A photographer went to a dinner party where he showed his photographs. The lady of the house said, “Those are very nice pictures, you must have a great camera.” He said nothing, but when leaving, he offered the following compliment to the woman: “The meal was very nice. You must have great pots and pans.”
To believe that better equipment will get you better photographs is incorrect. Better equipment can make taking photographs easier and more enjoyable, but the camera alone will not create better images. Photographers love talking about equipment, and we all get camera envy. Who wouldn’t like the latest digital camera on the market? But any camera is capable of taking good photographs within the limits of its mechanical features and the abilities of the photographer. Here are some reasonable things to expect from more expensive, higher-quality digital cameras:
• Faster shutter button response. Less of a delay between triggering the shutter and when the photograph is actually recorded.
• Quick and accurate auto-focusing.
• Auto and manual exposure to give you more creative control.
• Larger CCD sensors for higher-resolution images. Larger prints are possible and low-light image quality is improved.
• Improved lens coverage and quality. Better wide-angle lenses and longer telephotos available.
• Faster motor-drive. More frames-per-second to capture sports action.
If the lack of these features are hindering your photography, you may be ready for a different camera. But be realistic. Here is what a camera won’t do:
• Motivate you to take photographs.
• Choose a meaningful subject.
• Creatively compose a scene.
• Press the shutter at the right moment.
If you feel you lack these abilities a new camera won’t help. If you enjoy photography continue to use the camera you’re comfortable with and seek out methods to improve. Attend photo shows, study work of notable photographers, take workshops, read about photography. Observe. Becoming a better observer will help you become a better photographer regardless of what pots and pans you own.
A nice place to start would be the current photography show at Signs of Life, 722 Mass. “Images — Masters of Photography” features local photographers Daniel Coburn, Rich Mitchell, Tim Forcade and Kevin Sink.