Does it really matter?

With the photography world given a fresh new approach with the release of some stunning new mirrorless style cameras, the old fight between Canon and Nikon, with Pentax on the tag team, has been replaced it seems, with Fuji vs Olympus (and Pentax replaced by Sony in their micro fight).

Which is best? Which gives the best quality? Who’s got the best lenses and does sensor size in this market count for everything? The websites, forums and devotees of each system fight it out, defending their models, criticizing lack of features or specs on their rivals and in general everyone gets in a tizz (is that a word?!), being proud of ‘their own’.

I myself, have bought into this market and have my own kit of camera and multiple lenses. However, even though many people will know which model I use, does it actually matter which model that is? The same with the Nikon vs Canon fight. Does it matter which system you have, surely the images you capture with them is more important?

I love the mirrorless camera that I do have, but I also respect the rival to mine. I think they have fantastic models and the new ones look even more tempting, as do the new releases from my manufacturer. But when I look at a photographer’s new image, no matter what camera they took it with, the last thing I want to know is, what camera it was that they captured that subject with. Instead, I want to know the story behind the picture. Why they took it. What inspired them. How they felt about the subject. It could have been taken with a Box Brownie as far as I’m concerned, I don’t care. I just hope they enjoyed capturing the subject and that the image reveals this too.

Often, when I submit images to a magazine, the editor insists I supply full captions, not only of the location, but technical details as well. What for? Does it matter? They will say that the readers like this information. But what good will it be to them. They won’t get the same picture if they visit the same location and use my settings. That’s impossible. If that was the case, then why can’t I give just the exposure information and leave off which equipment I used? This is irrelevant.

I supply images to a number of photography magazines, yet, to prove the type of camera I use is irrelevant, I have had images published in manufacturer specific titles, that weren’t even taken with that manufacturers models. That doesn’t mean the picture wasn’t relevant to the feature, as it was, but because I used a different make of camera, doesn’t alter the subject. What if I lied? What if I had a picture published in a digital photography magazine that was taken with film? Is that allowed? Is that misleading? I have, so it obviously doesn’t matter!

My first camera was a Pentax. When I could afford one, I moved over to my dream camera, a Canon T90 and I chose this, as I preferred the styling to the other top end alternative at the time, the Minolta 9000. I stayed with Canon as I went into autofocus and bought my first EF lenses. I then moved into medium format and when every other landscape photographer was shooting with the Pentax 67, I went for the cumbersome Mamiya RZ67, because I liked the waist level viewfinder and rotating back. The results were identical to my contemporaries examples, i.e. superb 6×7 Velvia transparencies, but on the lightbox, you wouldn’t know which camera the trannie was taken with.

When I started shooting panoramic, I used the wonderful Fuji GX617, but I could quite easily bought the Linholf or the cheaper Fotoman model. Back then, it didn’t seem to matter, it was the final image that counted.

My first digital model was the Canon 5D, perfect, as it of course took the same EF lenses that I had acquired alongside the larger format of the Mamiya. I could have moved to the ‘darkside’ (!) and switched to Nikon, but the 5D seemed ideal as landscape camera.

So, now I still use a Canon, but I also have a mirrorless camera and I love both formats. Each is ideal for a particular subject I am shooting. And at the moment I’m not switching or changing to a different manufacturer. No need. Both cameras have a shutter, aperture and digital sensor. They both take pictures when I ask it to (well, voice control may be a future option!). That’s all I need.

So for goodness sake. Whether it’s Canon or Nikon, Fuji or Olympus, Phase One or camera phone. Just pick a model and go and take some pictures. Enjoy your camera, get to know it and learn to take good pics with it. Forget who makes it and just show us the results it produces. If it has an ounce more digital noise at its maximum ISO than a rival, I’ll take that as creative grain! Because, let’s be honest, it’s the picture that photography is all about. The camera? It doesn’t really matter.

I’ve taken this same view with five different cameras over the years, but which was this taken with and…does it really matter?

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