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If gears don't matter, why do pros use expensive stuff?
I am guessing, as I don't really know a pro photographer in person..

But it seems the although "Camera does not matter.""Gears don't matter".

Every experienced posters who say these own the most expensivegear. E.g. f/2.8 zooms..

So it keeps me wondering. I don't mean to say they are telling lies.I think they have good intention. But, these posters ALL have expensivegears...

Comments (32)

Expensive gear offers more options and control, and better quality. A creative photographer can take a good picture with a $5 camera but there are many shots that are just very difficult or impossible with a $5 camera..

A camera is a tool and just like any other tool a well built, well designed tool will allow me to use it for it's function better faster longer. Imagine a screw driver, I could buy a cheap 6" hand tool or a expensive power drill with screwdriver bits and a high quality screwdriver hand tool set. The expensive option will allow me to work faster and work more situations, but that doesn't mean I can't do 95% of the same thing with the cheap option..

And then there is Durablity... A pro cannot afford to work with equipment that is not quality..

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Comment #1

IMHO, 90% of the general public will never learn enough about photography to be able to shoot better pics than what your average entry-level DLSR can provide... Another 9% have the talent, skill, and desire to get the most out of a mid-level dSLR, but only about 1% have what it takes to REALLY NEED that top-tier camera.....

I remember a poll about driving - 90% of drivers think they are above average... I bet the same applys here - 90% of photogs think they are in that 9%... and I bet half think they because they have sold a pic or two (or want to), they are in that 1% too....

In racing, they say, "you can buy horsepower, but you can't by skill" - that applies here too....

Current digital camera: my cell phoneAnd now a SP-570!..

Comment #2

But a pro is competing with everyone else for the money. If the most expensive "stuff" gives him even the tiniest edge over someone else it may be worth it to him..

Sometimes the gear is "company owned" and he has no choice..

Sometimes it is a confidence builder..

The amateurs who buy the big guns do so because they can and want you to know it. Most (not all) won't use even a basic camera to it's limits..

If you think that makes sense, then you must have read someone else's post!..

Comment #3

If you're shooting candid portraits on the street, you probably don't need a 600mm lens coupled with 8fps and a really fast tracking AF system..

If you're shooting a professional football game, in the evening, you probably should aim a little higher than a Digital Rebel with the kit lens (despite what those ridiculous commercials imply). That 'rebel with kit lens' also isn't going to be very useful for -most- birds in flight, since if they're at any kind of altitude at all, they're going to be mere specks in the frame...

Comment #4

Yes, I suppose I would believe camera doesn't matter onlyif all pros use a cheap camera.As you said, expensive cameras do have features/abilitiesthat lesser ones don't...

Comment #5

Pro's use expensive gear for two reasons, reliability and low light capability...

Comment #6

I think the way that it should be said is "The camera doesn't matter if you don't know what you are doing.".

In other words, buying the best gear on the planet won't help you much if you don't know how to use it. Having all f2.8 glass is of no advantage if you don't know when to change the working aperture to something below f4..

Oh you may still get some stunning shots in good conditions, but even without the skills, you could be getting the same keepers with a much cheaper camera. When conditions aren't as favorable is where the skill factor comes in. Better gear matters when you know how to take advantage of it. Better gear doesn't help at all if you leave it on Auto..

By the way, I often reccomend higher than average gear if I think the person asking has the potential to make use of it. Always give yourself growing room. But if you just "want something that takes good pictures without me having to fiddle with it" like a lot of people, then the camera really doesn't matter. Most will do just fine in the situations where any camera will work. None will work well in the harsh situations if the users is clueless..

Hope that helps..

Chefziggyhttp://www.pbase.com/chefziggy/lecream.

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Comment #7

In addition, they are making money on their photos. As others have said, the majority of us are doing it for fun. They are using the best "tools" for thier trade..

Mike.

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Comment #8

How about speed, AF accuracy, battery capacity, built in portrait grip, buffer size, write speed, etc. There are quite a number of reasons a pro might go with better equipment..

Mweb wrote:.

Pro's use expensive gear for two reasons, reliability and low lightcapability..

Leonhttp://homepage.mac.com/leonwittwer/landscapes.htm..

Comment #9

KennethKwok wrote:.

