Sunday, October 4, 2009

My Take on Equipment

No doubt you have heard some people say, "equipment does not matter. What matters is the head behind the viewfinder." There is a very little bit of truth to this, but I think mostly it's sour grapes, or, put it bluntly, loads of bull.

Equipment does matter, otherwise we will all be using pin-hole cameras to take pictures on 8x10 negatives. Every piece of equipment ever created was to fill a specific needs or purpose. From 8mm fish eye to 1200mm super telephoto lenses. From pin-hole to the latest and greatest digital technology wonders. Because, people will buy what fit their needs.

Some people criticize others when they suggest someone should buy an 85mm f1.2, or 50mm f1.2 lens, saying that the kit lens will do just fine. It's what's behind the viewfinder that's important. Oh yeah? I dare you to shoot with natural ambient light in a dimly light restaurant or party. You kit lens at 50mm is likely to have a maximum aperture of f5.6, and the shutter speed would be around 1/10 second at ISO 1600. Even if you can take a picture on tripod, the subject would have moved miles away by the time the shutter is tripped, unless you are shooting static objects. On the other hand, with a 50mm f1.2 lens, you have more than 4 stops of light available to you to shoot you picture. So, instead of 1/10 second, you can shoot at 1/160 of a second. Fast enough to freeze minor movements.

Let's face it. Kit lenses are mostly mediocre, with a few exceptions. Most of them won't be any good until it's stopped down a couple of clicks. So, if you have a lens that has a maximum aperture of f5.6, you stop it down 2 stops, and that's at f11, close to the diffraction limit on most crop sensor cameras. Most good lenses are usable wide open, and will be bitingly sharp one stop down.

I do, however, think that there should be a limit. Some, such as yours truly, are equipment slaves. There is not rationale to why they buy stuff they buy. They buy it because they want it, and not necessarily need it. But, if you need a job done properly, you need to use the right equipment. The head behind the viewfinder is important, but if all you have is pin hole camera, how are you suppose to capture sports events?

1 comment:

  1. Very much agreed. I have used P&S for years as of its practical aspect, but recently upgraded to m4/3 coz i felt so limiting photographically speeking.