Better photography equipment makes better photographs


“Better equipment doesn’t help you take better photos.” It’s the first thing experienced photographers tell any newbie who thinks that a better camera or lens is needed to take better photographs. Most of the time, like any other photographer who knows their stuff, I will tell them to work on the craft rather than obsessing over the best cameras and the best lenses. However, there are some occasions when certain photographic equipment will help you create a better photo, depending on the subject.

Understand how photographic equipment influences a photograph

I have a theory that many of us fight hard for to distance ourselves from the “better gear, better photos” ideology. It is because we are precious. And we have every right to be. Photography takes years, decades, to perfect. To think that some nubes can switch with, say, the Sony A1 and start taking better or more professional photos is ridiculous. But if we let our desire to protect our craft soften a bit, try to accommodate that.

Take two portrait photographers. The two are similar in terms of experience and skills. For this scenario, let’s say both are using the Nikon Z7 II. It’s a fantastic camera, and you can read more about our Nikon Z7 II review. Both photographers are tasked with taking a standard photo for a finance company (check out some super creative photos). You know the guy, head and shoulders, subject pretends to be somewhat happy with the whole ordeal. Now, if Photographer A has the Nikkor Z 20mm f1.8, and Photographer B has the Nikkor Z 85mm f1.8, which one takes the better shot? (Read our Nikkor Z 85mm f1.8 review.)

Photographer A, who will have to get closer to the subject to take a good photo, will experience distortion. Their subject will look unflattering, and no business will want such an image on their website. Whereas Photographer B will step further back and create a more natural look without needing to do a lot, if at all, of cropping in post-production. In this example, better photographic equipment leads to better photography. Let’s look at some other examples.

Fujifilm photography equipment and the moon

EIC Chris Gampat and I both sip Japanese whiskey. We’re on a rooftop, and it’s a full moon. I have my Fujifilm X-T2 and Chris, smirking, has his beloved Fujifilm X Pro 3 (read our X Pro 3 review). To create a photograph of this beautiful full moon, I turn to the only lens I have. This is the Fujinon XF35mm f2 R WR, a great lens that serves me well in most cases. But I’m not sure he’ll be up to it for this scenario. Chris, meanwhile, shows he’s ahead of the game and releases the Tamron 18-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di III-A2 VC VXD (check out our first look here.) Although not a full moon, here is what the lens used by Chris is capable of. Who do you think makes the best picture here? (Mine wouldn’t even be worth sharing.)

The printing press concert

For this next example, let’s say our review writer Hillary Grigonis and our review writer Brittany Smith get a commercial reservation. It’s an advertising campaign for a clothing line. Beyond online marketing, large posters are going to be put up all over New York City. Hillary, who arrives from Michigan, forgets her Fujifilm X-T4 (read our Fujifilm XT4 review) at home. Instead, she should use an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark III (read our Full review.) For fans of micro four thirds, this is a wonderfully good camera. For a print ad campaign, well, I’m not so sure. Brittany, showing that this is not her first rodeo, has a blast with a Hasselblad X1D II 50C (read our Full review). It is a medium format camera that produces impressive images that look great even when printed on a large scale. Needless to say, Brittany gets the job and her work is seen all over New York City.

Final thoughts

While these mythical scenarios all come to my mind, the results are very real. Two newbies with two different cameras will probably still make equally bad pictures. But two experienced photographers with different tools for the same job won’t. So, yes, some photographic equipment will help you take better photographs. Will it make you a better photographer? I’ll let you decide. Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.


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