Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? you're not a real photographer because your camera is too small/ not full frame


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    Do any of you guys have horror stories where clients or others keep thinking the bigger the camera the more of a pro you are?  I’m only a hobbist, but I actually took the time to advance every which way possible, like spending all night beyond midnight on shoots and editing along side with pros or amazing photographers, and joining photo clubs to get my images critiqued by known pros in the industry…and yes they were harsh at times, but if they werent I wouldn’t have gotten better.

    Anyways, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this crap.  I just want to punch people in the face and say it’s not the camera it’s the technical knowledge, creativity, and vision of the person and not the camera.

    Here’s my thinking, invest in YOUR camera and when I say this I mean… MASTER YOUR CAMERA, don’t jump on the band wagon every time something new comes out.  Stop thinking Photoshop will do everything. Challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.  Meaning shoot something you might not be interested in, but the things you learn from it may be something amazing when you apply it to what you’re interested in.  Lastly, have others who are not wannabes critique your work, they might see something you never thought about and more.

    Ok I did all this and much more and I still get idiots telling my photos won’t be as good as theirs because my camera is not as big.  AAARRRGGHHH

    Oh ya my camera is an X-Pro1.  It’s not a bam bam bam shoot a million shots and hopefully one will be good.  It’s a take a step back compose, get your settings, and hit that moment when it’s right.   this process did nothing but make me slow down and use my brain and creativity and I’ve never learned so much from a camera.  For the stuff I shoot, non sports / action this is perfect.

    Any of you have horror stories?


    I’ve never had anyone ask or inquire if my camera was full frame or not, but I do see that type of idiocy in photography groups and forums. It used to be that to have a sensitive enough sensor for low light, going full frame was best and kind of a necessity for pros that shot weddings and events, but now some cropped bodies are kicking some serious butt as far as high iso performance goes. Nah, sensor size just isn’t a make or break thing at all.

    I personally prefer a cropped sensor, as I like to move in close and don’t like to crop out of camera at all, but not everyone shoots the same as I do, and maybe they would prefer a full frame because it would compliment they way they shoot better than a cropped body would. A beginner wouldn’t know why they wanted that full frame, they just think it’s the best, and so they have to have it.

    BTW I shoot an X series too. I simply love it! I had no problem trading in my “bigger” camera for the fuji. It just feels right. Like you said it’s not as easy to work with (as in.. you don’t just fire the thing off) but it’s really rewarding, and I feel I put even more thought into my photos and even my snap shots than I ever did before. I’m hooked
    To top it off, no one notices me out there anymore, and if they do they aren’t all impressed and interested like they were with my big ol dslr. I had one person actually come up to me and say “you should think about getting a real camera. A dslr is what you want. Then you can learn how to shoot better, and play with different settings”. I just nodded and thanked them. Then I had a couple people on separate occasions ask why I still shot film ;). People’s reactions and non reactions to the fuji, are definitely a plus for me.

    Have you seen this video yet? If not I think I’d be right up your alley. Plus you could post a link to it every time an online discussion/argument over the subject got started. That’s what I plan on doing, and just did

    and you might get a kick out of this blog too



    Been there.  Done that.

    My wife is using a Canon G16.  She used to use a G11.  Before that it was a Nikon CoolPix.

    I used to shoot 35 mm film, after shooting 110 and medium format.  When digital came along I had a couple of CoolPix cameras, then I moved to a Canon 30D, then a 1Ds, then a 550D and my latest body, a 5D.

    My wife can shoot all day and no one says “Boo!”  I get out a camera and everybody looks.

    So why is my wife shooting with the G16 instead of the G11, or the CoolPIX?  Well, …  The CoolPIX she used only made JPEG files.  The G11 can make raw files.  She mostly shoots events.  Something small that fits in a purse or pocket and is not too obtrusive is her desire.  When I got her the G11 I put a memory card in everything the store had, in the desired form factor, and took test shots.  I took the card home and processed the pictures.  The G11 was much better than everything else that day.  Something that can deliver a good photo, or that with some post processing can deliver, is a good thing.  She shoots in offices, a lot.  Frequently without flash.  The G16 is better than the G11 at higher ISO, giving less noise.  So that’s where she is today.

