Universal Truths and the Consequences
Photography is about images
To make photos you need to have a camera. even when people will wear Google glasses, we will still need some type/form of cameras. Without a camera, you can't make a photo. From the pinhole camera to latest and the greatest Leica M or the Hasselblad H5D, you need some type of camera.
Nobody except professional photographers and a few “crazy photographers” carry their dSLRs with them. A few people have their point and shoot camera with them but almost everybody carries a cell phone with them. Adding some type of camera/video to a cell phone, only add between $5 to $10 to the cost of the cell phone. That's why there is a 50 to 1 ratio between smart phone photos and dSLR photos on Facebook.
Mine is better than yours
My camera brand is always better than yours. For Canon aficionados, Canon is always better than Nikon. For Nikon aficionados, Nikon is always better than Canon. Real street photographers only use Leicas…
That's when people start to use DXOMark ratings to justify the sensor of their cameras, the quality of a lens… instead of showing photos.
It's not that Canon is better than Nikon or the other around, it's that one camera can be better than another one for a specific task and a person is more used to their way of creating photos. The Canon 1Dx and the Nikon D4 are fantastic for sports, harsh condition and rough environments. These cameras are not great for birthday photos and are lousy for street photography. They are too big and too noticeable by the people around, plus you often get bothered, interjected, arrested by “rent-a-cops”… But in arctic winter conditions and now it's a completely different story.
Sharpness is an optical illusion. It has nothing to do with the technical specifications. Sharpness is very subjective. A 100% black photo, like a photo taken with the lens cap on, is 100% unsharp. It's the same with a 100% white photo even with the best camera/glass combination. Sharpness depends on the contrast between the light and the dark. The higher the contrast between the pixels, the higher the impression of sharpness. Everything else being equal, a bright, side lighting will be significantly sharper than front flat lighting. Bright sunset vs fog... The higher the sharpness, the bigger the prints.
Lighting and technique is far more important than the quality of a lens. But then, a great technique with a fantastic camera and an outstanding lens is even better.
The higher the number of pixels, the more details a sensor can capture. The more details the sensor captures, the less contrast exists between the pixels. The less contrast between pixels, the lower the sharpness.
Print always trumps digital
People are so used to digital, that they are impressed when they see a “real” print and I have been told many times “Wow!” Almost all current prints are prints that will last at least 65 years. Many inkjet prints are rated in the 200 years range.
People who are not willing to buy digital photos are willing to pay a big premium for a 16” by 24” mounted print.
You are only as good as the photos you show
Many people show hundreds of photos. Some people even show thousands of photos in the hope that the viewer will pick a good one. How many of these photos are good photos? How many of these photos are excellent photos? How many of these photos are great photos?
People cannot make the difference between OK, good and great photos. They do not know, they cannot express why one photo is better than another. Just show “regular people” the Cartier-Bresson Behind the Gare St. Lazare of the man jumping over the pond and most people will say “and?”
When selling stock, showing all the variations is different story…
You must have a good camera!
Everybody that claims to know photography will tell you that “it's the photographer and not the camera that counts.” In truth, when you look at all the good photographers, they almost all have excellent to fantastic cameras. Great cameras and great lenses make a huge difference.
It's fairly easy to take a decent portrait in a well lit room with a smartphone and the person is sitting at a table or something like that. Now try, with your smartphone or your point and shoot, to take photos of children playing while they are running down the stairs. Wish you good luck.
The equipment helps a lot. Take a look at the Canon 5DMk3. Canon succeeded in making magic between the outstanding autofocus and the fantastic skin tones that it renders. The Canon 5DMk3 is becoming a must for wedding photographers. Can you take the same photo with a 5D or a Nikon, of course you can, but can you get 500 photos that are “that good?” With a Canon 5D, may be 50 or 75, with a 5DMk2 we bump the number to 125-150 photos, and with Nikon D3s we again bump it in the 200+ range, and with the Nikon D4 it's getting much closer.
My favorite answer to “You must have a good camera!” is “Yes! It took me 30 years to teach it everything it knows!”