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I often hear it said that a good photographer can get great pics from a lousy camera, whilst a bad photographer cant get half decent ones out of a great camera.

Does anyone here think that actually, improving the quality of camera/lenses really will improve skills and thus pics?

Please say yes, then this unimpressive amateur photographer can buy a pro Leica or a D3:-d

si
 

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I'd say that is subjective. Will it improve your skills? May be...if you are willing to learn and learning is the reason of why bought a better camera/lens.

With better camera/lens you will get better quality on the technical side. You will get better resolution, better exposure(if you know a thing or 2 about exposure that is), better colors, contrast, etc. You won't get better quality from artistical point of view. Crappy composition is a crappy composition no matter what, and better camera won't make it a more interesting photo.

So if you want Leica, go ahead and buy it. If you find that it doesn't make your pictures better and you are disappointed, I'll give you my address to ship the Leica to...I'll even cover the shipping! :-!
 

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Good question.
My answear - NO.
Best camera and lenses never will help bad photographer to make good shots as never better canvas and paints will make an artist more talented.

On the other hand - with Leica or any other hi-end camera from any brand photographer will HAVE to read manuals otherwise he will get results even more pathetic than with pointandshoot camera. Then he will have to justify the money he spent - so he will ask his friends who make more or less good pictures how to make better photo. And here we go. His level went up and up, he got some skills, etc.
 

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Short answer: no.
Longer answer, I've often felt that a good camera/ lens will make it easier for you to get a good shot. Now, that does assume that the person behind the shutter button has at least some interest in bettering themselves in the art of photography.

I've made some good photos that were pretty much impossible to accomplish with my previous camera (a Konica 4MP P&S). Faster focus, easier to manipulate controls, no lag time and speedy burst mode all are tools to help me get the shot I want. Not to mention the availability of more lenses than you can shake a monopod at.

Also, don't listen to those Nikon folks, go buy a nice Canon! :)
 

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I'm going with NO also.

90% of the time i prefer shooting with my iphone.


If you have some time to kill I put all my iphone photos here (99% are watch related lol)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/00photo/

Here's couple from that set....








If you can't get your shot with an iphone you're not going to be able to get it with any other camera. There's just more buttons to push.
 

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I assume thhose shots are from 3GS right? any software or just the plain stock one?

They are quite nice, from an iPhone it's har to make better ones.
 

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I'm going with NO also.

If you can't get your shot with an iphone you're not going to be able to get it with any other camera. There's just more buttons to push.
Amen, brother. I see people all the time with a fortune in the latest gear with no clue about lighting or composition. They tend to post indoor direct flash shots of their cat to show some perceived technical shortcoming in their equipment...
 

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I assume thhose shots are from 3GS right? any software or just the plain stock one?

They are quite nice, from an iPhone it's har to make better ones.
Yes, a 3GS iphone. Great Camera :-!. I use a couple free photo editing apps to tweak them on the iphone.

Amen, brother. I see people all the time with a fortune in the latest gear with no clue about lighting or composition. They tend to post indoor direct flash shots of their cat to show some perceived technical shortcoming in their equipment...
I do that too lol. Usually it's a waterbottle and not a cat though. And I swear, it was backfocusing! :-d
 

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Also a NO here ;)

A lot of people tell me: "Ofcourse your pictures are good, you have a professional camera!"

I always give them my camera and tell them to go ahead and make a picture. Most of the time they end up with an awfull photo.

My experience is the more professional gear you use, the harder it is to get a good pic.
 

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My experience is the more professional gear you use, the harder it is to get a good pic.
Exactly. The more time you spend messing around with settings (especially ones you don't know how to use), the weaker your photos are. Unless you have a really specific need for something, keep it as simple as possible and concentrate on the image, not the toys.
 

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If things are so simple as some of you guys state here, why do pro photogs that shoot events, sports, wedding or photo journalism bother with big, black cameras when an iPhone would suffice?:roll:
 

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Because if you have skills, beter equipment will help you to get better pictures. But the question was, better camera = better pictures when in the hands of an amateur. The answer to that question is definately no.

I also shoot with a (semi) professional camera and professional lenses. I know what I want and need from my camera. I am 100% sure that if an untrained amateur photographer makes a picture with a Canon IXUS (whatever model) in automatic mode, it will look much better than when I give him my Canon 5D with L lens in M mode and have him take pic.

Since the DSLR's are rapidly dropping in price a lot of people are buying these camera's. In most cases a simple point and shoot will suffice.

Here is a tutorial I wrote some time ago (I made the pictures when I was on holiday. No fancy lights, just a watch on the floor on the terrace):

HOW TO: make a good watch picture with a point and shoot

There are three important factors:

1. Technique
2. Post processing
3. Equipment

If you can master 1. and 2. you are 80% there and your pics will look badass! But, these two are the hardest and take time to learn.

If you know how to take a pic, you can take a good picture with any camera. Buying the best Socanikson D3472 Mark XVII doesn't mean you will get the best picture. You really need to know the basics first.

In this tutorial I will show you how I work. This is totally my opinion and style and is not the only or the best way to take a good picture.

So for a nice watch pic.. what do you need?

