Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Photographers, and new equipment.

So every time something new comes out in the camera world we have all these photographers and hobbyists drooling over the latest and greatest. They then go into how many mega pixels whatever has vs something else, or how sharp the lens is, or how high of ISO the camera can get.

All this is great and all, but they are forgetting some crucial pieces to critique. Those being, will that new equipment bring more clients or business in the door and will that equipment turn into more money or work for them? I don't think new equipment now days is turning into money as it once was.

Keep in mind I don't shoot weddings where this equipment would be critical, but then I wouldn't think someone shooting weddings would tune into a fashion photographers blog anyway.

So in a more traditional sense, a lot of portraits, senior pictures, family photos, headshots, etc, aren't going to be printed that large. even for a wedding I would think around a 20x30ish print is getting pretty big. So mega pixel count doesn't really mean all that much anymore unless someone is doing a ton of cropping.

More traditional images are shot where light really isn't a factor anymore. I'm sure some use iso 1600 or 3200, but (personally) a lot of my work is done under iso 400, and even nice consumer cameras have been able to do a pretty good 3200 for a while. So I don't see how having 25k+ iso would be a selling point, unless you do weddings.

Lenses these days are pretty sharp, even consumer zooms. Granted some are more than others, but most of my clients don't take a lupe out and view prints or photos. So although it's nice to have a really sharp lens, I'm not sure that's a selling point anymore with the mega pixel cameras we have and the sized prints we're making. I doubt that additional sharpness will come though on a 8x10, and I doubt a strong image that size would be less strong if it was a tad soft.

What I think is happening, and I've said this before, is that we're getting to a point where a photographer can buy a camera and expect to use it for 5+ years with little motivation to upgrade. The file size is large enough to day to cover just about any print size, image quality has improved many times over even 5 years ago to a point where it's amazing for any normal portrait work, and I think lenses have come to a point where they aren't a factor as much as they were - and even for consumer zooms. Granted I can be wrong, and my opinion isn't as sexy as "I love this new camera that came out" but I can't see how clients could tell the difference, and I can't see how someone could justify thousands and thousands in something that won't have a major impact on their work.

Now if any non-photographers have got this far, my advice, just look at the images. If they are strong then it doesn't matter what they were shot with, if they aren't great then it doesn't matter what they were shot with. Anything today can produce prints, web images, and enlarge at least up to 16x20 without working too hard. Focus more on the work than what it's made with.

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