Don't know if this is already a known thing/wiki/previously asked here, but basically:

How important is a good camera for actually making strides in photography/doing well? I've done some photography now as an amateur and even have an Instagram which is both like a portfolio and a public display of my means. I do wonder though: Am I really limited by using a low-quality camera much?

It's often said that a good photographer supposedly, "Can make any photo good with any camera."

Is this a truth, or are we really limited by the means of our cameras in taking pro-quality photos or good photography in general? I can't imagine some cheap smartphone camera having anywhere near the same means as a multi-hundred or multi-thousand dollar camera with excellent lens, MPs, and etc.

I mean, if cameras didn't matter, every great photographer would use just any camera and there'd be no market for dedicated cameras, correct? I'm inclined to think that cameras themselves can make a big difference aside from one's photography skills and knowledge in general, given these variations.

The general idea of photography may rest with the fact that a good photographer can make even a poor camera work its best -- but can one really expect to get serious if they're limited to just a, say, cheap smartphone camera as a means of advancing in photography and creating stunning photos?

Or is it simply a fact that like a good photographer can make a poor camera work its best, a poor photographer could also use an extremely good camera to make their inexperience a little hidden? Both these things are necessary, but to what extent I don't know, i.e., camera itself vs. skills overall.

Think also how smartphone manufacturers, for example, and camera manufacturers themselves, are always trying to raise the bar on the "next best" camera. If we were to only assume that photography as a skill alone is way more important than the camera, then why are people striving to make better cameras than better photographers? I know how this might make sense from a marketing standpoint, but when it comes to the camera vs. skill argument, you do wonder -- if so much can be gotten out of so little -- then why are people vouching for better cameras always (even pros themselves across a wide spectrum of areas)? I know skills are crucial, but we need to be realistic of all factors.

And since some people asked, "Define good photography..."

I define "good photography" as both the skill and the final output. Since we can argue that the final output is also limited by the camera too, then we can say that "good photography" is of course kind of vague in this sense. I prefer to simplify it by likening the ideal to something you'd see in a magazine/print ad/etc., which are often done with professional quality, expensive-ish cameras, as opposed to, say, very cheap smartphone cameras. You absolutely can take good photos with bad cameras, but how good as compared to good photos with good cameras? That's more of the main point I was going for.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as "defining good photography," they likely meant more along the lines of: Good as in pixel-perfect, low noise, or some scientific value like even sensor read? Or good as in photos that look nice?, to which your answer seems to be the second. This might also depend on where your photos are going as well, since (say) a poster board in a shopping mall is going to need pretty high resolution, compared to something posted on Instagram. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cullub
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 14:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "why are people striving to make better cameras than better photographers?" because you can sell better cameras to your customer, but you can't sell your customer his own skills. There are movements that consciously reject better gear to focus on skills alone. BTW, what you see in magazines is 99% the scene and 1% the camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – Agent_L
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 9:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm surprised none of the answers have mentioned Lomo photography where the aim is to create interesting photos using low quality cameras - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lomography \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 12:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Possibly not an exact dupe, but extremely related: photo.stackexchange.com/q/71199/11392 \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 12:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ My point of view is that with a better camera, you make the photography faster (faster access to settings, no need to do your photos stacking by hand, focus on moving objects more responsive,...) and in more comfortable way. But if you don't know your hardware, camera quality won't make any difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – Manu H
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 8:15

13 Answers 13


As with many things, the end quality depends on the weakest link. Because most cameras are quite good, even cheap ones (even from mobile phones), the weakest link is mostly the person behind the camera.

When learning some theory and practice, photographers can work around some pitfalls of cameras, but also knowing the shortcomings of a camera. When that knowledge is gained, than it is time to step up.

I have seen photographers making beautiful pictures with a phone, and I have seen people making crappy pictures with some high end consumer camera.

