Do expensive cameras take better pictures? Many people believe so and many don’t. In this article, we are going to discuss whether it is just a myth or is there some truth to it.
You have often heard people saying, “I would be a better photographer only if I had a professional camera”. This is true to some extent. Better camera gear does help you improve as a photographer and take beautiful pictures. But – it doesn’t make you a better photographer or enable you to amazing images overnight.
Does Camera Affect Photo Quality?
The photo quality offered by different cameras vastly differs from each other. Of course, a professional camera such as EOS R5 with a 45 megapixels sensor, DIGIC X image processor, 1053-point autofocus, 8-axis image stabilization, and 8K video will offer better photos than Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 with basic features like 20 megapixels sensor, DIGIC 4+ image processor, and 720P video resolution. The former camera also has better low light performance and a reliable and solid body.
Therefore, image and video quality delivered by Canon EOS R5 is much better than ELPh 180 or any other low-tier camera. Even some high-end DSLRs are no match for the latest mirrorless cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Sony, nothing to talk about point-and-shoot cameras.
More expensive cameras can take your images to the next level. But – they are useless if the person holding them has no idea how to use them.
Do You Really Need a Professional Camera?
The following video by Jessica Kobeissi explains whether or not you really need a professional camera.
What Camera Do In Need to Take Professional Pictures?
Professional cameras and lenses don’t even matter, especially for new photographers and hobbyists. The statement can be a bit shocking for some people. After all, all the experienced and professional photographers use expensive photography gear including cameras and lenses. However, none of them started with good equipment.
Most of them didn’t even have enough money to buy a decent point-and-shoot camera. Some started with their smartphones or a simple point-and-shoot. I learned the tricks of the trade using Canon EOS, an extremely cheap and entry-level DSLR. I never stopped using it even after I bought a more expensive and better DSLR.
The purpose of all the tirade is to make you understand that you don’t become a better photographer if you have an expensive camera. You can use a point-and-shoot, a budget DSLR, or even a good smartphone camera to capture extremely beautiful professional images.
What Defines You as a Photographer?
The first answer you should seek while asking yourself, “Do expensive cameras take better pictures” is what defines you as a photographer. The first thing you should learn is how to use a camera followed by understanding the fundamentals of photography. If you manage to grasp both these things, nothing can stop you from taking high-quality professional images even from a smartphone.
Start with Basics
All successful photographers have one thing in common. They spend a lot of time learning the basics of camera and photography in the initial stages of their careers.
Keep in mind that factors like aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are the same, irrespective of the camera you are using. Yes, more expensive cameras have higher ISOs, wider apertures, and faster shutter speeds. However, the basic concept remains the same for all types of cameras. It is the composition that matters and its quality doesn’t depend on the camera.
You must learn how to use these things if you want to hone your skills and become a better photographer. You must understand compositional techniques, exposure triangle, colors, light, and manual focus, etc. Only then you can capture captivating images.
You would quickly realize that you don’t need a professional camera in the beginning when you start understanding these concepts. It cannot instantly make your images better if you have no idea of photography basics.
Why Professional Photographers Use Expensive Gear?
You must be eager to ask a question here. Why do professional photographers use expensive gear when they can take high-quality images with an entry-level camera? How are more expensive cameras better for them but not for you?
Is it not contradicting whatever I have said earlier?
What I have been trying to say is that you don’t need an expensive camera to become a good photographer. Once you learn the basics and start earning some money from your hobby, you must switch to a more expensive or a better camera.
Because you need one to take breathtakingly beautiful professional images and make a name for yourself in this highly competitive field.
It is an open secret that a $6000 camera such as Canon EOS ID-X Mark III will take better pictures than a $600 camera such as Canon EOS Rebel SL3. Similarly, a $1000 lens such as Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L offers far better results than a $100 lens in the likes of Canon EOS 50mm f/1.8 STM lens.
Professional cameras help you take extremely sharp, crisp, and detailed images and videos compared to cheap cameras.
Difference between Expensive and Cheap Cameras
The main reasons for the better performance of professional cameras compared to cheap cameras are as under.
- Better ISO performance
- Higher dynamic range
- Very fast autofocus
- Most professional cameras have built-in image stabilization
- Larger and superior sensors
- Higher resolutions
- Higher video resolutions
- Very fast continuous shooting speed.
Certain factors are also suitable for a certain type of photography.
For example, better ISO performance results in high-quality images in the low light.
Higher dynamic range, high resolution, and ISO performance are prerequisites for beautiful landscape photos.
Fast continuous shooting speed, more autofocus points, and image stabilization are necessary for excellent action, sports, and wildlife photos.
Finally, professional cameras allow you to shoot in larger RAW files instead of compressed JPEG files as in the case of cheaper cameras. Therefore, you can make larger prints without any distortion or noise.
In short, professional cameras offer images of the highest quality in every situation, impossible for a cheap camera to accomplish.
Who is Professional Camera Gear Best for?
So, who should use the professional or expensive cameras? What is the right time for you to switch from your entry-level DLSR to a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera?
There is no definite time to make a move from a beginner to a professional camera. It depends on how quickly you learn the basics or what do you want to attain as a photographer.
A new photographer should focus on understanding the fundamentals using an entry-level camera. You must take time to learn basic settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Experiment with different settings, photography techniques, and light situations. Try to improve your composition and take as many images as you can.
Eventually, a time will come when you would realize that you need better photography gear than you currently have. You may want to print bigger images, participate in various photography competitions, or convert your hobby into a full-time profession.
However, a professional camera is overkill if you only want to share your images online. Most images published online are downsized JPEG files and therefore, results from both professional and entry-level cameras look the same on the internet.
The bottom line is that what type of camera you need depends on your requirements, ambitions, and of course, budget. Not many beginners can afford expensive professional cameras. What I want to make you understand is that you don’t need an expensive camera to learn photography or become a better photographer. But – you should switch to a professional camera once you have enough money and skills to buy and use one respectively.