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Author Topic: Do you feel your photos have improved proportionally to the cost of your gear?  (Read 30062 times)


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The cost/quality of my gear does help to some degree, but it's not been a proportional growth, no... I feel that I would have grown nearly as much if I had stuck with my Digital Rebel and Tamron super-zoom.

Yes, gear with fewer limitations provides more room to learn and push your own creative boundaries farther out.

much more improve when you are master at photoshop LOL

Good RAW shot from camera will help alot.........don't you think?

Raw files and the increased flexibility of post-processing with all kinds of software is the biggest area of my improvements.  That was so much harder to do with film!

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  • EOS Rebel 300D
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I'm new to photography and I started out with a T3i and Canon 100-400mm back in November 2011.  I shoot mainly wildlife: wolves, bears, birds, and whatever that moves.  I could get sharp images up to 300mm, but couldn't seem to get equally sharp images at 400mm with the 100-400mm.  I bought a 300mm f2.8 IS Mark I, a 1.4X II and a 2.0 II TCs, and a 5D3 in April 2012.   I saw my photo quality improved dramatically with the new equipment.  The T3i + 100-400mm cost me about $2,200, the 5D3 + 300mm f2.8 (used) + 1.4X Tc + 2X TC ~ $7500.  I'd say I got my money worth > 3X improvements :)

However, now that I know I can take sharp images, I suspect I can go back to the T3i and 100-400mm and get much better quality images than I used to, so may be not 3X improvements :(.  But I enjoy photography a lot more and have no regret for spending that kind of money on new gear :)
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  • EOS M5
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Tough question and lots of great answers here.  Everyone is right, especially since it is a personal thing.  I do believe that the photographer is the most important part, then the lenses, then the body.  I have a friend who takes the most amazing shots with a point and shoot.  He's not really into photography, but the angles and poses he comes up with, I cannot compete with.  I truly am jealous.
Of course it helps when you can take a clear shot at ISO 3200 with the newest pro DSLR and the AF is always tack on.  Also, when I get new gear, I push myself to learn and try out new possibilities opened with the new gear, thereby learning something.  But in the end, if my point and shoot friend comes along, I can't say who would come home with the better pictures...


  • EOS 5DS R
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This is my first time posting here and I'm amateur for sure.  I've been shooting for several years but still consider myself in the hobby phase.  I have to say that the first shots when going from a T1i and kit lense to a 7D and first L lense was a stark difference.  Now I see why all the rukus about L lenses.

It's not just "L" but I do really agree with you.  I think frustrating pieces of consumer glass really hinder an amateur from starting to get really great shots consistently.

I started on a 15-85, which I'm very happy I went with.  I see the shots that even today I can produce on the 70-300mm non-L and think: Yuck.

Good glass doesn't really have to be expensive, the 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8 come to mind as lenses that's value truly exceeds their worth.

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From my experience purchasing new camera bodies, lens and accessories over the last few years, it has provided me the ability shoot better photos than I was to do with my consumer grade equipment especially at weddings.

However buying the best equipment doesn't automatically make you a better photographer, you have to grow with your equipment and learn how to make of the most of what you have though.

The best photographers are using amazing gear and for good reason, they want the best results no matter how talented they are. L-grade lens and full frame camera bodies do produce unmatched results so long as you know how to utilize the advantages they offer.

Not to say all photos that come from non-L and crop cameras are bad, I have achieved amazing photos from my xsi and 17-55 & 55-250 lens many years ago. But since i have made serious upgrades in my equipment I have been more invested, inspired and confident in my photography work I do for fun and for clients. I definitely have more keepers on shoots I do.


  • EOS 80D
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Definitely not.

I still use a point and shoot (S95) and can get some nice pictures from it. 
The pictures from my T1i and 15-85mm lens are better, but they are not two to three times as good.

You pay a lot to get a small improvement and better control of the camera.


  • EOS 5D Mark IV
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I would say definitely not on a straight monetary value since I am still in hobbyist/enthusiast mode.  But I do know the quality of the picture that the camera and equipment allow me take has inspired me to learn how to use the equipment better and to take advantage of the additional opportunities presented.

I do know that with each upgrade of equipment my skills, knowledge and excitement improve.  So with these criteria the answer is definitely more so.

In fact I have just place an order for a 7D and expect to learn more new ways and look for more improvement in my pictures.
Canon EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 7D, EF-S 10-22, EF-S 17-55, EF 100 Macro, EF 50 1.4, EF 100-400L Mk II, Tamron 150-600

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Stephen Melvin

  • EOS M5
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In my own case, it's not an improvement in quality so much as improvements in capability. A 5D Mk III that can produce high quality images at ISO 12800 paired with my 24mm f/1.4L II is capable of doing things that cheaper equipment cannot.

I remember being excited at the ISO 3200 image quality of the 20D. That seems so long ago now...


