How far do you agree....


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Tweek

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with the very ubiquitous statement:

"It is not the camera that matters, but the photographer"

I only agree up to about 85%. In my own interpretation, the statement seem to be applicable more to the composition of a picture, and less to exposure, colours etc. For film SLRs, the statement is quite warranted, cos I guess most camera bodies will have accurate enough metering, and lenses are usually good enough (such that there is not too much of a difference in results produced by a consumer lens and a L lens for comparison sake). So eventually the photographer is the one who makes the picture stand out from the rest.

For digital cameras, the statement isn't totally true. With the wide range of digicams available now, we have the low-end webcam stuffs to the high-end SLRs. There are obviously big differences in the picture quality produced by these cameras. Granted that a good composition can make a picture stand out, but how about colours, noise, sharpness, CA, saturation, and many other more parameters? Undoubtedly, what makes a picture look good is more than composition. Aesthetic appeal of the picture counts too.

Also, the technical prowess of better cameras allow them to produce shots that are not/less possible with lower-end cameras. Try to get the Acer300 to take night shots, and you'll get less than satisfactory results.

In my opinion, while the above statement is a very appropriate one to encourage budding photographers to have more self-confidence and faith, it is not 100% valid in today's context, with the popularity of digital photography. But like I said, I still agree with it to 85%....:)

This is intended to be a healthy discussion, cos I really wish to hear the opinions of you guys regarding this. It has been on my mind for quite a while. Hope we can take this constructively! Thanks in advanced for those who reply. ;)

Happy New Year!
 

Jed

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I think the statement is meant to be read as, given the same camera, a better photographer will take better pictures than a not-so-good photographer. I said this in another thread, but I can train any 15 year old to take correctly exposed and well focused pictures. Getting him to take good photographs is another matter altogether. So the idea behind the statement is that sorting out the camera's job (to get the exposure and focusing correct) can be done by anyone, but the x-factor is the ability to see and compose a good photograph. Put another way, not all cameras produce good photographs, but all good photographers produce good photographs.

I would argue that even a night shot with blown out highlights, and lots of dark current noise, but composed well, is a better photograph than a poorly composed shot that is technically excellent, simply as I said above, there is more merit in the composition and artistry of the shot than in the technical perfection, since the latter can easily be solved by using a better camera or through proper instruction and a controllable camera.

If anyone gets what I am trying to say.
 

sbs99

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I believe its a good balance of both. Besides to really have a good photo...u dun need a really super high end camera to get the job done. Like wat Jed mentioned...basics like exposure and composition basics can be taught. But for the really harder (and more nicer type of shots), tend to be more achievable to the one who has "an eye" for great shots.
:)
 

Tweek

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Originally posted by Jed
I think the statement is meant to be read as, given the same camera, a better photographer will take better pictures than a not-so-good photographer. I said this in another thread, but I can train any 15 year old to take correctly exposed and well focused pictures. Getting him to take good photographs is another matter altogether. So the idea behind the statement is that sorting out the camera's job (to get the exposure and focusing correct) can be done by anyone, but the x-factor is the ability to see and compose a good photograph. Put another way, not all cameras produce good photographs, but all good photographers produce good photographs.

I would argue that even a night shot with blown out highlights, and lots of dark current noise, but composed well, is a better photograph than a poorly composed shot that is technically excellent, simply as I said above, there is more merit in the composition and artistry of the shot than in the technical perfection, since the latter can easily be solved by using a better camera or through proper instruction and a controllable camera.

If anyone gets what I am trying to say.
Thanks for your reply, Jed. Yep your point of view is refreshing, I didn't think about it this way. It's just that this statement always comes up when someone asks about a few cameras and starts comparing. In that case, it would seem like, you know, hey camera is not important, it's your skills/eye for art that matters. But we know that is not totally true, esp for digicams, like I've mentioned.

