I know this is something I talk about a lot—the draw that we all face to buy the biggest and the best cameras, and the biggest and the best lenses. And why? Well, presumably, it’s all about being able to make the biggest and best prints possible, right? Big seems to be the operative word here—we have an obsession with it. It sends us into this line of logic that goes something like, “Well, if I buy X really expensive camera and also Y expensive lens, then I’ll be able to make absolutely enormous prints that will be crystal clear!”
Well, but now wait a minute. This is where we have to stop and think. How often will that actually happen? The majority of us only rarely make truly huge prints. Honestly, unless a photographer is in the business of selling large pieces of art designed to hang on living room walls, there just isn’t much need for the ability to easily create huge images without stitching lots of smaller ones.
And let’s face it. There are only so many living room walls in the world on which to hang our gigantic prints, anyway.
So if we don’t truly need the ability to create these huge images without stitching, then why is it such a draw for us to have cameras and equipment that are capable of doing it?
To my mind, it’s all about the ego. I think it’s not that different from the photographer who goes on expensive vacations or incredibly challenging hikes so that he or she can take photographs, not for the sake of art, but to have the photographic evidence to support their bragging rights.
Maybe, when we’re honest with ourselves, that’s what it really all comes down to. Nothing more than bragging rights.
Another way to look at it is to liken it to driving a Ferrari. No one in the world absolutely must drive a Ferrari. Not when there are so many other cars out there that are far less expensive and do the job just as well—sometimes better since other cars are often more comfortable, reliable, and fuel efficient than a Ferrari.
But, people buy Ferraris all the time. They do it not because they need it, but because they like to impress their friends, or because they like to draw stares while driving down the street. They love getting into the car and being enveloped by the sense of luxury it holds for them.
This is a big, big thing to think about when next you’re looking at making another big photography purchase. It’s a vital question to ask, I think. Do you actually need the big, expensive camera? Is the lens that can shoot the craters on the moon worthwhile? Will you ever actually create more than a small handful of outsized prints? Or are you buying these things because your ego is telling you to?
Now go and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation through your lens.