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Author Topic: Your Camera Does NOT Matter  (Read 49647 times)
witz
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« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2008, 09:34:05 AM »
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As stated by many, no-one is saying you cannot take A grade photos with cheap equipment, assuming enough talent. Especially when the goal is artistry alone. What I and others object to is absolute statements such as "your camera does not matter" because very often the equipment is as important as the user.

Ken is funny, in the strange sense of the word. He rails against gear fetishists (his word), and measurebators (his rather distasteful made up word). And yet take a look at his site, and it is full of techno-babble, with almost nothing about technique, and field craft. Most if not all of the latest 'articles' are 'reviews' of equipment, though all too often he has either never held the item in question, or he has spent 10 minutes fondling a prototype on display at a Nikon stand in a trade fair.

I suppose if you want to take garish pictures, with little in the way of composition, then Ken is your man.

I note that Michael allows people to comment on his views, and even to make negative remarks on his work, unlike Ken. It is interesting to Google Ken's name. It is quite surprising that one person can generate so much enmity.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181892\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

this topic reminds me of how inefficient we humans are as communicators...

while Breedlove spoke after crashing during an attempt to break the ground speed record in bonnieville, it took him 45 minutes to discribe the accident which took only 15 seconds to actually happen.

most everyone here is saying the same thing.

how bout a pole...

is it you? yes/no
is it your camera? yes/no
is it both? yes/no

please add what type of photography you consider your game... ie: arch, product, landscape, fineart, portrait.... etc.
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Satch
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« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2008, 12:02:02 PM »
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The only question that's interesting to me is how a guy that's so obvious a wannabe hack could have any kind of "following".
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 12:02:35 PM by Satch » Logged
mrleonard
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« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2008, 07:09:34 PM »
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Why is everyone replying to my post with unrelated arguments? Did anyone read my post...or do you all just want to blah-blah your point of view about an unrelated argument.
As I said...the question that is THE only question that was ever posited...no matter how unclearly is , well, not even a question....it is: " It is not the camera it is the photographer". SO...in  other words....the essence of this is:  "Does a technical improvement in a creative tool directly correlate to an aesthetical improvement in that creative process."
 What's all this about cameras mattering or not?It is elementary they matter...how could one call it photography without a camera? This is not what is being discussed. I posted in response to Michael's rebuttal...as I believe he totally missed the mark. As of yet I haven't seen ANY reply or post that has added to this or argued the case that I am wrong.
 A few notes btw...
 
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Now of course with digital, one can replicate pretty much any color, tonality, vignetting, blur, or grain effect you like. [{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Photoshop doesn't replicate anything at all...it EMULATES. It is like in audio software that trieds to emulate vintage synthesizers....it can't.The quality of this emulation, to any discerning eye/ear, is quite off...and it will never be adequate. The very nature of the noise in the older/original tools (say..a Minimoog synth, or Tri-x pushed 2 stops )actually engenders a certain aesthetical approach or way of working. So what use is it to 'look' like a photo taken with a Holga? Completely useless actually...
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I'm deliberately staying out of the fray. So much noise so little music.

Just as there are those that think I've misinterpreted Mr. Rockwell, similarly there are those who haven't been around here long enough and have therefore done so with me as well.

To which my response is [a href=\"http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/funkeycam.shtml]this article[/url] from a couple of years ago.

Michael
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181881\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I do think you have misinterpreted Mr. Rockwell. And this fray was actually started by you.It's your bed..lol
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #23 on: March 16, 2008, 08:04:06 PM »
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What's all this about cameras mattering or not?It is elementary they matter...how could one call it photography without a camera? This is not what is being discussed.

Yes it is, because Rockwell started this discussion by saying the camera didn't matter at all in his article numerous times. And he failed to offer any hints that there may be exceptions to the principle anywhere in his lengthy babblings. That's what this debate is all about. Are you defending Rockwell's position without even knowing what he wrote? Or do you think we're too stupid to notice the absurdity of your argument here?

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Photoshop doesn't replicate anything at all...it EMULATES. It is like in audio software that trieds to emulate vintage synthesizers....it can't.The quality of this emulation, to any discerning eye/ear, is quite off...and it will never be adequate. The very nature of the noise in the older/original tools (say..a Minimoog synth, or Tri-x pushed 2 stops )actually engenders a certain aesthetical approach or way of working. So what use is it to 'look' like a photo taken with a Holga? Completely useless actually...

