June 22, 2018, 01:55:09 AM

Author Topic: Do you feel your photos have improved proportionally to the cost of your gear?  (Read 29824 times)


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Yes, Because I buy better equipment when i've reached the limits of my previous gear.

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Yes, Because I buy better equipment when i've reached the limits of my previous gear.
Canon 5DMK3 70D | Nikon D610 | Sony a7 a6000 | RX100M3 | 16-35/2.8LII | 70-200/2.8LISII | 100/2.8LIS | 100-400LIS | 40/2.8 | 50/1.4 | 85/1.8 | 600EX-RTx2 | ST-E3-RT | 24/3.5 T-S | 10-18/4 OSS 16-50 | 24-70/4OSS | 55/1.8 | 55-210 OSS | 70-200/4 OSS | 28-300VR | HVL-F43M | GoPro Black 3+ & DJI Phantom

Chuck Alaimo

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I kind of feel like we're seeing a consensus here on a few issues - that being learning and gaining experience trumps gear when judging image quality.  Gear gives you more options, but those options are really only available to you if you spend that time learning the gear.

Most of us upgrade our gear for a few reasons - to fill a gap in what we can do that only really presents itself after that learning!  Example, most when getting their start don't have top of the line fast glass.  For me, it was a canon xsi with 17-55 kit lens.  As opposed to investing in glass, when I felt that I grew out of that body (I found myself shooting in low light and the ISO performance on the xsi was not so good past 400) i invested in a 7d, again with kit lens (this time 18-135).  Being able to crank the ISO higher than 400 did lead to a drastic improvement in IQ.  upgrading my flash also helped a lot! At that point though I was really dreading my awareness of variable aperture.  And after 6 months of working with the 18-135 I upgraded to the 24-70, which opened things up even more (2.8 at the long end as opposed to 5.6 at the long end).  Then came the 70-200, adding range.  Then came a 10-22, which most definitely produced images I would not have been able to do with the 24-70!  Then came extra speedlights.  Awesome, learning more, which lead to radio triggers to take the flash off camera!  More learning, now i needed light modifiers, which lead to buying some alien bee 800's.  Then I started booking more weddings, and the low light capabilities of the 7d started to frustrate me.  So i upgraded to the mk3.  Have had that for 2 months and yes, there is still more to learn with that body (FF handles DOF much differently than crop, and focal lengths for all my lenses were now different, so they had to be relearned too.  And now i am considering lens options for my 7d so it can be a capable second body.

Point to the story is that all the upgrades came from learning and progressing and hitting a limit of what I could do with what I had.  does the cost of all of it proportionally lead to improvement, the answer is most likely no.  But, the whole of the process has led to me being a better photographer.  And like I said in a previous post, there is the intangible of confidence!  In the spring, I was farily confident, but there was always that nagging ut ohh, how do i handle this, or how do I handle that.  Those things are still there, but, at least I know my gear is up to the task.  Now my worries are more situational, like, how do I choreograph a group shot with a 30 person bridal party.  Knowing I have the right tools takes that worry out of the equation, so now I can focus on the other things!
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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Yes, not to say that you can't get nice images from lower priced or older gear, for example my most favourite candid portrait was taken with an XTi and 50mm f1.8... right place, right subject, right time, right expression, right settings..

My current main camera may have allowed me to print a larger size, or perhaps would have given me more takes in a burst of the same shot, but hey, I got the shot and thats it.  The moment will never happen again.

I don't think better images necessarily corelates to money spent.  I have sold nice cameras to chumps, and I've seen the talented make a silk purse from a pigs ear of a camera.

My own journey (gosh, journey, sounds a bit w@nky) is that as I have became more serious about my photography, and more confident in my ability, and more adventurous in the subjects I try I have bought kit that limits me less.

I know the 7D has it's detractors, but for me its a camera perfectly matched to where I'm at.   

I started buying the nice stuff when video came round.. mainly because I do video for my job and so was able to justify it, but also, for video fast lenses are a neccessity.  At the time of purchase the 7D was the only DSLR with video that shot in PAL, so it was a no brainer.

I frequently carry my T3i above the 7D, but then for things like sports I'll carry the 7D.  I wouldn't say one camera delivers a better photo quality than the other, just the 7D has more ways of getting there, and for some photo subjects the 7D is a must.