I agree with your arguments, very true stuffs. Just that somehow, the statement doesn't, at first read, seem to imply the way you interpret it. Well, to me at least. Hehe maybe I'm too shallow to interpret its true meaning, but I must say that the statement can be a little misleading, and the occasions that people use it freely make it seem to mean that the equipment is totally unimportant.

sbs99, yes I agree with you too, that's why I support the statement up to 85%. :)

Thanks Jed and sbs99 for the great discussion, anyone else to share their views?
 

erwinx

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The question is, what is a 'high-end camera'? Most digicams cost more than a Nikon F55 with 28-80 lens (S$499)! So I could consider all digicams to be 'high-end' ;)

I would consider the Nikon combo as being perfectly capable of achieving very good results (especially with night shots... can easily beat digicams which cost far more than it).

But in respect of digicams themselves, comparing a 'cheap' to a 'prosumer' digicam, besides night shots, what sorts of photos can a cheap digicam not take whereas a 'prosumer' one can?
 

mpenza

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I guess as long as the camera, whether digital or film, is not limiting the photgrapher, then the photographer would be the most important factor.

But I feel that a good photographer will use an appropriate camera for the occassion. Bringing a medium format camera for snorkeling might not yield good results, so is using a disposable camera for night shots.
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Jed
I think the statement is meant to be read as, given the same camera, a better photographer will take better pictures than a not-so-good photographer. I said this in another thread, but I can train any 15 year old to take correctly exposed and well focused pictures. Getting him to take good photographs is another matter altogether. So the idea behind the statement is that sorting out the camera's job (to get the exposure and focusing correct) can be done by anyone, but the x-factor is the ability to see and compose a good photograph. Put another way, not all cameras produce good photographs, but all good photographers produce good photographs.

I would argue that even a night shot with blown out highlights, and lots of dark current noise, but composed well, is a better photograph than a poorly composed shot that is technically excellent, simply as I said above, there is more merit in the composition and artistry of the shot than in the technical perfection, since the latter can easily be solved by using a better camera or through proper instruction and a controllable camera.

If anyone gets what I am trying to say.
Totally agree. If anyone noticed, there are several photojournalistic shots like those in National Geographic which are like out of focus, or with camera shake, etc, but they are still very good photos, in that they tell the story the photographer wanted to convey.

Regards
CK
 

Lensman

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My 2 frame's worth here.

When I was a beginner with a humble-branded camera called "Pentax", I always felt that having the Canon F-1 with the L-lenses will make a perfect shots. Afterall, I was a student surrounded by working adults in the Canon Club and the local CC's camera club. Then over rolls of practise shots, I realised that the camer will only make the picture, but it is the lensman behind it that does the work.

I have done shots which those "experts" at the photoshop on a Sat afternoon said that it is done with a Nikon body this & that lens. Didn't believe me that it is done with a "no-brand" Pentex and a Vivitar lens.

Nowadays, i used a lot of the PhD cameras (push here dummy). Fav it the $130 fujica bought over 10 yrs ago. Still functioning and serves me well for general use.

Hence my stand to that statement "It is not the camera that matters, but the photographer", is I do agree.

Originally posted by Tweek
with the very ubiquitous statement:

"It is not the camera that matters, but the photographer"
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Lensman
My 2 frame's worth here.

When I was a beginner with a humble-branded camera called "Pentax", I always felt that having the Canon F-1 with the L-lenses will make a perfect shots. Afterall, I was a student surrounded by working adults in the Canon Club and the local CC's camera club. Then over rolls of practise shots, I realised that the camer will only make the picture, but it is the lensman behind it that does the work.

I have done shots which those "experts" at the photoshop on a Sat afternoon said that it is done with a Nikon body this & that lens. Didn't believe me that it is done with a "no-brand" Pentex and a Vivitar lens.

Nowadays, i used a lot of the PhD cameras (push here dummy). Fav it the $130 fujica bought over 10 yrs ago. Still functioning and serves me well for general use.

Hence my stand to that statement "It is not the camera that matters, but the photographer", is I do agree.

