Does gear make you better.......?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by AussiePhil, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    or does it just give you more technically correct images.
    This question came to mind as i finally reorganise all my digital images into a DAM tool and i'm currently moving images from 2005 and ran across these two that suggest I am no better as a photographer... I just have sharper more technically correct photo's these days that don't always have soul
    These two images taken with an Olympus E300, the camera that really kicked me into enjoying photography again.
    The forum is littered with a lot of my current photos so i wont double up

    Thoughts and comments welcome and encouraged, lets discuss this.

    This one reminded me that i rarely search for these sorts of photo's yet when i see them i like them, the geometric architecture style shots.
    31740087164_c9353b1c1a_h. 001143-_2115286 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

    This one questions the need for 500 stops of DR, yes it would (and is) a completely different photo when the shadows are lifted but it looses "something"... maybe the intrigue and mystery of what is waiting as the day unfolds after sunrise....
    BTW I'm not a sunrise person so have no idea why this photo even exists :) 
    31740089204_78cf6db341_h. 001151-_2115271 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
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  2. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    From a personal point of view, I would say equipment will allow you more options, or provide tools to overcome challenges.
    If you have the tools to create the images you aspire to, and you are able to then do so, does that not make you a better photographer?

    I can create magazine quality images with a compact camera, and have done so [ The importance of light! ], although it takes an awful lot more thought, time and effort to get to the end product.
    A bridge camera in the same situation, would have produced results quicker.

    That said, if basic camera skills and creativity are lacking in the photographer, I doubt "bigger and better stuff" would actually help.
    Incidentally Phil, we are our own worse critic when it comes to our own work.

    Personally, I dislike photographing landscapes. Actually, I hate it. I enjoy seeing the landscape work of others, and I will photograph scenes I come across that I believe are photogenic. And yet my landscape work is often praised, which, between you and me, I take with a barrel of salt!
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2017
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  3. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    yes. Nice equipment give me that extra interest that pushes me to make a better photo. give me a 10dollar point n shoot and I will be half good, give me that olympus 25 1.2 and I rock around like @zarias
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  4. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    Yes and no.

    1. Gear that is fun to use will let you shoot more. So you will practice more.
    2. Primes may force you walking around your object for a while searching for best angle and frame. So you will think more.
    3. Ever tried 6x9? Try to shoot like you only have 8 frames per role even with your digital. So you will think even more.
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  5. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Auto focus helps a lot with aging eyes without having to wear glasses all the time and stabilisation sure helps a lot in low light. Yes good gear helps me to take the pictures I am trying to take. Hopefully skills will improve to help with the rest.
  6. wimg

    wimg Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 10, 2016
    Actually knowing what you do and why is the most important aspect, equipment comes second. Good equipment helps, and may create opportunities which you could not maybe have gotten with less good equipment, but that is true for all activities which require equipment of one sort or the other. Of course of the utmost importance is to know your equipment well to get the most out of it.
    In addition, as mentioned higher up, new and better equipment may give you more enjoyment doing what you like to do.

    As to DR: I think maximum DR ever measured was about 24 stops, from brightest light to true black so a DR of 500 is not necessary. Even so, 24 stops would mean a different RAW or jpeg, 16-bit would have to become at least 24-bit, multiplied by at least 3 for the different colours (ideally 4 for extra brightness info), IOW, going from the current 3 bytes per pixel in RAW before compression to double that for the extra DR. Of course for a DR of 500 that would be +/- 512-bits, times 4 for storing the info, or 28 bytes per pixel. I do not think we have the desktop PCs or laptops to cope with image files like that at a reasonable speed yet ;) .

    Kind regards, Wim
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  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Odd that this subject should come up now, as over the last week I have been delving back to around 40 years ago, and am revisiting and digitising some of my first negatives shot when I was a student.

    What has been interesting has been how many of the compositions and even subjects matter have stuck with me over the years.

    Of course the technical quality has improved over the years, and the increased disposable wealth and travel opportunities have widened my pallette of shots and subjects. However I have noticed that regardless of the actual camera I have in my hand, and that has included Zenith, Practica, Nikon (Film and Digital), Canon, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic and various Leicas, that I remain the same photographer.

    Two shots brought this home to me.