So if you ask specifically about important, you can take the following items into account:

  • If you want to print the picture in a large format, you need more pixels, thus more quality. (See J's comment below, if viewers are at bigger distance, you need less pixels).
  • If you are satisfied with the pictures you make, you do not need a new camera.
  • If you enjoy your hobby more occasionally buying something new, then maybe the quality of the camera is not important, but to make your hobby nicer (so it's important to enjoy your hobby more).
  • If you are a professional, then it depends on the context you need the camera for (e.g. what working conditions, high ISO needs, shutter speeds for lenses, video quality, sensor size to print large pictures etc). But if you are a pro, you probably (hopefully) know when the quality of a camera is the bottleneck.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If you want to print the picture in a large format, you need more pixels, thus more quality., more pixels doesn't help if the sensor is no good, does it? Isn't sensor size more important than resolution? \$\endgroup\$
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 7:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gerrit not sure if I understand your comment. If the sensor is not good, than the given amount of pixels for that sensor is like a fake number. Normally a bigger sensor size means more pixels, and more pixels means a better resolution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 8:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Smartphone cameras tend to have very small sensors, but "many megapixels", meaning that each individual pixel captures very little light, so light sensitivity will be poor unless it's an extremely light-sensitive sensor. The the same light sensitivity and resolution, a larger sensor will improve image quality, in particular in poor light. A larger sensor inevitable means a larger camera body. \$\endgroup\$
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 9:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gerrit Thanks for the clarification. And you are absolutely right. It depends on what you want to photograph... for large format, you need more pixels, which can be done perfectly even on a smartphone camera, as long as there is enough light. If there is not much light, than you need a big sensor, which can make good pictures with less light. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 9:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you want to print the picture in a large format, you need more pixels, thus more quality. The size of the format is irrelevant. You can print a billboard with maybe 1-2MP and it will look fine - because people are viewing it from far away. A movie poster needs much more resolution, for example, even though it's much smaller than a billboard because people walk right up to them and view them at a very close distance. \$\endgroup\$
    – J...
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 15:31

Gear doesn't matter... until it does.

While it is true that better gear won't make you a better photographer, it is equally true that any photographer is limited by the capabilities of the gear being used. It's not just "lesser" types of gear that technically constrain photographers. Even the very best available photographic gear imposes technical limits on what may be done.

There's an old saying that has been around photography for a very long time:

Gear doesn't matter.

It's certainly true, but it is only half the truth. The rest of the truth is this:

Gear doesn't matter - until it does.

When the technical capabilities of your gear are not up to the task for the shots you want to capture, then and only then will the gear matter.

When your gear does matter, you'll know. It will matter because the gear you are using will limit you from doing work that you wish to do and that you have the skill and knowledge to pull off. Until you reach that point, the gear you are currently using is perfectly fine for you.

For more, please see: When should I upgrade my camera body? The answer there is just as equally applicable to lenses or entire systems.

Additional reading:
What features would cause a portrait photographer to choose a DSLR over Mirrorless?
Should I buy a new DSLR or spend the money on a photography course with my point & shoot?
Will I see enough improvement moving from EF-S to "L" lenses to warrant the cost?
How does focal length relate to macro magnification?
How to improve image sharpness on Canon 700D?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The corollary to this is that an overly complex camera in the hands of a novice will take worse pictures than a box-brownie in the right place at the right time. Especially if you are still trying to fit the lense after the shot has gone. \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeB
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 13:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeBrockington It's not the camera that takes the pictures - it's the photographer. The camera just does what it is told to do by the photographer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 17:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC there are a great many cameras these days which will use some automation to set its settings (called AI, not AI). Of course the subject, framing and such is still human driven but increasingly it is the camera hat takes the picture. \$\endgroup\$
    – chx
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 7:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @chx Even allowing the camera to be in "Auto" mode is a decision the photographer makes. The camera does not turn itself on, walk into a room (or a field, or wherever) and decide what it wants a picture to look like. Allowing a camera to make many of the exposure, color, contrast, etc. decisions is still ultimately the decision of the photographer. If one is using a camera that can only shoot with high automation, that is also a decision of the photographer to use such a camera instead of one which gives the photographer more direct control over their results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may or may not realize that the font used here shows the exact same thing for a lowercase "L" (l) and an uppercase "i" (I). \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 8:06

Think about it like automobiles. A racing car or a semi-trailer truck would be awful to use on a grocery shopping trip no matter how 'pro' those automobiles are. But, someone who is in the business of moving goods across the country isn't going to pick the racing car or the family car either.

