I am starting this blog off with a theme. It’s not about the camera.

I saw a book by Lance Armstrong called “It’s not about the bike” – changing “bike” to “camera” made sense for me. Photographers everywhere will relate to being told “you have such a nice camera, I wish I had one like that” or “your camera takes amazing photos”.

In response there are countless articles and blogs which explain that sensors, megapixels, lenses etc. are only part of the creative process. They just tools for the photographer. A photographer with bad technique will take bad or average photos most of the time even with expensive gear, a photographer with good/technique/experience/the “eye”/etc. will take good pictures consistently with whatever they have in their hands. More expensive equipment makes things simpler, easy, more convenient etc. but the photographer is still the one in control of the final result.

I read a story recently, which it explains well.

Once upon a time a photographer was invited to have dinner at the home of a nice couple. During dinner the wife comments to the photographer “Your pictures are beautiful. You must have a great camera.” The photographer nods politely. After finishing dinner the photographer comments to the wife “That was a fine meal. You must have some great pots (or a great stove)!”

Taken from here: link

These views are echoed by Ken Rockwell in his article called “Your Camera Doesn’t Matter”.

In keeping with the theme, some of the photos I post are taken with a 2nd hand D200 which would have been new in 2007 (there have been D300 and D300s models since). Also, the winter series photos are often taken with a 18-105mm lens, the kit lens for the D90 and an ordinary wide-angle lens.

People are realsiing that image quality, megapixels and sharpness are not the most important factors in impact or message of a photo, and that’s why the Lensbaby lenses and lomography film cameras are gaining popularity in recent years. With the same theme, I’ve started dabbling in obscure or fringe areas but with budget rather than pro methods

My experiments

  • A pinhole lens I strapped to my camera, which is a piece of plastic with a hole in the middle. No lens or glass elements used to take the picture. Sample photos on my FB page.
  • Tilt-shift lens for R300 ($35). It’s an enlarger lens, not intended for taking pictures. One is a 75mm f/3.5 and the other is 80mm f/4. They give the same tilt effect as 80mm f/2.8 Lensbaby Edge. Sample photos on FB page (1) here , (2) here and (3) here.
  • Macro photos using 50mm of extension tubes for R200 ($24), which give 1:1 magnification with a 50mm lens according to a formula I found.
  • Macro photos with reverse ring (50mm works well, but I also boguht a 28mm f/2.8 lens which does not fit my camera, since it gives me better macro magnification when reversed)
  • I bought two macro ringflashes, which were made before digital and only work on full power. Used to take photos of people’s eyes here.
  • 35mm Nikon camera from the 1990s
  • Various secondhand Nikon-fit lenses which are manual aperture and manual focus. One of my favourites if a 50mm f/1.4 lens, for R950 ($114) and the autofocus new version would be over 4x that. See 50mm f/1.4 photos on FB page (1) here o(2) here and (3) here.
  • Infra-red film (still have to try this out)
  • Medium format camera
  • Sony compact camera I still carry around sometimes for convenience, but which gives different crop ratio (4×3) and has more depth of field. Link to album on FB.

Your Camera
Doesn’t Matter