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Doth the camera maketh a photographer?

Yes this question is as old as the words in the title. I certainly do not think that I can put an end to this debacle - that would be wishful thinking. However, I did believe that I should register my views on this. If not anything it might at least come in handy if I get confused (again) later on in my photography journey.

Initially there were 2 schools of thought:

  1. I need to have the best of the best tools in terms of camera body, lenses, accessories etc., to be able to establish myself as a photographer - I call them the "toolist".

  2. You give me any point and shoot and I will show you the magic I can do with it - I call them simply the "egotist" .

Then came along the 3rd and dangerous group - give me a smartphone and I don't need a camera whose only purpose is to capture images. I call them "mophers" (mobile photographers before you begin to wonder). And these days there's an entire lobby created to enhance and support this type of photography.

Before you start judging me I have to admit that I am an addicted mopher just because I love to capture moments and I do not always have a digital camera on me but most probably will have a mobile phone (provided I had a bit of charge left in them). These days the mobile manufacturers are trying really hard to create amazing images with the smartphones. Can't blame them - they can always put it on the network issues if one is not able to talk (which I thought was what a phone was invented for).

Coming back on topic - let's talk about the toolist and the egotists. I sort of feel sorry for both the categories because their thinking seems limited and set on their views. Sometimes I feel that people take a stance here just to create a bit of drama around their life. I see so many posts on Facebook where people proudly share the kit they recently procured. If they thought that alone would transform their images from Google Photo album to a 1x curated album that's ignorance.

On the other hand if someone thinks that one can do wonders with a basic camera - I have a simple question. Can you capture the details of the craters of the moon using an entry level camera and a 35mm lens? The funny part is the one who acts as an egotist almost always has a good collection of camera bodies, lenses and accessories.

So where do I stand? I would like to consider myself a pragmatist. Make the best of what you have but know what you need to have in case you are not able to achieve a certain image with the tools that you have. If you happened to read my earlier post on my journey into digital photography - you would know how long I was able to sustain with an entry level Nikon D7000 and a 18-105mm kit lens. Some of the images I captured will stay with me forever. I literally stretched that camera to its limits in terms of low light photography and astro photography for example and slowly realized that I needed something better to handle the pressure. So then I get the fancy (for me) Nikon D750 and suite of specialized lenses for different purposes. I can never forget my disappointment with Nikon 105mm f/2.8 - one of the best lens for macro photography. This was simple because I had not spent enough time prior to understand the nuances of macro photography.

So the bottomline - do not be a toolist nor an egotist. Learn the techniques needed to take certain types of images, research and invest on the right tools that will help you achieve them. If you can call that being pragmatist - join the party. :)


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