Am not saying I’m a good photographer. Just average. Newer cameras — and older ones for that — easily surpass my and many photographers’ capabilities.
BTW, what’s about to follow is pure heresy for some, asking that I’m hanged, drawn and quartered. Still, in dubio pro reo…
There are the basic rules though no one should ever, ever ignore. It’s first and foremost the lens that counts, stupid.Rather a good lens on a sub-par camera than a sub-par lens on a good camera.
Good glass lasts, cameras don’t.
In the world of camera reviews, however, glass doesn’t seem to matter at all.
Most reviewers don’t even mention what lenses some of the often clinical, sterile test images are shot with.
Right, reviews are here to prove technical aspects.
You read the review and you’ll know the exact nature of a pixel down to the level of the atom. But you’re left clueless about what this great technology has to do with great photography.
Or does your photography improve the way technology does?
Many modern-day reviews are the death of photography, really.
Good photography is not only about ultra sharpness and no noise. It’s about content, it’s about evoking an image, an emotion in the mind of the beholder.
This is not to say we don’t respect all the hard work and dedication going into elaborate reviews.
Sadly, many reduce photography to purely technical aspects.
What, for the love of photography, has a great image got to do with what the human eye can’t see in most cases.
It’s suggested a camera is mainly about standard studio scenes.
That’s a pixel peeper’s wet dream. Keyboard warriors find those single imperfect pixels in a composition of millions and millions of pixels. And hell breaks loose.
You start suffering the moiré, noise and artifacts syndromes — even though none of these imperfections ever destroyed a good photograph.
You’re getting concerned about chromatic aberration and aliasing… if you listen closely you can positively hear how Henri Cartier-Bresson turns in his grave.
Rightly so, you’re concerned, but what makes an image look bland is neither moiré nor noise nor artifacts nor aliasing nor chromatic aberration.
These days anyone can do a testimonial shot that shows that a camera can do ISO 100,000 at 1/8000th to get a perfectly frozen action shot in dim light.
That, however, is mastering technical equipment. That’s not what good photography is about.
But who’s to blame when we’re reading too many reviews demanding technically perfect demonstrations.
Technical perfection looks, well, perfect. But it can border on the sterile and emotionless.
It is said that evoking an emotional response with a photo is the hallmark of great photography.
If that is so, I’d argue that the artistic execution of a photography carries more impact than technical perfection.
But that’s what camera makers are giving us. Nearly perfect cameras.
Faster, better, higher.
Am not saying don’t upgrade. Photography and upgrading aren’t mutually exclusive. On the contrary.
But ask yourself, how much does faster, better gear improve your photography.
Canon and Nikon are engaged in a digital techno war, launching similar products at similar time frames aimed at similar target groups ready to upgrade every two to three years.
You’re promised less and less moiré, less chromatic aberration, more processing speed, and so forth. And how exactly does your photography improve?
Honestly, what are you after: technology rather than photography?
Despite new cameras, a good camera will not degrade over time. Why wouldn’t a good camera today not make a good camera in ten years?
It’s the market and the business and the gadget-culture that demands new models in a fast pace. Not photography.
Care about better photography?
Go learn the basics.
Wanna upload 100 “keeper” photos a day?
You don’t need top gear for that.
A great guitarist can play any guitar.
Ironically it takes even great photographers such as Alex Webb 20 years to produce a few dozen real keepers.
Allow the artistic, the technically imperfect.
Allow images to breathe.
For the sake of photography, give your photos a life.