- RECENT EARTHQUAKE IN JAPAN AFFECTS CAMERA COMPANIES
- GEAR MATTERS IN PHOTOGRAPHY. PLEASE STOP SAYING IT DOESN'T
As was the case with the Tōhoku region earthquake in 2011, the photo industry has been affected by the incidents on Kyushu. Here is what we have learned:
A Nikon representative offered a statement to PopPhoto.com: "Our thoughts are with the people of this region. The part suppliers for Nikon products were affected by the series of earthquakes, and this will likely impact our production and supplies. We are investigating the situation, and will announce the details as soon as they are confirmed"
According to a statement released by Sony, the company’s Kumamoto Technology Center, which makes image sensors, had to be shut down and as of April 18 the company was still assessing damage and had no timeframe for when operations there might resume. Sony’s Nagasaki Technology Center and Oita Technology Center temporarily halted production, but resumed as of April 17. The company’s Kagoshima Technology Center had no major effects on its operations. Sony says that it has confirmed the safety of all of its employees in the affected region.
While Canon hasn’t reported any structural damage and it appears that its employees and their families are safe, it offered a statement extending the company’s condolences to all of those affected. Canon also announced that it would make a donation of 10 million Yen to the Japanese Red Cross Society.
Olympus released a statement offering its sympathy to those affected and announced that the company and its staff would be donating 20 million Yen to the Japanese Red Cross Society to help those affected by the earthquakes and to aid in reconstruction. The company did not indicate if any of its facilities were damaged in any way. We hope this means that they weren’t.
We will update this list as we learn of any more news.
One prime place to see the “gear doesn’t matter” comments are on Digital Rev’s “Cheap Camera Challenge” videos (which are massively entertaining, by the way). A pro photographer is given a camera that’s worse than what you’d find at a thrift shop and sent out into the world. They always stretch its capabilities as far as humanly possible, but the resulting image typically looks nothing like a photo they would ever shoot on their own. The camera changed the way they photograph. The gear, quite literally, mattered. A crummy camera didn’t make them into a bad photographer, but it changed their photographs.
While I don’t agree with the whole “gear doesn’t matter” attitude, I do get why it exists. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in things like test lab results and tedious numbers pulled from massive spec sheets. We test cameras here—that’s part of our thing. But it’s not because we think gear is the only thing, we just think it’s an important thing.
It’s a commonly held belief that shooting with prime lenses instead of zooms will help you hone your photography skills. The restriction forces you to really learn the intricacies of a specific focal length and begin to visualize what will fit into a certain frame, and what will look good once it’s in there. That was certainly the case for me, and it’s why I still currently gravitate toward the 50mm prime in many circumstances. The crummy old 50mm f/1.8 lens I got from my dad during college helped shaped the way I see photos in a way that sticks with me to this day.
“But, having a nice camera doesn’t make you a photographer!” you’re getting ready to type into the comment box. And that’s true! But it’s also more complicated than that. A good photographer understands their gear and chooses the equipment that most suits their needs and allows them to create their art. Let’s visit the beloved,”No one goes up to an artist and tells them that their paint brush painted a great picture.” That’s true, too! But it’s also true that few great painters go sauntering into the dollar store and pick up a pile of crummy plastic brushes to create their next masterpiece, unless they’re doing so for a specific reason. The same goes for a chef and their cooking gear. Or, really any profession that requires equipment.
The simple fact of the matter is that most modern cameras are just really, really good. And if there’s any truth to the “gear doesn’t matter statement,” it lies there in. You can pick up almost any modern camera of a certain level and shoot pretty much anything with it. Technology almost seems like magic compared to what we had even 10 years ago. And a great photographer will be able to stretch any camera to its maximum capacity in order to try and get the shot they want. But, in the end, the gear is still a critical part of the equation. It can be limiting, or it can be enabling.
Ultimately, choosing the camera, lens, lights, and other gear is a crucial part of the creative process, just like choosing a subject, finding good light, and composing the frame. So, while we shouldn’t fixate on gear, we should definitely respect it. Otherwise, maybe take up painting. I hear the dollar store has plenty of brushes in stock.
All information courtesy of Popular Photography.
I am checking regularly with all the photo magazines to keep you up to date with all the latest in technology: new photo items, new technology, etc. So, this blog post is the only place you need to go. I will find it for you.