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eksath
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"Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:21 am

Hi Guys,

Came across this webpage which has/makes some interesting points.

http://kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm

However, this should not be taken as a license to shoot airliners with cellphone cameras and try to get them on here.  Wink

I quote:

"A camera catches your imagination. No imagination, no photo - just crap. The word "image" comes from the word "imagination." It doesn't come come from "lens sharpness" or "noise levels."
World Wide Aerospace Photography
 
viv
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:43 am

A camera is a tool.

Giving a hairdresser a scalpel will not make him a brain surgeon.

The most important part of the camera is the eye behind it.

P.S. Ken Rockwell is always interesting.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
dazbo5
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:38 am

I would totally agree. A camera is just the means by which to capture an image, the rest is up to the person using it. A good camera will just give you a quality advantage. You can take a great photo with pretty much anything, but the end results quality wise is determined by the camera / lens being used.

Darren
Equipment: 2x Canon EOS 50D; Sigma 10-20 EX DC HSM, 50-500 EX APO DG, Canon 24-105 f/4 L, Speedlite 430EX
 
timdegroot
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:03 am

True but of course there are limits. You can't take far away 600mm shots with just some toy camera, you need expensive equipment. That's not to say that a very talented photographer will not make a different more interesting picture from the same spot.

Tim
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NZ107
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:25 am



Quoting Dazbo5 (Reply 2):

Some artistic photographers use disposables to create an effect. Even pinhole cameras. Lomography too. They capture the moment. These are cameras, yes, but not exactly suited for high quality, sharp images that we as aviation photographers are after. (lol sorry Darren, this is just in addition to your post, seemed better to just include the quote in here)
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
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cpd
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:20 am

I'd suggest for the article author to look in the Nikon D3x brochure at the night image of the Giugiaro Mustang (taken with D3x and 200mm F/2 at F/2.0)- and seriously tell me that the camera and lens combination does not matter. I'll give Ken Rockwell my iPhone 3G and let him take the same photo.


The article is an attention grabbing ploy designed to grab visitors, which is exactly what it has done. While we all agree with the idea that you must know how to operate the camera properly and frame photos correctly (along with other creative elements) - the article falls apart if we consider what we do.

A lot of photos we get can not be achieved with anything less than 300mm or 500mm lenses. We take large images at often great distances, and sometimes in tricky conditions.

If the camera/lens doesn't matter, then so many people here wouldn't be using Canon 100-400L glass, they'd be using the $100 kit lens on the cheapest camera they could find. Or they might even use a cheap reflex lens.

[Edited 2009-07-01 02:25:20]
 
raedervision
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:36 am

The best advice I ever heard was back in the day of film. "Don't buy equipment, buy film". Forever true. Work with what you have, not with what you wish you had. Doesn't mean you should quit dreaming.  Smile
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:08 am

With every piece of equipment upgrade, especially with lenses, I gained new creative possibilities. Now that I have a super wide-angle lens, I can do things I couldn't do before and so on. So I believe the camera + lens combo does make a difference. Every piece of equipment has it's limitations. The key is knowing your equipment, knowing the limitations, and knowing how to make the best of what you have.

Many of my own personal favorites, and some of my more popular shots (referring mostly to non-aviation stuff) were taken with my old point-and-shoots, or my first DSLR with the cheap kit lens.

[Edited 2009-07-01 03:11:50]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
viv
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:15 am



Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 7):
Every piece of equipment has it's limitations. The key is knowing your equipment, knowing the limitations, and knowing how to make the best of what you have.

Exactly right.

Most of my best photos - the ones I frame and exhibit - are taken with my simple Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera - manual focus, manual exposure, manual film wind - using slide film.

My D700 is nice, but I prefer the Zeiss.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
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eksath
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:12 pm



Quoting Cpd (Reply 5):
the article falls apart if we consider what we do.

A lot of photos we get can not be achieved with anything less than 300mm or 500mm lenses. We take large images at often great distances, and sometimes in tricky conditions.

valid points! However, there is certain amount of truth here because the camera does not "make" the photographer.
World Wide Aerospace Photography
 
viv
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 6:15 pm



Quoting Cpd (Reply 5):
A lot of photos we get can not be achieved with anything less than 300mm or 500mm lenses

So, the lens matters.

