Does Size Matter– In Pro Photography?


I have owned a Lumia 920 for over a year and been using the Lumia 1020 for a couple of months.  They both take excellent still photographs and amazing video and in many scenarios, I can see using these devices on professional jobs.

Whereas the image quality is up to par, I think that paying clients have a “gear bias”.  Meaning, that they expect big gear and lots of it to justify that they are paying for the shoot.  Is the bias real or am I just imaging it?

Let’s delve in and let it be known that I have big equipment and I know how to use big equipment. In no way do I have lens envy.  Now that’s out of the way, let’s get going.

I remember “gear bias” while doing video, years ago.  I had one of the first 3 CCD prosumer video cameras – the Canon GL-1.  It did very well for the time with image quality and I was proud of what it could produce.  The problem was when I tried to get professional actors to be a part of my projects.  They would look at the GL-1 and it was noticeably small than other “pro” video cameras, thus they would be a leery about the quality of the production.  In the end, they were happy with the product and today, they’ll gladly stand in front of a Canon 5D or 60D DLSR’s that are smaller than the GL-1.  Expectations eventually catch up to technology.

Ian Delaney over at the Official Nokia Conversations blog showed me an old commercial from Olympus, introducing a compact, automatic camera.  That old ad shows a stuck-in-his-ways photographer stating the same objections I hear repeated today.  Instead of typing them out, I’ll just play the video now.

“Professionals would never use it”.  “The difference is the lens”.  I hear all of these things when I dare to bring up the possibility of using the Lumia in a professional capacity.

Why take it from me?  Check the following (and impressive) uses from around the web:

I could bore you all day with links, but the point should be clear.  Like any new technology that seemingly puts excellent results in the hands of the masses, the best results still happen in the hands of talented professionals.  Unfortunately, gear bias is still a real thing.  What I do is try to take a percentage of shots with the Lumia, but I still whip out the “big gear” Canon for a majority of the shoot.  It’s a very real and understandable objection to say “My uncle Pete has an iPhone if I wanted camera phone pictures”.  Obviously, the Lumia is a far superior camera to the iPhone, but the point remains: they don’t want someone using their phone to take pictures that they are paying for.  What they fail to realize is that Uncle Pete also has a DSLR too, but those pictures aren’t the same as those taken by a pro.

Eventually, gear bias will fade and this new wave of technology will be respected based on the quality of the images.  For now, I’ll just keep shooting with Lumia and let the pictures speak for themselves.

About jeffdalydose

...a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of awesome!

Posted on December 16, 2013, in Photography, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. When David Bailey was interviewed for the Harlem photoshoot recently, he said “I always have an ‘image-making device’ on me wherever I am”. I liked that choice of words.

    I am sure I am not 100% on-message here, but really, the photographer counts for so much more than whatever equipment s/he is carrying, after a certain threshold, that’s certainly already achieved with the Lumia 1020.

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