Really, Nobody Cares What Camera You Use

Really, Nobody Cares What Camera You Use

Quite frankly, neither should you. I understand that we all love our gear and we all have dreams of upgrading and moving on to bigger and better things, but that's not the real point of it all, not really.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing quite like unboxing a new piece of equipment and getting to use it for the very first time. That is a feeling that just never gets old. In fact, I dare say that it's probably one of the most invigorating experiences that a photographer can have. All the excitement and creativity just waiting to be channeled through that brand new camera is always something potent. However, by this point in my career, I have talked with enough photographers who spend more time than they should worrying about the gear they have and the gear they'd like to have. No, I'm not exempt from this either. I read about what gear is available now compared to what I actually own, or I'll read about what's coming out and try to scheme how I can ditch my current setup and move on to the new and shinier pieces of equipment. I found myself in this sort of mental predicament not even a year ago, and what really helped my change my frame of mind came from something one of our editors here at Fstoppers told me. 

I had been, in essence, complaining about the fact that my newer-model camera had died and that I had to fall back on an older piece of gear in order to continue shooting. I was asking for advice from other Fstoppers writers about their thoughts between two different cameras I was interested in buying. Instead of giving me an opinion between the two cameras, the editor simply stated that he couldn't see any problems with my current work (with a 10-year old camera) and suggested that I keep doing what I was doing until I absolutely needed a new camera. It was eye opening, honestly. He was right, I didn't need a new camera; I just wanted one, really.

It was a solid reality check for me to be brought back to reality and realize that it really is all about the person wielding the equipment and not about the gear itself. Are there things I wish I could do with my current camera, that I just simply can't, because it's outside the capabilities of the camera itself? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I have to just up and buy a new camera. Sure, there's the whole conversation about budgeting and making a smart purchase, but that's not the only thing worth considering. The reality that I was brought back to was this: my current camera works just fine, I'm still able to create images of which I am very proud, and the same people that share the artwork with me (as my audience) appreciates it all the same.

I understand this may all just sound like something someone would say when they simply can't afford a new camera. In the past, you'd probably be right. But honestly, I could go buy a better camera today if I really wanted to. But I really don't need to. When the situation arises where I actually have a legitimate need for a different piece of gear, you better believe I'm going to buy it and love every minute of it. But I really am taking the dose of humility for what it's worth by continuing to see just how good my work can be while shooting with a very old camera. So far, it's an adventure that's paying out quite nicely. I still get to capture what I want to capture, my images still look every bit how I want them to look, and I get to put myself to the test every time I play with a camera that has served me well for years upon years.

Take it for what it's worth; your camera does not define you. You alone get to decide exactly how creative, how dedicated, and how productive you want to be with your own photography. Regardless of what you actually hold in your hands for creating something you intend to share with others, enjoy the fact that you are there, creating, doing what you love.

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yanpekar's picture

Could not even read until the end, so boring and it sounds like it was written by a psychologist who did not finish his education. I have no time for meaningless arguments. Before accusing me of my big ego, you may consider using your brain and thinking a bit broader. People advising to use very old cameras may harm your business, as this would help in creating a reputation of a poor photographer who cannot afford investing in proper equipment. I am not trying to promote the idea of buying the newest gear. However, almost every photographer that I saw using very old cameras (more than 10 years old) were the ones who struggle to get clients and jobs. I have heard Clients saying they cannot trust a photographer with a very old camera as they are afraid that it will break down during a shoot. I am talking from experience. My original comment was written with objective of helping people to see the other side of using old equipment. If it was not helpful for you - please move on. If you have time to waste and are looking for someone to start a flight with, please look somewhere else. Have a great day. All the best.

Will Murray's picture

"Psychologist who didn't finish their education"

No such creature. Stop trying to sound like you know what you are talking about.

Hmm layoff man. Yan, only made a point that some clients do care about the gear you use. He is right about that and it should have been left at that. I don't see any ego trip here. The man was just sharing his experience with the topic. That doesn't mean he is stroking his ego. Just let it go.

Daniel Medley's picture

Generally, if a client is interested in hiring a photographer based on the quality of their work; from a portfolio, perhaps, and professional reputation, what benefit is it that they concern themselves with the equipment used?

yanpekar's picture

I can't speak from the clients' perspective. I can speak from the experience I had.

