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Author Topic: Your Camera Does Matter  (Read 152753 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2008, 04:37:11 PM »
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In a literal sense, of course equipment "matters", but that's not the point that most people who say "equipment does not matter" are trying to make.

Bad workmen blame their tools, so the mediocre photographer explains his or her mediocrity on the fact he or she does not have a good enough camera.† Therein lies the root of the problem - the belief that all one needs to release the Ansel Adams trapped inside is a better camera, lens or other gadget.† Its not true historically and its not true now.† In that sense, equipment does not matter nearly as much as the sad gearheads on dpreview would like to believe and I'd be mighty surprised to see a contrary view receive support here.

Quentin
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Quentin, you have it about right: it takes both the tools and the ability to use them. Where I think it all goes up its own ass is where great claims are made between models so similar as to be practically the same: D200/D300 comes to mind. As I answered elsewhere on this site to that very question, if you are really able to cross your heart and say that the D200 is not good enough for your skills, then get the D300. But, to extend that here, if you really are better than the D200, I think you should forget the D300 and await the one after the D3 or, perhaps, funds no problem, get the D3 and also the next one up that comes along.

Can I get better shots from Leica M-whatever than I can with Nikon F3? Certainly not, as I have no DEEP experience of the Leica. But, with experience of both, my last employer (M3, if you need the detail) did exactly that and embraced the new Nikon F. Not so much a CAMERA choice but a system one, rangefinder v. reflex.

I think Michaelīs reaction was quite surprising, for him, must have been something he had for dinner last night; we all get those moments! I think the main problem is that he seemed to have taken a very literal interpretation where, to me at least, there was but one point being made: it IS the photographer who matters and the camera need but be good enough. I agree utterly that nit-picking and pixel peeping are hobbies in their own right, that great photography is a cerebral event, hardly an overwhelmingly mechanical one.

But then, a whole group of little industries depends upon photographic circles of confusion for its very being and the bucks they bring in, so not a lot is going to change, whether by word of mouth, through magazines or clubs or even the internet. Everbody has an axe to grind, a field to plough, a cash cow to milk. Just make the most of the educated opinion you can form for yourself.

Buenas noches - Rob C
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 04:41:02 PM by Rob C » Logged

pss
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« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2008, 04:41:26 PM »
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many classic and iconic images are out of focus or soft, lack contrast have too much grain and probably show CA under a loupe....

nothing worse then a sharp image of a fuzzy concept....ansel adams, i believe....

i would say that this is one of the problems with the advances in digital imaging...everybody has access to professional tools (yes i count a rebel as a pro tool) and photoshop....the world is NOT a better or prettier place because of it...there are just millions of very mediocre crisp and detailed images...
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T-1000
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« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2008, 04:58:25 PM »
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Michael, I'm sorry that you happened to stumble upon Ken Rockwell's site for the first time.  He's been around for a while now.  I can describe his website in one word: Hilarious.

He used to bash Canon.  Then he got a 5D.  He's in love now.

He used to say that full-frame 35mm is out of date, and that APS is superior.  Now he disagrees.

The only thing that hasn't changed is that he believes that JPEGs are superior to RAW files and that TRIPODS are OBSOLETE.  

He's actually a nice guy.  He replied to my emails, and seems like a good guy.  The only problem is that he's a complete jackass.
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Satch
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« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2008, 04:59:34 PM »
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Wrote a mail to Michael about a week ago suggesting Ken Rockwell as an interesting subject for a future Video Journal interview. To me KR and MR represent opposite extremes when it comes to Internet photo sites. Personally I agree maybe 92% with MR, 3% with KR and 5% with myself, but I still think KR is a pretty smart guy who makes some valid points. Fun to read too.

Anyway, don't know if my mail influenced Michael to check out Ken Rockwellís site, but I certainly wonít expect an interview anytime soon.
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I hope it did because Ken Rockwell definitely needs to be "spanked".  What a total, effing, bullshitting idiot.

I remember years ago when I shot Nikon and was looking for an on-line review of a new Nikon lens.  Got a hit for a review of the lens on his site.  I go there and the "review" was just something like "How does it perform?  I have no idea, since I've never used one"!?!

Then I saw how he described himself as a "published" photographer.  I couldn't believe it looking at the stuff posted on his site so I emailed him and asked where he had been published.  Turned out it was in some crappy black and white toy train or airplane hobbyist magazine or something like that.  

