As photographers, we often find ourselves pining after the latest and greatest pieces of gear. The digital photography revolution, with its constantly evolving technology has only fed into these desires. Gear that only a few years prior may have been the latest and greatest, may now be considered dated and old. Many people now embrace digital photography whom in the past film photography had little or no appeal. The popularity of digital photography today has surpassed the popularity of photography at any time during the film era.
When I first started seriously pursuing photography back in 1994, digital photography had not entered the mindset of photographers. Film was still king and Kodachrome was still a very popular film. Fuji Velvia had surpassed Kodachrome as the go to film for most photographers, but you could readily purchase Kodachrome 35mm slide film in 25 ISO, 64 ISO and 200 ISO. Times were much different then and the limitation of your gear mostly revolved around your skills, technique and the film you chose to shoot with. At the time, a 35mm camera was basically a light tight box, used to expose film. Sure there were high end professional film bodies available then such as the Nikon F4 or the Canon Eos 1n, but a photographer with a Nikon FM2 could produce just as technically proficient of an image on Kodachrome or Velvia as could the photographer with the Canon Eos 1n.
No longer can a digital camera be viewed as a simply a light tight box in which we expose a piece of film to light. Digital cameras come in all flavors and sizes these day and the sensor and resolution of the actual digital camera can play a large role in how and image is viewed or printed. That being said the photographers vision and passion for their subject is still the most important aspect to photography. It’s easy to believe that buying a new piece of gear will make you a better photographer. While I find that new gear may add some additional motivation to head out into the field for a test run, that feeling will quickly disperse leaving me only with my vision and passion for photography to get me back out in the field. Since it dawned on my back in 1994, that photography was something I would pursue for life, I have owned many different types of gear. I have shot with Minolta equipment, Nikon equipment and for the last 17 years have shot most with a 4×5 large format system and Canon equipment. While having some of this gear and equipment has helped me to capture some of my imagery, it was the realization that formulating a vision is much more powerful than any new piece of gear