The Camera Doesn’t Matter

Last month, I made the long-overdue upgrade from my old Nikon D40 (now discontinued) to a Nikon D700. My bank account felt anorexic after the purchase; I, on the other hand, felt invincible. It was a much-needed change and I hope the new gear will accompany me through some exciting developments in the future, but I don’t want to put away my old camera without a proper goodbye.

I bought the D40 more than five years ago. I was in 16; it took me 6 months to save enough money for my first DSLR. Unfortunately, I outgrew this camera within the first 8 months but I didn’t have enough money for a new camera; for the next few years, I invested in lenses and other equipment instead. So whenever I told other photographers the model of my little camera, they were shocked that I was still using the D40, which is not considered professional grade camera. While I sometimes felt the limitations of the D40, most of the time, and especially with the right lens, it served me just fine.

In the last 5 years, the old D40 has travelled with me to 3 continents, 25 countries, and survived all sorts of poor weather conditions. It got me my first paid photography gig, my first shoot with agency-signed models, and produced my first published works. Although it’s a little scratched up and it’s shutter count has long been overshot, I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic about putting it away – some of my favorite photos were taken with the D40.

But, there is a catch here.

I’m not writing this to blog about my old camera or my new camera, because it’s really not about the gear at all. A camera does not a photographer make. Nor does the lens or the lighting. The right equipment can definitely help, but there are some brilliant photographers out there who use what some people would overlook as “professional” equipment. Rosie Hardy uses Gimp instead of Photoshop to process her photos. Anna Theodora shoots with a Canon Rebel. In fact, some of you probably use more expensive equipment than these two talented ladies do, but both of them are able to work with the resources they have to produce stunning images.

Cameras are so accessible now that almost everyone I know who can afford a DSLR is calling themselves photographers. I love that photography has become popular, but when I’m making images, it’s still good to remind myself that it’s not the camera, but the person behind the lens that defines the image. 

Here are some of my favourite memories with the D40…

Wrecked Chasing WindmillsHer name is Ann

AnjaWild as the windSt. Stephen's Basilicawe're too young Mediterranean SeaPicturesque PraugeDublin Street Musicians


9 responses to “The Camera Doesn’t Matter

  1. Love, love, loove the 2nd pic! And great post!! You really reminded me about the meaning of photography again and to not get lost in the wave of all the new technology that continuously tells us to upgrade! I'm still shooting with my canon rebel and often feel weighed down by it, but you're right–if I can take the pictures I strive to take, it shouldn't matter what camera I have!!

  2. What a great point of view! I have followed your blog for a while. You are a very smart and talented young lady!!!

  3. I like this post – not only for the fine D40 series – but also because I am saving money for a good DSLR. Right now I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ8 (!!!!). I do not know if I'm going for Nikon or Canon – or which models – so I will read your experiences with D700 with great interest 🙂

  4. I feel like you're talking about me minus the amazing adventures/travels and glamour shoots haha.
    I also own a D40 (still using it right now after like 5 years), saved up for it, and havent been able to upgrade to a better purchase as of late.

    But yes, onto your post… I couldn't agree more. I personally agree to the fact that it's all about the eye of the artist themselves and not because of their equipment. I mean it does help sometimes, but I think way too many people think that a camera is the main component behind an amazingly captured / composed photograph. I hear “omg those pictures are so nice, I wonder what camera he/she used” followed by a “I wished I had their camera!” way too often, and while it always irks me, I guess there's not much I can do but to keep my mouth shut, and my eyes opened and keep shooting.

    Love your photos by the way!

    Angel W.

  5. I'm also still using a D40 and was considering upgrading.
    Your article and photos really changed my mind.
    Can you tell when what lenses you used for the photos?

  6. I love this post! I shoot with the D60, and I still love it. It is true that I could probably upgrade, but I'm still taking amazing photos with it. The only limitations I have found are with the auto-focus feature being compatible with only some lenses.

    Really awesome post!! 🙂

  7. […] I have been getting a lot of questions about what gear I use. In reality, it’s probably a lot more basic than what some people thought. Great gear is always nice, but I do believe the photographer creates the vision behind an image. […]

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