Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


Your camera does matter

Filed under: — adam @ 10:56 am

Ken Rockwell (who, I feel compelled to say, takes outstandingly beautiful pictures) starts off “Your Camera Does Not Matter” with the definitive: “Your equipment DOES NOT affect the quality of your image. The less time and effort you spend worrying about your equipment the more time and effort you can spend creating great images. The right equipment just makes it easier, faster or more convenient for you to get the results you need.”

I respectfully disagree. While this may be true if you define “equipment” loosely enough to cover the bare minimum of “professional-level equipment” and “quality of your image” to mean “something good, whether you wanted it to look like that or not”, those are pretty loose definitions. In the digital non-professional realm, you’re dealing with this issue every day. Most digital cameras are not only sub-professional, they’re just plain bad.

Certainly, there’s value in not blaming your tools for bad pictures, or on spending all of your time fretting over your equipment to the detriment of the art in photography, but I think it’s wrong to say that good tools don’t affect the final result.

He goes on to say “You finally realize that the right gear you’ve spent so much time accumulating just makes it easier to get your sound or your look or your moves, but that you could get them, albeit with a little more effort, on the same garbage with which you started. You realize the most important thing for the gear to do is just get out of your way.” In the modern world, this is unrealistic. A lot of the “features” of digital cameras exist only to do as much as they can do to get in your way, not out of it. Good photographers can get better results out of cheap cameras because they understand how photography works. But there are some shots that you simply can’t get at all without the proper equipment, some technical limitations that cannot be overcome with vision or technique.

Maybe you can get something, and maybe it’ll even be “interesting”. But will it really be what you wanted, or what you saw, or will it just be your inferior equipment imposing its own vision?

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