|You Are What You Drink - Palmdale, California|
Is equipment important to photography?
I asked similar questions about 14 years ago, and the answer now is a lot different than the answers I was given then. Photography has changed so much over that time.
|California Sunset - Stallion Springs, California|
Captured using a free cell phone.
-Because the quality is good enough for the internet and prints typically as large as 8"x10" (sometimes smaller, sometimes larger, depending on the cell phone). Most of the time that is all of the quality that one needs.
-Because cell phones are small and lightweight and travel really, really well. You always have it with you, and nobody pays attention to you if you have it out.
-Because sharing is quick and easy. Within a few minutes of capturing an image, people from across the world could be viewing it.
-Because the "style" is the current fad. Thanks to apps like Instagram (and others) that allow you to post-process right on your phone, there is a certain look that one can create with their cell phone images that is in high demand. Yes, cell phone photographs can be profitable.
|Adversity - Palmdale, California|
Captured using a free cell phone.
Once you are able to create interesting images that speak your voice using your cell phone, then I recommend an old film camera. You can find an unwanted (but perfectly capable) Single Lens Reflex or Rangefinder cameras for very little. You might even know someone with an old film camera collecting dust in a closet. I have three different film cameras that I found for less than $50 each (and each included a lens).
The reason that an old film camera is beneficial is because it forces the photographer to learn the technical aspects of photography. Because modern digital cameras can do everything automatically, few take the time to learn what does what on a camera. And because they don't know, they have less control over the final images that they create. While knowing how a camera technically works will not in itself improve your photography, having complete control over your vision will.
|Backyard Feed - Palo Verde, Arizona|
Captured using a free 35mm SLR that the previous owner no longer used or wanted.
It is beneficial to train yourself to rely on ensuring everything is as you want it rather than relying on quantity. People will snap 100 frames hoping that one will be good. Instead, it is better to slow down and make sure everything is just right prior to opening the shutter. Film cameras help with this lost skill.
This needs to be said before we go any further: it is better to invest in the knowledge of what a good photograph is rather than expensive equipment. Spend your effort learning vision, not reading some stranger's opinion on a message board about what camera is best. That person probably can't create a great image, but they can quote technical data from a controlled sensor test.
|Clasped - Tehachapi, California|
Does it really matter what camera I used to create this? No.
"The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." --Ansel Adams
The skill of the photographer is far more important than the make and model of camera. A great photographer can craft great images even with poor equipment. A poor photographer cannot craft great photographs even with great equipment. It is so much more important to craft great photographs than to own great equipment. Most people have this backwards. Great equipment is never a prerequisite to great images.
As of this writing, the DSLR camera that I recommend to beginning photographers is the Nikon D5200. In my opinion, this camera has the best value (quality vs. price) out there, and you should be able to get five good years of service out of this camera (digital technology goes obsolete much too quickly).
|Summer Mow - Tehachapi, California|
No one cares what camera, lens, or software was used to create this.
I should also mention software, since you are probably considering Photoshop. There are excellent alternatives to Photoshop that are free! Start off with one or more of those free photo editing tools, and if you still feel you need Photoshop, by all means make the investment.