It's not a case of me trying to protect 'my secrets' -- I regularly mentor local photographers and show them exactly how I use my gear -- I'm just annoyed by people who seem to think they can duplicate my work if they duplicate my equipment.
I only once recall an occasion when someone made a comment to the effect that I must be able to take a good photo because I had a good camera, and I have to confess I was a bit insulted and immediately considered launching into a long explanation as to why this might not be true, but decided against it because I knew the person who made the comment was completely non-technically minded.
I am therefore surprised that so-called 'gear-heads' or 'hardware fetishists', terms which are even more insulting than any implication that it's the camera that makes the photographer, should not be aware that a camera is fundamentally a tool.
Anyone who is interested in the craft or art of photography, whichever way you want to look at it, is likely to have an interest in the equipment used, f stop, shutter speed and ISO etc, and that seems to me a perfectly healthy curiosity.
If I meet someone who is not the slightest bit interested in such matters, then I would assume he/she is not interested in the 'craft' of photography, although they might well be interested in 'art' in general.
We should also not lose sight of the fact that good tools, sophisticated tools, state-of-the-art tools, are almost always preferrable to poor quality, obsolete and primitive tools, both for the learner and the experienced user. Few people would be under the delusion that practising the piano on a Bosendorfer grand (that costs a lot more than a P45) will transform them into concert pianists overnight, but I certainly know which piano I would prefer to practise on, having memories of a harsh-toned, cheap upright when I was a kid.
Finally, modern cameras like the Canon 5D really do enable the photographer to take shots that he/she would never have attempted before, such as hand-held street shots at night, at ISO 1600 or 3200 without flash.