In the latest This Week in Photo there was another round of the talk of gear, and how gear doesn’t make the photographer, and while I agree with this, I also disagree with this.
The photographers who tend to say “Gear doesn’t matter!” are the ones who have really good gear. I’m not saying that it’s not true, but that it’s partly true. Over the last four years I’ve shot with a Nikon D40 with the 18-55mm kit lens, and I’ve shot with a Nikon D3x with a 28-70mm pro lens. the D40 was the entry level DSLR from Nikon in 2006. The D3x was the top of the line model a few years ago. The 18-55mm lens is a cheap consumer-grade lens that costs about $100, and the 28-70mm is a professional lens that costs close to $2,000.
Enough with the specs… I’ve taken the same photo with both cameras, and the results from the D3x look better. And I’m talking about studio shots, I’m not even getting into low-light, event photography, sports shooting, and other comparisons.
They also talked about the Nikon D3200, which oddly enough, is what I’ll be upgrading to very soon. I’m not expecting D3x quality from it, especially since I’ll be shooting with cheaper glass, and I’m not letting that 24 megapixels number fool me. I’d be fine if it were 16 megapixels, or even 12. (The D40 is 6 megapixels, and yeah, I have come to find that a bit limiting.)
I’m not buying into the idea that to become a better photographer you need better gear, because I do believe that shooting and trying new things is the road to getting better, but I do believe that gear does play a part it helping you make progress, or holding you back.
So my upgrade from a D40 to a D3200 comes with a set of expectations. I expect to be able to get better results in low-light (6400 ISO versus 1600 ISO.) I expect to have more choices in focus points (11 versus 3.) I expect more megapixels (24 versus 6.) And I also expect to be able to shoot video with the D3200, which is something I can’t do with the D40.
That’s about it… I’ll let you know how it goes.