Really, Nobody Cares What Camera You Use

Really, Nobody Cares What Camera You Use

Quite frankly, neither should you. I understand that we all love our gear and we all have dreams of upgrading and moving on to bigger and better things, but that's not the real point of it all, not really.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing quite like unboxing a new piece of equipment and getting to use it for the very first time. That is a feeling that just never gets old. In fact, I dare say that it's probably one of the most invigorating experiences that a photographer can have. All the excitement and creativity just waiting to be channeled through that brand new camera is always something potent. However, by this point in my career, I have talked with enough photographers who spend more time than they should worrying about the gear they have and the gear they'd like to have. No, I'm not exempt from this either. I read about what gear is available now compared to what I actually own, or I'll read about what's coming out and try to scheme how I can ditch my current setup and move on to the new and shinier pieces of equipment. I found myself in this sort of mental predicament not even a year ago, and what really helped my change my frame of mind came from something one of our editors here at Fstoppers told me. 

I had been, in essence, complaining about the fact that my newer-model camera had died and that I had to fall back on an older piece of gear in order to continue shooting. I was asking for advice from other Fstoppers writers about their thoughts between two different cameras I was interested in buying. Instead of giving me an opinion between the two cameras, the editor simply stated that he couldn't see any problems with my current work (with a 10-year old camera) and suggested that I keep doing what I was doing until I absolutely needed a new camera. It was eye opening, honestly. He was right, I didn't need a new camera; I just wanted one, really.

It was a solid reality check for me to be brought back to reality and realize that it really is all about the person wielding the equipment and not about the gear itself. Are there things I wish I could do with my current camera, that I just simply can't, because it's outside the capabilities of the camera itself? Absolutely. But that doesn't mean I have to just up and buy a new camera. Sure, there's the whole conversation about budgeting and making a smart purchase, but that's not the only thing worth considering. The reality that I was brought back to was this: my current camera works just fine, I'm still able to create images of which I am very proud, and the same people that share the artwork with me (as my audience) appreciates it all the same.

I understand this may all just sound like something someone would say when they simply can't afford a new camera. In the past, you'd probably be right. But honestly, I could go buy a better camera today if I really wanted to. But I really don't need to. When the situation arises where I actually have a legitimate need for a different piece of gear, you better believe I'm going to buy it and love every minute of it. But I really am taking the dose of humility for what it's worth by continuing to see just how good my work can be while shooting with a very old camera. So far, it's an adventure that's paying out quite nicely. I still get to capture what I want to capture, my images still look every bit how I want them to look, and I get to put myself to the test every time I play with a camera that has served me well for years upon years.

Take it for what it's worth; your camera does not define you. You alone get to decide exactly how creative, how dedicated, and how productive you want to be with your own photography. Regardless of what you actually hold in your hands for creating something you intend to share with others, enjoy the fact that you are there, creating, doing what you love.

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lee arthur's picture

I'm from the "Use it up, wear it out. Make it do, or do without" school. If someone ask what type of camera I shoot with, my reply is, "I shoot with two Nikon DSLRs, with a verity of lenses." To tell he truth, the only reason I have a second Body Is my first camera fell of the tripod mound I was using and the len's broke. B&H stopped selling the lens I needed (or Nikon stopped making it) but they had one used that came with a 7100. So it was a bonus for me. Else I would still just be using my D90. it works.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Well if it really doesn't matter what camera I use, then why do I sometimes have idiots coming up to me and firmly try to tell why I should this camera or that camera? If they like what they're using then go use it and leave me the F alone. BTW - I shoot mostly with film medium format and 35mm. Am I going to hear something now?

Come on bud. Idiots is a strong word. Maybe they are just excited about photography and ask why you use an older method. Maybe you should tell them about the medium of film photography and reverse the tables Tim. You’ll have them “gasping” like your last name! But seriously come on bud.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Lol. Yeah I've tried that and politely too. Only once did we end up having a decent conversation, but it really doesn't bother. It's just more annoying. Thanks though.

Pedro Pulido's picture

When idiots talk to me, I choose not to take their words seriously and move along. It’s not time consuming, doesn’t stress me and I just go about my business. Try it.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Oh...I do. I just look at them and continue on.

Nobody cares about your over processed images as well

Keith Meinhold's picture

People do care though. Its why we have brand ambassadors. I often get the "what camera did you use" question, usually not from professionals though. Its a tough question to answer - because I don't want to end up suggesting a brand or format. I don't want to say its the photographer - not the camera, either.

Jordan McChesney's picture

While I agree with the overall point of the article, there are literally tens of old Japanese men who are interested in what camera I use. Tens of them I tell you!

Tom Fuldner's picture

Great message, Rex. It’s always a struggle for me to rise above my gear lust. I share your pain and appreciate your wisdom. Only one of my clients ever asked me about my gear. The question came earlier in my career, and I think he was trying to give me a break and assure himself he was not making a mistake in hiring me. Since then, I’ve discovered that my clients either don’t care or trust me to make the right choices.

I have more gear than I really need, from micro four thirds, to APSC to medium format. But it’s always a joy to be able to pair the right brush with the right canvas. Sometimes I test my chops by using the micro four thirds gear where it might be safer to use a larger format. Knowing that I’ve limited my “croptions” or my ability to prevail in marginal light compels me to be a better photographer and to make better choices for light, setting and composition. It’s all good if your actions make you produce better images.

Thanks again for sharing your message. So very true.

Rayann Elzein's picture

That's ironic... There's not a week going by that this website doesn't publish an article as to why this or that photographer is so happy he ditched Canon for Sony... And then this?

stir photos's picture

"we care a lot, about you people; yeah, you bet we care a lot"

Yes they do. I lost 3 weddings this Spring because I am not shooting with a Canon 5d MarkIV. So they do have the illusion it is the camera, not the person (sigh)

"Really, Nobody Cares What Camera You Use"

Offline, maybe. Online is a hotbed of fanboy dickheads and paid shills... Sorry "influencers".

It's not a coincidence that most Youtubers who do camera reviews, tutorials, etc. use really modern equipment. They think that using anything that is seem as even remotely old (excluding retro) will somehow tarnish their expertise. That is, they'll be judged on their equipment not their content.

When I first bought a DSLR I was completely new to photography. I considered doing a series in which I explained what I had learned in a way that other newbies could relate to. I figured a lot of experienced folk forgot what it was like to be completely ignorant and my perspective could be more useful to other noobs.

That idea was quickly canned when I saw the kind of hostility and insults anyone not using modern equipment received.

In photography, the thing that matters is the final result. The Image. Everything that goes into that final result matters because it plays a role in the making of the image. Skill. Vision. Creativity. Camera. Lens. Software. Viewing medium. It all matters because all of it is necessary to create that final result.

The sensor size, lens quality does come into play in the print. Even on screen. All you need to do is compare any medium size sensor (or film format) to 35mm equivalent and the difference is obvious.

If everyone could afford it, myself included, everyone would use it.


Curious what 10 year old camera? Also, does Sony live in the heads of fujifilm shooters rent free, or am i the only one that picks up on that? :-P

My Instagram page is solely iPhone photos because I got tired of hearing, "You must have a really good camera." So I love seeing Pete Souza post iPhone photos *frequently* to his Instagram page as well.