I agree with 99.9% of what you said, but Canon F-1 is a very old camera. I does not take the EF-mount L lenses, only the old manual focus FD mount lenses! :) Same goes to Canon EF, Canon AE-1, Canon AE-1 Program, T series, etc.

Regards
CK
 

Snowcrash

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Originally posted by mpenza
I guess as long as the camera, whether digital or film, is not limiting the photgrapher, then the photographer would be the most important factor.
I myself is wondering on this "camera limiting the photographer" part.

Do good photographer choose a P&S camera to capture what he want to convey??
 

Lensman

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Yes yes, I am a dinosar from the manual lenses day. If I pitched myself against the latest barang barang, I might get lost with the buttons. Still, my respect for the best in the line are the manual stuff - Leicas & Hasselblad.

Originally posted by ckiang


I agree with 99.9% of what you said, but Canon F-1 is a very old camera. I does not take the EF-mount L lenses, only the old manual focus FD mount lenses! :) Same goes to Canon EF, Canon AE-1, Canon AE-1 Program, T series, etc.

Regards
CK
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Lensman
Yes yes, I am a dinosar from the manual lenses day. If I pitched myself against the latest barang barang, I might get lost with the buttons. Still, my respect for the best in the line are the manual stuff - Leicas & Hasselblad.

I see. Is your Pentax the venerable K-1000?

Regards
CK
 

StreetShooter

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Composition is only one part of the equation.

Most serious photographers eventually upgrade to better cameras because P&S cameras have their limitations, for instance you don't have the luxury of a long telephoto and shallow depth of field, nor that of a large aperture for low light shooting. Without the proper tools, no matter how good a photographer you are, there are some shots you will not be able to take (unless, of course, you are a cult fan of poor technical quality like that afforded by Holga cameras).

Having said that, of course there are those with obscenely expensive cameras but no talent to use it.

So I would say both matter. Having a good eye, and a good camera. It also helps to have automation for metering and focussing, so that you can concentrate on composition.

Fortunately (for me at least), one can make up for lack of talent by reading up on technique and learning from the pictures taken by others. Above all, as sbs99 said, there must be a passion for shooting, and a desire to improve.
 

Richard

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Originally posted by Snowcrash


I myself is wondering on this "camera limiting the photographer" part.

Do good photographer choose a P&S camera to capture what he want to convey??
No, the whole idea is to use the best tool for the job. You obviously won't use a camera with a 50mm lens to shoot safari animals 300 metres away. And also, if you're familiar with the limitations of the camera, you work around it instead of using it inappropriately, which in turns goes back to best tool for the job.
 

Lensman

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I have that too as a hand-me-down. But the 1st I owned is a MeSuper, MG, MEF and MX. All bought from the 2nd hand market as I raised $$ from shoot weddings during school days.

I realised that 2 of the shutter's spring broke. or so I think. Any idea where I can send this to for repair ?

Cheers


Originally posted by ckiang


I see. Is your Pentax the venerable K-1000?

Regards
CK
 

Lensman

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While it is good to have the best tool for the job, but not everyone can afford to do so. I'd like to have a 600mm f4 to get the birds in Aerospace but that is only a dream.

Like a good chef who can work within the limits of his ingredient and kitchen tools to serve up a few good dishes, a competent photographer should be able to produce a good shot with what he has, however limited in function the camera may be. What better way to test your skills then by using a PhD camera.

Anyway, I will put up my lenscap for this threat.

Cheers

Originally posted by Richard
And also, if you're familiar with the limitations of the camera, you work around it instead of using it inappropriately, which in turns goes back to best tool for the job.
 

ckiang

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Originally posted by Lensman
I have that too as a hand-me-down. But the 1st I owned is a MeSuper, MG, MEF and MX. All bought from the 2nd hand market as I raised $$ from shoot weddings during school days.

I realised that 2 of the shutter's spring broke. or so I think. Any idea where I can send this to for repair ?

Cheers
You can try places like The Camera Workshop at Penisula Shopping Centre. They should be able to repair it. I am not sure how much it will cost tho.

Regards
CK
 

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