Rockwell was talking about the camera ...
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
MidEx216
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:48 pm



Quoting Viv (Reply 1):
Giving a hairdresser a scalpel will not make him a brain surgeon.



Quoting Eksath (Thread starter):
It doesn't come come from "lens sharpness" or "noise levels."

I totally agree here, but there are also arguments. Sure, giving a hairdresser a scalpel will not make him a brain surgeon, but a brain surgeon with a katana is a lot less likely to be successful as well.
 
JeffSFO
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:04 am



Quoting Viv (Reply 10):
So, the lens matters.

Rockwell was talking about the camera ...

No, he was talking about lenses too:

Another San Diego pro, Kirsten Gallon earns her living using Nikon's two very cheapest lenses, the 18-55 and 70-300 G.

Nice photos, but the low light shots do have a lot of grain, e.g.,:

http://www.kirstengallon.com/gallery...5131561_WKGKz#293057794_FLJwH-A-LB

=======

When I first got into DSLR photography I asked some photographer friends what lenses I should buy. Several of them responded with another question, "What kinds of pictures do you want to take?"

I think that was the best advice I could get because I sure as hell can't get the low light, wildlife, or sports photographs (not to mention aviation--duh) I want out of my Canon SD1000, even though it's a great little camera. Those $15 Holgas Rockwell makes such a big deal about aren't going to cut it for what I want to do.

However, I do understand his point. I said as much to EUROBUS after he pooh-poohed his Nikon F60 in this thread:

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo...tion_photography/read.main/334585/

Nice work, Eurobus. It goes to show that even with a simple camera, you can have excellent composition with great results. It's all in the eye and how you frame things.

BTW, his shots are definitely worth a look.

But does that mean I would trade my two 5Ds for a point & click? Hell no! But I use my point & click enthusiastically when I don't want to haul around all my camera gear and get the results I desire:



So, yes, my cameras matter to me but I understand that good shots are all in the eye.
 
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eksath
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:51 am

So after mulling around the issue. I thought i would try to illustrate what I think is the issue.

If the blue line is the progression of a photographer's skill vresus quality, then the limitations imposed by his/her camera are:



At each level of equipment he/she runs the risk of being limited or reaching a fixed level as opposed to developing further. Does this graph work?
World Wide Aerospace Photography
 
UnitedJumboJet
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:30 am

I think Rockwell specifically means things like composition, etc. are more important than the camera in general.

Image quality is a whole 'nother animal.
 
JakTrax
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sat Jul 04, 2009 6:51 pm

I'll make my opinion simple here...

Of course the camera (and more importantly the lens) matters, but perhaps not as much as the eye behind it. Let's face it - both matter. Photography is an art; a self-expression. Good photography doesn't and shouldn't fall foul of the criteria set here, on A.net, for aircraft photography. We know this because of the relaxation of the 'creative' rules. Things like blur, grain and softness can enhance an image, rather than be to its detriment all the time.

Having said this, David Bailey is going to get a better (quality-wise anyway) image with his 1Ds III than with a disposable Kodak fun-camera. Putting all the onus on the skills of the photographer is a bit ridiculous - Michael Schumacher is the best F1 driver the world has yet seen but give him a Citroen 2CV and he isn't going to perform is he?

The 'it's who's behind the camera that matters the most' is sometimes a null and void argument.

Karl
 
viv
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sat Jul 04, 2009 8:29 pm



Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Michael Schumacher is the best F1 driver the world has yet seen

Debatable. Fangio knew how to drive ...
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
Alberto Riva
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sat Jul 04, 2009 11:45 pm



Quoting Viv (Reply 16):
Quoting JakTrax (Reply 15):
Michael Schumacher is the best F1 driver the world has yet seen

Debatable. Fangio knew how to drive ...

True. But I'd argue for the late Ayrton Senna, king of the rain.

Back to cameras: Rockwell is who he is and his take is willingly provocative. However, he does have a very good point when he says that it's dumb to buy a new digital SLR every year, unless you're a pro. Camera makers have people salivating on their new D-whatever, which they'll buy for say $2000 and sell the following year for $900, all the while wondering why their photos suck and expecting that they'll become great images when shot with a fancier camera. We know it doesn't work that way.