    The 30D was a big step up in noise reduction from CoolPIX 5700’s and 8800’s.  The 1Ds was another (expensive) step up.  Both those bodies take great looking photos, still.  But not at high ISO.  The 550D can shoot rings around both, at ISO values they can’t even be set to.  The 5D can be set to ridiculous ISO values and delivers the same performance as the 550D at a setting or two higher.  I know, some of the new Nikons and such can be set to even higher ISO values now.  Trying to catch technology is a pain!

    How good is good enough?  That’s the question.  That and, what lenses do you own?

    I like the look of the Fujifilm photos on the tumbler blog.  I like the camera’s size.  But I don’t own any lenses for it.  I’m not sure how it would work with 400 or 800 mm focal lengths.  Or 10 mm, for that matter.  I purchased the 550D because it was smaller, and plastic, so it was much lighter.  I got it a couple of cool lenses, and took it to many places in the Northern Hemisphere.  It has served very well through 40,000 odd photos.  I didn’t shoot anything but I took it with me today, just in case.

    The Leica M is a wonderful camera, but pick one up, it is heavy!

    If you are shooting hand held, being able to hold the camera still is a big deal.  For some reason, I can consistently hold a Canon SLR/dSLR more still than a Nikon.  So, I have Canon gear now.  I also have a cell phone.  I can’t see to focus in bright sun.  I can’t hold it still when shooting.  The cell phone camera is where some of the market is going.  I will be happy if it takes a long time to get there.  Nokia is making a 43 mpx cell phone camera!  Perhaps one day, professionals will be using cell phone cameras.  Hummm…..


    great points guys and thanks for that link…really awesome photos…to show the doubters what talented people shooters can do with fuji.  <–thank you for this link.

    and yes its a really great video by zack arias to say… hey it’s not so much the camera, its the person behind it.

    and i have the same issue, people think my X-pro1 is film all the time.  on the good side, you are so innocent with that camera in street photography.  i also get all the same comments you do.  you should get a dslr, you should get a real camera… blah blah blah.  i just tell them thanks as well and shrug it off.



    Having a big camera at the zoo does have its advantages though, people move out of the way to let the photographer through if you come with a big white lens and a 1D 🙂

    Crop has certainly been catching up with their full frame brethren and they are closer in functionality now than they were a couple of years ago when the 5D II was the camera everyone had. That said a full frame is still built more for the working photographer, for example what compelling wide angle lens options do you have that are large apertured? There is no equivalent lens to the 16-35 f2.8 lenses for example. You can use a 70-200 2.8 on a crop but it leaves you with a slightly awkward focal range.

    The fuji is great but it can’t quite create the same magic as a 85 1.2 can do on a canon camera. Ergonomics also suffer on the smaller boxy cameras compared to a bigger camera when you stick bigger lenses on it. That said the smaller cameras certainly have a place and I’d love to have a fuji with a 23 1.4 lens but it comes out really expensive, more so than I think it should be.


    nesgram:  1st I’m into zoo photography as well and you’re absolutely right.  usually people make duck and cover when they see the canon 100-400m as you pull out to zoom.  they usually say, “that thing is huge” my friends and i usually follow up with “that’s what she said”

    side note:  couple of great photo clubs in san diego that do nothing but zoo photography.  amazing work and great people who will be happy to critique your work and share their time and lenses with you.

    the right tool for the right job, but that’s not the issue.
    issue:  people and other moron photographers (not a beginner starting out and not grandma who just wants photos of grand kids) who thinks you suck because you’re camera is not as big or latest and greatest and that buying an expensive DSLR means automatically amazing photos.

    you work hard, fine tune your craft, put in your dues and suffer to get to the point of being a good photographer.  still the mentality is the same…if its not a giant DSLR or full frame then you suck.

    the argument is its not so much the camera, but the person behind the camera.  yes wildlife, zoo, aviation, birds, those should be done with a different camera because gorillas will tear you up…however, handing someone a camera doesn’t mean anything unless he/she or shim knows how to use it.  I’m not suggesting running up to a grizzly bear to take a shot with a 35mm to prove a point.  I’m just asking others what their horror stories are so we can see a pattern and relate to each other about myths of bigger camera = better photos.