Most of the professional photographers I've met or read about their processes used cameras that reflected what kind of work they were doing. Someone shooting sports for a living needs to have a camera that can mount big fast telephotos, and that camera needs to be rugged and focus and fire quickly. Someone doing very high end architectural photography might use a technical view camera and not care about how quickly he focuses or any kind of frames per second. A landscape photographer might really need a 40+ MP camera.

Those tools are all expected of them to stay competitive in the market, because their pixels are being compared to other people's pixels. There is sort of a technical arms race going over time - once in some fields you needed a medium format film camera to be taken seriously, but not anymore.

But if you are just shooting for friends/family/yourself, you don't need a camera that's too heavy or too cumbersome to use.

As for me, personally, I had the good fortune to have been able to use some nice photography equipment - as well as some equipment that a lot of professionals would laugh at. And you know, I've shot a lot of very boring but technically good shots with the nice equipment - and some interesting and important to me pictures with the junky equipment.

After all, what is good photography - something that is pixel-perfect technically good (which is 100% actually important to some people), or is it just an image you want to see more than once (which is 100% actually not necessary to some people)?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good answer. I would only add one important aspect -- reliability. Sometimes it is very important to actually catch that photo. Quality may be in that the camera always work more than in how perfect the pictures as such will be. \$\endgroup\$
    – ghellquist
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 11:54

A "Good quality camera" is Very important to good quality photography, however the real question you are looking for is something like "what aspects make for good quality in a camera for a given subject matter?"

Cameras are tools, and you use a tool suited to the task at hand.

A small tack hammer is not much use in driving railroad spikes or breaking up concrete, but a sledge hammer isn't much use for setting finish tacks on a couch. And neither does you much good if you want to put a screw in something...

Choosing a camera often comes down to picking aspects or technologies that will help you achieve your goals. 'Better' [newer/more expensive cameras] are better able to push the extremes of photography. Having sensors and auto focus systems that work in lower and lower levels of light for example.

However, if you're working in excellent light and under very controlled conditions, then the latest and greatest professional camera from the big names isn't really going to produce a noticeably better 8x10 print in the end than an average 10 year old consumer camera.

So what makes some cameras 'better'?

  • Better controls: One of the biggest things to look for when looking for a 'better' camera is one that is easier to point where you want with the settings you need, and have focus on where it is important. Cameras with rear dials so you can control both shutter and aperture without a toggle button, or ones with more focus points may be important considerations if you find those lacking in your current system.

  • Lenses and options: Cameras are light capturing tools, but the lens that gathers the light is often more important than the capture tool itself.

  • Sensors: A very important point, but what is 'good' may not actually be as easy to see as marketing departments pretend. For the majority of photography, anything above 10megapixels are just a bonus. Noise levels and sensor sizes tend to be far more important than pushing the pixel count higher and higher. [Film is also still a very viable option. Especially as you get to the larger sizes. You can buy a lot of film for the price of a medium format digital...]

The TL-DR of it is that a quality camera is one that lets you capture what you need. Whether that is the latest professional digital camera or an old fixed focus box camera and a roll of film is up to the photographer.

Focus on where you find your equipment is 'failing you', and address those shortcomings. Avoid the trap of thinking 'a more expensive camera will be better'.


A 'good' camera is much harder to use than a phone.

The trade-off between being able to snap precisely what you want rather than what the phone will give you is that to get precisely what you want you have to know precisely how to get it.

A good photographer can always get the best out of a phone, because they already know what it will do to their shot. Their framing & composition skills will not be lessened by the phones all-automatic limitations. The downside is they will have a fixed lens, so they have to 'zoom with their feet' ie walk nearer or further to compose the shot.

There will be some shots they already know cannot be done properly on a phone, so they won't even try. Close-up portraits, for instance, on single lens phones... avoid - unless you like that big nose, little ears look.

Technically, tiny lenses on tiny sensors can never have the same absolute quality as a large lens on a large sensor, but if the picture is only ever going to be seen on a phone or small laptop, no-one will ever notice.
If you need an advertising billboard, or large print, then the phone will soon show up its failings.

