Does having the best of the best kit really make a difference to the quality of your photography?

Is it the kit, or is it me?

This is one of those topics that we could talk about for ever and a day. There probably isnâ??t a right or wrong answer, but hereâ??s my take on it.

The better the kit the easier it is to take great photos.

The truth is, if you gave me the top of the range canon and the best lenses in the world and then gave Mr Bailey the bottom of the range canon and the bottom of the range lenses, heâ??d still probably take a better portrait than me. But â?? and this is an interesting but â?? providing I could use the kit at least as well as I can use the mid range kit that I use everyday, I bet I could take a better photo than I can now. This troubles me a little. Where do you draw the line between photographer and camera?

I canâ??t tell you how many times Iâ??ve shown someone my work and the first thing to pop out of their blessed mouths is, â??Wow. You must have a really good camera.â? Thank you. Thatâ??s exactly why itâ??s a good picture. The camera did it. I was just the monkey that pushed the shutter release. Iâ??m so glad I went to the trouble of buying that tremendous camera. Iâ??m sure this has happened to you too. Frustrating isnâ??t it?

You see hereâ??s the problem. I want to take credit for the photo, but if the kit I use was less capable would the photo be as good? To a certain extent I think it would have been, but Iâ??m certain I would have had a harder job achieving the same results.

Iâ??m a fairly decent photographer. Iâ??m certainly no David Bailey, but Iâ??m pretty capable. If I was a better photographer would my ability surpass that of the camera or is the camera doing the driving here? Would the best photographers from 50 years ago be better photographers now because they could use more advanced kit, or are their photographs as good because of the way they were taken and not what they were taken with?

I expect this issue as always been around, but Iâ??m sure it has been amplified by the relatively recent arrival of digital and all the clever software that the cameras use.

The best of the best lenses can produce sharper images than the bottom of the range lenses. This we know is true. Cameras with larger CCDs can capture more information that the ones with smaller CCDs. This too we know is true. But we also know that clarity and size of data doesnâ??t guarantee a good photo. Composition, use of light and frankly, opportunity surely must be bigger factors than what kit was used. I think the kit can sometimes help us but at the end of the day a good photo depends upon some sort of creativity.

There. Thatâ??s my take on it. What do you think?

One Reply to “Does having the best of the best kit really make a difference to the quality of your photography?”

  1. From my experience, having the best kit does not automatically guarantee you the best results. What it does give you is the potential for achieving the best possible result.

    I have been muddling along with the kit lens that came with my Canon 20D and I have had some terrific results. Last weekend I finally got my hands on some top-notch Canon ‘L-glass’ and the results have been mostly rubbish! Not because there is anything wrong with the lens, simply because I have to raise my game to match the capabilities of the kit.

    I really like this. I want to get the highest possible quality result, but I want to know I played a significant part in the process.

    Think of it as being like a Formula One car – take some boy racer off the street and stick him in an F1 car and he’s going to stuff it on the first corner.

    The best kit will allow you to get the best possible result, but you are going to have to work for it.

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