Every experienced posters who say these own the most expensivegear. E.g. f/2.8 zooms..

It's all relative. My backup camera has a F2.8 zoom on it 35-420mm with F2.8 throughout. It's a Panasonic FZ1 that cost me under $300..

Seriously, I think what most people who say that are trying to say is that a good photographer can likely make good use out of just about anything, but a bad photographers lacking skills are not likely to improve much by throwing $15,000 worth of gear at him..

For what it's worth, I've seen plenty of professional caliber results posted here from people owning my same camera a Panasonic FZ50 point-n-shoot/"bridge" camera that cost me $412. As long as I continue to see people getting shots like those, I'll be more than happy to use my "cheap" gear and strive to improve my photography skills so that I can finally get similar results..

ChrisEffzeeone now has a Effzeefifty!(Gear in profile)Wanted: DSLR that does everything my FZ50 does (I'm patient)..

Comment #10

I understand the need for more expensive gear... I just want to see what comes out of this:.

How about the old time photographers, such as Cartier Bresson, or other sports and wild life photographers, who were able to take pictures with cameras that, though expensive for their time, for todays standards they would be a cheap thing? They had no 10fps camera with a light(er) carbon fibre 500mm F2.8 glass with the same quality as today and an VR/IS system for a soccer match. Nor could they change ISO or see the pictures they had doubts that they took (though not exclusive of expensive cameras)..

What are your opinions?.

Felipe Teixeira.

Fuji A310 (drowned)Oly C770 (stolen)Nikkormat (shutter won't work)Nikon FM - Nikkor 50mm F1.8 (gotta love it)Nikon D40 + kit (so far, so good).

Http://terrera.multiply.com..

Comment #11

Mweb wrote:.

Pro's use expensive gear for two reasons, reliability and low lightcapability..

Also:Faster and more sophisticated AFFaster frame rateBetter ergonomics (Dedicate buttons for most things. No diving into menus!).

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #12

Chris Elliott wrote:.

Also:Faster and more sophisticated AFFaster frame rateBetter ergonomics (Dedicate buttons for most things. No diving intomenus!).

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #13

Okay, you want to learn to play guitar and you have a friend who's a very good guitarist and a professional musician. so you ask him or her to recommend a guitar. of course, they're going to say to you just get something decentish and basic. they're most likely not going to tell you to get some custom-made insanely expensive one. you might not enjoy learning... you might not be particularly good at it...



A professional musician, and a good musician knows what's involved in getting there. they might have wonderful instruments but having wonderful instruments doesn't make for a good musician. that's something you can't buy. good photographers who say "the camera doesn't matter" and have great gear aren't hypocrites. it's just they know it takes more than great gear...

Comment #14

I know a few professionals that put expensive lenses onto fairly basic bodies, on the view that the lens matters more to image quality than the body. This is especially true if they need several back up bodies, or like to have several camera/lens combinations pre-mounted and ready to use instantaneously..

Then there are award winning photojournalists that have used compact P&S cameras..

And there are artists still shooting wall-sized scenes on old-fashioned film view cameras (cheap to buy nowadays), that sell the prints for $10,00 and up..

However, I do agree with the line of thought that most wedding photogs get better respect from the crowd with a more impressive camera/gear, especially as so many wedding guests will now show up with a Canon 40D or similar..

All of these thoughts are in addition to the excellent points made above by others. In the short answer, you need to pick horses for courses...RobertOlympus E-3 & E-500, 7-14mm, 14-54mm, 40-150mm, 30mmOlympus 1030SW P&SYashica Lynx-1000..

Comment #15

View Cam is camera that uses 4" x 6" film right? Or even larger?I suppose View Cam is regarded higher qualitythan hasselblad, any Canon, Nikon..

Robert999 wrote:.

And there are artists still shooting wall-sized scenes onold-fashioned film view cameras (cheap to buy nowadays), that sellthe prints for $10,00 and up...

Comment #16

KennethKwok wrote:.

View Cam is camera that uses 4" x 6" film right? Or even larger?I suppose View Cam is regarded higher qualitythan hasselblad, any Canon, Nikon..

Robert999 wrote:.

And there are artists still shooting wall-sized scenes onold-fashioned film view cameras (cheap to buy nowadays), that sellthe prints for $10,00 and up..