  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as the advertising billboard, actually Apple is advertising with actual iPhone shots techcrunch.com/2016/07/15/shot-on-iphone. Really nowadays the only places you need a DSLR is for large close-up poster photos, real depth effect, low light, and zooming. (Or if you ever want to crop anything) \$\endgroup\$
    – Cullub
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 13:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ My 'Good' cameras are much easier to use than my phone. Fast and instant response to controls. Never waits for things to boot or start up. No risk of a low battery because they don't use batteries. [Minor risk of running out of film, but nothing's perfect.] They're also a lot easier to hold and point where I want without feeling like I might drop them. 'Good' is highly subjective and subject/goal specific. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 17:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Perspectives vary. "Harder" may relate to "becoming accustomed to complex features" OR being able to take a well composed well focused well exposed photo with utterly minimal warning or camera response time. || I have several phones and many cameras. ALL my cameras are easier to use for taking photos than are my phones. My best cameras are vastly easier to use to take photos with. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cullub Your "Really nowadays ..." does not reflect anything close to reality for me, and for tens (or hundreds?) of millions of other people. An iPhone camera has its place, and the quality can easily be utterly superb. But not in anywhere near as many situations as a deium spec+ DSLR or mirrorless. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Russell That's fair. I wouldn't switch away from my DSLR anytime soon. If you're doing professional photography, showing up with an iPhone is a lazy at best choice. But for the average consumer, in daytime, close, well-lit, and not too fast moving conditions, a new iPhone will take a better automatic photo. That's what I was trying to say. The iPhone won't pass the mirrorless professional camera for quite a long time still, but it has really nice defaults in general, and for your average joe you don't need a DSLR. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cullub
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 12:34

How important is a good quality camera for good photography?

It's often said that a good photographer supposedly, "Can make any photo good with any camera."

Define "good" ;)

If you care about things like resolution, low light ability, dof control, raw image format, etc, then yes, the quality and expense of the camera does matter for your photographs. And this stuff can matter quite a bit for many types of photographs.

However, photography is an art form, and things like sharp details or dof aren't necessarily a requirement for photographs that are aesthetically pleasing; it just depends on what your goal is. For example, one person sells prints every year at our local art fest that were taken using a decades old toy camera. They are amazing because of the style he is able to accomplish, not the detail. Another photographer at the same art fest uses a camera with the IR filter removed; his photos aren't exactly color accurate, but they are really cool nonetheless. Take some time to look up what people do with alternate photography tools and techniques. Here's an example on Youtube involving a toy camera: taking photos with a $20 children's camera

  • \$\begingroup\$ Also: define 'photography'! This is why the question is not answerable. \$\endgroup\$
    – user82065
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tfb By "good photography" I mean a picture that is bound to be well-received by lots of people, or "stunning." I'm thinking stuff like print ads/promotional/luxury product photography which can be taken up close and look super clear and sharp. The question was answered/concluded mostly with the idea that, "Camera matters less than photographer" -- but I don't think I've seen luxury goods photographers using a ZTE Score in their work, which means a camera does have weight in the finalized works, and it isn't just a matter of whether you're good at photography alone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Angel
    Commented Jul 25, 2019 at 20:10
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Angel: that's a perfectly good definition, but it's also extremely restrictive. For instance it would simply rule out, say this, and still more this, which many people would agree are 'good photography'. That's why the question is unanswerable as it was first written, and why I'd prefer you did not equate what you are after with 'good photography': what you are after is one kind of good photography, and there are others. \$\endgroup\$
    – user82065
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 8:44

Great answers here, but I will add my two cents.

Not as important as the person using the camera.

"Good Photographer" Change the word "good" to "knowledgeable".

A Knowledgeable Photographer can not only

make even a poor camera work its best

but will know how light behaves, and how cameras need to be used to capture the light (and that sensors are different to film).

Knowledge that the camera sees (records) light differently to the human eye/brain.

Lens, sensor, meter, shutter, microchip, and the programming of the software of a camera are important factors, but the photographer's brain is the most important factor. IMO.

