In the "old" days, just a few years ago, when film was the only photographic medium, a local professional photographer told me the order of importance in producing the best images are the photographer, the film, the lens and the camera. The camera was the last and least important part of photography. And starting with the first, that factor has to be better than the next one in the order. He said, and I've read it elsewhere too, that the best photographer will produce the best with whatever equipment you give them.

I still think this list has value, only the order changes below the photographer with digital camera system, but only by a little. The reason is that with film, all cameras used the same sized film format and only the type of film changed, and why it was important. Each film had different characteristics the photographer had to know. Up until the middle to late 1970's most film exceeded most lenses in quality, but that changed after that until the late 1980's into the 1900's when new higher quality films came on the market.

And part of the emphasis for the advancement in films was the introduction of digital camera. And while they were no match for film, it kept pushing the film companies into producing newer and better films. It's a personal argument if film is dead, it's not really, just not as profitable anymore. The sales are still strong but companies have decided to abandoned their film customers for profits in other areas. But highend digital cameras have surpassed film as are some mid-level ones, especially the fullframe ones.

Anyway, back to the point. The order of importance now is the photographer, and the camera-lens system. It's hard to distinguish between the camera and the lens because they work in concert now. The difference if sensor size and quality makes a difference similar to film, and the difference in lenses, some made specifically for non-fullframe sensor cameras, also make a difference in the results. The key now is to make the lens the least problematic for the camera.

In the end, it's still the photographer who makes the image. The rest is the mechanics of capturing the image they want. If you don't believe that, try a large format camera, especially an old one. It will test an stretch your experience, knowledge and talent to its fullest.

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WSR V2.8, January 2013