Incense

by Bart Arondson

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I am comparing the Sony A7 to the new Sony a6000.

If you look at these two Flickr sets of images, you can see that, in general, the A7 have consistently more "pop" to them. Certainly, there are quite a few pieces of gold with great "pop" in the a6000 set as well.

The camera's are relatively comparable in terms of MP. The a7 kit does come with a Zeiss lens, vs a Sony kit lens on the A6000. The a7 is full frame, and the A6000 is APS-C.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/sony-a7/

https://www.flickr.com/groups/a6000

Is it just because the Sony-A7 is a better camera (bigger sensor, etc), or is it more likely that those who spend $2,000 for a camera are more technical and know how to take better shots and do better processing before posting them to flickr.

If I return my A6000, and buy an A7 will I start getting shots that are comparable to what I see in the Sony A7 pool on Flickr vs the a6000 pool?

There are many photos in the A6000 pool that look amazing and comparable to what's in the A7 pool - I can't get that close with any of my photos on the a6000.

There were some websites that showed photo comparisons on the same subjects between the A7 and A6000 and the differences were slight and certainly not as broad as shown in the two Flickr sets.

Thoughts?

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Sorry but I believe this cannot be answered. You may have too many things at play: better lenses, better processing, more time spent on images, more acquired photography skills, etc. You'd think these could be orthogonal but in practice they are not. If one spends more on a camera, they hopefully spend more on lenses and care more about photography, so they'll probably work harder at it. –  Itai Apr 20 at 20:47

3 Answers 3

I think it's more the latter of your two reasons: the experience, talent, and care of the group who are willing to spend more on higher-end gear, vs. the format size alone, that creates the impression that better cameras make better pictures all by themselves.

Someone who's willing to spend $2000 on a camera body and another $3000 on glass in a brand new untried system is probably someone who's also willing to spend $1000 on an airline ticket, hike three miles in the dark to get to a vantage point by dawn to take the amazing landscape shot that's going to require a tripod, filters, and three hours of post-processing and specialized HDR software to produce.

As you noted, great images can come from any camera. The difference between a snapshot and a photograph, IMO, is the amount of time, energy, effort, and skill that a photographer is willing to bring to bear to get the shot. Whenever I observe a good professional photographer in action, I'm usually astounded at the sheer blooded-minded determination they can display to get the shot, whether that means post-processing allnighters, pre-planning for months, lugging gear, or trying and trying and trying and never being satisfied to just get a shot--but utter dedication to getting the shot.

If you switched to a full frame, would you immediately get great images? Well, when you switched from a P&S to a dSLR, did you immediately get fantastic images? Or did it take a lot of practice and learning? It's like that. Better cameras can remove limits, but moving past those limits still depends on you. It's one of the reasons the more experienced voices will always say use what you've got until you know your technique is the best it can be and you've hit a hardware limit.

We all gear chase. Photography, unlike most of the other arts, is technology-dependent. We moved from glass plates to celluloid to digital. We've gone from viewcameras to TLRs and rangefinders and SLRs to dSLRS and mirrorless. And the best photographer in the world can't take a picture without a camera, lens, and a light-sensitive medium. So, yes, the gear really really matters. But the photographer is still always going to matter more.

One sidenote. Test your ability to discern the effect of format size on an image by going to guesstheformat.com. The results might surprise you.

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You are looking at it wrong. I've never had an accident or ever even seen an accident occur while I've been driving, but Nascar drivers are either in or witness accidents all the time. Does that mean that Nascar drivers are worse drivers? No, it means they are in situations where accidents happen more frequently.

The same thing applies to your Flickr comparison. A cheaper, lower end model camera is going to be available to a wider audience and thus the photos taken with it are going to represent a far wider range of skill levels. Someone who is spending the money to invest in higher end equipment is generally going to have a better idea what they are doing, and the cost will keep away those with less of an idea.

For the cheaper camera, this isn't the case, so you get a mix of skilled and unskilled photographers. You shouldn't be comparing the average case, but rather the best case. The best photos available for the a6000 will show you what the camera is capable of and there are some great photos taken with the camera.

All that looking at the average photo tells you is how much skill those who buy the camera have, the top quality work is what shows you what is possible. The only way to tell if the camera itself makes a difference is to look at photos by the same person from around the same time period and preferably in the same situation to see if there is any difference.

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Thanks. This was a good explanation. –  user1060500 Apr 21 at 19:51

There are many photos in the A6000 pool that look amazing [...] I can't get that close with any of my photos on the a6000.

I think this is probably the most important point here - the photographer is much more important than the gear in making a photo. The best thing you can do at this point is to go away and practice, practice, practice (and possibly do some reading as well) - when you've done that for a while, you'll both be producing better photos and also have a much better idea of the advantages of a more expensive camera (whether that be full-frame or not) over your current camera.

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