Does Gear Matter? Yes and No.

Ted Forbes of the excellent YouTube channel The Art of Photography recently posted a thought provoking video that explains why gear doesn’t matter in photography and I think he’s right on the money! 

Then Marc Falzon of Analog Process posted a response that explains why gear does matter, and he’s right on the money too!

As in most things about photography, it all depends on YOUR needs, YOUR style, YOUR specialisation, etc. 

Bottom line is that if you specialize heavily into a certain type of photography, like night photography, bird photography, fast sports photography, studio portraits, etc. Or if you are into a very technical type of photography like astrophotography or macrophotography then yeah, some setups will be much better than others. So in that sense, gear definitely matters. 

But from an artistic point of view, gear doesn’t matter in the sense that if you think a better camera will make you a better photographer, you will be greatly disappointed. 

To me gear does matter in the sense that I much prefer a small and light weight kit that gets out of my way and allows me to carry it everywhere I go and enjoy shooting. But to me gear doesn’t matter in the sense that I don’t care much about more resolution, or better focus tracking, or better high-ISO noise performance, or faster frame rates, etc. I’ve realised a while ago that my E-M1 with some sweet little prime lenses is really more than good enough. I’ve given up on pixel-peeping and comparing my camera to others or always wanting to upgrade to the latest and greatest.

I truly enjoy shooting with my light, portable and highly versatile M4/3 kit. I don’t worry about a bit of noise. I concentrate more on the artistic aspects of photography and less on the technical aspects. As a result, my wallet and my back are happier and I enjoy photography a lot more now that I don’t have to carry 20 lbs of gear around. 

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    Carl Lum

    I agree completely, Sylvain. For me, m4/3 has given me a chance to obtain what I could never could before: fast (f/2.8), constant, pro-grade zoom lenses! This does affect the portability of my system somewhat, but that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. Sure, the siren song of “bigger sensors” is strong, but the thought of slow zooms or back-breaking lenses turns me off.

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