I remember one occasion, 18 or so years ago, I was visiting my Gran, she wasn't at home so i correctly assumed she was walking her dog in the nearby park. I caught up with her and she was talking to a dog walker friend.
"Paul does some photographry" she said.
"Oh aye?, what kind of camera are you using"
"An EOS 1000"
"Hahaha, thats not a camera thats a toy"
Being a less than confident 18 year old, and a novice I didn't answer back. I would love there to be some poetic ending like years later I bumped into him and he was in the gutter / had cateracts / was working taking photos on the tourist bus for £2 a time etc.. but there's not. An old gear snob was quite nasty, and a young skint wannabe photographer was quite hurt. I hope he got gored shooting the bull-run or fell into an adders nest. But he probably didn't. He'll still be there, telling folk that their EOS 1100D is a toy..
I had similar experiences at a local camera club. Lots of fat old people using expensive gear to take crap pictures. Asked a few times what kit I used (Had an EOS 3 by then, not that it matters) but never asked to show any of my work. Never went back.
Found another club where they had 3 speakers each club night, one would be an expert in a given field (the night I was there it was butterflies and funghi, not interested in the subject matter at all, but the guy was a great speaker, went through how he plans a shoot, how he picks his kit, how he builds a hide, top tips.. it was a really interesting presentation even if the technically accomplished pictures didn't excite me.
The next speaker was a novice using a bridge camera, and was very nervous, but folk asked him the right questions to bring out where he was and where he wanted to be, his photos were pretty poor but it was an interesting discussion and the guy left with lots of pointers all given in positive friendly terms.
Lastly the club chairman went through his pick of members photographs, 2 or 3 each, and asked folk to speak a little about their work and fielded questions. Again, very positive, very friendly, some critiques, some praise, nobody had the chance to speak forever in the loudest voice, and whether you shot on a holga or shot on a hasselblad everybody had the chance to participate.
I didn't drive at this point in my life, or that would have been my camera club of choice. There was a canon camp, a nikon camp, a small minolta camp with gentle ribbing each way, but folk weren't bogged down by numbers.
So whenever I am asked about my kit I try and steer it around to my photography, and importantly, their photography.. what kind of work they like to do, their influences, what they are doing with their photography etc. When it comes to photography I am an amateur, this has several interpretations, but I prefer it's translated
interpretation from the french. I do it for the love of it.
If I'm on a video shoot, I tell folk to 'ferk off I'm busy', because usually I am, and I'm recording sound too, so shut up. Or if it's security guards trying to tell me they have juristiction over the queens highway I'm usually more robust than that.