"I am uninterested in the notion that a good photographer can make good photos with any gear. That's NOT THE POINT!!"
That's the whole point right there but gear makes the job more convenient.
No, that's not the point. It was never anyone's point. Its been YOUR point, but you've been ignoring everyone elses' point.
I'll try one last time. Lets see whether you succeed or fail at this test.
You see a Western Grebe off the sandy shore you are standing on. You are standing right at the waters edge. The Grebe some 65 feet off shore. The water out there is 10 feet deep. You have at your disposal a supercheap $109 Canon PowerShot A1400, and a 5D III with a 600mm f/4 L lens. Which camera will take the better photo?
And I don't mean something that is more convenient. I mean, BETTER PHOTO. Sharper detail. Less noise. Thinner DOF. Brighter exposure. No blur from camera shake. BETTER FRIKKIN PHOTO!! Which camera?
Let's do one better, I'll get a better shot from the A1400 wading water getting the shot closer than you will with that 600L you have.
That assumes you can get close enough to the bird. The Grebe won't stick around...when you start sloshing around in the water, it'll be gone before you can even point the camera. So sure...you could get yourself soaking, soggy wet...risk damaging your camera (or losing it alltogether if you drop it).
In the mean time, the moment you started walking towards the water, I started getting six shots a second. On top of that, thanks to your watery antics, I got some awesome in-flight shots as well, focus NAILED in each and every one of them, until the bird was out of view, thanks to the high end 61pt AF system of the 5D III and the fast focus of the 600mm f/4 L II.
Sorry bub...I win. So does the better tool. Together, we make a better team.
If I do get the photo, I'd be better and more unique than yours. How many photos do you see of them close up? Not many, but It would make a better photo.
So assuming we both get the photo, the A1400 would produce a better photo.
Is it inconvenient to wade water, possibly damage equipment and risk life for the shot? Sure, but many many photographers do just that. Some even camo themselves to get close.
The 600L is convenient but does it make better photos? not really. A photographers drive? Always.
It seems clear you haven't ever used the 600L, nor tried to photograph a Grebe from shore, nor even used camo to get close to birds or wildlife. I do that every day...trust me, camo doesn't get you nearly as far as you might think, and it only works when you've sat still long enough to blend into the environment as something other than a human. Birds notice you, even in camo, and they are always wary of you. Camo doesn't make you invisible...it just makes you unidentifiable (which at first is a turnoff to birds!)
First, the entire point of the scenario I created was to make it impossible for you to get the shot by getting close. You CAN'T get that close to a Grebe....especially if your some giant, bumbling buffoon thrashing through the water right towards them. There is plain and simply no option of wading close to the bird...not close enough that you could get a shot with the A1400...camo or no camo (and if you are treading water, camo aint going to be worth a dime!)
Second, your perspective may be unique, but it won't be better than what you can get with the 600mm. The perspective with the P&S will be rather wide, relative to a 600mm on FF....the background will be rather intrusive, as it will contain detail...blurry detail, but shape and form nonetheless. It's a shot, sure...and maybe it's unique...but it won't be top notch quality. With the 600, I can compress the background, a LOT, completely blur it out. I can zero in on just the bird, isolate it, maximize my resolution with a wide aperture. I can fill the frame with the bird WITHOUT having to get close, and on top of that, with the resolving power of the 600mm and the higher pixel count of the 5D III, I'll have more detail, and sharper detail, than the A1400 could EVER aspire to (hey, that's your argument! Bigger sensors with more pixels can never be beat by a smaller sensor with fewer pixels right? Don't refute your own MF vs. FF argument now! )
So I'm sorry...but, ASSUMING we both got a photo, the A1400's wouldn't be even remotely close to the quality, both technical and artistic, of the shot from the 5D III and 600mm lens. Oh, and yeah...its still a hell of a lot more convenient to shoot from the shore than get soaking wet and potentially lose my gear by wading out 60 feet from shore into 10-foot water just to get "something" with one of the cheapest cameras on the market.
Even if we DO assume the A1400 was capable of the same IQ as the 5D III+600/4...well, the latter is STILL a better tool...even if it only offered JUST the added convenience. BTW, thank you for showing your ignorance in the last couple of posts. You really, just kind of handed the argument to me on a silver platter.
Well, my work is done for the day. RL, have fun wading around after birds you'll never get close to! I hope it's a hot day...at least then the watersport will have SOME value.