Despite having written several articles about this very subject, I still get emailed this question at least 4 or 5 times every month, believe it or not!
And every month I reply with the same answer! What’s that? Read on…
I must admit that I too used to be enthralled with the cameras used by these top guys, until I tried the same cameras they used…and got results the same as my own vintage cameras!
In other words, no change. After a long, long honeymoon with these new cameras I’d purchased, I finally got the message..and that message has been echoed by that so-called bad-boy of photography, Nobuyoshi Araki. Here’s what he has said, or words along the same lines:
“Photographers have been slaves to cameras for too long. But photography is not about the camera…the camera is a tool. If we want to write a romantic love letter, it doesn’t matter if we use a cheap ballpoint pen, a very expensive fountain pen or a pencil…the end result will be a letter.”
And of Daido Moriyama, Araki says “Daido is the man who has made his camera his slave!”
So, to those guys and gals asking what camera Daido Moriyama uses, it doesn’t matter if he uses a Ricoh GR1, a Leica or a $5 Made in China plastic camera….it’s the end result that matters!
Sure, if you feel good holding a Ricoh or a Leica, then by all means go get one, but don’t for heaven’s sake think it will make you able to get shots the same as Daido. It may well be that by fluke you can indeed land some great shots like his, but that won’t be due to the camera you’re using; it will be due to a split-second decision you made, maybe even without thinking about it, that landed you a great shot!