  • EOS M5
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As bad as it sounds, yes... But there is a catch.

You still need the know-how to really make use of what you buy... Basically, not buying the most expensive stuff and being clueless to how to use it properly.

As my lenses and body got better via upgrades, my images did as well. Having better high ISO, sharper/faster lenses, more specialized lenses for dramatic effects, etc... But my knowledge grew just as quickly as my gear.

My Samyang 14mm is one example, although its quite cheap at around $300... Some of my best images came from that lens simply because it was a 14mm on FF. I could not pull off those images with any other lenses. Now without the Samyang I would be stuck buying the $2000+ 14L...   So sometimes you get "stuck" buying expensive items because there simply is nothing cheaper.

Much like anything, the knowledge is backward compatible. You can give me a T1i and 18-55 and I am sure I would be able to do great things with it... But I would be very limited compared to what I own (5D3, 70-200 II, 35L, 24-105L, etc...). Much like throwing a professional race-car driver into a basic Toyota Yaris. The talents basically get wasted because the equipment does not match to potential. This really is a summary of my whole post! Wasting talents without proper tools.

So in a way, you NEED the knowledge to make the best use out of your expensive gear. Usually this happens naturally... I started with advanced point and shoots when I started to learn manual controls... Moved up to a XSI and then the T1i... Once I outgrew those I was with the 7D, then 5D and 5D2 and now the 5D3. I evolved with my gear. The more I learned, the more money I had invested in very expensive gear. So I know generally how to make the most out of what I own and how to achieve exactly what I want with what I have. You will see me changing lenses like crazy because its mandatory to get the image that I vision. It drives me nuts to keep one lens on for a long period of time because they all do something very different.

Hope this makes sense!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 04:52:59 PM by Invertalon »


  • EOS 5DS R
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There are things you can do with the truly expensive gear that simply can't be done at all with the other stuff. There's a reason a <i>Sports Illustrated</i> photographer will go with a 400 f/2.8 on a 1D X instead of a 75-300 on a Rebel when shooting a football game. The two setups have the same field of view, sure -- hell, the Rebel setup even has more reach. But that's where the similarities end.

Other examples abound. You can do stuff with a TS-E 24 II that you can't with a 28 f/2.8, even though the 28 has autofocus -- think of a small wildflower filling the frame with the rest of the meadow and the mountains in the background, everything in sharp focus, except for the dreamily-blurred grass right underneath the flower. And when it comes to things like the MP-E 65...well, sure, you can crop to get the same field of view but doing so is a joke.

So "improvement" isn't quite the proper word to use. Does buying a cement truck to park next to your carbon-frame bicycle improve your locomotion?




  • EOS 5DS R
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Well, HAVE they? :P

I dunno. I mean, I've been interested in photography for a very long time- once the transition to digital happened, I basically stuck with P&S compacts while mulling upgrading to a DSLR for the longest time...the breaking point however happened when I got to go to this really great (indoor) Q&A event...I took pics...got back and EVERY SINGLE FLASH PHOTO with a person in it had red-eye...and every non-flash shot was grainy and blurry. I just got sick and tired of not being able to get decent shots indoors (or in non-"sunny, blue sky" lighting)...so then the Rebel T2i came out and I got myself one right away. I had the impression that getting a DSLR would improve my photos overnight. Well, shocker- it didn't. I found out rather quickly that if I was going to get the pictures I wanted, I needed to learn to use this thing...and also get a better lens as the kit lens quality was DEFINITELY not $800 better than my Canon Elph.

The main issue was that I had rather high expectations. I guess I was expecting closer to professional-quality photos since I now had what laypeople seem to refer to as a "professional" camera. My point is, I suppose, it wasn't the camera itself so much as it was my working to fulfill this new, higher expectation I had from it that ended up having the biggest impact on my photos. It involved several trips to the camera store, several hours/days/weeks reading about photography basics and talking to people, thousands of shutter clicks and, of course, thousands of dollars spent on the type of lenses required to meet my IQ expectations. And it's a learning process that I'm still going through right now.

I guess, now I can pick up my iPhone or Elph and under the right conditions, get somewhat better shots than I used to, but having the right camera REALLY helps. Makes things so much easier...BUT- there IS a learning curve that has to be overcome before you get the desired results.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 05:51:59 PM by Act444 »


  • EOS Rebel 300D
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I'm an amateur/hobby shooter who enjoys the challenges of shooting birds in flight, nature, and landscaping. In my case, absolutely my photos are hugely improved by the cost of my gear. My 1D-X with "L" series lenses produces amazing results that even my former 1D Mark IV could not do. I'm not so much into spending big bucks as I am enjoying using the features and technology (particularly the upgrades in continuous focusing) that continue to evolve. 


