Fact #1 : Photography is a technical discipline that cannot be pursued in a technological vacuum. The first photographers’ depended on chemists to formulate silver-halide coated glass plates and engineers to craft a box with optics that could focus light on the film plane.
Fact #2 : Photography is an art for the masses. Requiring little more than practice and honest critiques, every button pusher can learn to transform a memory snapshot into an artistically pleasing image.
Fiction : Great pictures come from great cameras. The push to produce and monetize new technologies that stretch the limits of lens and sensor resolution has convinced the hobbyists, amateurs and professionals that more money equals better pictures. While the newest cameras and lenses are capable of producing fantastically sharp images that have the potential to unleash the inner artist, the same can be said for the artisan with a modest piece of kit.
For example, consider the following,
A photographer might choose to go big and purchase the Nikon D800e. With a 36 megapixel sensor that is unencumbered by the presence of a detail thieving anti-aliasing filter, the D800e is the highest resolution camera in the Nikon system. Seeking perfection, the details first photographer might decide to spend an additional $4000 on the Carl Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4 manual focus lens. Described as the sharpest fast 50mm lens made to date (see here and here), the Otus lens can out resolve the ultra-high resolution camera for which it is destined to be used. Your $7000 investment get’s you the best small format camera (35mm - type) that money can buy.
In contrast, the frugal photographer and wannabe artist has less than $1000, but also wishes to pursue this art for the masses. Our penny pincher might decide to invest in the more modest 24 megapixel Nikon D5300 with its 1.5x crop sensor and a matching Nikon 35mm f1.8 AFS (52mm equivalent) lens. Here the total investment includes modern digital gear, yet the package price will be a hair under the $1000 budget. While the $7000 system is superior in all ways, I doubt that the additional $6000 expense will lead to a better photographer. The true artisan will leverage the best in their gear by taking the time to make images in spite of the tools. No amount of money can be a substitute for learning to see, practicing the craft and studying light.
As a budget limited photo-enthusiast and card-carrying amateur, I’d sooner invest the lion share my photo budget in travel and leave the pricy new cameras to the pixel peepers and gear heads of the world.
Happy Black Friday and Cyber Monday...
©2000-2013 BTLeventhal.com / Bruce & Tamy Leventhal. All rights reserved. No image on this site may be used without permission.