My next leap is going to be for an EOS cinema camera, will need to compare the C100 with the C300 in more detail.

Will it make my video any better?  Perhaps in an engineering context it will, less moire, less wobble...   but my main ENG is dying and the next service is likely to be it's last...  Even the c500 is about half what I would comparably spend on a video camera body (XDCAMHD or Panny P2 ENG was next logical step)

All I need are some servo zooms!  And I don't think the EF 35-80 PZ will cut it.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 03:24:47 PM by paul13walnut5 »


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I kind of feel like we're seeing a consensus here on a few issues - that being learning and gaining experience trumps gear when judging image quality.  Gear gives you more options, but those options are really only available to you if you spend that time learning the gear.

you nailed it, that's exactly the way I feel.

Also, it helps to get the right "gear" for the type of photography you do, rather than just fancy gear that makes you look cool. I mean, I think the 5D Mark III is a great camera...killer AF & high ISO...but despite being able to afford one, I will pass. Why? Prefer the reach of a 1.6x camera, and the 1.6x suits the type of photography I like to do. Would I like better high ISO performance or more AF points than what my 60D offers? Would love it, actually, but not willing to give up reach (or spend crazy $) for them. Fairly happy with the 60D...just wish it were able to adjust for slight focus errors in lenses so I don't need to send them back if AF is off a little.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 03:49:27 PM by Act444 »


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Depends on other factors like lightning and manual settings too, but generally speaking, you get what you pay is true for cameras imho, same for audio.


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it definitely hasnt improved proportionally, but I doubt Id have the same interest/would try as much if I just had a p&s

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Mt Spokane Photography

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Looking back a long ways, the first camera I recall using was a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, then I was able to use a Yashica TLR for just one day, much better.  The first Camera I owned (bought) was a Argus C3 which I used for about 4 years, again better.
Then I bought a SLR like no name camera with a fixed lens and leaf shutter.  No better than the C3, but it did have auto exposure.
After that, I bought a Canon FTQL, being employed as a engineer and able to compare notes with other fellow employees.  I also bought extension rings, and had a darkroom that I built in one corner of my garage.  This was a excellent camera.  About the same time, I bought a Polaroid because my parents had one and liked it.  Big mistake - the hundreds of images taken with it are now faded away and pretty well ruined.  Eventually, I upgraded (I thought) the FTQL to a T50.  I had bought a couple of optional lenses with it, it was really no improvement, however.  Eventually, I sold it and used the Polaroid or a Olympus 35mm Superzoom which was easy to use, and did ok if you were not critical.
In the early 1990's, I bought my first Digital, a Fujifilm  MX700.  Well built and a step up already from the Olympus.  It suffered in low light.  When Nikon came out with the Coolpix CP990, I snapped one up, along with a external flash.  This was well worth the money, and I still have one today.
After reading on DP Review about the Canon DSLR's, I wanted one, and the Digital Rebel came out at a price I was willing to pay, so I bought one, along with the first 18-55mm EF-s and a 75-300mm lens.  Even though they were not great cameras or lenses, my images immediately improved, and I bought more and better lenses, progressing thru virtually all of the Canon crop and FF bodies.  Looking back, I'll have to say that I can now capture images that I would not even dream of getting back in the 1990's or before.
So, Yes, my photography has greatly improved, but i'm looking for the next step up, and tried a D800, but that wasn't it.  I returned my 5D MK III for the same reason, but might repurchase one if the price drops.  Meanwhile, I buy and sell used lenses (new, only when I'm sure its a keeper), looking for better than what I now have, which is a really good selection.  I do lots of very low light photography and catching fast action in extreme low light is what I enjoy doing.
So, over the last 60 years, I've spent a lot of time and money on equipment and have vastly improved from that old Hawkeye.


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Spokane, thanks for sharing your journey!


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I know the 7D has it's detractors, but for me its a camera perfectly matched to where I'm at.   

Sage words Paul. A camera is nothing more than a tool, there are good photos and bad photos. There are good photographers and mediocre photographers (I say mediocre because photography is highly subjective). I think too many people get caught up in gear collecting thinking a bad photo from a $25000 Leica is somehow intrinsically more valuable. I'm glad you have found the passion is in the photo not in the gear it's taken with.

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