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And the answers are? …


  • Photograph A was taken with the medium-level Nikon D70s
  • Photograph B was taken with the top-of-the-range Nikon D3
  • Photograph C was taken with the point-and-shoot Pentax Optio 330

How did you do? Get them right?

Whether you got them all right, partly right, or all wrong, please  record your results in the poll to the right.

And the purpose of that exercise was?

Here’s a little story to illustrate …

Fashion photographer Sam Haskins – author of Cowboy Kate – was invited to an exclusive dinner at a New York socialite’s home.

On greeting him at the door, his hostess started gushing. “I just love your work Mr. Haskins. It’s beautiful. I’ve never seen such gorgeous photographs,” she said. “You must have a very expensive camera.”

Haskins smiled, thanked his hostess quietly, and joined the rest of the party.

At the end of the evening, as Haskins was leaving, he took his hostess by the hand and thanked her profusely. “Mrs. XXXXX …” he said. “… that was a beautiful meal. I have never tasted such gorgeous food. Simply amazing. You must have a very expensive stove.”

It’s a common assumption. To take good photographs you must have an expensive camera. Or … to put it the other way around … if you have a cheap camera you can’t take good photographs.

And it’s wrong.

You can take great photographs with simple cameras.

So then you’re probably going to ask … “If that’s the case, then why spend loads of money on an expensive camera?”

Simple answer – Quality.

Here I have enlarged the same section of each photograph to 100% …

I think you’ll easily be able to see the difference in quality.

If you are taking photographs for competitions, or to enlarge as posters, or to sell, or for any other serious purpose, then the quality of the more expensive models will tell. More expensive cameras are also more versatile; allowing you to get into more specialised areas such as macro-photography, wildlife, low light photography.

But an expensive camera – by itself – won’t make you a good photographer…

… it will just make you the owner of an expensive camera.



  1. If the point you are trying to make is that you can take poor photographs with expensive cameras, then of course you are correct. However, you can’t attach an ND Grad to a Point-And-Shoot and often not even a polariser. But in any case the technology has moved on. My G10 took amazing photos in bright sunlight at ISO 100, but was useless by 400. Now, seven years later, my new G5X will do a fair job up to 1600 or more. I use them for mountaineering (they are useable with one hand) and family holidays. However, on a photo expedition I still take a DSLR and I swapped the original kit lens for an “L” series, so when I do get it right the result is sharp…

  2. Edgar Cooke says:

    Very useful lesson, here! If you hadn’t stated to begin with that there were 3 different cameras involved, I would not likely have suspected so, but given the challenge, I determined the level of quality by the ability to reproduce the faint clouds in the sky. Nonetheless, at the size of the photos shown on the screen, the difference is very subtle, and all the photos were equally pleasing.

  3. Mary Pecaut says:

    Great story and examples to illustrate your point… And reassuring information as I do not own an expensive camera. I’m enjoying your website very much!

  4. Joe Nobles says:

    I love the fact that you shared this bit of info! I have had all kinds of film cameras, I had a Leica M6 ttl that I loved but rarely used (due to the fact that I could not replace it if were stolen or damaged and if damaged one loses so much value) and I have a really nice Rolleicord III (my favorite user) a Kiev 88 and a great old Kodak Brownie Hawk-eye Flash. I have shot transparencies on all three of these 6 x 6’s and just like in your test it is extremely difficult to tell the difference, actually I love the slides from the Kodak above either of the more sophisticated cameras, of course it is less versatile but under the correct conditions it gives me much more than I would have ever expected.

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