• Alex McNaught

"You must have a good camera.."

I have this said to me every now and then at the markets, and I know it’s meant as a compliment, but it irks me a little at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy, and gratefully receive, unsolicited compliments but this particular phrase digs at me a little because of a misconception I’d dearly love to address.

The misconception is that you can only have taken this “nice” photo because you have a “good” camera.

Firstly while I too think my images are “nice” I’m realistic enough to know the person paying the compliment are likely judging with a normal appreciative eye but, thankfully, not comparing them to the top international level so I feel I know the level of nice they are using.

Having established that, I am also realistic enough to know that I could literally spend 10x what I have for my camera body and unless I change something major, like the type of subject, or print size, or overall shooting style, then you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what I use and something costing 10x the amount.

That’s not saying my images are so great they are what a really expensive camera can get you but I’m doing it for way less, it’s saying that if this image is something you admire then YOU TOO can have the potential to achieve the same because you can likely afford to buy what I use since it’s only in the same price range as a typical iPhone.

I can see where the misconception comes from though.. typically you associate the high quality images with very good (read very expensive) gear that they see that photographer has and that most people wouldn’t consider purchasing, thus it’s natural to think that to take really great images you must have a really good camera.

It’s a normal enough progression that the ever improving photographer seeks ever more expensive and specialised gear at the same time.. but if you reversed the buying trend and kept the same level of photographer I dare say for very much the majority you’d still be seeing the same high level of quality in the images produced.

Absolutely some subjects such as high speed sports, or ultra high resolution large prints the right gear makes a fundamental difference but for the most part you can achieve consistent and excellent results you are happy with if you are prepared to work at it with any modern camera that has the basic options fundamental to photography.

So typically when someone says “You must have a good camera” I just shrug and smile and thank them and just say, “No, it’s nothing special.. it’s 4th from the bottom of the line out of 24 cameras in the range.”

You don’t need a “good” camera to make images you and others like.. you only need to have a “good enough” camera and have a go.


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