News Opinion

The age old debate, is it the photographer or camera equipment? (Nikon fumble)

I just noticed on Pentax Forums that Nikon allegedly posted this message:

A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?

Basically implying that photographers are only good if they are sporting expensive Nikon SLR equipment. Everyone and their brother who thinks their a photographer will take offense to that statement because they think everything about producing a quality image is up to the photographer and always use the debating point that the great photographer can use a Holga or some other junk camera to produce amazing works of art. Now, I don’t really disagree with saying it’s the photographer, however…

I think both sides of the argument are full of BS. The smart and skilled photographer will get the best gear they can manage.

Things like control, ease of use (ergonomics), rendering quality, perspective abilities (interchangeable lens), depth of field abilities (interchangeable lens), speed, and the list could go on. I look for photographic tools that will best suit and facilitate my work. While I’m basically saying it’s the photographer, I’m also saying it would be plain stupid for me to use a single-use camera from Walgreens as my main camera for every day use. I’d be buying them like hotcakes at 27 frames per roll and it just wouldn’t have the properties I was looking for control wise. I’m not saying I wouldn’t try one out for the fun of it, but I’m saying I wouldn’t artificially limit myself given the fact that better tools exist for what I want to do most of the time.

My opinion on what makes a good photographer actually good?
– Someone who chooses the right tool for the job. This is dependent on willingness to research, test, and practice with various forms of equipment.
– Someone who spends time to truly understand their equipment and how to properly use it.
– Someone who puts dedicated effort into actually taking photos (aka. practice).
– Someone who spends the time to develop a style (usually will happen with practice).
– Someone who put time into understanding what is generally perceived as visually appealing or matters in some way.
– Someone who puts their work out there for others to see. I’m not talking about showing your work to other photographers, but other people in general. They can provide much more to you than a cut-and-dry photographer critique if you listen carefully.

Basically it boils down to time, knowledge, and effort.

Sorry, I just don’t see anything magical about great photographers. I actually see people saying that as disrespectful to photographers who are considered good. I’m sure they spend a large amount of time on all of the aspects I’ve just pointed out.

Edit, Nikon’s response according to posters on Pentax Forums:

We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.