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Does your camera equipment limit your photography?

February 28, 2012

#4 I will not be limited by the gear I own

I have reblogged this from Lisa Bettany. As the comments are now closed on her blog, I couldn’t add my thoughts to her Resolution 4. So it inspired me to expand here. [Her No.1 is great advice – get to know your camera.]

I know what she see means about not being limited by your gear. Great photography is not all about having the best and latest equipment, but it does help, don’t you think? Perhaps Photographers who follow my blog would care to comment.

While I have some sympathy with her statement, I have felt limited by the lack of the right gear in recent years. I know that the best equipment won’t buy me creativity, or compensate for poor composition and lighting, but the right equipment gives you greater flexibility. A basic camera can work wonders in great light.

My first digital camera, a Fuji Finepix S602 Zoom delivered great results with only 3 megapixels, until it died on  me. The sensor got eaten by some micro bugs!  My OM2 film camera eats batteries, although maybe it could be revived.  I bought a compact camera; a Canon Powershot SX110 which is great for its size, but it has its limitations. And now my son and I share a Canon EOS 40D, and we have just started to invest in better lenses.  He bought the camera, I’m buying the lenses!

We bought a used Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM lens, and I would like to get a Canon 100mm prime lens. This is, in part, influenced by my previous film camera experience – Olympus OM1 and OM2 with fixed/prime lens 28mm, 50mm and 135mm. I loved the 135mm lens.  As we have a 40D we have to multiple by 1.6. 100mm x 1.6 = 160mm. I guess my point is it is easy to assume that Zoom lenses are the preferred option, because compact digital cameras have powerful zoom lenses. But I miss the choice of F/stops on my old film camera lenses. And I assume a good prime lens will give me great results (more scope for creativity and shooting in low light conditions etc.) Do we go for the top end and invest in a Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM? (I’m writing this knowing that two auctions on eBay close today!)

What do you think? What is your favourite lens? What should we invest in?

P.S. Lost first auction, but won second, at a lower price!

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From → Fun, Personal, Photo, UK

2 Comments
  1. It’s been said so many times, but: no. Your gear does not limit your ability to create meaningful photographs. It may not be the shot you want, but just like any tool (which is all a camera is) you can evaluate its strengths and weaknesses and once you do that, you are only bound by your own imagination, just like any other art form. Look, a pencil is not a paintbrush, and the sooner I understand what a pencil can and can’t do, the sooner I can put my imagination onto the paper. Still, there are times you may want to paint rather than draw; you can either switch tools, or use the pencil to create a perfectly good picture, though it may be different from what you wanted to create at the time.

    That’s just my take. The pendulum can’t go too far either way in the gear debate: gear is necessary to make photographs, and there are reasons for various pieces of gear. Let’s just not confuse “want” and “need”.

    At the end of the day, it should facilitate you making art. If you spend too much time obsessing about gear, your ability to make art is severely restricted.

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    • Thanks for taking time out to comment. I guess this debate will run and run. What is interesting about your own choice of “tools” is that you have kept your gear compact and lightweight. We could have similar debates about people’s choices of cars – they all get us from A to B. And then there is my other passion – HiFi. Toys for grown-ups can get expensive. More about that in another blog soon.

      Like

thanks for sharing a thought

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