May 22, 2018, 02:02:00 PM

Author Topic: Do you feel your photos have improved proportionally to the cost of your gear?  (Read 29218 times)


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Over time, I've accumulated more and much better gear than I initially purchased.  Over time, the quality of my photos has improved.  Correlation does not equal causation.  I'd certainly like to believe that the quality of my photos would have improved similarly even if I were still shooting with the T1i/500D, EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, EF 85mm f/1.8, and 430EX II.

What has dramatically improved with more/better gear is the variety of images I'm able to capture while maintaining a consistently high quality.  Creative control of DoF with fast primes and a TS-E lens, wider apertures so I don't need uber-high ISO settings in low light, longer lenses for birds and wildlife instead of severely cropping the images, macro lenses for close-ups, sealing so I can shoot in inclement weather (or when it's sunny and 80° and I'm on a water ride at an amusement park with my kids), etc.

Is the improvement proportional to the cost of my gear?  No, it's far greater.  I can put a price on the gear (and I have to, for insurance coverage).  The memories captured are priceless.
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I would answer yes.  But I feel only a small portion of my improvement is because of the new glass and cameras.  I think the real reason for improvement is because, as I acquire better gear and become more invested, I spend a lot more time learning how to PP.  I think the sole reason for my improvement is continuously learning how to use LR, and next, PS.

That's where my improvement comes from.


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Has it increased proportional to the cost of my gear, no, but, that's when you put a specific monetary value on it. I've definitely gotten better over time, but I could have also improved with the specific gear I had originally. Though, adding a wide angle lens definitely gets me shots I never could have.

Is the improvement proportional to the cost of my gear?  No, it's far greater.  I can put a price on the gear (and I have to, for insurance coverage).  The memories captured are priceless.
I love this take on it and I completely agree. While I don't have kids, its impossible to put value on how much fun I've had trying to capture a bunch of different shots and the places its taken me. And how much more fun it is than sitting in my living room in a weekend.

edit: Yeah, as i've spent more Ive definitely invested more time as well.


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sometimes reading my $15 books makes me feel like im a better photographer than my gear does.
but i sure enjoy playing with it :)

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Chuck Alaimo

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This is a great question to ask and also a very hard one to answer.  The instinct is to say hell yes, but, the reality is probably no.  I ask myself this whenever I start thinking of adding something new, what will the benefit be.  Merely affording it via regular old economics (are your profits greater than your costs) does not answer this question. 

It's a hard question because your always learning.  Example:  I can say I am creating a much greater variety of images with lets say my 24-70 2.8.  But, I have now owned that lens for just over 1.5 years.  The addition of that lens alone did not improve my photos though, it was the time spent learning the lens, finding it's sweet spots, etc, etc.  Which was a process I am kind of going through again due to moving from crop to full frame!  The 24-70 works in a different way now, and I have to learn it!   Same for my 70-200, for a while that lens sat in my bag gettinhg used rarely because its a bit too long on a crop sensor unless your pushing range.  But its a totally new lens to me now on FF.  So in that sense, the gear isn't really the thing that makes things get better --- it's the time spent with it, learning it, using it, experimenting, taking it on the job --- that's what really makes a photo improve. 

Bodies --- there are some things that I really just wouldn't be able to do without the ISO capabilities of the mk3.  Is the quality of photo proportional though?  No --- but, along these lines there is an intangible benefit --- that being confidence.  Knowing that I can tackle any situation and get the shot, that's a hard one to quantify.  Did I get that job because I am just so awesome how could they go with someone else?  Or, does that little nugget in the back of the mind, that knowing I can handle anything - how does that factor into the in person meetings?  I know if I was still only using my 7D, I probably would not have approached meetings with such confidence, I'd be worried because I know how shots look on the 7d above 2500 ISO.   Yes, I have a set of alien bee's, but, knowing that I can push to 12,800 in the reception and get great natural lighting shots versus having to use lighting... how does that factor in? 

Good Q...and very informative replies thus far!

Owns 5Dmkiii, 6D, 16-35mm, 24mm 1.4, 70-200mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85 mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8 macro, 1-600RT, 2 430 EX's, 1 video light


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Great question.

I agree with some of the other posters, that more gear allows you to make great photographs in more situations. A point in shoot can make awesome images given the right lighting and situation. The more situations we encounter and want to photograph the more money we spend on gear. Each piece of gear improves the quality of our of photographs for a certain situation, but not for all of them. The more and more gear we have, the more and more specialized or sophisticated our gear has to be in order to improve upon what is already available to us. So we spend a bunch of money on a piece of gear that only helps us improve incrementally.

From a personal standpoint I must say that my move the Full Frame made the biggest, immediate difference in my images. It was like night and day. Even my wife, who doesn't understand why hdtv is better than sdtv, was blown away by the quality of the images and the difference that was immediately noticeable. It wasn't like my skills had improved that much when I went to full frame. It was just the gear. Nothing else I've bought has made such a huge difference IMO.
I enjoy taking pictures!!!
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I'd say no, but it's still worth it:)

From an economics standpoint, I think its literally impossible for the answer to be "Yes".  Even a $50 functional camera is infinitely better than no camera.  After that, the returns on extra money spent decline rather rapidly.  You'd be hard pressed to distinguish between a wallet size pic that was taken with a 1dx vs. a 10 yr old P&S.   What the 1dx gives you, of course, is the ability to print much larger quality pics, shoot in damp conditions, change lenses (which also cost more $), AF faster, etc..., but it is drastically more expensive.   Of course, this is the concept of diminishing (marginal) returns. Same issue with cars.  A 300K super car isn't 300x faster around a track than a $1k beater. 

This is really the sister discussion to "is the <insert camera here> worth it?" discussions.  For a pro, who is earning a living with gear, its a very real topic. Will new gear allow me to increase revenue to offset the cost?  If yes, do it.  If not, don't, at least not yet.
For a hobbyist, the calculation is very different.  Will I enjoy my hobby more? Will I capture more memories and WOW shots with the new gear?  These aren't quantifiable, but still very real.  I have a 5DIII arriving tomorrow that I expect will improve the quality of my photography enough to offset it's added cost, even though I will earn $0 more with it.   
5DIII, | 100 2.8 Macro | 24-105L | 16-35 f/4L
70-200 f/4L IS | 50 1.4 | 10-22 (for sale!)

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I feel it's not about how good the gear is but how much room it gives you to grow yourself.going from the 450d to the 7d taught me about using af better because it has more af to learn; the 70-200 allows me to learn more about sports.
Now I've learnt all that, I can pick up a point and shoot and get better photos. It's not about how expensive gear is but how much it teaches you and how much you can then accomplish.
I still use the 450d, and I still use the elan 7 35mm when I need my ass schooled in exposure again


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Is the improvement proportional to the cost of my gear?  No, it's far greater.  I can put a price on the gear (and I have to, for insurance coverage).  The memories captured are priceless.



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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.
gripped 5DIII, 100-400 f/4-5.6L II, 24-70 f/2.8L II, 8-15 f/4L, 50 f/1.2L, 85 f/1.2L II, 135 f/2L, 1.4x III, 2x III, 3x 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT


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My time is very valuable to me, so if a piece of new gear will allow me to spend less time in front of the computer, and more time with my family, it is definitely worth it.


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My time is very valuable to me, so if a piece of new gear will allow me to spend less time in front of the computer, and more time with my family, it is definitely worth it. some cases, I use JPEG "as is" no PP, results are aways better than P&S
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 02:57:36 PM by Dylan777 »


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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.

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much more improve when you are master at photoshop LOL


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much more improve when you are master at photoshop LOL

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

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