Forums > Photography Talk > Does the camera type really matter?

Photographer

Macphoto

Posts: 682

Baltimore, Maryland, US

Reading thru a model profile, the model stated that the photographer had a Canon PowerShot camera and refused to shoot with him.  Question is, if the images in his port were shot with it, and she liked them, what difference does it make as to how he shot the images.

I tailor the camera to the job.  If I need a 400mm F 4, that is what I use, but if I have to climb a scaffold or hike into a remote place, I often use a G 12 if it suits the job.

Jul 05 12 09:19 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Yes, depending on what you are shooting and why.

Jul 05 12 09:24 am Link

Photographer

ontherocks

Posts: 22618

Salem, Oregon, US

some people think that the only difference between photographers is their gear. how wrong they are.

we used a fuji x-pro1 at a wedding on Saturday (had to use it for part of the formals after my 24-70 fell crashing to the ground) and nobody complained that we were using a point&shoot. i did have someone get interested in my 5d MK II and rogue flashbender.

i think it's best to avoid even discussing gear unless someone asks about it.

Jul 05 12 09:25 am Link

Photographer

Darryl Varner

Posts: 725

San Jacinto, California, US

To paraphrase a line from an old movie, "we didn't hire her for her brain".

Jul 05 12 09:26 am Link

Photographer

Ken Sanville Photo

Posts: 265

Louisville, Colorado, US

Some of my best work is with a Holga.

Jul 05 12 09:26 am Link

Photographer

SillyEddy

Posts: 2246

Coventry, England, United Kingdom

If it works, it works... But I like the expandable nature of DSLRs over the compact systems.

Some of my portfolio shots were done with a 28-135 lens, which is decent but not incredibly good. Others were done with the 100mm f/2.8 L. But would you really notice? I think one might even be with the kit lens!


So yeah, so long as you can get the results. But some cameras will be more restrictive than others.

Jul 05 12 09:27 am Link

Photographer

John Horwitz

Posts: 2735

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

Ken Sanville Photo wrote:
Some of my best work is with a Holga.

+1

Jul 05 12 09:28 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

twoharts wrote:
i think it's best to avoid even discussing gear unless someone asks about it.

+1 to this

I'm always amused when reading some review or other from a "pro" and one of the first things they point out is using the xpro1 for a client job...

People get themselves worked up thinking the client actually cares or even knows what you are using or why.

Ditto on the wedding use of it. No problems at all. Sucks for fast moving subjects but ceremony, formals and everything in between was fine.

Selling it though for a Sony NEX-7

Jul 05 12 09:29 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich

Posts: 5556

San Diego, California, US

Macphoto wrote:
Does the camera type really matter?

Of course. If you're trying to shoot some high end beauty for a polished look, a 110 Minox ain't gonna cut it. Or action shots of field sports with a wide angle lens  . . .  probably won't fly. Audience and intent should generally be considered.

Macphoto wrote:
Question is, if the images in his port were shot with it, and she liked them, what difference does it make as to how he shot the images.

In this case, it doesn't really.

Jul 05 12 09:31 am Link

Photographer

John Horwitz

Posts: 2735

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

the recent HORRIBLE shots of the Olympians were shot by a 'pro' with 'pro' Nikon gear:

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/ph … iral_.html


http://www.czechphotogallery.cz/en/klamar2011.html

Care to guess how long Nikon will sponsor him now???

Jul 05 12 10:12 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

John Horwitz wrote:
the recent HORRIBLE shots of the Olympians were shot by a 'pro' with 'pro' Nikon gear:

http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/ph … iral_.html


http://www.czechphotogallery.cz/en/klamar2011.html

Care to guess how long Nikon will sponsor him now???

Aww man let that go..old news.

Also those images were shot by a contract press photographer. No light setup, posing etc. You arrive there, you are one of many contract people, you take your shot with whatever you have to work with via lighting etc and it goes to the news service.

The initial outrage in the beginning was because folks thought these were official portraits.

