Well, it's a rather cool, windy, spring afternoon here on southern Vancouver Island...so, I thought I'd stay indoors and jot down another blog entry. I was just thinking about how the quality of our camera equipment can (and does) impact the end result from both a hands-on, practical, technical standpoint, and also from the human psychological perspective.
We often hear the phrase "a good carpenter never blames his tools" or, "equipment does not an artist make" which of course are both completely valid, however, it's not quite that simple - because gear also does indeed matter.
Sure, it's a given that no ultra expensive camera setup alone is going to teach someone how to create a stunning composition...just as no high-end editing software programme will ever be able to give someone the ability to work wonders with colour, form, structure, and space...nor have the natural aptitude to capture wonderful photographs. These skills are only achieved through a combination of inherent talent, study, constant practice, an ability to learn, dedication, plus an inner passion.
However, the equipment that we use does make a difference on two fronts.
Firstly, once a competent level of understanding and ability are achieved - using professional gear will offer a technically advanced end result. IF you do take good shots, regardless, using a top notch lens will in turn produce a superior image quality, nicer bokeh, less vignetting, and usually be much sharper throughout the entire focal range.
When you finally hit that "sweet spot" it will just be all that much better.
An expensive camera body with a more sophisticated digital sensor system & functionality will help promote and enable greater technique and allow the user to utilize a larger range of possibilities and thus increase their relative potential.
This analogy of course not only applies to photography but any art or endeavor that incorporates the use of modern technology.
Take music for example...
When I was a teenager with my first home-made guitar amp & lousy speaker cabinet, no matter how well I played, the tone always sounded rough, thin and lacklustre, which was rather uninspiring to me. Then later on, when I purchased some decent Marshall gear, it was suddenly "hey man, that sounds so sweet!"
Not only did this upgrade in equipment actually sound much better to my ears, but because of the significant improvement of tone, etc - I was encouraged (and far more importantly - motivated) a whole lot more to continue learning and thus consequently went on to play guitar for 35 years and write/record my own music.
It's just like trying to build a boat or house with cheap, poorly made tools. Yes you can probably get the job done OK, but the "finishing touches" and overall quality won't be so refined, it will end up kinda rough around the edges, and have a lesser degree of master craftsmanship.
Photography is a technical based discipline and visual medium that intertwines with an artistic component.
Secondly, we humans rely heavily upon (and respond to) "emotion" based feedback an awful lot. Therefore, if we achieve a pleasing, satisfactory & positive outcome, especially in the early stages of our endeavors, we then soldier on and overcome the obstacles that lie ahead of us. Good results inspire us and validate our self-worth, but if the initial outcome is somewhat negative or disapointing, then we often quickly lose interest and move onto something else.
So, once again - the quality of equipment used - certainly does play an important role in the information curve and operational workflow.
No, it won't make us a great photographer all by itself - but it does help "facilitate" the learning process that is required to become one. Obviously, the the better the tool (the smoother the vehicle ) the nicer the ride - the more enthusiasm & encouragement there will be. These two elements (ie the available tools & personal skills involved) are inseperable and work together in tandem. They feed off one another to produce the final result.
The next time your better-half asks why you need to keep spending so much money on camera equipment - just tell them that KEV said it's OK, coz gear really does matter.
© Kev Vincent Photography. Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.