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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 02 Jun 2009 (Tuesday) 07:57
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All about the equipment?

 
single_track
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Jun 02, 2009 07:57 |  #1

The high-end lens threads and high-end body threads have the most impressive shots here, IMO. This often feeds the 'equipment is the answer' approach. I feel that this has less to do with the equipment and much more to do with the fact that better photographers tend to buy better stuff. Nothing new about this thought that has been mentioned before.

But I wonder what the shots would look like if the 1D's and 5D's folks here all shot with a low end body and kit lens. I am sure we would see a bit less Bokeh and creative DOF, but I wonder how those shots would compare to the images currently being posted.

I know the web has many sites where great shots are posted from 'inferior' equipment. I certainly mean no offense to those shooting lower end bodies and kit lenses.

My work is too amateurish to see a difference if I started using cheaper gear. But it would be interesting to know what the cheaper body or P&S shots would look like if all the same creativity and effort went into the shots. All the while, I keep buying 'better' gear.

Sorry for the pondering - back to our regularly scheduled programming.


I always want C&C on my shots.
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bric-a-brac
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Jun 02, 2009 08:34 |  #2

I think I have to agree; a large part of the problem that feeds the "equipment is the answer" issue is that a lot of the more experienced/involved photographers find it worth their while to invest more seriously in their tools if they have any option of doing so.

that being said, in college I had a lot of peers in our photo program shooting with rebels and either 18-55s or 28-135s, because that's all we could afford, and producing amazing work.


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AxxisPhoto
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Jun 02, 2009 08:52 |  #3

I have to disagree. Yes the high-end threads have the impressive shots, but most of the photographers posting there have been at it for a while and have honed thier craft. You could give any pro a P&S and the results would be amazing.
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rral22
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Jun 02, 2009 09:11 |  #4

single_track wrote in post #8034325 (external link)
The high-end lens threads and high-end body threads have the most impressive shots here, IMO. This often feeds the 'equipment is the answer' approach. I feel that this has less to do with the equipment and much more to do with the fact that better photographers tend to buy better stuff. Nothing new about this thought that has been mentioned before.

But I wonder what the shots would look like if the 1D's and 5D's folks here all shot with a low end body and kit lens. I am sure we would see a bit less Bokeh and creative DOF, but I wonder how those shots would compare to the images currently being posted.

I know the web has many sites where great shots are posted from 'inferior' equipment. I certainly mean no offense to those shooting lower end bodies and kit lenses.

My work is too amateurish to see a difference if I started using cheaper gear. But it would be interesting to know what the cheaper body or P&S shots would look like if all the same creativity and effort went into the shots. All the while, I keep buying 'better' gear.

Sorry for the pondering - back to our regularly scheduled programming.

This idea is a fallacy.

An analogy might work. If you are a carpenter and you want to build a house, you will need good tools. You could do almost all of it with poor quality tools, but the job would be harder, things would break, specific tasks would be almost impossible. But you could build the house if you were a carpenter.

If you are not a carpenter, know nothing about framing and finishing a house, then going to the nearest good building supply store and buying the most expensive one of every tool they have for sale would not make you a carpenter, and the house you built would be a disaster.

Good tools are used by good craftsmen; the best tools can't make you a craftsman.




  
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Gilthanass
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Jun 02, 2009 09:47 |  #5

A good photographer will take great shots with not so great equipment. A poor photographer will take poor shots with great equipment. But that DOESN'T mean equipment means nothing in the equation.

Here is the way I see it: The better the lens/body you have, the more range you have. That means you can take great pictures in situations where other, less expensive equipment would falter. So, what happens when you put a great photographer behind inferior equipment? Well, since the great photographer understands photography, and the limits of his/her equipment, s/he will only take (or at least show off) pictures that fall within that range. They will look at their slower lens, realise they cannot attain a suitable shutter speed/ISO to get a good picture in low light (for example) and not waste their time trying for a shot that is not going to happen. By doing this, they will still take great pictures, just within the range of the available equipment.

A poor photographer, on the other hand, doesn't understand photography enough to work within their range, or doesn't understand how to do so even if their equipment is capable.

So, though I agree a great photographer can make great pictures with a lot of different types of equipment, that does not mean equipment isn't important (or you wouldn't see pros with top of the line stuff). Equipment opens up more possibilities, and makes getting the shot they want easier.


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single_track
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Jun 02, 2009 10:20 as a reply to  @ Gilthanass's post |  #6

Although I see responses like this 'idea is a fallacy', and folks disagreeing, I think we are all saying basically the same thing.

I am saying that if a pro using high end stuff started using basic equipment, their shots would still be quite impressive. The high end equipment affords a certain degree of flexibility (narrow DOF, better focus, less noise, etc.) but the fact remains that the person is contributing the lion's share of the talent, and the high end tools are 'just' enhancing that talent.

Maybe my message was not clear but I am saying these impressive shots (in the high-end equipment threads) are impressive because of the talent of the photographer, not the equipment. Better eqipment does help, for sure, but better equipment will not replace talent and experience.


I always want C&C on my shots.
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neil_r
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Jun 02, 2009 10:25 |  #7

I guess I fall into the "High end gear"bracket but I also fall into "been taking photographs for over 37 years" bracket as well.