The standard sheet film size is 4"X5". There are, for some unknown reason, smaller sizes, and you can get bigger sizes like 8"X10"..

A view camera is a camera where you set it up on a tripod and compose the picture on a ground glass-that's an actual sheet of frosted glass located where the film goes. After you're satisfied with the composition and focus, you put a film holder in and then expose the film..

As you can imagine from the above description, using a view camera is a slow-paced activity. But you can't beat the quality. A 4"X5" negative is far bigger than the 2-1/4" square Hasselblad negative and immense compared to 35mm or APS digital. If you want the best sharpness (and your subject isn't moving), you can't do better than a view camera..

You can also, for ridiculous amounts of money, get digital backs for view cameras. These produce spectacular results too. I'm not sure if they're better than film but they're very good..

In the days of film, I shot a lot of 4X5 and some 8X10. What's good about large format is that it's easy to get great quality. It's very hard to ruin a 4X5 negative and Tri-X when it's that big doesn't have any grain. And a 4X5 Ektachrome seems to glow in it's own light..

Leonard Migliore..

Comment #17

Easy to explain using cars as an example. A pro rally driver can drive your car better and faster than you. But your car is not suitable to win a rally, regardless of HIS talents. Similarly, a pro photographer can take great pictures with a basic camera. But....

Http://lordofthelens.co.nz/..

Comment #18

Doesn't have to be film either:.

Http://www.betterlight.com/.

I don't have one, but I wish....

Http://lordofthelens.co.nz/..

Comment #19

Thanks so much. I have been wondering what view cam are.Very good explanation..

When I was in primary and secondary school some twenty years+ago, I went to a photo studio to have 2.5 inch x 2 inch school photostaken.I did remember the camera man uses a camera that looks like atrolley. I believe he has the black cloth as well. He needs totake a large wooden board (?Film back) backand forth. Very occasionally he does a polaroid to make sure.I suppose that's the magnificent view cam then.Do you think so?.

The prints are not expensive at all.I have to wonder how I could have the "highest quality" photofor such a low price..

Are these the "large format"And Hasselblad (which I thought was king of camera) is only "mediumformat", and around twice the sensor/film size of a 35mm..

I am very happy to find out about this. Thanks for your help..

Leonard Migliore wrote:.

A view camera is a camera where you set it up on a tripod and composethe picture on a ground glass-that's an actual sheet of frosted glasslocated where the film goes. After you're satisfied with thecomposition and focus, you put a film holder in and then expose thefilm...

Comment #20

There are quite a few examples of LF camerawork on the web. I was just looking at these today:.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/spodzone/sets/72157600014660561/.

I am personally going to buy a Shen Hao 4x5 sometime this year. I have been shooting studio and model shots quite a bit since I got my E-3, and realized I just like shooting landscapes and architecture more (which my 7-14mm lens is great for). But the quality that I can get from my Olympus just doesn't compare to what others can get from a 4x5 viewcamera, or lord forbid an 8x10. Ideally, I would use both the Oly and the LF camera - the Olympus to scout locations and shots, and the LF to actually take the end photo. And the Oly makes a good camera for travelling "light" and event/model photography..

In all I figure I will have to budget about 1500 for the LF setup, including camera, wide-angle lens and board, focus loupe, and a flat-bed scanner. If I find a good used lens that can come down a bit. And I have an HP flatbed scanner that might do the job to start with, but I will need to test it to see the quality that I can get. Considering that my E-3's 7-14mm lens costs 1100 itself, the equipment for LF is rather inexpensive - but obviously your real cost will be in film and processing (if you don't do it yourself).RobertOlympus E-3 & E-500, 7-14mm, 14-54mm, 40-150mm, 30mmOlympus 1030SW P&SYashica Lynx-1000..

Comment #21

The basic notion is that you want to have gear that is equal to or somewhat better than your needs and skills (for growth). When you do everything else right and you still don't get te results you want, it can sometimes be the gear (rare for most, but it happens). Want to go print big and get amazing quality - then optics and sensor quality really matter; want to overcome adverse conditions - then features matter..

I agree with an earlier poster - an entry level camera and lens is suitable for the vast majority..

Regards,Mike..