Jul 05 12 10:18 am Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8797

Seattle, Washington, US

Sita Mae wrote:
She's probably just new and trying to find a way to differentiate good photographers from bad until her eye develops and she can trust her own perception.

+1

Jul 05 12 10:22 am Link

Photographer

SME

Posts: 21050

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

She's probably just new and trying to find a way to differentiate good photographers from bad until her eye develops and she can trust her own perception.

Jul 05 12 10:22 am Link

Photographer

John Horwitz

Posts: 2735

Raleigh, North Carolina, US

A 2011 Photographer of the Year - should be able to handle simple portraits....it ain't rocket surgery or brain science LOL

Jul 05 12 10:25 am Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

twoharts wrote:
some people think that the only difference between photographers is their gear. how wrong they are.

we used a fuji x-pro1 at a wedding on Saturday (had to use it for part of the formals after my 24-70 fell crashing to the ground) and nobody complained that we were using a point&shoot. i did have someone get interested in my 5d MK II and rogue flashbender.

i think it's best to avoid even discussing gear unless someone asks about it.

When did the Fuji rangefinder hybrid become a P&S?

To the OP it sounds like that photographer dodged a bullet if a model was that interested in what camera he used.  It would be as moronic as me asking a model what kind of shampoo she used and refusing to shoot with them if it was head and shoulders...

Jul 05 12 10:27 am Link

Photographer

Matt Knowles

Posts: 3563

Ferndale, California, US

twoharts wrote:
i think it's best to avoid even discussing gear unless someone asks about it.

When I used to own a gallery/studio that got street traffic, I often got tourists in who would admire my work. Invariably it would be someone with the latest camera and the longest lens who would ask what camera I used to take my pictures. My standard answer was that I had several different cameras, and I'd leave it at that. One of the motivations to getting an off street studio was that I was tired of wasting time with photo gear braggarts.

For the OP, there are lots of indications models give that they're not worth working with, and telling me what gear I need to be using would be one of them.

Jul 05 12 10:36 am Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

Henri Cartier Bresson shot with 35mm rangefinder cameras for most of his career and pretty much ALL his iconic images were produced with one.

If I buy one will I shoot pictures like Cartier Bresson? Of course not.

The camera only matters when there is a technical requirement that's critical for getting a particular shot. If a client demands 60mp files then you'd better shoot with a MF digital; if the shot requires you to have a 2000mm lens, then you'd better have a camera you can mount it on.

Other than that, it's all about you, and what you do with it.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

Jul 05 12 10:41 am Link

Photographer

D S P

Posts: 510

Portland, Oregon, US

-B-R-U-N-E-S-C-I- wrote:
Henri Cartier Bresson shot with 35mm rangefinder cameras for most of his career and pretty much ALL his iconic images were produced with one.

If I buy one will I shoot pictures like Cartier Bresson? Of course not.

The camera only matters when there is a technical requirement that's critical for getting a particular shot. If a client demands 60mp files then you'd better shoot with a MF digital; if the shot requires you to have a 2000mm lens, then you'd better have a camera you can mount it on.

Other than that, it's all about you, and what you do with it.




Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano
www.stefanobrunesci.com

+1

Jul 05 12 10:45 am Link

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Photographer

K E S L E R

Posts: 11574

Los Angeles, California, US

Camera shouldn't matter, If the model never worked with anyone who uses a small camera she could be a bit suspicious. 

I use a Sony NEX7 which is a high end Point and shoot camera.  Haven't had anyone mention anything other than, "wow nice camera, its so little."

Jul 05 12 10:47 am Link

Photographer

robb albrecht

Posts: 498

Baywood-Los Osos, California, US

Ken Sanville Photo wrote:
Some of my best work is with a Holga.

+2

Jul 05 12 10:51 am Link

Photographer

Eastfist

Posts: 3544

Green Bay, Wisconsin, US

I'd actually prefer smaller cameras with higher resolution and manual focus/exposure controls.  Unfortunately, you can get small HD cameras with impressive resolution, but no focus/exposure controls like DSLRs.  I don't think the camera matters, it's always what you do with the final product that does matter.

