It’s Not Just The Camera

Written by:

How many times have you heard the comment, it’s not the camera that takes a good photo, it’s the photographer? Well, if that’s true, why do professional photographers, those that make their living with photography, use mostly DSLR’s?

Some of the Pro’s were using SLR film cameras when the digital revolution began and it was a logical step to convert to DSLR cameras and equipment. Others use DSLR’s for a myriad of reasons, but short of saying they’re the equipment you need to capture the best images, I’ll use myself as an example. Tell on myself if you will.

Through the 1980′s and early 1990′s I was an avid photographer. I owned and used two Canon F1s and one T90. The T90 was the first high end camera that had TTL flash and was really awesome when it came out. I shot so much that I bought film by the brick and kept it in the freezer until I used it.

However, I became very frustrated with the amount of grain when I attempted to enlarge a photo beyond 8×10 from print film negatives and the limitations with inter-negatives, Type R negatives and Cibachrome processing for slide film. Since I didn’t have enough money to purchase the latest digital equipment, I eventually put all my equipment on a shelf and forgot about it.

A few years ago I bought a top of the line Lumix 4 megapixel point and shoot camera and started taking more and more photos but didn’t really pursue it as a photographer. My next camera was a 12 megapixel Sony T-900 and I started shooting more.

Two years ago I re-entered the SLR world with my first DSLR camera and I was quickly back in the same mode I had been in during the 80s and 90s. My motivation to purchase a DSLR was twofold. I really missed the involvement in photography that I had experienced in the 80s and 90s and wanted to pick up where I had left off and even go beyond.

The second reason was I had been experiencing a high level of frustration with the limitations of a point and shoot camera. Because of the frustration I thought about what I wanted in a camera and concluded the following:

• I wanted a camera that released the shutter the instant the shutter release was pressed, not a couple of seconds later. That delay feature of the P&S while it sets the focus and exposure was driving me up the wall.
• I wanted to be able to actually get a proper exposure when using flash and the built-in flash on the P&S was extremely limited.
• I wanted to be able to change lenses. Sure, the P&S easily converts from telephoto to wide angle and back, but it’s nothing like shooting a bull elk in a meadow using a 500mm lens and then changing to a 16-35mm lens and capturing the entire scene with the mountains in the back ground.
• I wanted total control over shutter speed and aperture. I was tired of the camera deciding and then not capturing what I had imagined.

Those were my primary reasons for jumping, with both feet, into the world of DSLR. Still, it’s the same guy behind the camera. And, guess what, I have what I consider to be some really good images that I captured with my P&S cameras. I still carry a P&S camera. In fact I’m considering getting a new P&S camera. Frankly, there are times when a P&S better fits my photography needs and it’s great to have a good one available.

I spent some time perusing Flickr Creative Commons and I thought I would share some images I selected that were taken with P&S cameras to demonstrate that it is possible to capture good images without using a DSLR.

I selected images taken with three different brands of cameras – Nikon Coolpix, Canon Powershot and Apple iPhone. I also tried to find three different types of images –portrait, landscape and macro – with each brand of camera. My conclusion is that there are some really good photographers out there working with P&S cameras. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Lantana by littcool1 using a Nikon Coolpix

Golden Gate Bridge by Colette Simonds using a Nikon Coolpix

Truffes au Chocolat-Les Ingredients by Eric Delcroix1 using a Nikon Coolpix

Male Marmalade Fly by Gustavo using a Canon Powershot

Baja California Sud by Vik Cuban using a Canon Powershot

Pablo Fuentes by fotomaf using a Canon Powershot

Not Cannabis by Cocoabiscuit using an iPhone

iPhone Colorado Sunset by Jim Nix using an iPhone

iPhone Aquarium by Xevi-V using an iPhone

It’s okay to have camera envy but continue to use the one you have. As you can see by these photos, a $5,000 camera and lens combination isn’t required to capture great images.

Photo Credits:
Lantana by littcool1 on Flickr Creative Commons
Golden Gate Bridge by Colette Simonds on Flickr Creative Commons
Truffes au Chocolat-Les Ingredients by eric delcroix on Flickr Creative Commons
Male Marmalade Fly by Gustavo on Flickr Creative Commons
Baja California Sud by Vik Cuban on Flickr Creative Commons
Pablo Fuentes by
fotomaf on Flickr Creative Commons
Not Cannabis by
Cocoabiscuit on Flickr Creative Commons
iPhone Colorado Sunset by Jim Nix on Flickr Creative Commons
iPhone Aquarium by Xevi-V on Flickr Creative Commons

Previous Post:

  • megalithanod

    “As you can see by these photos, a $5,000 camera and lens combination is required to capture great images.”

    ?? – I am sure you forgot a “n’t” in there someplace….

  • Stephanie

    Did you mean that combo is NOT required to get great images?  Some of these are really great shots.  I think it’s important to make the best possible use of your equipment and this post seems to illustrate that point.  I’ve seen some pretty unimpressive shots take with a fancy-pants DSLR simply because the photog didn’t know how to use the equipment.

  • Stephanie

    *taken (sorry)

  • Steve Russell

    Thank you Stephanie and megalithanod, I did mean that the $5,000 camera and lens combination ISN’T required to capture great images.  I hate it when I do that.  Thanks for the catch, it’s been corrected.

  • Craig Mullenbach

    You are correct. The creativity is in the brain not the camera. I’ve seen plenty of $5000 garbage photos. My photography path has pretty much followed yours.  Film for a while, pause, digital pns and then a digital DSLR.  I also upgraded when I ran into the limitations of my point and shoot. I used every single little setting on that camera and need more.  Why?  Because my creative-ness demanded better control.  Now shoot wildlife and nature and nothing beats long fast glass for that.

  • corporatephotography

    i like that kid photo. that makes my day .Deciding to buy DSLR camera

  • corporatephotography

    i like that kid photo. that makes my day .Deciding to buy DSLR camera

  • Shakira Duarte

    I agree it’s not just the camera.. But the more you do, the more you need.. And with the speed of technology you need even more.. Those iPhone shots are great!!
    I invite you to visit my web page:

  • Store Desinger Brisbane

    You raise a lot of
    questions in my head; you wrote an excellent post, but this post is also mind
    provoking, and I will have to think about it a bit more; I will return soon.

  • Pingback: Two Things Some Photographers Do That Make Me Shake My Head | Beyond Megapixels

  • children photography melbourne

    I love the photos even though the camera used is not a high-end model.  I do believe that while the latest expensive camera can capture high-resolution photographs, it does not mean it is immediately considered a good image. It actually requires proper timing, lighting, colors, the right angle, and, most of all, talent.