I realize that one post on Facebook does not necessarily represent the official view of an entire multi-national corporation. I also realize that marketing people have kids to feed and bills to pay, just like I do. Still, I can’t let this pass without comment.

Make no mistake. The brand of gear you use has nothing to do with how “good” you are as a photographer. My good friend Joe McNally, a renowned shooter who happens to use Nikon gear, would still be a far better photographer than I am if we walked up to a shoot and traded cameras.

I’ve said it before. Gear is gear. Your photographs go out into the world without you. Your legacy as a photographer will be defined by the photographs you make and not by the gear you used to make them.

I’m a loyal Canon shooter. I have been for over 30 years. Still, I’d be equally offended and equally vocal if some cubicle-dweller at Canon had typed the same sentence.

It’s not the gear that makes the photograph. Rather, it’s the heart and mind of the person behind the camera that makes the difference. Oh, and a bit of luck from time to time, too.

[Click here to see Nikon's Facebook page.]


20 Responses to "A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses" — Nikon on Facebook

  1. Philip Davis says:

    Nikon got it backwards. The equipment is only as good as the photographer using it.

  2. Ingrid says:

    Yay! Helmut Gernsheim said “Neither camera, nor lens, nor film determine the quality of pictures; it is the visual perception of the man behind the mechanism which brings them to life."

  3. rjbradbury says:

    Could not of put it better myself. Nothing but marketing bs, just like the whole megapixel saga. Well said Syl.

  4. Jason says:

    A lot of the gear available at your big-box store today is better than the gear Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, etc. used in their careers.

    The problem is, some 'social media intern' or 'specialist' got paid to do this and probably just spat out more marketing BS.

    (And this from a Nikon shooter )

  5. allan says:

    If this wrong thinking (or blatant lie) helps to sell more pro quality lenses and that in turn lowers the cost of the equipment, then I'm fine with the statement. Unless you are frequently shooting past the limitations of your gear, better gear will not make your images better.

  6. Sri says:

    May be the facebook post was taken out of context here. Before digital cameras, the quality of the image mostly depended on film and the lens that was used. WIth digital cameras it also depends on the chip that captures the image. This is purely the quality of the image in technical terms and not the artistic element, so obviously if you have a good camera with very good quality lens and sensor the quality of the image is going to be much better (assuming the photographer has a decent eye to take pictures). May be if the facebook poster added little bit more context around the post it would have helped.

  7. John Woods says:

    You have to give props to Nikon for this post though. An impressionable newcomer to photography with some cash to burn will take this to heart and feel like she has to have the expensive glass. Posts like this don't offend me, just make me glad I now know better. Doesn't keep me from thinking I could take sharper pictures with L lenses!

  8. Tony Drumm says:

    Perhaps they are trying to increase traffic on their FB page? Gee, Syl, as a 35 year Canon shooter myself, I wouldn't have known about this because I don't link to Nikon's page! :)

    The possible replies are numerous. "Agree. That's why I only shoot Canon L-series lenses."

    Of course, Joe could out shoot me and my DSLR with his iPhone. This is a rather absurd thing for them to post. Oh, well…

  9. Marry Rose says:

    I’m with you!

  10. JerkTog says:

    pixel quality will get better with better gear, photo quality remains in the hands of the photographer. ~@JerkTog

  11. Good Thing i shoot with a Pentax 645D, I guess that makes me the most superior of all ;-)

  12. Ivan Boden says:

    Well said Syl!

  13. Nikon Fail. Syl for the win. :)

  14. Dave Tease says:

    20 hous plus that FB post was up, it has dissappeared now, Nikon must've deleted it!

    • Syl Arena says:

      @Dave — It's still up (as of Friday morning). Perhaps the link takes you to Facebook in Australia? Anyway, Nikon's done the right thing (after the fact) and let it stay. Nearly 3900 people have commented.

  15. Becca says:

    I’m in total agreeance with you, Syl!!

  16. George Van Buren says:

    What ever works best for you – When I was younger I shot with Minolta; but then with digital I choose Canon because they had what I liked. Nikon also makes a good camera but it is not the camera that makes the shot it is the person taking the shot that counts. Have fun in San Fran this weekend Syl. Your book is great.

  17. Paul says:

    Storm in a tea cup. Who pays attention to such things? Be comfortable in yourself and your photographic adventures, forget about all this noise.

  18. TroyK says:

    What you fail to mention here is Nikon's apology posted the next day. Even though their statement was not very PC it does have some truth to it. You do get better quality pictures with the right gear just like a carpenter gets a cleaner cut with a better table saw, however, what you don't get with gear is vision and talent.

    "We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere." Nikon

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