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Thread: "...You must have a really great camera!"

  1. #1
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    "...You must have a really great camera!"

    I cannot tell you how many times I hear something like, "Wow, those are fantastic images. You must have a really great camera!"

    I realize the first sentence is a compliment. However, when you follow the compliment with the second sentence, you're basically complimenting the capabilities of the camera and ignoring the skill and expertise of the person who took the picture. It's just like saying...

    "These are fantastic h'orderves. You must have a really great oven!"

    "That is a fantastic story. You must have a really great pen!"

    "That is a fantastic painting. You must have really great brushes!"

    Why is it that cooks, authors, and painters never hear things like that? The truth is, yes, I do have a really great camera (two, in fact). I own good cameras because I appreciate the nuances that differentiate them from other cameras (build quality, feature set, sensor size, etc). However, if you put the lowest end Rebel in my hand, I'd still produce something very similar.

    /rant over
    Last edited by Sean Setters; 04-12-2012 at 11:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    Great topic Sean, well presented argument, you must have a really good keyboard.
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

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    Senior Member bob williams's Avatar
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    Sean, You are not the only would that has experienced, trust me. Just last week my son exclaimed "Wow Dad, you have some really nice pictures, of course with a camera like that you couldn't take a bad picture"---Little does he know. I didn't even bother trying to invalidate his statement. Those outside the "realm" just can't understand.
    Bob

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    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve U View Post
    Great topic Sean, well presented argument, you must have a really good keyboard.
    I did LOL after reading that. Thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by bob williams View Post
    Sean, You are not the only would that has experienced, trust me. Just last week my son exclaimed "Wow Dad, you have some really nice pictures, of course with a camera like that you couldn't take a bad picture"---Little does he know. I didn't even bother trying to invalidate his statement. Those outside the "realm" just can't understand.
    Yeah. In inexperienced hands, a pen, chisel, paint brush, or stand mixer aren't going to produce outstanding results.

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    Senior Member thekingb's Avatar
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    I understand the frustration -- especially for those of you who, like Sean, invest such time and energy into all the details....setting up lighting for 2 hours before a shoot, staking out the best time and location for a sunrise, elaborate hummingbird attractions, etc.

    I even hear this about my photos sometimes, and I am not half the photographer of many who frequent this forum. The comment makes sense to me even though it can be insulting. Unlike cooking or painting, where the tools the pros use are quite similar to the amateur's, photography gear is an immediate distinguishing factor that looks so conspicuously different and "pro." Put a 7D with an EF 100L macro in my hands, and I can do things with a camera that the point and shoot crowd can only dream of. Yes, I've invested lots of time learning how to use the camera and lens, and I am not short changing myself. But all the skill in the world won't make a Canon PowerShot equal to a _D/100L macro combination. The same is true for depth of field. Shoot a portrait at f/2 with the EF 85 f/1.8, and your result will be dramatically different than what the photography masses can produce. That's what people are reacting too. They know enough to appreciate the difference in gear. They know that the gear really matters on some level, even if they have no idea how much time, skill and effort go into truly great photography.

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    Senior Member Photog82's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve U View Post
    Great topic Sean, well presented argument, you must have a really good keyboard.
    Excellent comment, you must have a witty fingers... sorry, I couldn't help it.

    I know what you mean Sean, I have heard that too as well. However I have had compliments on my ability as well. You have to remember that most of these comments come from people who don't understand photography and think that a little point and shoot should be able take the same type of photos that you produce or something that I would produce (not that I'm comparing my work to yours).

    Edit: After re-reading thekingb's comments, I think they have a point as well. I've heard people say to me, "They have that big white canon lens; no wonder their photos come out so well". I've had some photographer friends schoff at my P&S that I started out with and have a hard time admitting that the photos it produced were good just because it was taken with a P&S.
    Last edited by Photog82; 04-12-2012 at 01:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator Steve U's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Photog82;68113]Excellent comment, you must have a witty fingers... sorry, I couldn't help it.[QUOTE]

    Touche.
    Steve U
    Wine, Food and Photography Student and Connoisseur

  8. #8
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    I was showing examples of my photography to someone the other day using my phone. Their eyes lit up as they asked, "Wow! Did you do those with your phone??"

    *sigh* Yes, yes I did. But it's a really good phone.
    Last edited by Sean Setters; 04-12-2012 at 01:22 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Setters View Post
    I cannot tell you how many times I hear something like, "Wow, those are fantastic images. You must have a really great camera!"
    +1 - I recognize the comment and know exactly what you mean. Still - as also stated above - the tools do make a difference, but good tools only isnít enough.

    Over time I've also noticed that what really makes people go "Wow!" is some basic post-processing. Many are used to watching 8-12 MPix JPEGs straight out of compact cameras on computer screens and/or TVs. Such images can usually suffer from poor contrast and poor sharpness due to the compressed view. A basic levels/curves adjustment followed by downsizing to 1080 px height and a simple unsharp mask can make wonders for the viewing experience on a TV. I believe that the extra touch that the devoted photographer adds in post processing may make just as much difference for the average viewer as the gear used.

    Off topic, Iíve discovered that my jogging shoes have degraded heavily during their stay in the closet over winter - I suppose I have to get better shoes if I want to get back to my average kilometer pace from last October.

  10. #10
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    Despite the occassional urge to swing the heavy camera at their heads, you have to try to remember where these folks are coming from. They know there is a difference between a good DSLR and their P&S. In the back of their minds they sometimes think that if they had the same gear that they could just show up and take the same pictures. In reality, these folks just have no idea of the amount of time spent learning the basics of lighting, composition, etc. nor any appreciation of the learning curve separating those at the top of the field from those who are mastering the basics.

    In order to advance photography as an art form in the public eye, it is still required to educate the public in order to increase the appreciation level.

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