Cameras, part two
Good artists get the best out of their tools. When given better tools, they produce even better work.
I’ve heard a lot of pundits say It’s the photographer, not the camera, but I know that’s just baloney. I know that when I’m working with defective or limited tools, I can’t produce my best. Maybe that’s why I’m so fussy about my gear (photography, computer, illustration, et al).
Now, the funny thing is that I both agree with Amy, and I don’t.
As Amy is, I am squarely in the “buy the best tools you can, learn to use them effectively” camp.
The funny part is this: sometimes (not always, but sometimes) less is more. Sometimes the more limited tool is the better tool. It’s not always the case the the very best tool is the most broadly applicable one. Sometimes the best tool is, paradoxically, the one that restricts you in some way.
My most recent example is that I spent quite a while photographing with what is arguably the most restrictive lens for the digital SLR’s I own – the old, somewhat creaky 100mm macro. It’s slow to focus, somewhat unbalanced, and heavy. But by using it, I learned to push my photography toward the strengths of that lens – focusing up very close, and beautiful out of focus rendering. By forcing myself to cope with an imposed limitation, I got better as a photographer, and happier as a person.
I’m not saying it always works that way. And if you have enough self discipline, you can set your very versatile zoom lens to 100mm and f/2.8 and go to town, just as I did with my macro lens.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it works well to head out with gear you know will limit you in some way, just to see what will happen.