Grok Photography

Photos and words by Petter Senften

The Magic Camera

So, every now and again I stumble over a photo on Faceplus, Googlebook or wherever. Often a pattern is repeated. Picture looks great, lots of comments, most consisting of various degrees of amateurs asking what camera took this photo.

This grinds my gears somewhat. Sure, ask what camera it is if you’re curious. I’m always curious about what gear took a certain picture. It’s trivia but occasionally it’s interesting. The problem though with a lot of amateurs asking this question is that many of them think the camera took a great photo and want to know which camera that is so they can buy one themselves.

However, most of them are sorely mistaken. The camera didn’t take the photo. It was the photographer. Even the most expensive and outrageous camera can’t even qualify as a doorstop without someone to operate it.

Without someone to press the shutterbutton at the right time, it’s utterly worthless. The camera is nothing except a tool. The photographer takes the photo using that tool. The tool can be anything between a four-yearold iPhone (or a seven-yearold K750 as I demonstrated in an earlier rant) to a US$5000 Nikon D4 with lenses matching or exceeding that amount.

There is no magic camera. There are no magic settings. There are no shortcuts. Either you have blinding luck and manage to take an amazing photo at just the right moment or you have immense skill with your gear, your timing and your location – or some combination of both. Most photographers producing great photos tend to do one or both of those things.

Yes, a better camera might enable a better photo but it’s not a substitute for talent or hard work. If you’re a dunce operating your US$10000 worth of gear you will produce crap. No exceptions.

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