There are lots of opinions regarding the whole Gear vs. Vision topic so I thought what the heck, I’ll provide my thoughts on the topic as well. With all of the new DSLR camera bodies being announced by the big guys (Canon & Nikon) and some of the littler kids on the block, there is ample opportunity to grab your cash and buy the latest and greatest camera bodies that promise to take extraordinary pictures for you. Many sites rely on the gear rumors and show you shiny pictures of all the new stuff with convenient links to sites where you can make a purchase. But the other argument is that what will improve your photography more isn’t new gear but an improved or more thoughtful approach to how you go about making those images.
It’s no secret I am a big fan of David duChemin and I have clearly started to improve my craft by practicing what he teaches. I can honestly say that I haven’t purchased any gear since starting to read David’s books and blog. However, I didn’t really need any new gear during this time period and simply did not have any extra dollars to go out and buy a 5D MkII or a D700. I currently shoot with my trusty Canon 40D which I believe is a great camera and continues to serve me well. In fact I will go on to state that my current abilities still hold me back from maximizing the potential of this camera. So I really don’t need to buy new gear correct?
Not so fast. I may not be maximizing the potential of the Canon 40D yet, but I know I am bumping up against some of its performance limits, ISO being the one that pushes me back the most. Some of my photography takes place in the performing arts where lighting conditions can vary constantly and some situations require ISO settings that I can not attain currently. I also enjoy indoor sporting event photography where lighting is not as good as it appears.
So do I need new gear? Yes I do and for that reason I have begun to start looking at some of the new bodies announced and looking forward to several others that are anticipated before making a final decision.
Now even though I need new gear to fulfill some of my photographic requirements, I know full well that the equipment I buy will not make me a better photographer. The new gear will allow me to capture some of the images that I am not technically capable of accomplishing right now, but my creative process is still on the upswing and I cannot rely on a camera to get me to my fullest potential.
I don’t think one answer to the gear vs. vision dilemma exists for all. I think each one of us needs to evaluate where we are and determine if our current tools are holding us back. But I also firmly believe people need to be honest with themselves and question whether they have maximized their creative vision process which will probably out perform any piece of gear out there.