    I always think of this quote:
    “A photographer went to a socialite party in New York.  As he entered the front door, the host said ‘I love your pictures – they’re wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.’ He said nothing until dinner was finished, then:
    That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific Stove.’” 

    – Sam Haskins


    Amen to that, emf.

    My sister-in-law is creative director for a top corporate CI firm here in NYC. 30 years back, when she attended F.I.T., her photography course professor required each student turn in a photo as their end-of-year project. Most students shot hundreds of photos, some only 50, and all spent many hours / days poring over them – thinking, comparing, asking others, even going to the MoMA to seek out curators’ opinions.

    Fran? Spent all year casually looking for what she thought was the best shot. Only produced 1 photo. Best in the class. A B&W of a guy in a wrinkled suit sitting on a park bench, hands folded in front of him, looking down, clearly contemplating something life-changing. Blows me away even today when I look at it. And I’ve been looking at it for 25 years.

    Her camera was a Kodak instamatic. These days it’s her cell phone, and she still produces these mind-blowing images of things that seem to allude me and my 1Dx and L-glass. Oh I can come VERY CLOSE to her images after 7 years and 75,000 photos of practice, but there’s always a difference that makes hers just THAT much better – usually it’s composition.


    People like that drive you crazy don’t they! My friend is the same, he’s not into gear at all, and doesn’t really pay any attention to the whole exposure triangle, I’m not sure he even knows about it. He never ever changes his lens, no matter what the subject – someone told him it was bad for his camera to change the lens, I guess it can let some dust in but isn’t that one of the main points of an slr? I think he shoots in auto actually….but he has an amazing eye and I love his photos; his compositions are perfect and he captures great moments. I think it’s just intuitive with some people.


    Ugh! That raw talent that some people possess…sigh… So glad they are out there dropping jaws and telling stories, but it’s also a constant reminder that I suck at photography lol
    Don’t we all wish it really WAS the camera/gear? Can’t blame people who want to believe that it is, can we? Not when we have little voices in our own heads saying things like “If I had a blah blah blah, I bet I could get that shot”


    I have a photo friend that has that talent that everyone just loves.  He could slip and fall and land on a pile of dog poop and somehow make a majestic landscape photo out of it.

    All joking aside, he is really a good photographer, I’m just glad that he doesn’t do the same types I do.
    To jermyster – I get looks and comments all the time when I bring out my big lens. Not bragging, but I have a 400mm 2.8 and when I put the 1D on it, it draws people in like flies to, well you know.
    People say the same thing, “Wow, that camera must take awesome pictures!” I just agree and state that I am merely there to transport it and set up the tripod, the camera does all the rest.
    Funny thing is, I can take that same lens and pop my Canon T3i or my 40 year-old Minolta SRT to it and get the same reaction.

    I think going to the zoo’s and aquariums are fun and they really test your focusing and setting adjusting skills.

    Not my best, but not too bad:


    well they were supposed to be:

    Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.17.12 PM


    Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.11.36 PM

    one taken with a full frame and the other with a crop sensor. Can you tell which one?
    I removed the EXIF so you can’t cheat.


    I think the dolphins were the full frame and orca was the crop sensor.


    I’d go with the same as CC. But to be fair in those situations even a phone would get acceptable results never mind a compact or bridge camera. Throw in some poor light and it will be more obvious.


    If you charge for photos you should use proper equipment. That means a full frame body and proper lenses/lighting. If you don’t charge, use a phone for all anyone cares.

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