Digital has democratized the field somehow, opening up opportunities for people who would have been excluded before, but it also has made the better photographers stand out even more from a sea of decent, serviceable, easy-with-digital but uninspired images. Are those better photographers all shooting the D3 or the Mk III? No, they're not. In other words: their cameras count, but not as much as the non-initiated think. It's still about being there and pressing the shutter at the right moment.

Now aviation photography is a different animal, and none of us would want to shoot an airshow with an ancient 10D or bring a D40 for the ride of a lifetime in the backseat of an F15. But if push came to shove, would the best among us get a few good frames even with those relatively crappy or old cameras? Yes they would.

So: your camera *does* matter, but up to a point. That point may be along the line in the graph Suresh posted above, or somewhere else depending on your talent, but photography is still an art. People go to galleries to see the artist's product, not his tools.
 
photopilot
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:02 am

Ok, I'm going to use Mark Garfinkel's amazing moon shot photo to illustrate my point. Mark was the originator of this genre of aircraft images. Why? Because of his camera equipment? Well partially, but there are thousands of people with identical equipment or better and not one of them had the CREATIVE IDEA in his mind to say "what if" and then put the shot together.

Many of us have tried to duplicate Mark's work, some with great success, some with poor success. But Mark THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, which is the creative aspect of being a photographer. He likely saw the image in his mind long before he got into position to push the shutter.

Mark's great image......

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mark Garfinkel



Now some may argue that without a long lens that shot would be impossible. Correct, but that's a technical limitation which only comes AFTER the inspirational limitation. And far too many "photographers" are limited by inspiration, yet blame the equipment as the problem.

It's not the camera..... it's the photographer. Arguing otherwise is simply arguing for a lack of inspiration.

respectfully.
Steve
 
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eksath
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:46 am



Quoting Photopilot (Reply 18):
It's not the camera..... it's the photographer. Arguing otherwise is simply arguing for a lack of inspiration.


Indeed.

The most inane first question from a viewer is:

"What kind of camera did you use?"
World Wide Aerospace Photography
 
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cpd
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:15 am



Quoting Photopilot (Reply 18):

Mark's great image......

And it would probably be rejected for grain, blurry these days. Now, it's not so much a lack of inspiration, but that it is simply easier to go for "safe" photos that won't have difficulties with motive.

Quoting Alberto Riva (Reply 17):
Are those better photographers all shooting the D3 or the Mk III?

May I mention Jasin Boland:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q98nzc3Vduw

You might not have heard his name, but you'll know his images. And be surprised at the gear he uses. (Including a D90).
 
viv
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 6:54 am



Quoting Eksath (Reply 19):
The most inane first question from a viewer is:

"What kind of camera did you use?"

Or in its other form after a viewer sees a shot of mine: " You must have a very good camera!".

Drives me crazy.
Nikon D700, Nikkor 80-400, Fuji X Pro 1, Fujinon 35 f/1.4, Fujinon 18 f/2
 
aviopic
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:10 am

I went digital some 8 or 9 years ago with a D30 and was doing fine at ISO 100.
Now with a 1Dmk3 I am doing fine at ISO 1600.
The switch didn't made me a better photographer but it sure as hell made life a lot easier.

On the other hand I am still using a 20D and 50D with great pleasure to.
The camera I got the most pleasure from is my "new" 1972 AE1 though  Wink
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
timdegroot
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 9:13 am



Quoting Cpd (Reply 20):
And it would probably be rejected for grain, blurry these days. Now, it's not so much a lack of inspiration, but that it is simply easier to go for "safe" photos that won't have difficulties with motive.

And with all due respect to mark and the good image, with current technology that shot should come out better these days.

Tim
Alderman Exit
 
aviopic
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 10:48 am

[topic off]

Quoting Photopilot (Reply 18):
But Mark THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, which is the creative aspect of being a photographer. He likely saw the image in his mind long before he got into position to push the shutter.

