Does the camera make the photographer, or does the photographer make the camera?
As you can see by my photos over there, I’m an amateur photographer. I’ve been trying for a few years now, off and on, but one thing has been bothering me as of late. Does the camera make the photographer, or does the photographer make the camera? I’ve had two DSLRs in my past. An Olympus E-420 and now a Sony NEX-5. Both are great cameras, but would I get more out of a Nikon D7000 or a Canon 60D? Both of the DSLRs that I’ve had have been entry-level cameras. Usually when you think “entry-level”, you think cheap, missing features, just not all around that good. To be honest, it does seem to be more of a mental thing than anything. But is there a big difference between these entry-level ones and mid-range to semi-pro level? Is it worth spending 3 times the money on a better camera? Will this more expensive camera actually take better pictures? Should you just rather learn more about photography than just throwing money at it? That’s what I want to find out.
When I look at my photos on Flickr, they look nice, even with some HDR added to them. But for whatever reason, I just cannot hold a candle to some of the photos that I see on the Flickr groups out there. So what’s the real difference here? Some Photoshop magic, or are these photographers just really that damned good? Let’s take these two links for example,
The Sony NEX-5 Flickr group:
These just look better than mine, despite the exact same camera. So now the question here is, do I man up and really learn this trade, or try to spend $1400 on a Nikon D7000 and see if my shots get better? Since I’m relatively new at this trade, I think I should honestly learn everything I can first, before “upgrading” to a better camera. Because if I spend $1400 on the D7000, the shots can honestly come out the same, despite being more expensive. What I’d really love to see, is the non-post processed shots, and see if they’re any better. But knowing most people, they aren’t going to post these. Post-processing in Photoshop, Aperture, Lightroom really do make photos look better, but is it taking away from the artistic talent? Are people relying too much on these applications to make their photos pop?
One trend that seems to be mighty popular recently is HDR. HDR, or High Dynamic Range essentially draws more light into the picture, making things glow. Similar to what you saw in Half Life 2 with HDR support. There’s one website that I recently came across that is purely HDR photos: http://stuckincustoms.com. Spend 5 minutes looking at these photos and you’ll see exactly what I mean. This is all post processed using an application called Photomatix and Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture. Now, these photos can look insanely beautiful (like on his site), or they can just look nice (like some on mine). You really need to know how to fine tune the settings here. Despite his quick free tutorial, I’ve had quite a few really nice looking pictures from Photomatix. Now what I really want to test is, if I should HDR it before, or after I post-process the image. I’ve noticed that shadows can become overly bright using HDR, but I haven’t quite figured out how to emulate the results he’s getting (without paying a good amount of money for his tutorials).
So what does a guy to do? Spend money on a better camera, or spend money learning how to get better? I think I really want to spend money on how to get better. The better camera can always come later. Photography is something that I really want to make a hobby of mine, possibly taking it into a profession one day. How I just need to get better! What are your thoughts? What camera/software are you using?Tweet