Your camera doesn’t matter.
If you read any of the camera review web sites or magazines, you’ll see that a lot of noise is made over noise. From the articles I’ve read, it seems as though if you can’t shoot black cats in coal mines without flash and get perfectly clean, noise-free output, then your camera must be junk, and you need to rush out right now and spend multiple thousands of dollars to buy the next generation of über-camera before everyone else notices what an amateur hack you are.
Guess what? They’re wrong. All that noise about noise is, as Shakespeare put it, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
If you were to consider all of the many factors that go in to making a photograph that grabs your attention and draws you in, and rank those factors in order of importance, “absence of noise” would never even make the top 10.
Strong composition that draws you in to the subject would be right up near the top of the list. Emotional impact would also be at or near the top. The interplay of light and shadow, lines and curves, and the deft use of color would certainly all make the list. Effective use of perspective, contrast, and control over depth of field are all important factors that contribute to making strong photographs.
The artistic vision, skill, and talent of the photographer are key. The equipment isn’t.
Of course, if you put high-quality equipment in the hands of a talented photographer, that photographer is going to be able to work more efficiently, adapt more quickly to changing circumstances, and produce output of the highest technical standards on demand. A talented chef could cook a gourmet meal with no more equipment than a hot plate, frying pan, and a Swiss army knife. But, that same chef will be much more efficient working in a properly-equipped commercial kitchen, with all of the professional tools of the trade available.
Good equipment doesn’t make a good photographer; good equipment simply gets out of the photographer’s way, and allows him work more efficiently under a wider variety of circumstances. Keep that in mind the next time you’re reading camera reviews. Also, keep in mind the fact that camera company advertisements “pay the bills” at most of these web sites and magazines.
In a future post, I’ll share a little bit of detail about what I use, and why I choose to use the equipment that I do. You can probably already guess the basics, however — my equipment simply gets out of my way, and lets me work efficiently to make good photographs under a wide variety of circumstances.