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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    485

    Camera or Photographer?

    What takes the best pictures? Is it the camera or the photographer behind the camera? I only ask this because last night I handed my camera to the professional photographer, and asked her to take my picture. She took two. One of them was slightly blurry. I was thinking that maybe it is because she is not used to my camera. Although all she had to do was aim at me and push the s/r. I thought anyone could do it; just wanted someone who wouldn't shake while they did it.

    What are your thoughts? Do some cameras just take awesome pictures? Or is truly the person behind the camera who knows THAT camera? Could a good photographer take a good picture on any camera handed to them? (I don't want to hear about people who go around with disposables and take good shots.)
    Leah
    Nikon D90, because I have a nice Mom.
    Nikon 18-105 VR kit lens | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 |
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G |
    Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM |Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G VR
    SB 600 & SB400

    Canon G9 "borrowed" from my step-father

    flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,610
    Is it the magician or the stick? hehe.
    Camera's certainly play a factor but with todays technology, almost any camera can take a nice clean shot. You, the photographer, just needs to know how to use it and what it is limited to. You have to find a camera you enjoy using because that will show in your photos. Then you need to learn the basics such as angles (and knowing where to stand) & composition. Ive seen people take good shots with disposable cameras and your average joe point and shooter.
    ...................
    Nikon D80 + TAmROn 17-50mm f/2.8
    - Sandisk 2GB Extreme III SD Card
    - Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home

    - had Canon PowerShot S3 IS

    For some of my shots:http://flickr.com/photos/truflip/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Kitchener, ONT, Canada
    Posts
    1,225
    The photographer makes the photo, the camera is just a tool. Better tools can get better results, but the photographer still has to do the work.

    Just because someone is a 'pro' doesn't make them a good photographer... It just means they get paid.

    Reminds me of a story. We were in Vegas last year, and were waiting in the line to go up the Eiffel Tower. The young couple behind me had an XTi kit, and I had my stuff with me. The guy asks "Since you have the same camera, you must know how to work mine. Can you take a picture of us?". Sure I say. I get his camera, and they cuddle together. I have them move a bit so they are beside a statue, and I move out of line to frame them with the statue and the casino below us extending into the distance. Its kinda dark, so I pop the flash, and drag the shutter. I tell them not to move, and take the shot... I looks pretty good to me (they are sharp, and there is lots of atmosphere), so I hand it back, and I can tell right away he is disappointed.... so I ask if I can do another, and just shoot their heads together with the same statue sticking out of his hair.... And he likes this one.

    My point... I'm not sure, but I don't think he would have liked a shot from a more expensive camera any better!
    My best pics on Flickr

    Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/garysimmons
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    Gear: Canon 60D, Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro, Sigma 50-150 f2.8 EX DC II, Canon 50 f1.8, Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 EX DC, Sigma 120-400 DG OS. 1 430EX, 1 430EXII, 1 580EXII, ST-E2, Manfrotto 190XPROB (soon to be replaced by the carbon version)
    Plus filters, wireless triggers and other junk...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    8,163
    Gary you need a bigger camera and lens, so that you can say "trust me, my way is better" and they'll believe you.
    Ouch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    485
    I think I figured out what the problem was. She focused on my mouth rather than the eye. So the top half of my head is not in such good focus.

    I think you see it more in the larger version of the picture, but don't want to post a picture of me that big. :-)
    ps-- She did make me move over a drop to cover up the thermostat on the wall, so I guess that was really good. the lighting is awful because those stupid walls are YELLOW.
    Leah
    Nikon D90, because I have a nice Mom.
    Nikon 18-105 VR kit lens | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 |
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G |
    Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM |Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G VR
    SB 600 & SB400

    Canon G9 "borrowed" from my step-father

    flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    8,163
    Quote Originally Posted by mugsisme View Post
    What takes the best pictures? Is it the camera or the photographer behind the camera? I only ask this because last night I handed my camera to the professional photographer, and asked her to take my picture. She took two. One of them was slightly blurry. I was thinking that maybe it is because she is not used to my camera. Although all she had to do was aim at me and push the s/r. I thought anyone could do it; just wanted someone who wouldn't shake while they did it.
    Lots of variables here.