That's your opinion, but that doesn't make it an established fact. You're ignoring the possibility that someone may not want or need the exact "Holga look" for their image; they may want the lens aberrations and film grain look but more accurate colors than the palette the film offers, or the lens aberrations and color palette without the film grain, etc. Just because Tri-X and Velvia have a specific "look" doesn't mean that achieving that "look" should be the ultimate goal of photography, any more than the sound of a vintage tube amp is what every guitar player should aspire to, regardless of their style, or that every keyboard player must use a Minimoog or an original Hammond with the rotating speaker. Often the sound desired may not correspond to any piece of vintage gear exactly, and that's where digital can come in very handy. While amp modeling may not perfectly recreate the sound of a particular piece of analog gear, it can get pretty damn close; close enough for the digital emulation to be worthwhile and useful.

When I'm playing guitar, the exact distortion I want may not be available from any analog amp. Having a digital distortion pedal with adjustable parameters allows me to fine-tune the amount and type of distortion to my tastes, without limiting myself to the characteristics of any original analog device. The same goes for emulating the Holga look digitally. Doing so may not duplicate every aspect of the Holga look perfectly, but that certainly doesn't mean doing so is "completely useless".
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 08:08:50 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #24 on: March 16, 2008, 08:19:09 PM »
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Let's keep everyone happy.

How about these lines..

"Your camera does not matter that much"

"Your camera does not matter so long as it does what YOU want"

There you go, that should do the job..

But then everyone will argue about how MUCH it matters, and when. Or what % it matters!!! Such is life..

Anyway, I just use what I feel is the best camera/lens for the job. If I don't have it, I work around the problem the best I can. If I foget to take a real camera, I WILL use my sellotape junko special to take a shot! Because a photo taken is better than none!
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #25 on: March 16, 2008, 08:31:49 PM »
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Let's keep everyone happy.

How about these lines..

"Your camera does not matter that much"

"Your camera does not matter so long as it does what YOU want"

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If I foget to take a real camera, I WILL use my sellotape junko special to take a shot! Because a photo taken is better than none!

This is a fairly reasonable perspective.

And it is better to shoot with the crappy camera you do have than not shoot with the best possible tool you don't have with you. I used an Olympus SP-350 while in Iraq for that reason; hauling around 40 lbs of Canon 1-series bodies and L glass was not practical given the limited space for personal belongings and the weight of the gear I had to carry already. The shots I got in Iraq don't have the level of technical quality I would have preferred, but that doesn't mean they are valueless:

"Sunset at OP 546"
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 08:34:10 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

mrleonard
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« Reply #26 on: March 16, 2008, 08:33:05 PM »
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Yes it is, because Rockwell started this discussion by saying the camera didn't matter at all in his article numerous times. And he failed to offer any hints that there may be exceptions to the principle anywhere in his lengthy babblings. That's what this debate is all about. Are you defending Rockwell's position without even knowing what he wrote? Or do you think we're too stupid to notice the absurdity of your argument here?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181995\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Um...My post was never about defending Rockwell's position.I don't think you're too stupid to notice that though....What I was doing was bringing the whole argument back to it's intent...trying to state clearly what the question actually is.Where you see it is perhaps a discussion of technical details....I simply see it as a discussion of creativity,aesthetics, process etc.

As far as digital emulation of analog processes. You'd have to have fogged eyes and plugged ears to NOT say what I said is fact...not merely opinion. I didn't mean that it is completely useless to use emulation to achieve certain desirable looks etc...I am sure there are commercial reasons for it. But it is pretty useless for original work...the inherent noise characteristics of a camera change the very nature of how you shoot with it. Though it may be subtle it DOES change the way you shoot....This alone can never be emulated.

I guess , in my photography, all I aspire to do is be original. That is probably why I dont shoot too much landscape photos actually...it is difficult to do much that's fresh or original. Digital technology is very useful...but I think it changes ones emphasis towards 'content' and 'ideas'...at least when you want to explore the new possibilities it opens up. I dont find it very useful to explore or emulate old ideas.
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jjj
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« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2008, 08:39:50 PM »
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If the camera does not matter, why spend that much? Why not get a webcam? Or make a pinhole camera from an oatmeal box and a sheet of tinfoil and some duct tape?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181834\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I think the camera does matter, but it's still the photographer that takes the picture.
Best way to illustrate this, would be to give say a Holga to a photographer and to someone who knows nothing about photography. The photographer should take better pictures. Do the same thing with a P+S and then again with say a Nikon D3 and a Hasselbald H3-39D, again the photographer, should consistently take the better images.

The camera does matter if there is a choice of cameras to be utilised, but the skill of the photgrapher would also be in knowing which camera to choose for any given subject, so seeing as the photographer choses the camera, then it's the photographer and no the camera taking the picture/making the difference.