Comment #22

It's one of those hot button topics that spark heated arguments cuz everyone has an opinion, but IMO it does matter, otherwise pros gear wouldn't exist. In tech equipment, there's no such thing as pro ipod, but there is pro digital camera. Why?.

Here's two sides of the argument form writiers who know more than most of us:.

It doesn't matter: http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm.

It does matter: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/cameras-matter.shtml..

Comment #23

I think when people say the gear doesn't matter, it's when people are asking, "XSi or the D60 for my first dSLR?" In that case, it doesn't matter. Both cameras are very capable, and it really depends on the user..

Your question is a little vague too, because the gear does matter when you are comparing a Kodak P&S to the Canon 1Ds MKIII or something. Also, lens makes all the difference, only the body is similar..

At least that's my take on it...  ..

Comment #24

Heck, I've prolly said something like that? If I did, it was an attempt to keep it simple (and perhaps provocative)....

A better and more correct statement would be that regardless of the equipment, a good photographer can take a good pic. Cameras are just tools..

Each camera has SOMETHING it is good at. My Nikon 5700 still takes great macro shots of small flowers. My Sony R1 still takes great landscapes, portraits, and street shots. My new Nikon D300 is a perfect tool for capturing racing (car) shots and low-light candids..

But it's silly to suggest that my 5700 can compete with the D300 when I need to focus on a racing car travelling 150 MPH at night. Each of the various photographic tools we have access to have capabilities...we must learn to use each in the best way possible. Part of that learning process involves grabbing the best tool out of our kit..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700, Sony R1, Nikon D300HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/'Experience: Discovering that a claw hammer will bend nails.Epiphany: Discovering that a claw hammer is two tools...'..

Comment #25

Thanks..

Those are nice links..

So, in my hands, with same skill level,better camera and better glass still would give better photos to some extent..

Yet, probably a great difference is seen if the "class" jumped:e.g. from cell phone camera TO point and shootTO Nikon DX/APS TO Nikon Full frame/FX/35mmTO medium format TO large format..

But semi professional Nikon D300 should still look better thanconsumer Nikon D40 camera body. I asked in another thread, and mostfeel that Nikon D300 is not very heavy (!?) and it should look betterthan point and shoot.(Sony DSC-H5).

I now own Nikon:D300 + 18-200mm/3.5-5.6 + 35mm/2 + Flash SB800.

I assume that nicer and more expensive glass is not going to make muchof a difference to me, as I mainly shoot family photos, and of my 2 year olddaughter.And on that topic, would Nikon 12-24mm f/4.0 DX give me better results?Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 would be too expensive and heavy and too good for me,although every one seem to like it so much..

Professionals have professional needs which mostly do not apply to myfamily photo taking. I don't even feel brave enough to be a weddingphotographer for friends..

Many thanks...

Comment #26

From all the answers you can see that the camera does matter. If someone has the money for a D60+17-55mm why not recommend it to him? After all it IS the best..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

How many megapixels you need from a camera:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/FrameWork/charts/resolutionChartPopup.html..

Comment #27

I've seen so many people up until now who want to be moderate (but denying) about camera things, or in this brand vs that brand debates, saying "it's the man, not the camera". Trying to standout from the crowd of feud, and saying that they are the best that whatever camera you give them should do the job well, trying to make the "camera-oriented people" feel that the whole debate is rubbish..

"The man, not the camera" is absolutely right, in certain term. In reality, could you shoot a shining full moon above you with a cellphone camera, or a super compact camera? No, you'll end up with a black background with a bright white ellipse, nothing more. Not to mention how severe the blur would also become..

In old real feuds like in canon vs nikon's, with "can you shoot in low light with ISO 3200?". Yes you can with both, but will end up with a very different result. One is better and a lot more usable. You can shoot exactly the same very attractive angle with both, but yield a different result. Today, the feud heated again when things are turning upside down. The other said "I can make images from a cellphone as good as ones taken from SLR, because I'm a great image manipulation artist, I'm good with image editors".

Imagine shooting a racing car in action from a distant, you'll get every detail from the high megapixels of the SLR, the high shutter speed that freezes time at above 1/1000s, more focused object with long zoom lens, etc., etc. What would you think such image manipulation artist do with his cellphone image of the racing car at exactly the same event..?.

The angle, and the result, implying that there are different terms..

