It’s not all about the kit … or is it?

In this particular instance, I’m going to be talking about photography, but I imagine it could apply equally well to other areas.

I’ve been mooning around because my camera developed a fault on Christmas day.  Now, truth be told, this didn’t leave me entirely without a camera for I still have my trusty Pentax Q mirrorless camera. And what a a little darling it is – compact and light, with a good range of interchangeable lenses – and it takes very decent photos. Problem is it doesn’t have a viewfinder, only a screen. Now, I got totally used to that limitation when it was my only camera, so long as I used it’s own lenses with auto focus.

But … as Himself had bought me a truly super-duper new lens for my Christmas present, I was absolutely desperate to try it out. The first sunny weekend after Christmas, we went out with the cameras – I took the new lens, but ended up utterly despondent. Winter sunshine + camera screen + manual focus lens do not equal a happy photog. I couldn’t see a thing on the screen, so couldn’t focus. I felt a total idiot for not bringing the Q’s own selection of lenses, especially as they’re so small you can fit them in your pockets.

On this occasion, my first thought was it was all about the kit – even if it wasn’t the kit’s fault but mine (‘cos I’d not taken the right stuff for the conditions). Then I thought about it some more.  I’ve been a keen viewer of the Digital Rev Youtube channel for a while, especially of their long running Pro Tog Challenge series, where they set well-known professional photographers the challenge of working with some very limiting equipment. As I recall, an iPhone 4 was one of the better options, as there were Lego and Barbie kid’s cameras in the mix too. And all (bar one) of the pros showed that you can get seriously good results with totally rubbish kit, proving that it’s not all about the kit, but about what you know.

From which we can surmise that I don’t know enough … yet (and that without having my professional reputation on the line, it was easy to give up in less than perfect conditions). I’m not beating myself up as I know how much of an amateur I am in the photography game. I have so much still to learn but luckily I love to learn and I love photography, so I shall simply look forward to that day when a kit challenge won’t cause me to pack up and go home.

Oh … and here are some photos I took with the new lens (and the repaired camera) on a grey day, when it turned out to be all about walkers, dogs, kids and cyclists …

 

 

 


© Debra Carey 2018

5 comments

  1. Well, yes and no. It is not wholly about the kit, but you will get better results with a decent lens rather than the end of a milk bottle. I was enquiring one day about the merits of a certain not-Nikon lens for my Nikon – I wanted something long range for wildlife photography – and a friend of mine wrote back to say that he had that particular lens but the difference when he was given the proper Nikon lens was measurable. So I didn’t buy the bargain alternate and am still saving for the proper Nikon lens! 🙂

    It is not, I think, just about the quality of the glass but the fact that the lenses are matched to the camera in a way that generic lenses are not.

    On the other hand, the best kit in the hands of a point-and-shoot operator will not necessarily give better results than an iPhone (other brands are available). It is a question of matching the capabilities of the camera (my old Brownie 127 would not do landscapes!) with what you want to capture. IMHO.

    Alan.

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    1. I’m fairly new to the world of “proper” cameras, but there’s nothing like good quality glass is there? I try not to look at the stuff I can’t afford, so I can be content with what I can. Mind you, wildlife photography certainly does require some fairly chunky stuff and saving for that Nikon lens will doubtless prove worthwhile to you in the long run. My lovely bit of glass is actually not Pentax but Sigma – part of their new(ish) Art range, which is being raved about. I also have a second-hand, old-style Pentax lens which is much smaller and lighter. Both produce amazing results, despite the cost differential. I’ve seen some top of the range, hugely expensive pro gear which left me feeling a bit “meh” and some kit lenses which have punched well above their financial (and actual) weight. I’m finding it’s important to trust your eye. And, as ever, there’s truth in that saying: the best camera is the one you have with you.

      Will we get to see some of your photographic results?

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  2. I knew a professional photographer who said that it was all in your ability to see things that no one else saw. That the camera was a tool, but you were the inspiration. So any pic that you took that you conveyed what you saw was professional. I’ve latched onto that idea, for better or for worse.

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    1. I had to think about that for a while Ally, but he’s spot on. I am more pleased when I get the image I’d planned for in my mind’s eye, than a good – but accidental – shot. I’m also enjoying being more intentional with my photography. Of course, there’s always situations where you do the ‘spray and pray’ stuff, but that happens less often and it’s more to capture something fleeting – like the crest of a wave.

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  3. I’ve never been one to take many pictures, but maybe that’s because I’ve never had a good camera. The digital that I have now can take decent photo if I remember to take them.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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