Does Gear Really Make the Photo?

August 14, 2017  •  2 Comments

They say that admitting to a problem is the first step in solving a problem, so here goes.  I have been a gear hound for a long time.  I have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome).   For some time now I have been under the impression that gear makes the photo, and I'm not alone.  There are lots of you just like me.  I have accumulated some of the finest gear that money can buy, and my photos have improved.  But was it because of my gear or the know how that I have acquired learning how to use this gear? My Camera'sMy Camera's  To be honest, I think it is a little of both.  Good gear does matter to a point for sharpness, depth of field, and dynamic range.  But composure, making long exposures, and composition are all things that the camera does not control, we do.  Do we really need the top of the line gear if this is just our hobby and most of what we use our images for is for putting on some website?  Do I need 36 megapixels?  Do I need 42 megapixels?  I say no unless your printing for billboards!  So what do you need for good photos?  My answer is simple.  The best camera you can afford.  Most of all the new cameras that are coming out now will do the job.  So don't max out your credit cards buying the most expensive thing out there just because some article says to do so.  So what is my criteria for a good camera?  One, that you can put it in full manual mode, that you can shoot in RAW, and that you can change lenses (some of the built-in zooms work fine too).  I don't think megapixels make a difference in today's cameras.  All of them have plenty. DSCF0513DSCF0513

My camera club goes to the mountains once a year and spends a week with the fall colors,  waterfalls, and wildlife.  This week is the most photo active time of the year for me as I am not a professional full-time photographer.  Some of my best photos of the year come from this trip.  I usually carry my big camera and all of my expensive lenses with me and really get good results.  A couple of years or so ago I purchased a Sony mirrorless camera that has become my go-to camera.  It's small and compact compared to my big Nikon rig that I have.  I bought it for backpacking because of its size and weight, but I have come to love it.  So this year when my camera club goes to the mountains, the Sony mirrorless camera will be my main camera for the trip.  I will use it for the waterfalls, wildlife, all the fall colors, and everything else.  I will take my Nikon and one lens as a backup.  The Sony kit will contain the following items:

  1. Sony A6300 body
  2. 2 kit lens 16-50 mm and 55-210 lens
  3. 18-105mm F4 lens and 10-18mm F4 lens
  4. Pentax 28mm  f2.8 manual focus lens W/Sony adapter
  5. Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro manual focus lens W/Sony adapter

My Nikon will be the D800 with 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

10404408_10203141767201989_3296463740236017661_n10404408_10203141767201989_3296463740236017661_n We will be visiting some of the same waterfalls that we have visited in the past that I used my Nikon on, and I want to see what the difference is with my Sony mirrorless and my full frame Nikon.  Will my photos be better, worse, or the same?  I believe they will be the same, but only time will tell.  If they do turn out the same or even better, what does that mean?  Will I get rid of my expensive equipment?  Will I sell?  I don't know.  I still like my big camera and lenses for portraits, especially when using studio lights or flashes.  But I could use my mirrorless to do the same.  All that is still up in the air.  But for the foreseeable future I will be using my Sony for everything except portraits.

How many times have you been looking at Facebook or some other social media outlet and saw a fantastic photograph, only to be dismayed when you found out it was taken with an iPhone?  Remember, photography is supposed to be fun and not a contest to see who has the most or the biggest gear.  Enjoy your photography, and save your money so you can go to more places to use your photography.  Remember, it's not the camera.  It's the photographer that takes great photos.  I plan on gearing down and making things more simple, not more complicated. Get out and shoot! 



Great article! Looking forward to seeing the comparison images.
Caitlin P(non-registered)
Great blog, Glute!! I also wonder about "is it the gear or my skill". I commend you for the decision of using only your Sony and I can't wait to see what you get with it! Especially at the waterfalls. I, however, will be using my Nikon d750. ☺️ I'm sure your photos will be outstanding as always!!
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