Some people are totally obsessed with kit, for others it is of little interest and they are happy to stick with the tried and tested. In my opinion both are right . . . and both are wrong.
Kit is one of the main topics of conversation between photographers, and is something I’ll be covering regularly here.
Photography can be a geeky hobby and with the speed of technology change there’s always something new. New kit can be useful, add more versatility, offer new creative features. Or it can simply be lighter to carry, more intuitive to use, more convenient to charge or transfer images. Whatever the reason, it’s good to keep abreast of the general trends and what is available.
If you stick to your 10 year old DSLR; sure you’re comfortable with it and getting value for money but perhaps you missing out on some shots due to poor low-light performance or slower frame rate. You are certainly at risk of the thing breaking down at the worst possible moment and missing that priceless shot.
On the flip side, do you need to go and buy the latest model from Canon (or Nikon or whoever) when your 2 year old model is still pretty well up to date? Spending money on the latest DSLR isn’t going to improve your shots that much. In fact you’d probably be better off spending some of that money on a photo workshop with a Pro photographer, or a series of training videos, or a subscription to something like Lynda.com, that will be far more beneficial than some shiny new electronics.
I believe there are four fundamental elements that go to making a finished photo; You, your camera, the lens and post-production.
For any given photo the contribution of each element will vary but by far the biggest influence is you. That’s why a skilled photographer can get a great shot from an average camera and why my mother in law still cuts the heads off people when I hand her my Canon 5D MKII.
To see this theory in action, I recommend you watch some of the Pro Photographer – Cheap Camera Challenge episodes on DigitalRev. One of my favourites is below, but there are plenty of others.
For those that don’t know who David Hobby is, I’ll write a short piece about him next, he’s someone whose work and teaching you should be familiar with.