Blame the Equipment

Canon can’t do anything right, their latest, the 70D is made of plastic and it should have included the 7D autofocus system and it also needs the lens micro-adjustment… Nikon can’t do anything right either. Their latest, the D7100, which doesn’t ship yet, should have at least 32 megapixels, at least run at 8 frames per second, at least have a fully articulated LCD and finally it should have 2 CPUs to run at full speed…

People clamor for better. I want it now! Then you have the people that will tell you, “it’s not the camera, it’s the person behind the camera”. And meanwhile the camera manufacturers toot their own horn.


Small Sidebar

I like classical music. I’m not a musician but I go regularly to concerts. The classical music world is dived into two:

  1. The pianos. Most of the fantastic pianos are modern and made by Bechstein, Fazioli, Steinway… But you’ll have a hard time finding a piano worth a few hundred thousand dollars.
  2. The violins. Even if you’re not a classical fan, you most likely have heard of Stradivarius, and there’s also del Gesu, Guarneri, Amati… These violins are worth between 1 to 35 million dollars.

Why do the best and the most famous violin musicians from Heifetz to Oistrakh and Chrysler, all use these violins? Because of their talent, they can make these violins sing even better. Even me, I can hear the difference in the tone.

  • In the “ good old days”, there were no old photographers and almost no photographer with glasses. When the eyes “went”, you couldn’t focus anymore. Autofocus has saved many photographers’ career, including mine.
  • In the “ good old days”, and I’m talking the 1950s, a professional sport photographer took 16 photos and that’s it. Why only 16 photos? Because that was what the Graflex Speed Graphic film pack adapter could carry.
  • In the “ good old days”, and I’m talking the 1980s, the gold standard for a professional wildlife photographer was the 300mm f/2.8 lens. You needed skills and patience to get close enough to “get the good photos”.

In today’s world, the camera is as important as the photographer behind the camera. It doesn’t matter how good is the photographer if the camera can’t focus. Now it’s a 50/50 world, where the camera counts for 50% and the photographer behind the camera counts for the other 50%.

  • The new autofocus from either Canon or Nikon have saved or improved the life of sport photographers, wildlife photographers and photojournalists.
  • The higher resolution of the Canon cameras has allowed for cropping that Nikon’s do not. With my 7D, I can shoot first and then check for the correct framing in the viewfinder. Sometimes, I get the elusive expression in the first shot. Nikon photographers have less wiggle room. Then comes the argument of “I’m a purist, I do everything in the camera”.
  • The vast majority of wildlife photographers have switched to the APS-C format. Why? The quality of the cameras has seriously improved with the entry of the Nikon D300 and the Canon 50D. The longest Nikon tele is a 600mm f/4. On an D300/D300s with the 1.4x, this becomes the equivalent of a 1260mm f/5.6 lens! That’s a head shot at 30 meters/100 feet instead of a tiny, puny shape with a 300mm.
  • The new flash technology from Nikon with their SB800/SB900 and Canon’s 580EXII have revolutionized indoor lighting. A one or two person team can today do the job of a photographer with 4 assistants to “man” the lights.
  • The new technology doesn’t tell you what’s good lighting.
  • The new technology doesn’t tell you what’s a good background.
  • The new technology doesn’t tell you how to relate to the person so she can pose well.