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Photographic myths #1

Beach talk: shot on Nikon FM2 with 80-200mm Nikkor zoom on Fujifilm in 1996.
There are a number of myths that the majority of photographers seem to believe without question. Occasionally someone will come along like the little boy in the story of the Emperor's New Clothes, and point out the truth, but that does not appear to affect photographer's behaviour and desire to acquire all that is shiny and new.

Meet Jack. He is a keen photographer and a marketer's dream. When a new camera comes out, especially one with a faster burst rate, more options, focus points and more mega pixels, he wants it. He's been photographing using a digital DSLR with a crop factor, but now he realises that he really needs to go full frame. Several lenses he has are not going to work on a full frame but the manufacturers have brought out new lenses with special coatings, so his problem is solved.

Jack is camera manufacturer's marketing dream.

The reality is that the latest cameras available today, 27 October 2012, make it far easier to take pictures that are technically well exposed, have well rendered colour and show very little noise. What they do not do is make better pictures.

The simple truth is that all the images that have gone down in history and have proven to have staying power were taken on old equipment; from Ansel Adams landscapes to Henri-Cartier Bresson's decisive moment images on film, and that amazing photograph which you saw x-years ago and made you want to become a photographer - yes may have been taken on a 4.1 megapixel professional camera (eg D2Hs from 2005).

Don't get me wrong. I love new gadgets and buying cameras. But if you are a passionate photographer, and you're not well off, maybe in a country that has a difficult economy at the moment, then don't feel you're missing out by not having the latest cameras and lenses. Just remember all those amazing images, in museums,  books and galleries that were all taken on equipment much older than what you're probably using today.

Ultimately it is the photographer that makes the image, the camera is just a mechanism for taking it.

Till soon,

The image above is available to buy from the Saatchi Online gallery here.


Bill Gatesman said…
Hear, hear! Well said, Paul.

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