The latter criterion is far more responsible for my successes than the former.


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single_track
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Jun 02, 2009 10:34 as a reply to  @ neil_r's post |  #8

You guess you fall into the high end equipment bracket? You have quite a collection of impressive stuff. Glad to hear (and not surprised) that it is more you than that stuff.


I always want C&C on my shots.
Gear list: 70d, 5d & 40d | 70-200L/f4 IS | 24-70L | 17-40L | Sigmalux | 17-85 IS | Opteka 6.5mm fisheye | 580exII
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com​/photos/120400139@N03/ (external link)

  
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DC ­ Fan
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Jun 02, 2009 10:38 as a reply to  @ Gilthanass's post |  #9

Sometimes the equipment makes a difference. The Nikon P80, a small superzoom point-and-shoot, offers a high frame rate function that is useful for catching action, but uses a high ISO that gives grainy images.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
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However, when you use Canon DSLR's, there's no huge difference between the overall performance of bodies and lenses. This is a 2002 image from a Canon D30 and a Tamron 28-200mm lens.

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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The D30, released in 2000, (external link) was the camera that made the difference in digital imaging. At the time, it wasn't unusual for a DSLR to cost US $5,000-$15,000. At US $3,000, the D30 was the first affordable DSLR that challenged - or exceeded - the performance of 35mm film. (external link) After the D30 came the release of a series of DSLR's, from Canon and other manufacturers, that further improved the performance for the price. Now, you can get a refurbished DSLR body for $350 that outperforms the D30 or anything made just a few years ago. The differences between today's DSLR's are in the details, and those details are nearly imperceptible under any sort of real-world viewing conditions.

The DSLR's of the 21st century have opened high-quality photography to the masses. But these cameras also have made photographic experience and expertise more important than before, because that extra ability is needed to get the best out of this wonderfully affordable and accessible equipment.



  
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CAL ­ Imagery
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Jun 02, 2009 10:54 |  #10

Expensive gear will take better pictures, not make better pictures.


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PhotosGuy
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Jun 02, 2009 11:19 |  #11

I was a PJ for ANR, a national producer/distributor of natural gas. Did pics for the monthly four-color magazine, annual reports, weekly newsletter, & audio-visual slide programs for training, public information, and other corporate communications, mostly with a 20mm, 105mm, & a 50. These are not very good copies of 35mm slides.

We covered 18 states including the Gulf of Mexico & Canada illustrating a product that can't be seen & hiding things that can! Things like, "Show the new pipeline going in. Don't show the dirt at the side."

Illustrate "The Lonely Sea" in the Gulf.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/ANR_Gulf-Rig_0013.jpg?t=1243958734

Let's see the molecules that result from coal gassification.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/Coal-flames_01.jpg?t=1243958838

I mocked up some covers here.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/ANR-Molecules-comp_01.jpg?t=1243957782

Profile an employee hunter for the company mag.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/Pheasant_0005.jpg?t=1243957910

Get an engineer in an environmental location.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/Engineer-Belle_Isle_0007.jpg?t=1243958092

Show the products that can be made from coal & natural gas. And, yes, the bikini was synthetic.

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Forum%20Junk/Jeannie-Lake_01.jpg?t=1243958500

Illustrate the Rochester balloon festival. (600mm f/5.6 - crappy scan of a slide)

IMAGE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/PhotosGuy/Samples%20-%20General/Balloons_01-1.jpg?t=1243959021

Yaddayadda. Draw your own conclusions.

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bric-a-brac
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Jun 02, 2009 11:20 |  #12

this thread reminds me of a project I've wanted to undertake for a while; studio portraits using strobes and a shoebox-pinhole camera. :P

too bad I don't have the facilities to develop B&W right now.


"a photograph isn't about what something looks like, but what it's like to look."
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JCH77Yanks
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Jun 02, 2009 17:02 |  #13

rral22 wrote in post #8034658 (external link)
This idea is a fallacy.

An analogy might work. If you are a carpenter and you want to build a house, you will need good tools. You could do almost all of it with poor quality tools, but the job would be harder, things would break, specific tasks would be almost impossible. But you could build the house if you were a carpenter.

If you are not a carpenter, know nothing about framing and finishing a house, then going to the nearest good building supply store and buying the most expensive one of every tool they have for sale would not make you a carpenter, and the house you built would be a disaster.

Good tools are used by good craftsmen; the best tools can't make you a craftsman.

Well said... I've had cheap hammers bend and break on me, sub par screwguns that would just about stop while trying to drive a 3 inch screw into a stud, and I've also had a wobbly rotating front element ruin a shot on a windy night. People who use quality gear know the specs, and know that they'll need said gear to perform up to those specs. It's all about using the appropriate tools for the job.


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sjones
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Jun 03, 2009 00:53 |  #14

JCH77Yanks wrote in post #8037568 (external link)
...It's all about using the appropriate tools for the job.

Right, and in photography, the right tool could be the cheapest camera out there.


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JCH77Yanks
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Jun 03, 2009 01:07 |  #15

sjones wrote in post #8039929 (external link)
Right, and in photography, the right tool could be the cheapest camera out there.

True indeed - a Holga is definitely the right tool for that certain look it produces...


Joe Halliday
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All about the equipment?
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