1. Camera

You can use any camera that is available to you. You have to ask yourself: "What do I want to do with this photo?"
Don't be fooled by megapixels. More on megapixels can be found here

For this tutorial I used a Sony DSC-W30 6 Megapixels

2. Light

You need light!!! Most point and shoot camera's have small sensors and cannot absorb as much light as most DSLR's can. This results in grainy looking pictures if there is not enough light.
For this tutorial I only used natural sunlight. But be carefull! Too much light can do more damage than good to your picture.

3. Reflection board

What is the most important part of the watch?? That's right! It is the dial. If you look at a watch, you always look at the dial first. This is the biggest part of the watch plus it tells the time. The most important thing in photographing your watch is to make sure your dial is sharp.
This is also the hardest part, because on top of the dial is the crystal. And even with the best chief double AR, it can be pita to make that crystal dissapear.
But!!! There is a very easy solution. Make a reflection board. For a white dial use a white board and for a black dial use a black board. In most cases, a black t-shirt, piece of paper, or anything that is big enough to make the reflection dissapear will do. For this tutorial I used a black t-shirt.

This is how it works:




4. Post processing software

The icing on the cake is a good pp software and ofcourse knowing how to use it.
This kind of software is expensive, but here at RepGeek we are experts on how to get expensive stuff for less ;)
I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop in combination with Mulletgod's actions. Make sure to have installed Mulletgod's actions!

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The three main areas when making a picture that you can adjust are ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. Please not that you cannot adjust them on all camera's!

On the Sony I used (these are automated values):

ISO100
F 5.2
1/125 s

Straight out of the camera, I only adjusted the size:



For reference, here is a picture I took without the reflection board (shirt in this case ;))



Let's edit the pic!

First, I start Lightroom and import my pictures. When this is done I click on the picture I want to edit and adjust the white balance. Auto WB works on most of the pictures. If not, just play around with the settings.



If I'm happy with the WB, I'm off to the DEVELOPment room. Here you can adjust almost everything.

Now I'm going to adjust the contrast and make the picture a bit sharper by adjusting the clarity.



There is still a lot of blue in the picture that should be black. To fix this, you can adjust the blue saturation and luminance.



You can play around with all the settings. When the pictures looks ok, I'm going to crop and export it and open it with Photoshop. Do not resize the picture!

To keep the proportions when cropping, hold SHIFT.






Open your picture in Photoshop. To make the watch pop out, I use a Mulletgod action: Contrast without colour loss. You can also try the other actions, but I usually leave it like this.

Next step is to resize the photo. For the web, I always resize to 800 pixels wide. Now the picture is smaller you can adjust the sharpeness. I also use a Mulletgod action, called: Sharpen your pencils.

If the picture is too sharp, you can adjust the opacity of the sharpened layer or you can remove parts of the layer:



Now your picture is finished. To top it off, I usually make a small border.



Let's look at the original picture again:



Do you see the difference :)

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Last tip: don't forget to set your watch at 10:10 when making a picture. It makes the watch lookst 10 times better.

For reference, a picture of my watch taken with my Canon 5D + 24-105L

 

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If things are so simple as some of you guys state here, why do pro photogs that shoot events, sports, wedding or photo journalism bother with big, black cameras when an iPhone would suffice?:roll:
Because they generally know how to use them and they either make a living from their equipment, or someone else is paying for it. Also, they usually have enough experience that operating the camera is second nature.

Obviously there are situations where having more expensive gear helps, but the main point here is that costly equipment is useless or even counter-productive without the skill to benefit from it.

What typically happens is that a guy (always a male, girls aren't as prone to this) buys a camera, goes and takes some crappy pictures, and then thinks that he needs more expensive gear to get good photos. People who hang out on camera forums encourage him to buy the latest and greatest, and then, hundreds or thousands of dollars poorer, he goes out and takes more crappy pictures. The cycle repeats.

This guy would be much better served by learning the basics first.

Of course better equipment CAN result in better results, but equipment is one of the least important factors in final image quality. As Dimer stated, often having too much gear gets in the way of getting a decent photo. If you're hauling around a ton of gear, constantly changing lenses and dicking around with your settings, you're not going to place yourself in a position to get compelling images very frequently.

If you just like to collect cool toys, that's fine. Cameras are among the coolest toys around. But if you're interested in getting great photos, please be aware that the equipment is not usually the limiting factor.

Oh, and here's an example of what can be done with an iPhone camera. Ask yourself if it's really the gear that's holding you back after seeing these:
http://www.chasejarvis.com/index.php#mi=2&pt=1&pi=10000&s=3&p=5&a=0&at=0

One final thing: I've seen some pro photographers who still suck even with all the top-end gear. Some people simply lack the creativity and visual sense to make anything but lame photos.
 

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Passion is the key to most things, and no camera has more passion than another camera.

Great cameras used by a no passion person will give pale results.

Passion, skill, expertise will always overcome equipment.
 

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Because if you have skills, beter equipment will help you to get better pictures. But the question was, better camera = better pictures when in the hands of an amateur. The answer to that question is definately no.
[...]
Very informative post, thanks!
 

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@ GARY: you don't have to shout :-!
 

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The camera makes no difference. The lens, technique and decent editing software makes a huge difference.
 
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