January 22nd, 2015
Great Cameras Don't Equal Great Pictures.
Much like a guitar or a paint brush, a camera is a tool for the artist. "Art" comes from the artist manipulating that tool.
Most professional photographers have had at least one encounter with someone that goes something like this: "Wow, these are really nice pictures. Nice camera!". These people mistakenly assume that if a photograph is better than what they are used to seeing, it must be due to better camera equipment being used. While more expensive camera gear can have its advantages, it is rarely the difference people perceive it to be.
The most important piece of equipment a photographer owns isn't in their camera bag, it is their knowledge. It is their understanding of the art of photography and their ability to capture a scene that makes the difference between an average snapshot and an epic capture.
A camera is a tool, nothing more than that. Some tools are better than others, but most of the currently available tools are good enough to get the job done if you have the knowledge to use them to their potential (in this case, any entry level or better D-SLR camera).
Consider a top of the line set of pots and pans for a cook. A great set of pots and pans can have advantages over cheap ones, but using them won't transform a poor cook into a culinary master. There is also no doubt that a world class chef could still make an incredible meal using the cheapest cookware, because it is their knowledge of cooking that makes all the difference and not the pans they are cooking it in. Does a great brush make a great painter, or a great guitar make a great guitarist?
It is much the same with cameras. Most cameras made today are perfectly capable of capturing high quality images. What really produces a great picture is the photographers eye that understands how to compose the scene, and their ability to properly expose the image while choosing camera settings that enhance the way the image is captured. This difference is far greater than the actual difference in image quality between any of the newer D-SLRs, which are nearly impossible for anyone to see short of blowing it up huge and comparing pixels.
Knowledge is Key...
This reminds me of a time when I was showing my work to a friendly middle aged man at a photography show one day, the guy looked me straight in the eye and said to me "It isn't the camera, is it?". I immediately thought to myself "what a profound statement from a guy who hadn't even mentioned that he was a photographer". I agreed with him that it wasn't the camera, and before I even had a chance to ask he looked at me and said with a laugh "I have $10,000 worth of camera gear at home, but it hasn't helped me at all". The simple truth is that a great picture comes from a great photographer, not a great camera.
The bottom line is that the best way to take better pictures is to increase your knowledge of the art of photography, and there isn't anything else that will improve the quality of your images more than that.