    1. System familiarity - I'm a good photographer but hand me a Nikon and I'll be clueless without a little time for self-orientation. I know Canon. I don't know other brands.

    2. "Professional" has several meanings - one of which is simply that someone accepts money for doing something, exclusive of skill or knowledge.

    3. Some cameras & lenses have fewer limitations and/or higher performance specifications, allowing a good photographer to produce stunning images under less-than-ideal circumstances or a bad photographer to take sharper crap.

    4. A camera cannot analyze the quality of light (only quantity!) and decide what to do with that light & a camera cannot compose an image. That's the photographer.

    BTW you got what you wanted. There's no shake in that photo. You need to keep your EXIF intact though, because it could have been pure luck that one was shake-less. We don't know what your camera settings were. It could be your fault for setting too slow a shutter speed and too small an aperture to get what you REALLY wanted.
    Last edited by cdifoto; 06-13-2008 at 12:12 PM.
    Ouch.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
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    7,147
    Quote Originally Posted by truflip View Post
    Is it the magician or the stick? hehe.
    Camera's certainly play a factor but with todays technology, almost any camera can take a nice clean shot. You, the photographer, just needs to know how to use it and what it is limited to. You have to find a camera you enjoy using because that will show in your photos. Then you need to learn the basics such as angles (and knowing where to stand) & composition. Ive seen people take good shots with disposable cameras and your average joe point and shooter.
    I have somewhere, a beautiful photo I took of one of my ex girlfriends. I took it with a very cheap 110 camera on very cheap 110 film. Printed to 5x7 it was surprisingly good. I'd shot in bright sunlight and everything had just worked well. I think it's the best photo I've ever seen from 110 with a plastic lens. It was certainly on a par with most 35mm 5x7 portraits.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560
    Personally, in my experience, as well as a few others ... the eyes have it. If you get the eyes, you've usually got your portrait. That is something that is learned by the photographer, not the camera (of course, with these new AI-cameras, who knows?).

    People naturally look to the eyes first, before anything ... unless it is further away and they cannot be clearly defined. Then the face becomes important and it is kind of a downhill race from there.

    Knowing your composition traits is usually what determines a quality shot from a snap shot. I often find myself taking images where I really cannot get a perfect framing situation going, I then over shoot, realizing what kind of work will take place in the digital darkroom, and we fall back to "the crop" and other post-processing techniques.

    In my opinion ... its the person operating the controls and pulling the trigger that gets the shot. A better camera simply means less overhead work by the photographer (hopefully) to render the final effort.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-13-2008 at 12:13 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    485
    Quote Originally Posted by cdifoto View Post
    BTW you got what you wanted. There's no shake in that photo. You need to keep your EXIF intact though, because it could have been pure luck that one was shake-less. We don't know what your camera settings were. It could be your fault for setting too slow a shutter speed and too small an aperture to get what you REALLY wanted.
    Yes, very true! I just sort of expected spectacular results.

    Camera: Nikon D40
    Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 50 mm
    ISO Speed: 400
    Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV
    Flash: Flash fired, auto mode
    Metering Mode: Center Weighted Average
    White Balance: AUTO

    I don't know how to post it so you can see the information. Lessons welcomed. (You can find the picture through my flickr link in my siggy.)
    Leah
    Nikon D90, because I have a nice Mom.
    Nikon 18-105 VR kit lens | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 |
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8G |
    Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 HSM |Nikon 70-300mm f/4-5.6G VR
    SB 600 & SB400

    Canon G9 "borrowed" from my step-father

    flickr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,565
    How can you judge a photographer by asking them to take a snap shot of you with a camera they've never used in a location like that!

    If you want to see what they can do go though their portfolio or hire them to take your portrait. It takes time to prepare for a shoot. Why would you expect pro results from an impromptu snap shot? I'm flabbergasted.
    5D MK III, 50D, ELAN 7E, 17-40mm 4, Sigma 10mm 2.8 fisheye, 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 IS, 30mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 580 EX, 430 EX speedlight, Pocket wizard flex and mini.
    Canon G10

    Pentax P30, 50mm 2.0

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