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Invariably when you visit a photography forum these days you’ll find active discussions centered around camera gear whether its Canon vs. Nikon or the merits of medium vs. 35mm formats. At the root of these and many other debates on photography forums is the underlying question…
Do high-end cameras make you a better photographer?
The answer might surprise you…
Yes! Unequivocally high-end cameras do make you a better photographer.
Wait isn’t that counter to my comments in the most recent episode of PhotoNetCast? It certainly is, but don’t plan on blowing your savings on a high-end camera just yet. There are numerous factors that play into making someone a better photographer and certainly a top of the line camera is one of them, but not necessarily the most heavily weighted factor. One could argue either of the following two factors is more important than the other in taking great photographs… technical skills/knowledge and creativity.Â As I mentioned in PhotoNetCast episode #6 a camera whether top of the line or entry level is just a tool. How you choose to use that tool makes the world of difference.
High-end cameras in general offer a variety of technological advantages through expanded functionality, increased rates of frame capture, greater resolution, mirror lockup, improved build quality/weather sealing, expanded color ranges, etc. In this regard it’s easy to get sucked into camera gear envy, but what really makes the biggest difference is what is in your head. Great photography remains dependent on expanding one’s knowledge and experience, a much more difficult process than saving up for and buying the best camera on the market.
Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) – Learn it and remember it!
No matter what you use whether the best camera in the world or not if you’re photographing junk you’re going to get junk. This speaks to so many levels of photography whether discussing choice of photographic subjects, lighting, technical settings, creative vision, use of a tripod, lenses, reliance on Photoshop or other software applications, etc. Certainly a top of the line camera has the ability to give you superior image quality, but sub-par photography will result in sup-par photographs regardless of the camera body used.
The Mystery of Creativity
Creativity is by far one of the most elusive subjects when discussing photography. The creative process is a personal one and is often unpredictable. Two things are consistent when it comes to creativity and that is vision and ingenuity. Great photography seldom happens randomly. It begins with a vision of what the photographer wants to create and is followed by ingenuity, in the sense of problem solving, to map a course to achieve that vision. That course can face infinite obstacles, but the more knowledge and experience you bring to the table the more likely you as a photographer will be able to achieve your vision.
In that regard becoming a better photographer is as much about “It’s got to be the camera!”, as being a great basketball player is as much about “It’s got to be the shoes!” (a la the classic Nike Michael Jordan/Mars Blackmon Commercial).
[tags]photogaphy, photo, gear, camera, dSLR, philosophy[/tags]