This keeps happening quite often these days. When some people look at my pictures, there is a question to follow – they ask me what camera I use.
It happened for the first time during one of my presentations at a camera club. When I replied the Canon 1Ds Mk III (the one I was using back then), there was an “aaah” remark as a return. This made me think and I asked what that “aaah” meant. On the back of my mind I knew right away what they meant, no wonder your pictures look good, you are using a very good camera.
This is a false theory and one I will try to clear up within these next lines. Since then, I have downgraded to a Canon 5D Mk II. I call it a downgrade as the Canon 5D Mk II is a much cheaper camera than the 1 Canon series. Believe it or not, I still get the same questions and they all end up with the “aaah” result. This made me think of writing this article which might alter some people’s wrong impression of the relationship between good gear and good pictures.
People expect an introduction low priced DSLR camera with the kit lens to give them amazing results on any shooting situation as per the advert on the TV or photo magazine, it can’t. It can, however, give you some amazing results within its limitations, as long as you, the user, know these limitations.
The most important thing is to get to know your camera inside-out. Learn how to use it properly, find out its limitations, what it can offer you and what not to expect from it, this is vital. Read the manual (most of us don’t) and play with your camera. Experiment and write down all your findings, study them and check what works and what doesn’t. Get so familiar with your gear that when photographing, the gear should be the last thing to have in your mind. Instead, you can concentrate on capturing the light and mood in the scene.
After upgrading my cameras as a newer model came out, I had reached my financial peak with the Canon 1Ds Mk III. I did indeed make some really good pictures with it. The point is that with the Canon 5D Mk II I have made some even better pictures, and lately, with a film and much cheaper camera, I have made some even better ones.
So, what is going on? Do I get better pictures while I downgrade? It has nothing to do with upgrade or downgrade, it has to do with practice, experience and knowing how to use your camera. My advice? Get to know your camera and practise, practise, practise. When you get to the stage that your knowledge and experience will surpass your camera’s ability, you will know that it is holding you back and it is the right time to upgrade. It’s not the camera that takes a good picture, it’s the person behind it.