Jul 05 12 10:51 am Link

Photographer

Top Gun Digital

Posts: 1273

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Macphoto wrote:
Reading thru a model profile, the model stated that the photographer had a Canon PowerShot camera and refused to shoot with him.  Question is, if the images in his port were shot with it, and she liked them, what difference does it make as to how he shot the images.

Some models are afraid of having bad images of themselves published.  She may have assumed that it wasn't possible for the photographer to take decent shots unless he had "pro" gear.  Obviously that's not true, since many people with expensive gear have no idea how to use it.

Jul 05 12 10:57 am Link

Photographer

Dark Shadows

Posts: 2269

Miami, Florida, US

IMO, the camera is probably one of the least important variables.

Jul 05 12 11:10 am Link

Photographer

KMP

Posts: 4825

Houston, Texas, US

As long as the camera doesn't get in the way of the photographer's vision..pretty much anything will do. 

This reminds me of the thread a few weeks back, from the guy who was hung over, forgot his camera gear, or couldn't find it.  I forget which. He made up a story about creativity so the llama wouldn't walk because he was using his cell phone..

We never DID see the results of that shoot, did we? lol

Jul 05 12 11:20 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

K E S L E R wrote:
Camera shouldn't matter, If the model never worked with anyone who uses a small camera she could be a bit suspicious. 

I use a Sony NEX7 which is a high end Point and shoot camera.  Haven't had anyone mention anything other than, "wow nice camera, its so little."

You are actually killing me with that NEX-7...didn't even consider it until I saw some of your work with it..and of course, after I bought the Fuji.

Jul 05 12 11:35 am Link

Photographer

Gary Melton

Posts: 6395

Dallas, Texas, US

Okay...let's get real people!

It's always good sport on MM for people to say "the camera/equipment doesn't matter"...well, guess what - it actually does!

Sure - a great photographer can take some pretty cool shots with a Holga, but you're not going to see a professional using one for a professional shoot (unless that is what the client wants).

YES - the photographer's ability/talent is THE most important factor.  However, if the equipment didn't matter, then all the pros would be using cheap P&S's (and save themselves a bunch of money).

It also depends on what you're shooting: architectural photos, photos for a fashion magazine spread/cover...or art to hang on a wall (or whatever).  It makes a difference as to what you're trying to accomplish: if the job calls for razor sharp photos with spot on exposure across the entire image, then you're probably going to need good equipment; but if you're creating "art"...art can be in or out of focus, and the exposure can be whatever you want it to be.

So please people - stop with this nonsense about the camera/equipment doesn't matter.  In the professional photography world - most of the time, it absolutely does matter!

Jul 05 12 11:40 am Link

Photographer

Shot By Adam

Posts: 5957

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Gary Melton wrote:
Okay...let's get real people!

It's always good sport on MM for people to say "the camera/equipment doesn't matter"...well, guess what - it actually does!

Sure - a great photographer can take some pretty cool shots with a Holga, but you're not going to see a professional using one for a professional shoot (unless that is what the client wants).

YES - the photographer's ability/talent is THE most important factor.  However, if the equipment didn't matter, then all the pros would be using cheap P&S's (and save themselves a bunch of money).

It also depends on what you're shooting: architectural photos, photos for a fashion magazine spread/cover...or art to hang on a wall (or whatever).  It makes a difference as to what you're trying to accomplish: if the job calls for razor sharp photos with spot on exposure across the entire image, then you're probably going to need good equipment; but if you're creating "art"...art can be in or out of focus, and the exposure can be whatever you want it to be.

So please people - stop with this nonsense about the camera/equipment doesn't matter.  In the professional photography world - most of the time, it absolutely does matter!

I'm glad someone came out and said this, and you beat me to the punch. The equipment absolutely matters in the majority of cases. You can't tell me you're going to get awesome wedding photos in a dimly lit church, with no flash, with a D40 or Canon Rebel.

It's been my experience that the people who always say that the gear doesn't mean anything and it's all about the "guy behind the camera" are the same people who can't afford good gear or are secretly jealous of those who do.