Mind you I argued with a fellow pro at our monthly get together that the camera used is important, as he was of the opinion, that the camera was irrelevent. Why? As clients never asked what camera you used and he'd never not got a picture due to the camera, was his reasoning. I explained that it did matter as on a shoot I did when another colleague of ours was present, I was able to get shots he couldn't because my camera was much better for the situation than his.
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Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless.   Futt Futt Futt Photography
jjj
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« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2008, 09:21:25 PM »
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I didn't mean that it is completely useless to use emulation to achieve certain desirable looks etc...I am sure there are commercial reasons for it. But it is pretty useless for original work...the inherent noise characteristics of a camera change the very nature of how you shoot with it. Though it may be subtle it DOES change the way you shoot....This alone can never be emulated.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182005\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
That is a very germane point, emulation is fine, but it certainly does not replicate the method of taking which will inform your ability to shoot and influence how you compose/work. If I use my 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 35mm it will not take the same pictures as my 35mm f2 lens at f2.8 as the 35mm is very small and discreet compared to my hulking great zoom lens, so I will be able to shoot say street scenes more unobtrusively with the smaller lens.

In fact. I'm going away for a few days tomorrow [non work stuff] and I've decided to tak my 5D with no grip and just the tiny 35mm f2.0 lens, 8g+2G of CF cards, 2 batteries [no charger] and my 30G backup device. Why? I'm fed up with carrying loads of camera gear, laptops, chargers etc. I'll take different shot from normal, simply as I'll be limited and limits can make one more creative, so not too bad a thing.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 09:22:32 PM by jjj » Logged

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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2008, 10:12:48 PM »
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Um...My post was never about defending Rockwell's position.I don't think you're too stupid to notice that though....What I was doing was bringing the whole argument back to it's intent...trying to state clearly what the question actually is.Where you see it is perhaps a discussion of technical details....I simply see it as a discussion of creativity,aesthetics, process etc.

You're not bringing the argument back to it's intent, you're obfuscating the invalidity of Rockwell's position with a completely different discussion. Try again.

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You'd have to have fogged eyes and plugged ears to NOT say what I said is fact...not merely opinion.

That is what is known as an ad hominem attack, ladies and gentlemen. I've played music (harmonica, bass guitar, and hammered dulcimer, as well as other instruments) for about 30 years now, and worked with a concert promoter for a few years. I've met hundreds of musicians, some of whom have sold millions of records and are known worldwide. Some of them use analog gear (one band in particular used a Hammond B3 and a Leslie speaker assembly), but most (>90%) use a collection of digital effects pedals for guitars, and keyboards with electronic synthesizers. And you haven't answered my point about not everyone's artistic preferences neatly corresponding to a specific piece of analog sound gear or film stock. There are other possibilities out there that digital technology allows us to explore.

In the meantime, I leave you with this article to read:
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul03/articles/hammondb3.asp

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I dont find it very useful to explore or emulate old ideas.

Then why your fixation with the notion that digitally approximating a Holga or Hammond B3 is "useless"? What's wrong with me wanting to process a digital image quasi-Holga style, but with less vignetting and less film grain? Or with a saturated color palette that isn't quite like Velvia? Doesn't the expansion of options that digital technology allows increase the boundaries of what is possible, thereby allowing a greater variety of creative possibilities?
« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 10:23:04 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

sojournerphoto
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« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2008, 10:21:56 PM »
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That is a very germane point, emulation is fine, but it certainly does not replicate the method of taking which will inform your ability to shoot and influence how you compose/work. If I use my 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 35mm it will not take the same pictures as my 35mm f2 lens at f2.8 as the 35mm is very small and discreet compared to my hulking great zoom lens, so I will be able to shoot say street scenes more unobtrusively with the smaller lens.

In fact. I'm going away for a few days tomorrow [non work stuff] and I've decided to tak my 5D with no grip and just the tiny 35mm f2.0 lens, 8g+2G of CF cards, 2 batteries [no charger] and my 30G backup device. Why? I'm fed up with carrying loads of camera gear, laptops, chargers etc. I'll take different shot from normal, simply as I'll be limited and limits can make one more creative, so not too bad a thing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Without wishing to get into the discussion on whether it matters or not(!) that's why I bought my gx100. It changes the way I work because it is small and discreet - plus it's noisy compared to my dslrs, which are basically two copies of the same tool. So as not to claim the thought as original, Sean Reid describes the output from small sensor cameras as more sketchlike than that from dslrs , which I think is a good description and certainly fits how I work with mine at present.

Mike

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« Last Edit: March 16, 2008, 10:24:13 PM by sojournerphoto » Logged
schrodingerscat
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« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2008, 11:47:54 PM »
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What's all this about cameras mattering or not?It is elementary they matter...how could one call it photography without a camera?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=181985\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Photograms?