In short, "the man" defines the angles taken, composition etc., to make photographs, while "the camera" providing features, and quality in processing the images. The race in camera world is all about image quality, never in photography quality. Photography is an art so that it belongs to the man, while the image merely belongs to the sensor, circuitry, and mechanical things..

So when people are feuding about noise performance, or this and that of particular cameras, don't stand out in between and say such silly things as "the man only". It's a denial. You'd absolutely pick your SLR instead of your pocket P&S when you want higher quality images, right?..

Comment #28

I do not agree with your conclusion (D60), but I DO agree that a camera DOES indeed matter...

Comment #29

KennethKwok wrote:.

I am guessing, as I don't really know a pro photographer in person..

But it seems the although "Camera does not matter.""Gears don't matter".

Every experienced posters who say these own the most expensivegear. E.g. f/2.8 zooms..

Pro line lens's resolve higher LPM than Consumer Line Len's, They produce more detail and sharpness in the final image. typically 15%-25% more...The Material used is less plastic and more alloys, and the optical elements are corrected to a tighter CA tolerance and Flair tolerance. Most are also weather sealed for light rain and snow conditions....

They are heaver to use in the longer zooms. The Consumer/Semipro Len's, for the most part are more than acceptable in sharpness and resolution for most of us soccer dads/moms, and some of us amateur hobbyist. A few may need an exotic lens for specialized applications (Birding comes to mind)..

The bodies are similar too...Better Build materials, Faster AF, Faster Exposure advance to the next capture, Duel CPU's, larger Buffer, Better High ISO performance, Tighter Build body Tolerances, FP Shutter is built for over 100,000 plus exposures..

For most of us, as mentioned in many other posts, these advantages may not be utilized without proper knowledge of application of them to take full advantage of there possibilities..

PLA54 (Udaman).

So it keeps me wondering. I don't mean to say they are telling lies.I think they have good intention. But, these posters ALL have expensivegears..

PLA54..

Comment #30

KennethKwok wrote:.

Yes, I suppose I would believe camera doesn't matter onlyif all pros use a cheap camera.As you said, expensive cameras do have features/abilitiesthat lesser ones don't..

Hi,.

Most pro's and their camera have less features: pro's use their brains not mode and scene menus. And a lot of them were happily using the Pentax K1000 until digital came along. And look at film cameras for pro's. Feature-less by today's digital standards. MF only gave you focusing by hand, TTL metering and that was that. Not even "P" mode, or "A" mode or "S" mode..

Af was the only "feature" people jumped for joy over... Except those with CRF's..

And have a look at a 10" x 8" or the baby %2x4" for cameras without "features"..

Regards, David.

PS Also a point; customers expect you to have the latest gear. Try turning up to do a wedding with (say) a M2, three rolls of film, flash gun, a meter and a couple of lenses and you'll not get any more work.....

Comment #31

Hi,.

Much as I liked the pictures in the link, I can't see what the point was. View, stand or tech cameras are mainly used because of the lens and film movements possible. Meaning taking pictures with the lens and film nothing like they are in a digital but twisted all over the place for perspective and sharpness control. Look up Scheimpflug and Sinar on Google for enlightenment..

And a word or two about the costs; the last box or two of 5" x 4" sheet film I picked up cost about 15 a box of 10 sheets and about 3 or 4 to develop a sheet. So 45 to 55 for 10 negatives and still no prints from them. It's still un-opened somewhere but several years over it's DB date, btw....

FWIW, I think anyone can improve the quality of their pictures by sitting down one evening and RTFMing. That's something pro's do that no one else seems to think important..

Learn that aperture controls DoF and high shutter speeds (say 1/500th) stop movement and, again, you'll be way ahead of the pack..

Then spend a day playing with the camera and trying out shutter speed and aperture combinations and noting and learning from from your mistakes and, again, you'll be some way ahead of the pack..

Buy an elderly book about photography that deals with film and you'll not be distracted by the gear, but can read about composition and so on. That's far more important imo..

And invest in a tripod and cable release before trading up and wasting money. Better still, invest in a secondhand exposure meter and play with it (good ones are about 5 on ebay). You'll be amazed what you see after a while..

OK rant over; I'll take a tablet and lie down....

Regards, David..

Comment #32

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