Michael I can't believe you took this goof seriously but thanks for "spanking" him anyway.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2008, 05:03:50 PM »
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Without the shadow of a doubt there many different fields within photography, and many of those sub-industries have implicit standards in terms of equipment. That's a fact of life that is not even worth discussing.

One of the confusions in this debate results from the fact that people are overall treating photography as if it were PJ work alone. Yes, it is true that the dying soldier shot by Capa during the Spainish war could have been shot with a current mobile phone and still carries an amazing appeal. All this shows is that image quality is not important for all photographic fields, but it can hardly be used as a proof that all photographic fields can overlook the impact of equipment on the end results.

Michael and many others have been writing this for years, and it would seem to me that 6 years olf kids with a basic education in logic should be able to make this out, but I guess that I am expecting too much.

Now, a topic that I find much more worth discussing is what I call "the re-virtualization of capturing devices". Today, most of my images I consider worth printing are panoramas. A panorama only becomes reality thanks to the combination of capturing device and post processing. In a way, it is a partial step back towards the former world of film where [chemical] post processing was needed to reveal the virtual image carried by the exposed piece of film.

The implication of the usage of panoramic techniques on the nature of photography can be troubling since the capturing process of panoramas stops to be a more or less prolonged instant event, but becomes discrete in time, spead out in a way. This has the potential to shed new light on the eternal debate on the "reality" of photography vs it being intrinsically an interpretation of reality combining more or less conscious depatures induced both from the equipment and the person using it.

If we are to re-open classical debates, I'd rather focus on these topics. I might write an essay on this one of these days.

Cheers,
Bernard
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christiaan
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« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2008, 05:05:02 PM »
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HuhHuhHuh??
« Last Edit: March 14, 2008, 05:01:17 AM by christiaan » Logged
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2008, 05:47:34 PM »
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Michael,

With all due respect, your use of ^%^*$ language speaks volume about the validity of your arguments. The more irritated you seem to be, the more weight you give to Ken's arguments.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2008, 05:50:40 PM »
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The only problem is that he's a complete jackass.
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I like Kens site, and his use of language that many find so infuriating.

I thinks hes saying

have fun

get out

take pictures

enjoy

Your current digicam is probably pretty good

As the owner of some stupid gear with lust for more its food for thought

Ps some of the best money I have ever spent was on a $200 frying pan

SMM
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2008, 06:20:33 PM »
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Michael,

With all due respect, your use of ^%^*$ language speaks volume about the validity of your arguments.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181221\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Again, re-read his essay, then go back to read a few books on logic/rethorics and you might see the light.

Questionning Michael's main point equals questioning logic itself.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2008, 06:38:39 PM »
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... Questionning Michael's main point equals questioning logic itself...
Sounds like we have a new deity here. The above statement would make even The Pope proud.

And by the way, Bernard, patronizing me (or others) is not going to add any weight to your arguments.

I am sure that your superior logical/rhetorical skills allowed you to grasp that in my post I did not go into the validity of Michael's argument at all. I was simply pointing out that using a cursing language typically does not add weight to one's arguments; on the contrary, it weakens them.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 07:35:45 PM by slobodan56 » Logged

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David L. Robertson
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« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2008, 06:44:24 PM »
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Again, re-read his essay, then go back to read a few books on logic/rethorics and you might see the light.

Questionning Michael's main point equals questioning logic itself.

Cheers,
Bernard
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This is not about questioning Michael's main point and the relevance of logic to the discussion.  It is about Michael responding to Ken's thesis by stating that cameras do matter, which is putting much too much emphasis on the title of Ken's article, and paying little attention to the substance of his article.  Michael's main point is superficial and unresponsive to the main tenet of Ken's article, which is that the camera is less critical to the photographic experience than what the photographer brings to the image capture.  Michael dismisses this by arguing that camera technology is very important to the process of image capture.  Of course it is, but more important to the debate is the relative importance of the advances in technology to the creative process itself.
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christiaan
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« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2008, 06:58:42 PM »
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Mr. Michael H. Reichmann wrote:

One of the hoariest of the hoary cliches is that a good photographer can take a good photograph with just about any camera. Horseshit.

