Togger Chat

A close-up photo of a Nikon lens cap.

A photograph by Ronnie McInnes Lens Cap © 2012.

The above close-up photo of my camera lens cap shows that I use a Nikon. What the photo (and the lens cap) does not show is the model number of my camera or lens. I use an entry level DSLR and I use four entry level lenses with it. This basically means that the kit I use is (relatively) cheap. As a result, my kit has limits, certainly compared with high end professional products. But although it has limits, I work very hard to make the most of my shots and to get the absolute best I can from my set-up. I believe that skills are more important than the price or quality of the kit. Quality of kit does matter, I just think that it is of lower importance than skill.

The majority of times that I bump into another photographer, professional or amateur, they try to get a peek at the kit I use. Specifically, they look for the model number on the front right of my camera. At the very moment I notice that this is what they are doing I turn the camera to my right. I try to look nonchalant as I do so, I don't want it to look like I'm doing it on purpose. This action results in the nosey photographer leaning (and in some cases, stepping) to follow the camera and get a look at my camera's model number. I actually get a small kick out of turning the model number away from them. However, I know this person is going to want to talk, not about my camera settings or what my work is like, but about my kit. As if the kit is the most important thing for a photographer to talk about. Honestly, I don't want to talk about my kit and here's why (using an analogy).

Let's say there was an artist painting en plein air (outside) and before you took a look at what was on the canvas you demanded to know the model number stamped on his brushes. I don't speak for all artists, but I reckon most would be pretty miffed about that. Instead, it's common for artists to talk about the type of brush, the brush strokes, the story behind the work or even the materials they are painting with. So why should photography be any different? I think in many cases that the nosey photographer wants to feel that "my kit's better" feeling that they get when they come across lesser kit. However, you could spend all the money in the world on photography yet still have no clue about how to take a decent shot.

I don't mean to imply that every person who is looking for my model number is judging. I actully don't mind talking about the kit after he or she has seen (or talked about) some of my shots or settings. It's kit snobbery that I dislike. Give a professional togger great kit and you'll get great photos. But I'm pretty sure most would take very nice shots on cheap kit too. Give a tw#t an expensive camera and you'll get...well, a tw#t with an expensive camera.

So folks, to revert back to my analogy, please focus on the brushstrokes and not on the number that's on the brush handle.

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