Updated: Apr 8, 2021
A wise man once told me that a good photographer can shoot a good photo regardless of the equipment. This wise man just happened to be my uncle and mentor. As a man who works for Nikon, I had hoped for a more direct response when I asked him what camera I needed. Just to prove his point, he showed me some published photos of his that were shot with a simple point and shoot camera. I hate to say it, but he was right. I've shot with point and shoots, D5's, multi thousand dollar lenses, and plastic Holga's, and while nice equipment is...well...nice, it will not make you a good photographer. Life may be easier. The camera may be quicker and have a higher resolution. The lens may be a F1.4 prime at the cost of $1,200. None of this will ever matter if you don't know how to take a photo. Technique and skill can be taught. Camera functions and lighting can be taught. How you see the world through a lens however, can never be taught. I thought this was bullshit after I invested in a Nikon D810 and a Nikkor 14-24mm with a full set of Nisi filters. How could I not be an instant professional at long exposure landscapes? Spoiler alert: I was not. All that money made no difference because I did not know how to envision the shot I wanted let alone execute it. I had no ability to frame and compose and be patient with trial and error. It wasn't until I listened to Annie Leibovitz's Master Class and heard her say countless times that she basically doesn't give a shit about what you shoot with, that I started to really listen to what was being said to me. The camera is only a vessel to deliver your vision. If you don't have a vision then you have nothing. So I learned the hard way that a $100 black and white film camera with a vision is worth far more than the $2,000 DSLR with no vision. Figure out what inspires you. Forget the brands and the equipment. If you can't shoot a decent picture on a shitty camera, the best camera in the world will not make you a good photographer.