Don't even need the suckers.
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schrodingerscat
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« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2008, 11:54:55 PM »
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In fact. I'm going away for a few days tomorrow [non work stuff] and I've decided to tak my 5D with no grip and just the tiny 35mm f2.0 lens, 8g+2G of CF cards, 2 batteries [no charger] and my 30G backup device.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182015\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Now if Leitz would just come out with a FF rangefinder, I could go beck to just the camera and a 35 1.4. For the life of me I can't figure out why the M8 is a crop sensor, other than either Canon refused to sell them FF sensors or Leitz was too haughty to ask.


Elitist Snob
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Paul Kay
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2008, 05:14:05 AM »
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To go back to your 'original question(s)'. As any technology changes it brings new possibilities. Whether the possibilities offered by specific digital cameras expand creativity is clearly dependent on the photographer. As far as I can see you have a chicken and egg question here - one is dependent on the other - so logically both matter!

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I guess , in my photography, all I aspire to do is be original. That is probably why I dont shoot too much landscape photos actually...it is difficult to do much that's fresh or original.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182005\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If its fresh and original to you does it matter if someone else has done it first? Originality is another difficult to pin down concept and is often IMHO all too often confused with style!
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TaoMaas
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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2008, 07:38:01 AM »
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You're not bringing the argument back to it's intent, you're obfuscating the invalidity of Rockwell's position with a completely different discussion.

uh...you should have said: "...you're obfuscating the invalidity of Rockwell's, Ansel Adam's, Walker Evans', Ernst Haas', and Andreas Feininger's position with a completely different discussion."


The point Rockwell was making was that even if all you have available to you is a Holga, you can still create decent pictures.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2008, 08:01:57 AM »
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The point Rockwell was making was that even if all you have available to you is a Holga, you can still create decent pictures.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182087\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


At last! I am not the only one that "gets it"!

Nobody is insane enough to take a Holga over a D3, but if that is what's in your hand, as you say..you can get some good stuff even with a camera like that.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2008, 08:02:13 AM by barryfitzgerald » Logged
Slough
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2008, 09:00:46 AM »
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I agree with Jonathan's posts.

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The point Rockwell was making was that even if all you have available to you is a Holga, you can still create decent pictures.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182087\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No he wasn't.

Why oh why can't people read?

He did not say "For some kinds of photography, especially art school, the camera does not matter" or "Even a cheap camera takes really good snaps of your family on holiday, so you don't need a Nikon D3" or "Pros use expensive cameras because they might sometimes need the obscure features to get special shots to earn them a fat fee from an agency".

He said "your camera does not matter". Basically he is talking out of his nether regions.  

Ken can do a pretty good impression of the village idiot when he wants to. Not that he is an idiot, far from it. He sure knows how to get publicity. Just don't expect his conception of the world to contain too much overlap with reality.
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nicsut
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« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2008, 09:28:06 AM »
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The point Rockwell was making was that even if all you have available to you is a Holga, you can still create decent pictures.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182087\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Could all those that subscribe to this view please list all those types/styles/photographic scenarios that they could not take a decent (technically and/or aesthetically acceptable) photo of with a Holga.

Could they then please list the technical shortcomings of the Holga that make it an inappropriate tool for the job...

For me (personal opinion and I've got my asbestos suit on so flame away all you will!!) the problem with Mr Rockwell's argument is that he lumps all of photography into one.  You just need to read the volume of discussion on different style etc on this (and other) sites to realise that that is not the case (if you hadn't realised already).  To present an argument in this context is what people here are reacting to, and which Mr Reichmann pointed out in his breakdown of what you need to construct a camera.
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Paul Kay
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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2008, 10:31:34 AM »
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Okay, I specialise and as such equipment DOES matter, very much indeed. Since I shoot underwater a Holga would be utterly useless to me - unless someone knows of a housing to fit it in...........
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TaoMaas
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2008, 11:09:50 AM »
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Okay, I specialise and as such equipment DOES matter, very much indeed. Since I shoot underwater a Holga would be utterly useless to me - unless someone knows of a housing to fit it in...........
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=182135\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


One of my friends was taking a trip to Cozumel and was planning to do some snorkeling.  He knew I had a Nikonos (but he didn't really know what it was.  He just knew it was a good underwater camera) and he asked if he could borrow it.  I tried to explain to him the limitations he'd have in using it since I didn't have a flash for it, but since he wasn't really into photography, he really didn't understand what I was telling him.  Sure enough, he came back from his trip convinced that I had wasted my money since his disposable underwater camera had taken pics that were just about as good as what he'd gotten with the Nikonos.  So, there's your proof that equipment makes no difference.  Ignorance will always triumph.  lol
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