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“What camera do you use?”

What camera do you use?

So, I'll bet you got this question plenty of times. So did I. People are seekers, trying to evolve and grow as artists. During these times when every way you look there is, billboards, commercials and heck even sponsored artist leading your eyes towards a specific product. It’s easy to get lost in the world of digital. Thinking that “this new camera will help take those awesome pictures I’ve seen on Instagram”. The answer here is NO and YES. I’ve been there myself, starting out with photography, eager to learn all that one could. Focusing to much on what I used rather then how I used it. The camera gear is in someway not at all important. If you got a Nikon D800 or a D810, Or if you have 20mp or 24mp, is for 90% of all users not going to do any difference.

So Oh mighty oracale, how do I take better pictures if I don’t have a good camera?

Well in my eyes it’s all about just that, your eyes, the vision. What do you want to create? I have used plenty of cameras and lenses in my days.

  • Nikon D90

  • Nikon D700

  • Plenty of Iphones

  • Fuji GW690 (medium format)

  • Several 35mm cameras

  • Hasselblad 500cm

  • Leica M9

  • Nikon D610

  • Nikon D800

  • And finally, a Sony A 7 II

(This is during a 10year period)

The camera should be used as a tool to create and not a master of which you obey. I’m not in the game of camera stats anymore so I wouldn’t know on beforehand what’s the difference between a Sony A7II or III. What I do know is that I’ve wasted a tone of money in my years on changing cameras in the search of becoming a better photographer. I also do know that of all the cameras I’ve used, my style and the picture in the end, has not change because of the camera, but rather through shooting, traveling and experimenting.

It was when the Swedish/Norwegian (Postnord) postal office lost my D800, which was sent to me by mail from my home in Sweden. I went to a legal battle and lost. I had no money on a new camera and I stopped shooting for a long while. This came as a blessing really! Instead of using the money I earned on my day to day job to buy a new camera, I used my paychecks to explore without even shooting. For the first time in a long while, I felt free, to just stand there looking out on the mountains. Seeing the hours pass and the light changing. This helped me a tone to in my mind create pictures. To do what I really loved, which is exploring. The camera and creating comes second to that. a year past, and I continued the travels, now with and Iphone at hand.

The Iphone taught me the importance of travel light, or rather my preference to do so. So when I finally decided to buy new gear some years later, I knew I didn’t want anything more than a camera, and one lens. This was 3-4 years ago and since then I’ve only used (if I have not borrowed lenses from friends) a Sigma 35mm Art lens and a Sony A7II.

Down below I’ve put up pictures from different cameras. Take a look and compare. Sure there is of course some difference between an Iphone and a fullframe camera. But for me, everything is about the feeling, and the overall look.

Take a look.

 Film shoot. Kodak Portra 400 on a Hasselblad 500cm

Film shoot. Kodak Portra 400 on a Hasselblad 500cm

 Sony A7 II - 35mm Sigma art

Sony A7 II - 35mm Sigma art

Yes, the camera is just a tool for you to create with. When shooting in RAW you have endless possibilities of creating your final vision.So before you ask your favorite photographer, What camera do U use bro? Think about what you want to create?

Instead be investing in new gear every second year, try to explore the camera and lens in your hands. If you don’t have non and want to push your work further? fine I get it! but you probably have a phone, right? Start with that. Today the quality you get from a phone camera is amazing! You can even with some apps shoot RAW images which helps a ton in post-proccesing.

Go and take a look at Kevin Russ work. He’s a big inspiration of mine, and have been so for years. He traveled around the US, creating some of the most beautiful images I’ve seen. This is with an Iphone(!). He used his money on traveling and being at the right places at the right time instead of investing in high end camera gear.

 Sony A7II, 35mm Sigma art

Sony A7II, 35mm Sigma art

 IPhone 6s plus

IPhone 6s plus

By using the setup, ONE camera and ONE prime lens only. I’ve created so much better work now compared to when I had endless options of lenses and different formats. I have explored all the corners of a 35mm lens and instead of just standing still and zoom. I use my feet to move closer and further away from the subject. which helps to learn about light and angels. Of course this was possible in the same way while shooting a 24-70mm, but the lazy guy in me would just stand in the same place and zoom in a little extra. I’ll bet I’m not the only one.

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IPhone

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Sigma 35mm Art, Sony A7II

The Camera and lens is two tools that is, of course, is super important to a photographer. They enable and make the photograph possible. What I want to point out is that the editing and presentation lays ground for a much bigger part in how a persons work look like.

So what I’m really trying to say here is that the question “What camera do you use?” is pretty irrelevant. You are not going take the exakt same picture as the photographer who’s work you’ve seen, by buying the same camera as her/him. Should you get a new camera? That is a question only you can answer, but I think you should be honest to yourself and instead of looking at some other peoples work and copy it. Explore the endless possibilities of editing. Use the camera you have in hands to it’s fullest and use the money on traveling to new places instead.

In the end, it’s gone give you so much more. Cause who’s really gone remember what camera you used “that” time? Are you gone remember a first ever trip to maybe Iceland? I’ll bet that will get stuck in your memory a much longer time, and you probably gone get some really beautiful pictures from there as well, even if it’s with an Phone.

Any thoughts? Questions or anything else? Don’t hesitate to contact me!