ChadCRG Images

Illuminate blog tips for photographers

Tips, tricks and advice on photography and the business of photography including lighting, cameras, clients and how to make better images by Chad Greene, ChadCRG Images. 

About that camera...

It's not about the gear, everybody knows that…it's about the photographer…the camera is just a box that records light. What matters is what the photographer does with the camera. OK, yeah, I've said that too. It's easy and it feels good. But the truth is the camera does matter to some degree…wait, now hear me out. A better camera isn't going to make your images better, it just won't. But it will make your life easier. If I'm moving 20 large boxes everyday I can certainly get the job done with a Toyota Camry, but my life would be easier with a Ford F-150. Another example, if I need to remove a bolt I can certainly use a pair of pliers to get the job done but it would be much easier with a socket set. In each case what I'm using is just a tool to get the job done. I spent the first years of my career using film. I would try out different films in my fancy Canon EOS 630 camera (I still love that camera and might have to see about picking up another one some day). I like the color on this film brand and not this other brand. This film has too much grain, this film I can push two stops and that will come in useful when I need it. Now when you buy a digital camera you are also buying a permanent roll of film for the camera (yes, you can change some of that on the computer but we will talk about that in the future). Different cameras have different flash sync speeds – 1/250, 1/180, 1/125 or a leaf shutter where you can sync at any speed up to 1/8000. This camera will shoot two frames a second (not enough) and the other will shoot 15 frames per second (why in the world would anyone need this?). One camera will shoot in complete darkness another in near darkness and some fall apart when you go to high on the ISO. That camera has too much yellow, this one too much blue and that one over there is too red. These are all things to think about now when buying gear. The lenses are the most expensive part of the system. Once you invest in lenses it's harder to switch camera brands. I want a new camera and it's a couple thousand dollars but I have ten thousand dollars in lenses for this camera mount…see, there is much more in the lenses than the camera body. It's so much more important to have a good solid fast lens and nice light than it is to have a top of the line camera.

Yes, the camera is only a box and it depends on what the photographer does with that box that records light. It's also true that you can get a box that will make your life easier too. I heard this when I was younger and don't know where to credit it to? When a photographer is young they think they need a top of the line camera to make a nice image. After a while they think the camera doesn't make any difference at all and they can make a nice image any place, any time. After a very long time you start to realize that it's a mixture of both of these. Yes, you can make a great image any place at any time but it's also true that having a better tool will make your life easier.

Now, I'm not saying you need to go out and buy a new camera! The camera you have works just fine, but as you grow as a photographer it's something to think about. No matter what camera you have…just go out and make images! Happy shooting...