Does Gear Really Matter? 30 Mind-Blowing Images Taken With Entry-Level Gear

When someone tells a photographer that “their camera must be really good,” chances are the photographer will respond with an eye roll. The debate surrounding gear verses skill in the photography world is a tired albeit consistent discussion. Let’s not kid ourselves, gear does in fact matter. However, does a photographer need top of the line equipment to produce mind-blowing images? Take a look at this collection and decide for yourself.

Last week while I was in Puerto Rico, I met a couple who was familiar with my work. They asked if I would take pictures of their adorable ten year old daughter. I would have loved to take her pictures but to my luck, I decided to leave my gear at home in hopes of taking a real vacation from photography. They mentioned that they had a Canon t4i and an 18-55mm lens that I could use. At first, I dismissed the idea because I’ve been spoiled with my Nikon D800 & prime glass. But truth be told, the idea of the challenge was very appealing to me and let’s be real, I was having separation anxiety from photography. I agreed to take a few photos. Here's a few:

Untitled-2n

While shooting, I found that using lower-end gear can prove to be difficult to work with. Mainly, I had a hard time with the fact that I was using an 18-55 lens and the lowest F-stop was a 5.6 at 55mm. Additionally, there weren’t enough focus points for me to use. That being said, it did not stop me from using everything else I’ve learned outside of the gear department. After the shoot, I realized that skill is a crucial part of photography. I incorporated everything I knew about expressions, posing, composition and even post-processing to produce quality images.

The primary goal of this article is to give encouragement to go out and shoot without worrying about what gear is in the bag. As is with all art, photography is subjective. It’s important to remember that there is a huge range of gear between what is considered beginner and advanced. There is no way to draw the line between what is considered beginner and professional gear.

500pxcom3Joko d90 75mm

500pxcom3Joko 550D 55mm c

500pxcom3Joko 550D 55mm b

Tri Joko  Canon 550D - 18-55mm & Nikon D90 - 70-300mm ^

500px.com89205537525 d3100 50mm

Светлана Беляева Nikon D3100 & 50mm 1.8

500px.comAnnaTheodora t1i 18-55

Anna Theodora Canon T1i 18-55mm

Epic Sunrise at Nubble Lighthouse

Benjamin Williamson T2i 18-55mm

500px.comDaniloFaria t1i asigma 10-20

Danilo Faria T1i 10-20mm Sigma

500px.comhien1234 d5000 50 1.8

Hien Luong D5000 50mm 1.8

Moraine Lake Sunrise

James Wheeler D5000

500px.comLarsKorb d3200

Lars Korb D3200 18-55mm

500px.comLauraMar D3000 55mm

Laura Mar D3000 18-55mm

500px.comNico54 D3200 18mm

Nicodemo Quaglia D3200 18-55mm

500px.comPaulyP t2i 85mm 1.8

Pauly Pholwises T2i 85mm 1.8

500px.comRobertoInetti t3i 18-55

Roberto Inetti T3i 18-55mm

500px.comTimPalmanPhoto d3200 35mmm 1.8

Tim Palman D3200 35mm 1.8

500px.comvinduPhoto d5000 18-55

Vit Vitali vindu D5000 18-55

 500pxcomAzKarno D90 50 1.8d

Aaron Karnovski D90 50mm 1.8

500pxcomdiogopg t4i 10mm

Diogo Glovatski Canon T4i 10-20mm Sigma

500pxcomFlieg-e D3100 18-55

Marianna Roussou Nikon D3100 18-55

500pxcomharaldferber t4i 55-250 b

500pxcomharaldferber t4i 55-250 c

500pxcomharaldferber t4i 55-250 d

500pxcomharaldferber t4i 55-250

^Harald Ferber Canon T4i 55-250^

500pxcommandarmdeshpande t4i 18-55

Mandar Deshpande  Canon T4i 18-55mm

500pxcommankevichph d3100 50mm b

Ivan Mankevich D3100 50mm

500px.comgdphoto d3200 85mm 1.8

George Dikhamindjia Nikon D3200 85 1.8

500pxcomwxvelocity D90 35mm

Robert Edmonds Nikon D90 35mm

d70 28-80

Noam Galai Nikon D70 28-80

I'm sure there are many more amazing images out there taken with entrey-level gear, feel free to share a link to them below!

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168 Comments

Previous comments
Donna Bailey's picture

Speaking from someone who is an entry camera user (both my cameras - Nikon D3000, D3200). I shoot manual. I love this story. So many times I have had big names shun people because their "gear" isn't of their standards, then there are those who are willing to share their knowledge to help educate those who ask. Well done to all those mentioned above, there are some absolutely fantastic images. As for the whole post processing debate, film use to post process too, it's just a lot easier now with digital to get what the eye sees. I'm not a pro, I'm still learning and I bet I will continue to learn until the day I die.

Nick's picture

Here is one for you. Published in NZ Geographic, nikon d90, sigma 10—20 http://500px.com/photo/38721528

Goez Kurniady's picture

https://flic.kr/p/nmKaY7
my canon 400D + Fujinon 50mm MF Lens.

Thomas Churchwell's picture

canon t3i. Model is Zoe West, featured model in March 2014 Penthouse.

Thomas Churchwell's picture

where is the picture?

bora images's picture
C Sab's picture

Good point to make, bad way to try and make it.

mihai ion's picture

Here is an example of 450D + 50 1.8 made by a very talented girl (who had to sell her gear to pay for some exams)
:

https://scontent-b-fra.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t1.0-9/p350x350/1042126...

Fetching image ...
Sammie Saxon's picture

I started out dirt poor and with an old 35mm. I later worked up to buying the first digital rebel. Looking back at it I think I learned more from struggling with bad equipment and learning the limitations of my cameras and lens. I made home made reflectors and soft-boxes. I remember the local photographers mocking me behind closed doors because I started my business with a rebel t2i and an offbrand speedlight. While they were shooting with their 5Ds I was creating award winning work they could never dream of.

Tanya Little's picture

I really appreciated this article! I began learning photography a few years back with just my T2i, and yet have only progressed to a T5i a few days ago (my T2i was dying on me!). It's wonderful to see other images with similar equipment!

My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanya_little/

Lucy Yukhan's picture

These are really good as far as composition and pp. But mostly composition IMO.

iain simpson's picture

Decent gear means getting a good shot is a damn site easier. Iv taken amazing looking shots with just my phone before, but the shots that I take with my SLR are on the money most of the time, compared to cheaper gear when its more of a pain to get good results consistently.

Sergey Shkodin's picture

Hey Dany and guys!

It's an interesting topic, since I have exact the opposite problem.

I have pro gear but I'd like to change it for begginer's gear. I have a Nikon D600 + Tamron 70-200 2.8 for portraits and it's freaking heavy! Carrying it all the day in my backpack and holding it in the hands while shooting is really a pain. After just one hour of shooting the only thing I have on my mind is how f...cking heavy is this stuff and I no longer think about the compostion or light! I'm looking to sell my gear and buy a Nikon D5500 that weighs only 420 grams and a couple of light lenses like 50mm, 85mm which are good for portraits on crop but I'm not sure if I'll be able to produce the same quality of my D600 because it croped thus less bokeh and more noise. Can anyone give me an advice on this? Would really appreciate!

Owaisur Rahman Shah's picture

why exactly were you looking for autofocus points to photograph a seemingly very calm girl?

Charles Diaz's picture

The jealousy displayed in this comment thread is breathtaking. "It isn't photography." *rolls eyes*

George Beinhorn's picture

Wonderful.