It’s Not the Camera, It’s You

The Best Camera

This photo was captured with a lens focal length of 135mm to magnify the background, however, the distance between myself and the subject gives it an appearance of a wide-angle perspective.

I’m often asked about different camera makes and models, and my first response is, “I only know the camera I use, or have used.” Then I follow with even though I’ve authored photography books, written articles for photography magazines, etc., the camera companies don’t send me every make and model they produce — I wish they would, but they don’t.

Sometimes at my photography workshops, I’ll look at what the other photographers use and take a quick look, but that alone is not enough for me to understand every make and model out there. Not to mention, technology changes every Monday when the Board of Directors meet, so it’s difficult to keep up with everything that is out there, even when I attend photography trade shows.

Photographers Abandon Money Megapixels

The back of my mirrorless camera after I gave an image capture demonstration at one of my photography workshops.

But here is some advice about cameras that every photographer should understand, “A camera is only as good as the photographer that operates it.”

Think about this for a minute. Does a keyboard write novels? Does a guitar strum rhythm or take lead on its own? Does an oven cook gourmet meals? Obviously, the answer is no to all those questions because just like cameras, they are all the tools of their craft and all require human interaction in some form to produce the best they can possibly produce.

Now that those questions are grounded, let’s get back to what usually follows that first camera question, “Which camera should I buy? This one costs more, so should I go for it because it’s a better? Or should I go for the cheaper one and sacrifice in my photography?”

The best answer is that it’s about using the right tool for the right result as it’s the photographer that will make the difference in the end, not the camera model or its price tag. Sure, some cameras make it easier than others, but in the end, if you know what you’re trying to achieve in photography, most cameras, regardless how much they cost, can get the job done. Yes, there are some cameras that operate better than others, but that’s only if you know how to “do” vs. you “think you do.”

The camera doesn’t make the photograph, it’s the photographer that creates it with their photographic gear combined with their knowledge (comprehension), their artistic abilities (creativity), and their ability to communicate (communication) not only to the subject, if there is a live subject being photographed, but also to their audience. I call it the three “C’s” that make a great photographer and have written about it in my photography books in depth plus here on, Great Photographers Know What it Takes.

In essence, while there are specific cameras and camera gear, for specific reasons in photography, the price mayimpact the quality of the product, but not necessarily the final image — it’s the photographer that ultimately makes the real difference. As I said before, typewriters don’t write novels, writers do, no more than guitars don’t create natural harmonics, musicians do, and great chefs cook gourmet meals, not the oven or pots and pans. Sure, the type of tools can make things easier and allow you to do things other gear doesn’t, but it doesn’t do anyone, a cook or a photographer, any good unless you learn the rules, fundamentals and principles of your craft, and practice it too.

If you want to get great in your abilities to take any camera, from your smart phone to one of the new mirrorless cameras that are kicking DSLR’s butts, then all you have to do is get proficient in photography and take photos every chance you get. Just like in the military you approach, train, practice, and exercise what you learn. You only get better with usage of your gear that allows you to absorb the knowledge and experience of your craft. If you practice this faithfully, you’ll be able to capture great photos with just about any camera, no matter the price tag, brand, make or model.

People make the difference more than the tools, though some tools can make it easier. Purchase what works for you, and what you’re trying to achieve. Sure, read the reviews, but read them carefully as some reviews are subjective to what a person knew at the time they purchased the camera gear and only you can make the difference.

Rolando Gomez is a professional photographer and author of five photography books that has traveled to 45 countries for assignments. The former soldier and U.S. Army combat photographer has taught hundreds of photography workshops for almost two decades. A 2016, 2017 and 2018 Top Writer for Quora, his partial credits include Newsweek, Parade, Playboy, Rangefinder, Maxim, Rangefinder, New York Times, Stars & Stripes, and various other publications.
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