It depends I guess with the creative director/company. I worked for a company that wouldn't work with photographers if they didn't use medium format. Personally I thought it was stupid but that was their policy. Vouge a long time ago would only accept large format for their covers. So did other magazines. No clue what they accept now or if they even care.

In 30 years working as a commercial photographer I can recall maybe three times a client asking me what type of camera I was going to use.

Daniel Haußmann's picture

I guess it depends on the client. My wedding film clients almost never ask. Because to them other things matter more. But commercial clients on occasion do. Like last year when the TV channel explicitely asked to shoot with an Arri Alexa.

Shiny! My Autocord is loaded and ready for work...again!

Will Murray's picture

So much this.

John Koster's picture

I disagree. I spend up to 12 hours per day getting into arguments in online forums about pixel density and is ISO a real thing or not? I just bought a Nikon Z7 but I instantly regretted it because Fuji is coming out with a 100 MP medium format camera. I make $50K a year and spend $19K on equipment, so I can't afford to go anywhere and shoot, but who cares?

Will Murray's picture

You spend 12 hours per day arguing on the internet...

Pedro Pulido's picture

John.... you have a weird life man...

John Koster's picture

just a joke, kids.

Marc Perino's picture

You know that Phase One has a 150 MP camera 😂😱

Phillip Breske's picture

Two things: 1) If you have a ten-year-old camera to fall back on when your newer camera dies, then you upgraded for no reason. I'm on my third DSLR only because the previous two no longer work. 2) Fstoppers has editors? Look at this sentence and tell me these "editors" are doing anything beyond collecting a paycheck: "It was a solid reality check for me to be brought back to reality and realize that it really is all about the person wielding the equipment and not about the gear itself." Imagine how boring that would have been without the word root "real."

JetCity Ninja's picture

you've confused "editor" with "copy editor." just thought i'd point that out.

no blogger wants to be a "staff writer," they want to be in charge of their posts, hence "editor." basically, in the world of writing, "editor" simply means, "nobody else sets goals for me."

I would disagree with point 1 as it assumes that you would never want two cameras. I shoot ice hockey on a 1DX2 and have a 7D2 as a backup. Can’t justify the cost of a 1DX2 as a backup that will gather dust 95% of the time but also can’t run the risk of getting no photos on the rare occasion that my 1DX2 decides that its not going to play nice that day.

Can I get shots that have value on my 7D2? Absolutely? Is the quality of my work the same when I do? Absolutely not.

Gary WWU85's picture

Exactly! I use 1DX2 for sports, landscape , events and I use iPhone XS for street and for backup just in case. I'm not a professional and have the ability to purchase anything. Equipment makes getting the shot easier even though many of my shots still end up as crap. Equipment is an enabler but the eye is the creator.

Michael Jin's picture

But... what will we argue about?

The best camera is the one you have with you.

Andre Goulet's picture

Unless, of course, it’s a super crappy camera! In that case, just enjoy the moment and save on a boatload of editing work. Lol

Andre Goulet's picture

Back in the 80’s when I was a wedding photographer using a Hasselblad, at first it was fun when photography enthusiasts and other photographers could come up to me with the good old question: “Is that a Hasselbald???” But after a while, it wore out and I started to resent them breaking my stride.

New gear is fun, but if you buy an 85mm 1.8, use it twice, then leave it in your bag, you could have just paid for a trip to somewhere beautiful, where you would get great pictures with almost any gear, build memories and get more creative ideas flowing. All of which both improve your life AND your photographic output.

EL PIC's picture

If you shoot Nude Women ... most will bulk if you use a cell phone.

Only chubby women let you take their naked picture with a cell phone. Get a better camera and better women will follow, begging you to do some nude photography with them. Ask anyone.

El Pic and Pedro Pulido have no sense of humor to be voting down my reasoned post. Must be that doing naked photos of curvy Mexican-American ladies with the cell phone is a cultural thing. My apologies.

And Lee Stirling. Best advised to move beyond squirrel, dog, and grandchildren photos. Put that Nikon to work doing some classy nudes. Just saying.

So you are saying that my GFX-50S is not gonna let me brag coz photos doesn't necessarily say it's shot with a medium format :-(

Had I realized 6 months ago, I wouldn't have traded my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with 5 lenses + cash. Mannn

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