Kirk serves up a nice rant about how artistic vision and technical perfection are rarely related. First, through the allegory of audiophiles:
So, this morning I had coffee with an “audiophile” and he was telling me about a new turntable and tone arm. He sold off a world renowned “reference” turntable in the every escalating compuslion to squeeze even more “transparency” and accuracy from his collection of long playing records (LP’s). Vinyl, of course.
We spoke for a good while about audio and I still don’t know what genres of music he enjoys or who his favorite artists are. We never got around to talking about music.
And then to photography:
I’m beginning to understand that the pursuit of an idea vs the pursuit of technical prowess is the dividing line between artists and the great unwashed. Not between pro and non-pro. There are a ton of pro’s who are fixated by the process and don’t have much to say. There are many non-pro artists making good and valid art with any old camera they can get their hands on. The quality of the equipment is wildly secondary to the well thought idea behind an image.
I try tell people all the time: pretty much any even remotely modern camera and lens will take sharp, well-exposed images if you know what you’re doing. But it won’t help you take great pictures, and it might not be fun.
Sure, I’d like a 70-200mm f/2.8 pro zoom, and I know they’re all super fast and super sharp and super useful, but hauling around a 4-pound, 9-inch-long beast isn’t worth it for what I do. This is why I prefer experiential reviews of camera gear that focus on the experience and linger less on the technicalities. Believe me, I know them already: most lenses are plenty sharp, more so when stopped down; most lenses vignette a little, less so when stopped down. There, you don’t have to check lens reviews on Photozone or DPReview ever again.