But I think a technical good photograph is not per definition a interesting photograph and that is
great difference.

I think also that a good photographer can take a interesting photograph with just about any camera.
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Marlyn
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« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2008, 07:04:05 PM »
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I don't think Michael's article was just in response to reading Ken's site.   All that article did is set him off about a topic that he believes is far too prevalent across the wider Net.   it was 'The straw that broke the camelís back', so to speak.  Whilst Ken's site itself may purport to be a "joke", itís just one example of far too many in online forums where you see this almost holier-than-though attitude of 'itís all the photographer, stupidí.

Michael is certainly not espousing that is all about the gear either, but that it should be a balance of the two. They both matter.  We pursue a craft that relies heavily on tools, and the quality of your tools always matters to a craftsman, regardless of their craft.  

As an amateur woodworker, I see this constantly in trade magazine, and even articles reprinted from 100 years ago.  Tools have always been discussed, debated, and analyzed. (Do I want the #97 Stanley Edge, or is the #127 Stanley Jack   better for edge planning some Tasmanian Oak)

Quoting Michael from a slide in his recent Seminar in Sydney.

"Better tools will NOT make you a better Photographer.
Better tools WILL allow you to make better Photographs. "

Subtle, but important distiction, that I happen to agree with.

Regards

Mark

PS:  No, They donítí seem to teach analytical or critical thinking in school any more, I personally only did it after joining the Navy.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2008, 07:07:18 PM by Marlyn » Logged
Satch
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« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2008, 07:14:46 PM »
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This is not about questioning Michael's main point and the relevance of logic to the discussion.  It is about Michael responding to Ken's thesis by stating that cameras do matter, which is putting much too much emphasis on the title of Ken's article, and paying little attention to the substance of his article.  Michael's main point is superficial and unresponsive to the main tenet of Ken's article, which is that the camera is less critical to the photographic experience than what the photographer brings to the image capture.  Michael dismisses this by arguing that camera technology is very important to the process of image capture.  Of course it is, but more important to the debate is the relative importance of the advances in technology to the creative process itself.
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Ken's "thesis"?  Puhleeze.  Ken Rockwell isn't qualified to even carry Michael's camera bag.
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Howdy
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« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2008, 07:15:21 PM »
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Of course the camera doesn't matter . . . to the taste of my PB&J sandwich.

Which 'fact,' of course, has about the same relevance in answering an equipment-related photography question as knowing that a Holga can capture an award-winning photograph.  That might be true, but I sure don't see many pros shooting Holgas on the NFL sidelines.

The equipment is not an end, but neither is it irrelevant.
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Satch
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« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2008, 07:41:58 PM »
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He used to bash Canon.  Then he got a 5D.  He's in love now.
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I remember when the 1Ds came out and he announced that "it was no big deal".  No, it's probably just one of the five or ten most significant cameras of all time.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2008, 07:42:24 PM »
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I was once told that all a photographer needed was a camera and an audience -- and the camera was optional!
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2008, 07:56:59 PM »
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I am sure that your superior logical/rhetorical skills allowed you to grasp that in my post I did not go into the validity of Michael's argument at all.
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Sure...

"With all due respect, your use of ^%^*$ language speaks volume about the validity of your arguments"...

If you didn't mean to question Michael's argument, you probably need a class in writing on top of the class about logic...

Cheers,
Bernard
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Don Libby
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« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2008, 08:02:41 PM »
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Just returned home from a shoot at the Tonto Monument Lower Cliff Dwellings and decided to check-in and see whatís new.  Itís been several minutes now and Iím still laughing my ass off at Michaelís latest articleÖ.

Thereís so much merit to the article that Iíll just say it should be required reading.

Also Iím now thinking I know what to do with the cereal box after I empty it in the morning.

Michael - keep up the good work!
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #39 on: March 13, 2008, 08:30:59 PM »
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Judging by the number of typos in Michael's article, I'd say he's still a bit edgy from time lag and temperature adjustment. Or was it the tears in my eyes from laughing. Obviously, he doesn't suffer fools lightly. But seriously, have you ever seen a self-respecting craftsman who didn't take pride and care in his/her choice of tools. I know as a surgeon that I've thought long and hard about the tools I use. That's not to say there aren't choices and variations of outcomes. In any art form the important thing is the product. But how you get there is what this forum is all about.
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