Editor’s Note: This is an OP-Ed. On the other hand, you can call it a rant. In fact, call it a rant.
Five years as an Editor in Chief, two years as a wedding photographer, a half a year at Magnum Photos, and two years as a working photojournalist taught me something: there is such a thing as a very bad photographer. Give them expensive gear, all the lights in the world and more and you’ll begin to see that if you don’t have the vision, creativity, and the know-how when it comes to working with a scene and creating something then there is a strong chance that you’re going to be creating useless garbage.
Trust us, we should know.
This year, the site is turning five years old–and we’ve been reviewing cameras since day one. The technology has become better and better and back then folks used to say that something is a good camera or a bad camera. To a certain point, this is still expressed in forums, in conversations amongst friends, and by people that have nothing better to do with their lives than be trolls. But I’m going to tell you the complete God’s honest truth right now about the world.
Are you ready?
Are you really ready? Okay, here we go.
No one is making a bad camera or a bad lens or a bad light or a bad camera bag or a bad sensor. For years (yes, years) the sensors have been incredible. Too much noise at a high ISO level? Oh well, bring it into Adobe Lightroom and no one will bitch about it unless they like looking at an image at 100% all the time. But those people never go on to become better photographers and only worry about looking at lab tests all day and night. Now, more than any other time in history, it is possible for you to create a better image.
Real photographers embrace noise and grain because it’s beautiful and the photo and art world has been doing it since the very beginning. Do you think all of those war images would have anywhere near the same level of impact if there were no grain? Or do you think that famous Hollywood directors wouldn’t be trying to band together to save film if the look of grain didn’t work?
Hating on Samsung? Why? Their sensors deliver some beautiful colors and great high ISO results that otherwise can be fixed in the processing stage on your computer. Think that Micro Four Thirds sensors can’t perform well? You’re dead wrong–those files are super versatile in Adobe Lightroom and if you’re shooting for the web no one that really cares about photography will be asking to look at your image at 100%. They’ll instead be staring at the whole thing.
No bride in the world is going to look at images of her during her wedding and be like, “Hmmm, my pores look really great at 100%.”
But beyond this there is autofocusing technology. It’s all good. No. Really. Everyone does an amazing job right now; and if the camera isn’t doing what you want it to, it’s because you’re not telling it what you want it to do. A machine can only do so much without instructions.
And with this, there is absolutely no need for brand wars. We get it Pentax fans, you have a great camera. You don’t need to rub it in the faces of Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm users.
If you want better pictures, just go out and get a camera and a lens and whatever you need to create the scene that you want. You know why? Because no one is making bad products anymore. In this stage of the global economy, no one can afford to screw up. So instead, go train yourself to be a better photographer.