As usual, this was a very nice read. I, like others, appreciate the articulate and honest perspective that Michael takes when he authors his essays about gear and vision.
I read the essay earlier this morning, the discussion topic... "When is Enough Enough" has sat heavy in my head. Like many photographers, I have been everywhere when it comes to gear. I began with 35mm in the 80's, bounced around medium and large format photography in the 90's, and have fallen for the total control that digital has allowed in the current decade. Unlike many of Michael's workshop participants, the purchase of this gear does not come easy. I'm a biologist and teacher who also likes to add the label "photographer."
So, if money is a limiting factor, the question "When is enough, enough?" really matters. There was a time when a photographer could shoot with an old 500C camera and a few quality Zeiss lenses and they could produce the same level of imagery as another using a 503C or 6008i(Rollei) or (you fill in the blank.....). Unfortunately, this is no longer the truth. Today, how much you spend can really affect the final image output... In the past when I decided to buy an F100 instead of an F5, I reasoned that the additional cost would be better applied to the optics... as optics (and film) was the great equalizer. Now I find myself with a real predicament. Good optics (which I have) make great images possible, but the ultimate quality now lies in the computer (read as camera) that resolves that image. Not only is the camera now the deciding factor, but the difference in price between good and great now limits the possibilities. This is what I find very very sad! Here we are in a world of photographic possibilities where a $1300 (12-15mpx crop) camera is almost 3-times less than the next image jump ($3000 full frame), which is 2-times less than a high resolution full-frame, which is 6 times less than a medium format body & back. That $1300 crop body costs 1/25 (or more) as much as the P65+ described by Michael... Great images can be produced with that $1300 camera (note nearly twice the price of an F100 or Eos3), but it can never reach the possibilities that a P65+.
So, here is the question, are only the rich allowed to produce the best quality outputs?... this is sad, as there are some fine (less healed) artists out there that would benefit from the old days where the camera really didn't matter!
Apologies for the ramble... but the disparity between what is, and what is possible continues to trouble me.
cheers and good shooting,