I will let others speak to the differences of cameras and gear.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I seek the mystery of action sports photography using pinhole cameras... and this they have dreamed of doing. Then nothing they devise will be beyond them. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 14:08

I take roughly the opposite view to Иво Недев.
It depends significantly on what is meant by amateur and pro - both for the user and the camera AND what the situation is. A top photographer with almost any modern DSLR / mirrorless will be able to achieve superb results in most cases and, IMHO, will be able to achieve superior results to an amateur with a 'pro' camera even when neither can produce top quality results.

The areas where an amateur with 'pro' camera is harder to beat by a pro with a amateur camera are very low light, very rapid motion, situations requiring hair fine timing, situations where multiple rapid shots are required to 'manage to get' the crucial shot - ie situations where actual camera performance is close to crucial.
Knowledge of bokeh and depth of field effects, motion freezing or blurring and more will be largely possible for a pro using most DSLR/mirrorless equipment .

The "boundary" depends on how amateur the amateur is.
If they have moderate experience, can Ninja breathe and take 1 second exposure shots when braced against a wall, know enough to pan a speeding car or time a ballerina's leap, or ... they MAY beat the pro. But, maybe not.

Areas where a good camera excels over eg a phone camera or point-and-shoot include.

  • Response time is so close to zero it FEELS like it's negative. This is crucial to getting shots where timing is absolutely crucial. And important the rest of the time as well.

  • Shot to shot time & buffer depth and lack of go-away-I'm-busy modes.

  • Ability to seamlessly drop in and out of semi-manual modes or between modes.

  • Ease of exposure override can be crucial,

  • Fine manual focusing, focus highlighting (if you've never had it you don't know how marvellous it can be (single leaf in midst of tree, grass blade in mid field, 4th face from the left, 2nd row, partially obscured, ...)

  • When you push the button located EXACTLY here it takes a photo - you don't need to tap a screen or ...

  • Quite a lot more.

This could be expanded on if there seems to be interest.


Very very recently a well know tech youtuber did an experiment somewhat answering exactly what you're asking.

Have a look here:


I believe the TLDR is Pro with pro camera > Amateur with pro camera > Pro with amateur camera

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would slightly change this to Pro with Pro camera > Pro with amateur camera > Amateur with pro camera. If you think about sports it's the same concept with a tennis racket for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – lharby
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 11:29

Quality of a camera usually increases the control of the photographer.

That said, I have seen what I call 'better' photographs from a cheap 35mm junk camera than an expensive rig.

Understanding the limits and variations of your current equipment will help reduce the equipment's effect and maximize what your artistic sense is trying to get at. Know why what you are using is doing what it is doing...then use that knowledge.


It depends on what you're trying to do.

When you're just learning the basics, the equipment most likely does not matter, though you do want access to manual exposure and focusing controls. The lens on a smartphone camera generally doesn't allow for aperture control and the small sensor will prevent you from meaningfully experimenting with depth of field. A basic DSLR or mirrorless camera like the Nikon D5600 or Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, with their respective supplied lenses, will get you started and cover the vast majority of basic uses for a new photographer.

It's important that you understand the basics of photographic technique. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • the exposure triangle (shutter speed, aperture, ISO);
  • characteristics of light (color temperature, diffuse vs. hard lighting);
  • exposure, drive and focusing modes;
  • basic composition techniques (e.g. rule of thirds, framing, symmetry); and
  • basic post-processing techniques (brightness adjustments, color corrections, noise reduction, sharpening, cropping).

But once you have the basics down, you'll probably start to pursue more specialized forms of photography, and that's when you're likely to run into the limitations of your equipment. Portrait, street, product, sports, landscape, and wildlife photography each require their own sets of skills and techniques, but also impose added requirements on equipment that a basic consumer kit may not meet. For example, if you're trying to capture fast-moving athletes, you're going to find that your lens isn't going to give you enough reach, has too small an aperture to capture enough light in an indoor arena, or can't focus quickly; and that your camera can't focus quickly enough, reliably track moving targets, or shoot at a high enough speed to capture that key moment. That's when you'll want to upgrade your equipment to meet your requirements.


