Do I need a professional camera

Have you ever heard someone say “my pictures would be so much better if I had a camera like you or that photographer”? Perhaps you’re even guilty of saying these words yourself. This is a phrase that I see and hear quite often but is there any truth to it? Or is it just wishful thinking and ignorance? What do you think? 

Will a better camera really make you a better photographer? Will your images instantly become amazing? I’m sorry to say that they won’t. In fact, camera gear doesn’t really matter in my humble opinion.

Do I need a professional camera - Bromo - by Daan Wagner
Captured with an entry level Fujifilm X M1


Lets start

With this blog post, I hope that help you to understand that the price of your gear doesn’t define you as a photographer; you’re perfectly able to capture top-notch, professional-looking images even with a point-and-shoot or entry level DSLR or mirrorless camera. The camera doesn’t define the photographer. .

Let me take you back a few years ago to Tanah Lot Bali Indonesia. Tanah Lot Temple is built on the rock in the sea. As the sun starts rising above the horizon and the magic happens. Standing on quit private part of the beach seeing on a distance hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists and photographers.

Right next to me is a man with a Nikon D810, a $3000 lens and a top-of-the-line tripod. After a few minutes, he looks over at my display from my Sony a7r II and asks about the settings I’m using. I tell him what aperture, ISO and shutter speed I’m using and he applies the same settings to his camera.

Tanah Lot Bali Indonesia by Daan Wagner
Tanah Lot Bali Indonesia – Sony a7r II – 16-35

Do I need a professional camera - by Daan Wagner

Now, I’m using a 6-Stop ND Filter in order to achieve a long exposure but he is not. So what happens when he uses a 30-second long exposure? The image becomes completely white. I’m not saying that he’s a bad photographer but it made me wonder why he owns such expensive camera gear when he doesn’t know how to use it. My point is, just having an expensive professional camera doesn’t mean that you’re a better photographer than someone with an entry-level camera. The camera doesn’t define you as a photographer. Skilled photographers are able to capture a good image with entry level equipment. Because they understand the fundamentals of photography. Fortunate I had an extra filter set and adapter ring. So I helped the man out to capture his dream shot.

Tanah Lot Bali Indonesia by Daan Wagner
Tanah Lot Bali Indonesia – Sony a7r II – 16-35

Learn the Basics

The biggest favor you can give yourself as a beginning photographer is to learn the basics first. Study how the Appenture, Shutter Speed and ISO work together. Read about compositions and techniques that will help you create more appealing photographs. Most importent; experiment and practices as much as you can with it. Make mistakes over and over again.

As you start understanding these fundamentals of photography, you’ll realize that owning a professional camera wouldn’t have helped you in the beginning and it wouldn’t have made your images better right away. Even experienced photographers don’t know everything. They learn every day new things.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam by Daan Wagner
Fujifilm X T1 – 10-24


If the gear really isn’t that important, then why do most professional photographers use expensive and high-quality gear? Isn’t this a little contradictory? Still, the expensive equipment won’t make you capture better images. What it will do, however, is create higher-quality image files of the photographs you capture. Due to better Dynamic Range, more megapixels and larger sensors, top-end cameras help you produce bigger, better files that you’re able to adjust more in post-processing without reducing image quality.

When you’ve learned the fundamentals of photography your ambitions increase, you’ll feel the need to upgrade to a professional camera – not because your pictures get better but because you want to increase the quality of the files.

Most importent when you do not know fundamentals of photography. Then expensive equipment and post processing are not going to improve your images. Let’s start with the basics. 😉


Do I need a professional camera








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