you set out for it. In the case of the 5DII, it does, for me. It works fine and does not make my life harder. If you are a manual focus only shooter then AF is not important to you.

So, the question should be, do yo have more camera than you use. In my case, only in the "options". It's like buying a car. You might really want power windows because you use your windows a lot but you can only get it in a bundle with some other useless, to you, option.


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Bang ­ Bang ­ Boy
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Jan 03, 2011 10:07 |  #52

I have definately bought more gear than my skill level. Then again, what is skill? A good eye? Knowing how to use every feature of the camera? Producing good images?

Right now I have the second one checked and no time to go out shooting, and no motivation to do so. Winter really bums me down since I consider all snow to look the same.


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hairy_moth
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Jan 03, 2011 10:10 |  #53

smorter wrote in post #11563426 (external link)
So say I am an absolute beginner and the only thing I know how to do is to turn the camera on (insert battery, and CF card) and switch to Auto mode.

Say I take a photo with a 1000D+ 18-55 from one location, and replace it with a 7D+17-55 at the same location and take a second photo

Are you saying the 2nd combo will not yield a better photo?

Green box on the 7D is not significantly better than green box on the 1000D, so for a simple shot, the only benefit of the 7D is the resolution and frames per second. I'd even go as far as to say, because of the 'basic zones' on the 1000D (e.g., sports mode) that are absent on the 7D, the rank beginner will likely get better results with the 1000D. And taking it 1 step further, because of the absence of green box on the 1D.. in the hands of a beginner, the results with that camera will suck. :)

But, in general, I agree with you.. this forum severely down-plays the advantages provided by good gear. There is no doubt in my mind that because of the fast focus of the 7D and 70-200 (not to mention the 8 fps and extra stops provided by the lens) I have gotten pictures of my kids playing sports that I would have missed with the slow (in every way) 300D/75-300 combination that I had 2 years ago. And that is just considering the ability to capture, or not, a well framed/focused image. When you add the extra resolution of the 7D and clarity of the lens -- there is no comparison between the results I get now compared to what I could get with my old setup... IT IS NOT JUST THE PHOTOGRAPHER!

So to answer the OP's question.. I am able to take advantage of the features that the 7D has, that lesser cameras don't, so in that respect, my gear doesn't exceed my skill. But on the other hand, I see pictures on this forum and other place, taken with a rebel that make my jaw drop.. I just don't have the skills to get those results, no matter what gear I use.


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Jan 03, 2011 10:20 |  #54

bohdank wrote in post #11563643 (external link)
..............I don't think that is a valid question. It's like asking a painter, do your brushes exceed your skills. ......

I'm quite sure there are a number of artists that cpould produce better work than me with my brushes, so working on that basis, I suppose my brushes exceed my skill :lol:


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sjones
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Jan 03, 2011 10:25 as a reply to  @ merp's post |  #55

I’ve seen a series of photos taken by a photographer using a cell phone that are superior to the majority of DSLR shots I’ve seen on Flicker and related sites (note the baffling intrusion of subjectivity). One might retort: Yes, but in general, would you choose a DSLR or a cell phone? Depends on what I’m trying to achieve; what I am NOT trying to do is be defined in terms of averages or submit to mainstream expectation unless it conforms with mine.

(By the way, I’ve invested a good amount of money in this hobby, and it is not in my self-interest to see some guy using a cheap-ass cellphone to pummel my output, but so be it...I have only my skills and vision to blame.)

My creativity is a function of my mind, not my gear. True, the gear helps facilitate the manifestation of this creativity, and in this sense, gear is important (hell, you at least need a camera). The mistake, though, is to assume that it must be high-end gear or more technologically developed. For example, if you need a wide angle lens, a cheap one is going to benefit you much more than the most expensive of L telephotos. Sufficiency can overlap with quality, but not always, and if a person happily achieves their objective using a Holga, then arguing about upgrades grossly misses the point.

If a photo is boring, it will be boring; sharpness, contrast, color accuracy, low distortion, low chromatic aberration; all of this is inextricably irrelevant if the photo sucks.

Many photos, particularly in the field of photojournalism, are not as reliant on technical perfection as perhaps in other fields; this is a difficult one for some POTN members to grasp, especially those who contend that, all things being equal, the sharper photo always wins, when in fact, in many cases, it just doesn’t matter, since there are other elements of the photo that are far more compelling and important (and nor am I referring just to intentionally blurred artsy shots).

If better gear equals better photos, then we must conclude that Canon’s and Nikon’s current top end cameras (or better yet, Leica’s and Hasselblad’s medium formats) are, in the hands of excellent photographers, producing better photos than all previous cameras since the mid-19th century, irrespective of the photographer. Of course, that’s absolute crap, and as I’ve noted several times on this site, many of my favorite photographers operated during the 1920s-1930s. This period is well before my time, so nostalgia has nothing to do with it, so let’s just keep this pathetically lame and egregiously overused counterargument out of the discussion.

In the end, pushing technological perfection for all only breeds unwanted homogeneity.


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mikekelley
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Jan 03, 2011 10:28 |  #56

My skills (or my needs) exceed my gear. I am constantly struggling with what I have to get the shots I need. I finally got a tilt-shift, which will make that a lot easier, however my lighting still needs to catch up - i am severely undergunned there.

What I really need is a 1ds or a 5d2, for full-frame live view, but that would require upgrading my computer and photoshop which I don't really NEED at the moment.


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bohdank
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Jan 03, 2011 10:29 |  #57

artyman wrote in post #11563905 (external link)
I'm quite sure there are a number of artists that cpould produce better work than me with my brushes, so working on that basis, I suppose my brushes exceed my skill :lol:

Along the same vein... that would apply to pencils, also. ;-)a


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sjones
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Jan 03, 2011 10:30 as a reply to  @ mikekelley's post |  #58

Just a quick addendum, my camera and lens are very old, so my argument is not coming from someone who sits with a Canon 1D series in hand.

As far as POTN goes, particularly in comparison with other photography related sites, it is extremely and extensively gear oriented, and the deification of the L lens is excessive, so god bless those who do stress the importance of the photographer on this site.


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Jan 03, 2011 10:32 |  #59

My gear is above my skill level. It just makes me look cool.

Nick


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hieu1004
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Jan 03, 2011 10:34 |  #60

sjones wrote in post #11563964 (external link)
Just a quick addendum, my camera and lens are very old, so my argument is not coming from someone who sits with a Canon 1D series in hand.

As far as POTN goes, particularly in comparison with other photography related sites, it is extremely and extensively gear oriented, and the deification of the L lens is excessive, so god bless those who do stress the importance of the photographer on this site.

For sure - reminds me of a quote said by one of my favorite modern photographer "The best camera is the one that's with you" - Chase Jarvis. The whole book has images taken with just an iPhone.


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Does your equipment match your skill?
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