There was a time in my life when I felt like the camera gear was the most important aspect of taking quality images. Don't get me wrong, the right gear can definitely make the process easier but it's hardly a limitation that can't be worked around. Of course, when you're new to the game and heavily invested in tech news, reading about lower noise at higher ISO levels is the thing dreams are made of. Then one day I came to a striking revelation - my landlord, local grocery store and even my insurance guy agreed, camera gear isn't everything.
So, years later I'm using equipment that's considered outdated. Sure, it's still gear that many people would love to have at their disposal, capable of much more than anything I started with. It allows me to use some forms of current technology to make my process easier. Bottom line, I'm pretty lucky with the setup I've acquired over the last 9 years. But a thought hit me.. Knowing what I know now, and having grown in my process, could I produce quality work with consumer level equipment from back when I started? Maybe it's time to find out!
Meeting up with a friend, who fairly regularly complained about his camera being the cause of his photographic struggles, we decided to switch systems. For this challenge, we'd both photograph the same car, at the same time, using crop body cameras, identical focal length prime lenses, and a CPL filter. This was my chance to see if the argument, "It's not the gear, it's how you use it" was true. I traded out my old Canon 7D & Canon 35mm 1.4L lens for a Nikon D3100 & Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens. What followed was frustrations, more work than I expected, and surprisingly decent results.
Aside from learning that Nikon's opinion of built in bracketing was unnecessary in their entry level DSLR cameras, and that their menu structure is so different from Canon that it makes switching systems a bit of a learning curve, I wasn't totally dissatisfied. This little setup handled most of my needs for this experiment. While it certainly didn't win any awards in the speed department, making panning shots a real beast to acquire, it was capable enough to do what needed to be done. In the end, the only real limitation I encountered was myself.
Gear: Nikon D3100, Nikkor 35mm 1.8, Amazon Basics CPL, Sunpak Tripod
Post Processing: Adobe Camera Raw & Adobe Photoshop