Jul 05 12 11:50 am Link

Photographer

Leighthenubian

Posts: 2968

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Shot By Adam wrote:

I'm glad someone came out and said this, and you beat me to the punch. The equipment absolutely matters in the majority of cases. You can't tell me you're going to get awesome wedding photos in a dimly lit church, with no flash, with a D40 or Canon Rebel.

It's been my experience that the people who always say that the gear doesn't mean anything and it's all about the "guy behind the camera" are the same people who can't afford good gear or are secretly jealous of those who do.

^^

I don't totally disagree with the above two statements BUT:

It wasn't that long ago that I was shooting weddings with a Canon 20D and 40D. There are also numerous images in my portfolios produced with lower end cameras including a good handful from my compact camera.

I think it's better to say that the end image starts with the photographer, and gear second.

Jul 05 12 11:56 am Link

Photographer

Vector One Photography

Posts: 2778

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

The camera only matters that it gives your the quality negative (file) that you need for whatever you're outputting.  For my self I shoot with a $12,000 Hasselblad and a $28.00 Holga, for my clients it's a $40,000 Hasselbland. So, whatever fits the image and the concept.

P.S.  There may be some benefit if it makes the photographer more motivated or believe in himself more.  But that's an insecurity issue on the photographer's part.

Jul 05 12 11:57 am Link

Photographer

sgnr photo

Posts: 254

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Illuminate wrote:

^^

I don't totally disagree with the above two statements BUT:

It wasn't that long ago that I was shooting weddings with a Canon 20D and 40D. There are also numerous images in my portfolios produced with lower end cameras including a good handful from my compact camera.

I think it's better to say that the end image starts with the photographer, and gear second.

I think more importantly, how you rank the gear. Lighting can really make or break things. A Hasselblad is gorgeous until you start having to crank the ISO because you have no light. I've seen a lot of "which body" or "should I get camera X" threads, and more often than not, the issue of lenses and lighting isn't even looked at.

Now, I don't disagree that better gear helps make better photos, but it's a combination of gear, and not any one given piece.

Jul 05 12 12:06 pm Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8797

Seattle, Washington, US

sgnr photo wrote:

I think more importantly, how you rank the gear. Lighting can really make or break things. A Hasselblad is gorgeous until you start having to crank the ISO because you have no light. I've seen a lot of "which body" or "should I get camera X" threads, and more often than not, the issue of lenses and lighting isn't even looked at.

Now, I don't disagree that better gear helps make better photos, but it's a combination of gear, and not any one given piece.

light is the currency of photography.

Jul 05 12 12:09 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Gear, lighting, medium format, mirrorless, SLR.... Whatever.

Just tools that won't do anything to prevent boring images.

Jul 05 12 12:17 pm Link

Photographer

Art of the nude

Posts: 11892

Olivet, Michigan, US

Macphoto wrote:
Reading thru a model profile, the model stated that the photographer had a Canon PowerShot camera and refused to shoot with him.  Question is, if the images in his port were shot with it, and she liked them, what difference does it make as to how he shot the images.

I tailor the camera to the job.  If I need a 400mm F 4, that is what I use, but if I have to climb a scaffold or hike into a remote place, I often use a G 12 if it suits the job.

I think approximately two out of 200 models knew what sort of camera I used before we shot.  Maybe 10 after, although of course they can tell that it's probably a DSLR from the general appearance and the fact that I show most models images on the back during the session.

Jul 05 12 12:20 pm Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8797

Seattle, Washington, US

AJScalzitti wrote:
Gear, lighting, medium format, mirrorless, SLR.... Whatever.

Just tools that won't do anything to prevent boring images.

yup.  same as trillion dollar special effects won't prevent a boring movie.

Jul 05 12 12:21 pm Link

Photographer

radar

Posts: 860

New York, New York, US

ANSEL ADAMS used a wooden view camera, Irving Penn other large format and 35mm cameras, etc, etc, etc.   Need I say more?

