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Is a photographer only as good as the equiment that he/she uses?

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#1 Rocha


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:29 PM

Haha, hey all, check this post by Nikon on Facebook:


According to the post, Nikon thinks "a photographer is only as good as the equiment that he uses". What do you think? Is it the photographer or the gear that makes the photo? Can a good photographer that good photos with crappy gear? Food for thought... :laugh:

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#2 focker


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 05:46 PM

I believe a good photographer or true artist can do amazing things with minimal tools... my .02 cents
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#3 Drew


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:39 PM

Well I've seen some fantastic tarpon fishing pics taken by a twin reflex camera and magnesium flash, with no auto focus or metering or any of the modern SLR technology.
Alex Majoli shot quite of bit of his war photography on p&s cameras, but he's now progressed to interchangeable lens EVILs.
Certainly a good photographer is needed to compose and hit the shutter, but likewise, the equipment have to fit the job requirements as well. I think it's a symbiotic where one can't do without the other.

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#4 Marjo


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:41 PM

A good photographer has the tools appropriate for the job, the knowledge of how to use the tools and masters essential photographic techniques. In addition they should understand composition, vision, message. That is the foundation. Creativity, "eye", artistic skills are great and necessary as well, but but being able to "see" an image doesn't help much if you dont have the tools and knowledge to create the actual image. Then you need patience, persistence, planning and the opportunities and abilities to place you in proximity of whatever the subjects are.

So my answer would be yes and no: Yes, you need good tools to be a good photographer. No, good tools are not enough to make a good photographer.

#5 uw_nikon


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 06:42 PM

There are plenty of bad images taken with superior equipment.
I've seen people shoot 400+ images in a day of diving and get 2 or 3 decent images, nothing outstanding.
(Your pencil draws pretty images. Not really true.)

capturing the moment
point of focus
lighting, etc.,
it's the photographer not the equipment. (knowledge and experience)

Great optics can provide an edge (but, without applied knowledge and experience that edge is very limited).
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#6 Steve Williams

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 08:15 PM

I found it interesting that when we took a shot at defining the path to great U/W photography; http://wetpixel.com/...t...40&start=40
the subject of camera equipment didn't even come up. I believe it was Mr. Adams who said the most important part of any camera is the 12 inches behind it.


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#7 adamhanlon


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Posted 29 September 2011 - 10:20 PM

I think there will be some poor soul from Nikon PR department looking for a new job.

Nikon has officially apologized for the post.


Nikon seem to be struggling with their PR; there was the infamous press release saying they hasn't said anything recently

It is interesting how strong a reaction this has had. Would this have been any less strong if it wasn't a camera manufacturer making the statement?


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#8 loftus


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 03:16 AM

Just wait till I get my D800
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#9 Viz'art


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 05:39 AM

I say, because I ended up with the paint brushes of Leonardo Da Vinci don't mean I will paint like him. A good paint brush doesn't make you a better artist, but a good artist will appreciate a better paintbrush.

I think the whole sentences must have made some kind of sense in Japanese before it was translated to English in Google :laugh: it does not change my opinion of the company's product, but does change my opinion on who they hire to speak for them, very poor judgment in this case and I hope that Nikon recognizes this and act upon it.

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#10 yahsemtough


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 08:53 AM

Does this mean somehow working backwards that I now have to thank Jean for my underwater images. :laugh:
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#11 Steve Douglas

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:17 AM

While I am talking video rather than photography, I would rather have someone film with an old Sony HDV cam who knew what they were doing than someone shooting with a Red One who did not. Better equipment does not provide better skills, the better the gear the more you can do with the skills you have developed but it takes gaining the knowledge and skills first to be an improved shooter. My 2 cents


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:59 AM

A friend of mine recently saw some of my pics and said "WOW...That must be a nice camera!"

Wait till he picks up one of his many guitars to pluck a tune...."Wow nice guitar....It almost plays itself!"
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#13 scorpio_fish



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Posted 30 September 2011 - 01:18 PM

I recall this conversation:

Her, "If you buy that camera (Canon), will you be able to take pictures like Eric? (As in Cheng) Then you should buy one."

Me, "If I thought the answer was yes, I would buy one as soon as we get back home, but the answer is no. Oh, and thanks for the encouragement."

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#14 Karl


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 02:49 PM

I think there will be some poor soul from Nikon PR department looking for a new job.

Nikon has officially apologized for the post.


Nikon seem to be struggling with their PR; there was the infamous press release saying they hasn't said anything recently

It is interesting how strong a reaction this has had. Would this have been any less strong if it wasn't a camera manufacturer making the statement?


Maybe not - look at all the publicity this comment has generated on all forums. It's publicity - good or bad so they have done their job :)

However, next time they may choose a different comment :laugh:

Everyone is entitled to my opinion!!

#15 Otara


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Posted 30 September 2011 - 03:43 PM

Nothing worse in advertising than being too obvious about one of the main motivators for buying new equipment, ie that this latest piece will help me finally take good pictures.

Any individual might be perfectly sensible about buying equipment, but as a group, camera buyers arent buying new equipment solely for rational reasons.


#16 Robographer



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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:34 PM

Unfortunately I have to say that the statement" Is a photographer only as good as the equipment he uses" is the common attitude you read is different forums. As you might know I only use a P&S camera and posted a photo once in a forum (forgot (suppressed? :) )which forum) and the first reactions were quite positive until my answer to the question what camera I used. From that point on the photo was rubbish... ^_^ . When I posted another photo and told them I took it with a "state of the art $10,000 rig" that photo was suddenly the best photo they ever saw ^_^ .

I am very happy that the WetPixel members leave everything at its value!! I am happy to be on board!
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#17 bvanant


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Posted 15 October 2011 - 10:14 PM

I think that maybe we are all protesting too much. Clearly great photographers can make great images with many kinds of cameras. Cartier Bresson was famous for using small cameras but they were Leicas and not Holgas. I think that it is true that the logo on the camera or lens doesn't make much difference but there are many kinds of pics that can not be taken with any camera/lens combo. If you want to shoot wide angle reef scenes you don't want to be shooting a 150 mm macro lens, and if you are after the eyeball in a developing anemone fish egg you don't want your kit 18-55 zoom lens.
While it is true that great photographers can use pretty much all kinds of gear, it is also true that mostly they use equipment good enough for the job but also appropriate for the job. Any reasonable body with the right lens for the job will work, but I am pretty sure that the sailfin picture on the cover of the last wetpixel quarterly was shot with a 105 macro lens.

I totally get the idea that the Nikon ad guy was trying to say.


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#18 jonny shaw

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 06:39 PM

Great photographers can take a great image with crappy equipment but would that image look better if shot with great gear, of course. Give a crap shooter great gear and of course they won't take a great image... in fact lets face it generally to use high end gear you actually need to have a decent knowledge base to even get an image.

I am also from video not stills and at a professional level gear needs to be at a minimum standard, if it isn't you don't get work. Yes if you caught some amazing image everyone would pay for it, but for my bread and butter you need decent kit.

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#19 John Bantin

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 08:55 PM

I totally get the idea that the Nikon ad guy was trying to say.


He was trying to say "Buy Nikon kit"!

I agree that you need the right tool for the job. However, I have recently reverted to my D200 kit and get results that area s super as ever they were.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?


#20 Simon Rogerson

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 12:28 PM

So why did you go back to the D200 John? I think they are more than adequate for most tropical underwater photography, so I've been keeping one of mine as a backup. Would it be a mistake to sell, do you think?