Equipment Matters

This is my latest photography talk for Terra Quantum, you can read it here, or you will find the link to Terra Quantum website at the bottom of the text.

‘What a beautiful photo, you must have a very good camera’! This is definitely not the best way to compliment a photographer! Has anyone said to a writer, ‘you must have a fantastic typewriter’ or to a chef, ‘you must have a very good oven’? If equipment is not important, why we photographers talk so much, and spend so much money on cameras and lenses? Obviously, it is a generalisation, as not all photographers are obsessed with the equipment, but it is fair to say that it plays an important part for many of us.

Photography is a blend of art and technology and our performance depends on artistic sensitivity and the equipment one uses combined with technological awareness. Will a better camera make you a better photographer? No, unless you are prepared to put a lot of hard work into learning about light, colour, composition and all conceptual and aesthetic nuances, and add to it a really good understanding of your camera. Cameras are complicated nowadays and one needs to take time to understand them fully. The choice of a camera is often influenced by countless considerations, to name a few: dynamic range, resolution, (especially important if you need to print large), camera’s functions (or lack of them), your style, focusing speed, as well as weight and price.

For quite a few years I had Minolta film cameras, and I loved them. It was important for me how Minolta felt in my hand, not to mention that the layout of the buttons was perfect too. Sadly, Minolta lost the race in a newly developing digital market, so in 2005 I have decided to buy a Canon camera. Why Canon and not any other make? Because I like the clarity and simplicity Canon offers, and logical for me, layout of buttons and menus. I started to look at mirrorless cameras in 2019, when long treks with a heavy rucksack became too much for my deteriorating back. I considered Sony and Fuji, but somehow, I procrastinated, not because there was something wrong with these cameras, but simply, because they were not Canon.

In January 2021, when an amazing snowstorm hit the south of UK, armed with a shiny new mirrorless Canon and a precious new RF lens, I drove to one of my favourite locations in the Surrey Hills. Ten minutes into an intensive shooting, I hit the ground. Literary. So did the camera and the lens. The ground was so slippery (and rock solid too) that no amount of waving my arms could stop me from falling. Still, I had my image and three weeks later, my camera was back from repairs. Would I take a similar image with my old DSLR, a compact camera, or even with a phone? Yes, as strong composition is what I constantly strive to achieve, and here, I was drawn to the trees’ graphic simplicity. I also carefully excluded distracting elements from my composition to emphasise an unclutter background as well as quite a powerful snowfall. Has the new camera made me a better photographer? No, the camera itself can never do that, but it made me a happier photographer, as the overall weight on my shoulders has been reduced and I love the camera ergonomics, its balanced feel and its chunky grip. Most importantly, the image quality is seriously good, so are the famed and loved by me Canon colours. There is so much to thank the newer technology… but saying that, if no other choices, I would still be happy to use my very old Minolta, or to think of it, any camera, as seeing the world through a viewfinder, is what makes me happy.

Beata Moore
Discover. Experience. Create

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