  • EOS M5
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Yes, but in a really odd way.  The next generation of the 60D or 7D has already made my photography better.  Strange but here is how.  To justify the upgrade from my 50D I want to make sure I reach the limits of that camera.  I have been diligently saving, and by March or sooner I will have a new camera.  IF Canon does not offer an upgrade a 5DIII will be within reach.  So I have been taking my 50D out as often as possible.  learning new things (Lynda and even some stuff on Youtube helped.  Self assignments, lowlight, going places I would not normally go, a new strap (does a Black Rapid make me better, well no, but it makes going out more enjoyable and easier on the neck), getting better in Lightroom has made post process better, using RAW all the time and learning how to work with that.  Practice and making sure I get out and take pictures 2 or 3 times a week (plus my s95 in my pocket all the time) is making me better.  Can't wait for a new camera, I will be a better photographer when it gets here :)
5DIII | 70-200 IS F4L | 24-105L |50 1.8 I |1002.8L | Tokina 16-28 2.8 |600EX

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  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II
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I have a 60D, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro, 50mm f/1.4 USM, and a 70-200mm f/4L USM.  I'm happy with the assortment of lenses, but it occurs to me that I'm not sure my photos are that much better than when I was shooting with a $150 - $200 Sony (7mp) point and shoot.

Just adding up the retail value of my gear ($4500), I'm not so sure that I'm 22X a better photographer than I was.  That's not to say I don't do a good job with my gear... I compose a shot well, I bounce light like a champ, and I get a ton of complements... but I think people take me more seriously because of the size of my camera than the relative improvement of the shots. 

I might just be having a bit of an existential crisis and I'm merely romanticizing the "quality" of my photos with the P&S... but still.  Do y'all think the gear has substantially advanced your product?
That is like asking "did the ride on your 1 million dollar car improve proportionally over the  cost of a $10000 car you had before" ... if we start making all our purchase decisions like that we will all be quite miserable. I am assuming that your decision to go with 60D with a 100mm L Macro lens had a lot to do with what you could not do with a $150 P&S camera ... you chose to spend a lot more money on your DSLR gear because of what it is capable of, NOT because it was going to make you 22 times better than your P&S. Having said that, I think your DSLR gear has made you 100 times more capable of making a better and easier photo than a $150 P&S ... because your P&S could NEVER take a macro shot like your 60D coupled with a 100L Macro lens. Also another thing one has to remember is that one of the joys of photography is in buying new gear ... every time I buy some new photographic gear (weather it is a $5 reflector or a $3500 5D MK III camera) it makes me happy that I am a proud owner of some new equipment that helps my photography to become a bit more easier so I can concentrate more on the creative part of photography. That reminds me, I just ordered a Rogue Flash Bender with diffuser panel yesterday and I am eagerly awaiting their arrival ... the joy of buying that little piece of gear and being able to use it is priceless ... that reminds of the Mastercard advert with the tag line "Priceless" ... you need to watch them, they might help you with your "crisis"  ;D
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 06:43:08 PM by Rienzphotoz »
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  • EOS 5DS R
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I have a 60D, 24-105mm f/4L IS, 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro, 50mm f/1.4 USM, and a 70-200mm f/4L USM.  I'm happy with the assortment of lenses, but it occurs to me that I'm not sure my photos are that much better than when I was shooting with a $150 - $200 Sony (7mp) point and shoot.

Just adding up the retail value of my gear ($4500), I'm not so sure that I'm 22X a better photographer than I was.  That's not to say I don't do a good job with my gear... I compose a shot well, I bounce light like a champ, and I get a ton of complements... but I think people take me more seriously because of the size of my camera than the relative improvement of the shots. 

I might just be having a bit of an existential crisis and I'm merely romanticizing the "quality" of my photos with the P&S... but still.  Do y'all think the gear has substantially advanced your product?
Looking at the picture is only part of the equation. Getting it is another part. With what you got (60D and lenses etc), you are having speed in shutter  lag, AF, frame per second, shot to shot delay that the Sony P & S that cannot even come close. Therfore you will not miss as much shots as the P & S.  You can also catch the right expression of people at the right moment. Also the 200 mm lense is 320mm equilvalent telelens that the P & S does not have. These are the things that are beyond the final picture.  Your "expensive gear" is giving you all the above.

As for picture quality, it all depends how you look at the picture.  If you look at the picture from the computer sceen., all you need is about 2 Mp.  A 7 Mp and a 18 Mp picture will have the same resolution. In fact BOTH will not look good unless you use PhhtoShop to down size them such that you can look at the WHOLE picture  in pixel level on the screen. if you do not print pictures bigger than 11 x 14, Both the 7 Mp and the 18 Mp camera will have ths same virtual resolution. The DR on the crop body (60D) is not much better than a point and shoot.  Therfore you will not see any improvemen tin this area. If you shoot  a lot of low-light photo, than the 60D will definitely  have the advantage .

Just as the other posts says: "cost and quality is not linear".  It is an exponential curve. small improvement will cost you big buck.

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