    The first is of my youngest cousin from around 1979 probably taken with a Practica (East german budget film SLR), using XP1 , a 400 ISO film stock


    Now I forwarded this shot to my cousin, as I thought it was a sweet shot that she would never had seen (I hadn't seen it printed ever !!!)

    She then pasted it on Facebook....alongside this shot I took of her daughter last October, using the E-M1 and the 45/1.8


    Both shots work for me on an artistic and emotional level......but is one 'better' than the other

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  8. marz

    marz Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Jul 5, 2011
    Pyrenees, France
    That film image is soooo noisy@400 iso :p 
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  9. geoawelch

    geoawelch Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 18, 2011
    George Welch
    Gear can definitely make you better, but is way overblown in importance IMHO. When I used to shoot weddings, the advent of the Canon 5D Mark III and really usable high ISO allowed me to do things and shoot places I was not able to before.

    Too often though, I find today's photographers just aren't (or don't take the time to be) proficient in understanding exposure, composition, etc. that have always been the basics of photography. Once mastered, they work across all formats and types of photography.
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  10. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    I think these two photos are unfare to be compared, the first film pic is in my view better composed and has a more balanced lightning, if you had both shots at the same girl, same everything, I think that the digital could have been easier to process and you could have lower that noise a bit etc etc.
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  11. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    Think you are slightly missing the point, I am trying to make, that over 40 years and using significantly different equipment, that the underlying part of me that is the photographer hasn't changed.

    Better equipment/technology allows me to deliver better technical quality images, but the emotional/artistic aspects are completely unrelated to the equipment

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  12. greenboy

    greenboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    point missing is the point of the internet ; }

    these same types of questions are raised on musician forums, motorcycle forums etc. really not much to discuss. all seems pretty self evident to all but those in denial: people will continue to buy newer stuff for various ergonomic, technical, and esthetic reasons just as the marketplace will continue to provide items for them to buy making supposed or actual improvements. and people will then use it to do what they do, maybe scratching itches that were never satisfied, maybe to take it in different directions.
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  13. fransglans

    fransglans Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 12, 2012
    Kevin, you asked a question, "is one better than the other"

    and I found it a bit unfare, for me the first one was a clearly better photo, but imo it would have been even better with a modern camera due to that over the top harsh grain
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  14. DanS

    DanS Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 8, 2016
    Central IL
    Gear can make you better from a technical standpoint assuming you know how to use it, but it does nothing to help you artistically.
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  15. Leighgion

    Leighgion Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 1, 2012
    Madrid, Spain
    Leigh L Pang
    Equipment can't make you better. You are what you are even with no equipment.

    However, the right equipment can bring out the best in you. Note that I say "right" and not "better."

    Technically more advanced hardware offers more possibilities, but more doesn't always produce better results. Pair of the right piece of hardware with the right person at the right time though, and magic can happen.
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  16. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    A couple of days ago, in an other thread, I posted what I feel is my best photo ever.
    I couldnt have done it with a P&S, because I wanted nothing sharp in the photo, so turned the focusring.

    So i needed something with a lens that can defocus/unfocus.

    For my normal crap photos I am glad I have IBIS and a set of nice lenses.
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  17. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    it was a rhetorical question, which is why I put 'better' in quotes :) 

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  18. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Kevin and many others in what is actually to me an interesting thread have largely got and articulated better than myself what i was thinking.

    I also think that sometimes as the equipment gets better we loose sight of emotion behind the image whilst chasing the technically perfect photo in whatever way it's technical to you.
    Yes new cameras and lenses can make it easy but in looking back 10-12 years at my early digital stuff i find myself wondering if i've lost a little despite an intense passion to go out and use all the new wonderful gear that honestly i wouldn't give up!!

    What it has reminded me and I hope others that may read this thread that great photo's (of your own and others) are often timeless and have that little bit of soul that doesn't care about what camera and lens was used.
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  19. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2014
    Canberra, ACT, Aust
    Hi Wim, yeah i know that, the 500 DR was really a hyperbolic dig at the "we need more DR" brigade....... sometimes and likely more than currently used we should use less DR in an image.... just because your camera has 10-11-12 whatever stops doesn't mean the final image needs to
  20. greenboy

    greenboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

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