You can ask similar questions in other arts: Can you create a great sculpture from cheap materials (of course you can!); can you make great movies on a small budget (of course you can!); can you make great music on cheap instruments (of course you can!); etc. One could get the impression that a certain scarcity of means makes artists more creative.

But generally the works will be off mainstream and experimental rather than conventional. The same is true for photography with simple means.

In all fields it is true that cheap work materials limit what you can do but at the same time create an aesthetic which is hard or impossible to achieve with high-quality materials.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "great sculpture from cheap materials" – It'll just fall apart faster than expected and people will waste more time and effort restoring it than it took to make it in the first place. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 13:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @xiota You did follow the link, did you? Hasn't fallen apart in decades. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 18:26

You asked:

How important is a good quality camera for good photography?

Up to a certain point, very important. I have owned numerous small sensor cameras, ranging from compact pocket cameras to mobile phone cameras. All of these, with no exception, are completely useless unless used in outdoor daylight (or unless mounted on a tripod and taking pictures of non-moving things, or unless used with an external optical dumb slave flash triggered by the feeble integrated flash). The usefulness of these cameras has also been limited by sunlight making the LCD in comparison too dim.

So, too bright and you can't see what you're taking picture of on the LCD screen. Too dim and you get a shaken picture with motion blur.

Here I should add that I really like bright lights. I have about 400 watts of state of the art LED lights on the ceiling of my house. They produce a total of over 40 000 lumens! Despite this, compact pocket cameras and mobile phone cameras are useless indoors even in my house. So, in a typical house that probably doesn't have 40 000 lumens of artificial lights, those cameras are even less useful. If you don't understand what lumens mean, consider this: 40 000 lumens are equivalent to 3000 watts of incandescent bulbs, or fifty 60-watt bulbs!

None of these cameras made me interested in photography. I had them, but never really used them with some very rare exceptions.

However, when purchasing my first entry-level crop sensor DSLR, I really got interested in photography. I finally had a camera that is useful also in both bright sunlight (the optical viewfinder isn't dim) and also in limited light. Thus, I would say that an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless such as 2.0x crop micro four thirds mirrorless, 1.6x Canon crop DSLR or mirrorless, or 1.5x Nikon crop DSLR is enough to get started in photography. Anything less, and the equipment just limits you so much in some situations that you are not happy with it.

I would say that you should be asking two other questions too, which you didn't ask:

How important is a good quality flash system for good photography?

The answer is that it helps tremendously in limited light. This can be somewhat compensated by a fast lens and a full frame sensor, but if the subject is close enough, a flash may be a better option. Flash also allows you to manipulate light, which helps in many ways. After all, photography is all about light.

You should also have asked:

How important is a good quality lens for good photography?

And to this, the answer is that lenses that are different from the kit lens that is often shipped with entry-level DSLRs are important, too.

You won't be taking pictures of far-away small subjects without a telephoto lens.

You won't be taking portraits without a fast prime, if you want to blur the background.

In limited light, you may very well want a fast zoom lens, as opposed to the standard kit zoom. (In more limited light, you'll be better off using primes only.)

Now, about the very cheap smartphone cameras. Landscape photos in daylight, shots of groups of people in daylight, etc. are where smartphone cameras excel at. In these situations, you want deep depth of field. The truth is, due to depth of field you need a small aperture with a full frame DSLR used in these situations anyway, so you're not using the full frame DSLR to its full potential. You can't overcome the laws of physics such as diffraction.

However, a good photographer doesn't purchase a camera for daylight use only. A good photographer purchases a camera that can handle all different situations. Most of the time, one is not using the camera to its full potential. So, yes, good photographs in some situations can be taken with cheap cameras. But there will be situations where a good photograph requires a good camera.

It has been said that:

The best camera is the one you have with you.

Sometimes, that's a camera phone. Then, the camera phone is truly the best camera.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "All of these, with no exception, are completely useless" – Then you describe a bunch of exceptions and conclude with "the camera phone is truly the best camera" – ? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 13:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ "However, a good photographer doesn't purchase a camera for daylight use only." So Ansel Adams was not a good photographer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 17:21

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