Jul 05 12 12:26 pm Link

Photographer

L A U B E N H E I M E R

Posts: 8797

Seattle, Washington, US

radar wrote:
ANSEL ADAMS used a wooden view camera, Irving Penn other large format and 35mm cameras, etc, etc, etc.   Need I say more?

yes.  those are much better quality cameras than a typical point and shoot.

Jul 05 12 12:37 pm Link

Photographer

Paul Richard Wossidlo

Posts: 484

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US

Macphoto wrote:
Reading thru a llama profile, the llama stated that the photographer had a Canon PowerShot camera and refused to shoot with him.  Question is, if the images in his port were shot with it, and she liked them, what difference does it make as to how he shot the images.

I tailor the camera to the job.  If I need a 400mm F 4, that is what I use, but if I have to climb a scaffold or hike into a remote place, I often use a G 12 if it suits the job.

They call it llamaMayhem.  People can put just about anything in their profile.  Not that big a deal.

A lot of llamas and photographers have requirements and restrictions listed in their profile.  Escort/No escort is probably the most obvious example, but there are a lot of others.  The purpose is to hopefully have someone (who does not meet your criteria) not waste your time trying to set up a shoot.  Usually these requirements and restrictions are based on stereotypes and assumptions, so they will usually exclude someone who would otherwise give you great images.  But the beauty of llamaMayhem is that usually there are enough llamas or photographers who DO meet your criteria, so you move on and you still have plenty of choices available.

The llama mentioned in the OP is probably trying to weed out GWCs.  As photographers we may not like the criteria, and it probably won't be successful weeding out GWCs, but it is her choice.  Asking if you have a studio is another method llamas use to weed out GWCs.  Imperfect, but their choice...

Jul 05 12 12:39 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12835

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:

yup.  same as trillion dollar special effects won't prevent a boring movie.

You want your money back for "wrath of the titans" as well wink

Jul 05 12 12:46 pm Link

Photographer

MN camera

Posts: 1861

Saint Paul, Minnesota, US

radar wrote:
ANSEL ADAMS used a wooden view camera, Irving Penn other large format and 35mm cameras, etc, etc, etc.   Need I say more?

Mark Laubenheimer wrote:
yes.  those are much better quality cameras than a typical point and shoot.

I'd refer you to the comment re: Henri Cartier-Bresson upthread.

As a guy who spends as much if not more time in the motion world, I continue to be amazed at the equivalent there, in production and post terms.  The RED snobs and their Final Cut counterparts both strike me as someone who might refuse to buy a house because one of the carpenters used a Stanley hammer or the electrician used Craftsman screwdrivers.

They're all just tools used to produce something.  (Now, if the carpenter used a pipe wrench as a hammer I'd have my doubts, of course, though that's a very different question, isn't it?)

Jul 05 12 01:12 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Fryd

Posts: 3900

Miami Beach, Florida, US

Equipment matters in those cases where the job requires a feature not available in all cameras.


In some cases, the client requires a camera that will impress him.

In some cases, the job requires a high ISO, or high frame rate not available in all cameras.

In some cases, the job requires durability not available in all cameras.  The job might require underwater gear.

In some cases, the photographer uses some unusual feature of the camera as a marketing gimmick so he stands out from competing photographers.

In some situations, the photographer needs a short shutter lug to catch just the right moment.  In other situations, the photographer needs a quiet camera where there is no noise from the mirror flipping up and down.


True, in many cases the lack of a feature can be worked around.  However the lack of a needed feature can make the job much harder, or can make it take more time.    More time increases costs.  Increased costs mean either less profit (unhappy photographer) or higher charges to the client (unhappy client).

In summary, there are many situations where an inappropriate camera may hurt the photographer's ability to deliver a quality product at a reasonable price.  Exactly what would make a camera inappropriate depends on the needs of the particular project.  There are some jobs where you need a 4mm f/2.8 lens, and other jobs where you need a camera small enough to fit into your pocket.


For many studio settings, most modern cameras are quite capable of delivering a quality product.   Figure out what your needs are, and then get a camera that meets your needs.

Jul 05 12 01:23 pm Link