Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned over the last few years of taking photographs (and, dare I say it, becoming a photographer) is how unimportant your camera is to the quality of your photographs. Take a moment to let that sink in: the quality of your finished photograph has very little to do with what kind of camera you use (this includes the lens you use if you’re using an interchangeable lens camera).
If you think about it, it’s actually quite logical. Before modern digital cameras, professional photographers had to use film (usually 35mm, but also medium or large format) and somehow managed to turn out truly inspiring photographs using the same equipment that we think of today as outdated and antiquated. Early professional digital cameras from the late 1990s and early 2000s were less sophisticated now than even the most basic modern DSLR costing a tenth of what the professional camera did. And yet good photographers turned out great images with these museum pieces.
You can read other photographers’ advice (all of them much more accomplished than me) about why your camera doesn’t matter:
- It’s Not About Your Camera
- What’s the Best Camera In the World? The One You Always Have On You
- And there’s even a book on the subject, with the photographs taken entirely on an iPhone.
Obviously you will get images with higher technical quality (higher resolution and sharper pictures) if you use a more advanced camera, but if you can’t take an interesting photograph that is well composed then you will just have a tack sharp photo of nothing. Similarly, an advanced SLR opens up some options that you otherwise might not have with a point-and-shoot camera, but unless you’re a professional photographer these are at the very fringes of what most people will want to photograph.
I myself have the most basic DSLR money can buy, the Nikon D3000, which I absolutely love and that I bought ex-display with a lens for less than most photographers pay for a speedlight (a flashgun to you and me). I’ve noticed my photographs have improved while I’ve owned my camera as a result of learning and practising image composition and structure, not by buying new lenses and accessories.
So, don’t be afraid to take photographs because you don’t have the best gear. It really doesn’t matter, and just enjoy taking photographs with whatever you have to hand.