There’s always chatter on the Internet about mirror-less vs. DSLR cameras, especially with the new Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless cameras and lenses. People often express their opinions daily on social media and some focus on “whose camera beats what camera” and when someone brags “my digital camera is better than yours” another person chimes with, “your digital camera sucks.”
It’s humorous to see these “camera equipment wars” because seasoned professional photographers can take any camera, any brand, mirrorless, film, or DSLR and produce great images — equipment doesn’t make the photographer, photographic equipment helps create photos. Yet, I’ve seen people spend thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line equipment and while it may make them appear professional, their photos remain mediocre because they failed to invest in the knowledge and skills required to produce great photos.
When you refuse to improve your knowledge and skills in photography, you’ll remain amateur and probably tell others, “your digital camera sucks,” especially if you base the latter on camera equipment brands and costs. This attitude also demonstrates a person’s lack of one or more of the three C’s that make a great photographer — creativity, comprehension, and communication.
Equipment Doesn’t Make the Photographer
The most expensive class of photography equipment doesn’t make you a professional or great photographer any more than the most expensive court shoes will allow me to dunk on a 10-foot high NBA regulation basketball goal. I’m too short at five-foot eight-inches tall.
Can I shoot baskets and score points? Yes, but I can’t officially dunk in play. Can I cheat and place an apple box under the goal and then dunk? Sure, but it’ll never make me a professional NBA player, though I was an accredited NBA photographer and like the other accredited sports photographers at the games, we all understood those three C’s well.
The most expensive shoes might put a little more spring in my step, might help me run faster, might help me avoid pain in my knees, but still, no dunk. The same with great photography equipment. It might help you work easier and to create sharper images, but it’s still up to you to improve and unlike basketball, height has nothing to do with it, so you have a chance.
First you must understand that the best camera is the one in your hand, not in your camera bag. Second, you must learn the concepts, fundamentals and principles of photography and when you do that, you’re on the road to better grasp those three C’s. There are over 125 photography tips here on SunbouncePro.com that can help you with all the above — bookmark that webpage and learn from it as it grows.
In general, it’s about the right tool for the right job, but how can you properly choose the right tool if you don’t know how to “effectively” use it to begin with? Just because you buy a gun, load a bullet and point the barrel forward, doesn’t mean you’ll hit the target — it takes training, skill, practice, and knowledge to hit the bull’s eye. The same goes with a digital camera, if you don’t follow through, you and others will think your digital camera sucks. You have to arm yourself with the knowledge of the three C’s before you depress that shutter.
As an example, is F/8 the same on all cameras? If it is, then why the arguments over what camera’s best? Makes you wonder if half the people that argue about photography equipment know the difference between an F/stop and a bus stop. Seriously, you have to comprehend your equipment first and that means more than just shutter speeds and apertures. It also means you must understand white balance, crop factors, lens perspectives and even the high ISO’s we have today.
Lens F/stop’s and Apertures
Take lens apertures as an example. Ever wonder why it’s F/2.8 and not just F/3? Apertures or F/stops numbers pertain to the square root of 2. Lenses today rely upon a standardized F-stop scale, based approximately on the “geometric sequence of numbers that corresponds to the sequence of the powers of the square root of 2,” i.e., F/1, F/1.4, F/2, F/2.8, F/4, F/5.6, F/8, F/11, F/16, F/22, F/32, F/45, F/64, F/90, F/128, etc.
That knowledge is a fun fact, but when you know the differences in apertures it’ll help your photography. I’ve seen many photographers remain stagnant because they’ll drop thousands of dollars on top-of-the-line digital camera bodies then purchase cheap lenses. This happens because they fail to comprehend simple things like why a 70-200mm F/2.8 lens is ten times better than a 70-200mm F/4 lens.
The minute a photographer has to photograph a model as the sun sets behind their subject with an F/4 lens, the autofocus will go zip, zip, zip, and their zoom lens will move the focus barrel in and out as the camera tries to lock-on to the subject. This delay alone will cause a photographer to miss the shot. Bottom line, the lens aperture value of F/4 is the same on any lens, but the viewfinder on a camera mounted with an F/2.8 lens becomes two times brighter than an F/4 lens, which makes it easier for your camera to focus at sunset.
But more important than a bright viewfinder, the lens quality of the F/2.8 lens is better than that F/4 zoom lens. Great glass separates most professional photographers from amateurs because a pro understands you don’t risk the possibility of failing to capture a great photograph with inferior glass any more than driving a go-kart at a NASCAR race.
Sure, photographers argue that all you need with a 70-200mm lens is a minimum aperture of F/4 when you photograph outdoor sports, landscapes, and macro shooting — in fact it’s a great lens for those genres outdoors in bright light — but you must cover all your bases and avoid the marketing hype when you purchase any lens.
Yes, marketing hype exists. For example, at one time shampoo bottles had in their instructions, “Shampoo, rinse and repeat.” The idea was hype designed to sell more shampoo to increase the manufacturer’s revenue. Do your research for the right photographic lens that will give you the right result and understand why you chose one lens over another, otherwise someone will think your digital camera sucks when in reality it’s your lens.
As an example, I’d choose the F/2.8 version over an F/4 lens of the same focal length because it brightens my viewfinder two times over any F/4 lens plus it helps my camera focus faster, especially during the golden hour. A bright viewfinder is important when the day becomes darker, especially during the golden hour. Why shorten the day because of a large minimum aperture lens when you can make your photos better and grab insurance shots?
It’s important to understand that “great glass” can impact your photography, but you must still shoot consistently to exercise your creative eye and improve your communication skills with your subjects, plus comprehend your equipment. It’s about working effectively and efficiently with your photographic gear regardless of the brand or costs.
Master photographers know this and rarely chatter on the Internet about why their camera is better than yours. They demonstrate the fundamentals, concepts and principles of photography and employ creativity, communication and comprehension skills effectively. You must do the same, otherwise amateur photographers will tell you “your digital camera sucks” on social media.