How do you know he was first ?
The fact that he got it on a.net first doesn't say much.
I am not trying to argue whether he was first or not but there are billions and billions of photos taken of which we don't know their existence.
There is just no way of knowing, other then asking him I suppose.
[topic on]

Think we are talking 2 different idea's of "good".
A "good" composition is independent of the camera used.
A technical "good" image in terms of exposure, sharpness and noise depends from little to quit a lot on the hardware used.

One might have the smartest idea of the world but if the used hardware fails to deliver it will fall apart after all.
To sum it up:
Top hardware will give a Top chance to fulfill the craziest idea one might have.
Anything less then top will decrease those chances in one way or another.
And were someone draws the line is just a personal thing based items price/quality for example.
A good story on this subject:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/quality-vs-value.shtml


The sun has finally disappeared and I see some nice clouds coming which means: I am off to AMS  Silly


Cheers.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
photopilot
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Sun Jul 05, 2009 2:18 pm



Quoting Aviopic (Reply 24):
How do you know he was first ?
The fact that he got it on a.net first doesn't say much.
I am not trying to argue whether he was first or not but there are billions and billions of photos taken of which we don't know their existence.
There is just no way of knowing, other then asking him I suppose.

What a non-sensical answer.

Quoting Cpd (Reply 20):
And it would probably be rejected for grain, blurry these days. Now, it's not so much a lack of inspiration, but that it is simply easier to go for "safe" photos that won't have difficulties with motive.

Safe images, or just photographers with no sense of imagination and creativity who simply can't "see" a better image if it struck them in the face.

===========================================================

I used Mark's image because I really didn't want to make this thread, nor my posting a self-gloss issue. But sometimes there simply isn't a way to make the point.

Here's probably one of the best aviation images I've ever taken.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stephen Liard



I can't begin to tell you how many dozens of emails I've received from other people wanting to know What Camera, What Exposure, What Film, What Lens, and also wanting complete engineering drawings of the custom wing boom I designed to make this shot possible.

But WHO told ME?

Well the answer is nobody. I spent 6 months creating that image. And it is a created image. Right from the initial concept it was imagined and then designed to fit a specific photographic challenge (The annual AW&ST Photo Contest), It was designed to take the sport of soaring and put it on magazine covers. So working backwards from the basic premise of What does a Photo Editor and Magazine Design Graphic Artist want in an image to grab their reader's attention. To fit their design specifications for magazine work.
From that premise, I knew it had to be a verticle image. It had to have space around the sides for sub-heads, barcodes, magazine title, etc, on a front page. All those elements were imagined just to get the concept.
Now it was a winter's project to design, manufacture and figure out the actual wing-mount boom to put the camera where it was needed to get the image.
Oh, and it also cost me approximately $1,000 in costs just to get to the point of pressing the electric remote release at the right moment.

And yes, it did pay off handsomely for me, both with the satisfaction of the final image, and on a monetary basis. And yes, it also won the AW&ST Best-of-the-Best award among other honours.

The point I'm trying to make is that equipment allows a creative photographer to achieve the image he imagines in his mind. But all the equipment in the world without that imagination provides nothing. Perhaps some "photographers" are happy simply asking all the questions and details and attempting to duplicate the work of others. In my mind however that doesn't take a spec of talent or creativity. Just a good sized bank account to buy your way to the image.
 
gunna64
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:39 pm

In the end it seems to matter more about noise, sharpness and digital manipulation - it's no longer about the image. Even with a decent prosumer camera and L lens it's almost impossible to get the images onto A.net without some manipulation and good luck.
 
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cpd
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RE: "Your Camera Does Not Matter"

Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:46 am



Quoting Gunna64 (Reply 26):
Even with a decent prosumer camera and L lens it's almost impossible to get the images onto A.net without some manipulation and good luck.

Not really. You need to get the best image to start with, and then maybe do some minor edits. The best photos don't need much editing at all.

Good equipment helps. I just got a brand new 24-70mm Nikkor lens. I tried it briefly on a D300 - the sharpness and quality even wide open at F/2.8 was simply superb. As a coincidence, that was the first time I've ever used a D300. I probably won't use that lens for anything a.net related, but for other things, I'm really pleased.

Once you know you camera and lens - it isn't about luck anymore. It's just about being methodical with your selection of image and following the criteria properly.

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