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"You can't buy game."

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bpdougd, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. I’m posting this in the General Discussion section because I think this is more of a philosophical topic than a technical topic. Mods please move it if I have erred.

    A little earlier this month I placed a For Sale post for a Nikon Z6 kit that I had recently purchased. My motivation, I thought, was sound. But then life (fate?) intervened.

    I stumbled across a For Sale listing here for a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 AF-D lens. Although my synapses are some 70 years old I recalled our late and much-missed Cafe-mate Uncle Frank’s penchant for anthropomorphizing lenses. His chosen moniker for this lens was The Cream Machine.

    That memory (and the knowledge that most of my recent photography has focused on family portraiture) led me to buy that lens. But the thread of serendipity does not end there. I also recalled Uncle Frank’s wise admonition, “You can’t buy game.”

    After an introspective evening ( and imbibing a bit of Scotland’s finest ) I cancelled the sale of the Z6 kit. There was much that I liked about it and I realized that my issues with it were largely my shortcomings not the camera’s. You can’t buy game.

    The Z6 and I will be working on our relationship at a series of retreats with the grand children.
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  2. midocr


    Mar 28, 2008
    OH - IO
    I am going through the same thing. I bought a new D500 when they first came out and struggled to get good images from it. I had been shooting full frame with a D800 for the past several years. My interests were swinging more towards wildlife and I wanted the extra reach. Still, no matter what I tried, I just couldn't get comfortable with the D500. So I sold it here with the idea that I had gotten used to full frame and would buy a D850. After being on several waiting lists for months, a D850 finally came in to a local photography store. I bought it along with a 200-500 f5.6. Again I struggled. I finally came to the realization the these new cameras were capable beyond my own abilities. They accentuated the flaws in my style and what I had been used to doing. So, back to square one and learning how the higher resolution and features could help me create what I wanted. I'm not there yet and may never be. I wish I had not sold the D500 because I know it is a very capable tool and find myself wanting another one. My "game" needs much work, so that's what I will concentrate on for the time being.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  3. I think there are two sides to this discussion that are both true. I have seen people produce fantastic images with supposedly inferior equipment and I have seen poor images taken with top of the line gear, so no, you can’t buy game. BUT...there are things you can only do with the proper gear. I just bought a D500 because I couldn’t get the action photos I wanted with the camera I had. I tried. I just couldn’t. Perhaps other could have and have, but I couldn’t. The D500 helps me get those shots. I clearly still need to improve my technique, but I am confident any shortcomings are mine and not my gear. Except for blazing fast AF and F4 at 500mm. I don’t have that. It never ends.
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  4. If you can't make decent pictures with decent gear, you either need more practice and better technique---- or a new hobby!
    Good gear does compensate for bad technique/skill to some degree, e.g., VR, Eye-AF, and auto modes.
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  5. I went thru a similar progression with pistols, 20 years ago I used to shoot in a local bullseye league here in the winter. I started out with what I had, a Browning 22 and an old 1911. Did Ok, got a lot of encouragement from my fellow shooters. I started changing guns once a year, thinking it would make a difference. The 22s I went thru included Ruger, High Standard, Pardini and Hammerli, with the last two having custom grips. The 45s included a custom Colt, Kimber, Wilson and Les Baer. My scores went up a little, but not much over what I started with. I plateaued in my shooting ability, and realized I wasn’t going to get better. I’d tried “buying game”, it doesn’t work. I was done shooting. I thought about golf, then a neighbor suggested photography. Good year around hobby, and I wouldn’t have to be tested annually for lead contamination.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  6. I'm all for gear that allows minimal investment for maximum ROI. Sometimes going cheap is fine, sometimes you have to spend the big bucks to get the right equipment.

    I just roll my eyes when these dudes spend big bucks on Zeiss Otus lenses and get mediocre shots, versus some dude who uses the 50mm 1.8G, and shoots awesome commercial spreads!

    I notice the more poor and hungry you are, the better you are at maxing out your gear's potential! :D 
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
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  7. I did that with running shoes (many years ago). Turned out I had (and still do) very normal feet. No amount of fancy design, padding, support, lifts, bracing, whatever, etc., would/could help me. Just good old ASICS were my best friend. I still have a pair of some fancy Mizuno's that I occasionally use as a "driving" shoe :rolleyes: 
  8. Mike Irish

    Mike Irish

    Jun 14, 2008
    (Mike) Michael Skerritt.
  9. I'm sure you're aware, but just to confirm in case you aren't: The AF-D lenses won't AF on the Z6 with the FTZ. It'll solely be a MF lens when used on any of the Z bodies.
  10. Yup. Aware of that. Got the 85 to use on the D750.
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  11. I'm a little confused on this one.
    The B&H website says the following regarding the FTZ:

    Full AF/AE supported when using:
    • AF-S type G/D/E lenses
    • AF-P type G/E lenses
    • AF-I type D lenses
    • AF-S / AF-I teleconverters
    Many other sites say MF only for the 85mm f/1.4 D
  12. Finally got a moment to test this. The 85mm f/1.5 D does not AF on the Z6/FTZ. MF is pretty easy, though.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
  13. Thanks for the explanation of Uncle Frank's admonishment that you can't buy game. I had never seen that and am certain that he never told me that in any of our visits or telephone calls. I'm also certain I know why he kept that secret from me: he sold me my first digital camera. :ROFLMAO: 
  14. It was Frank's standard response to the frequent queries of "Is this (insert photographic gee-gaw here) right for me?" or "Should I buy the new f/0.5 10-5000 zoom?" He was always encouraging folks to ask WHY they felt they needed to spend their money. How will this improve your images? Wise advice.
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  15. One of UF's best piece of advice was, "Worry less, shoot more."
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  16. ;) (y)
  17. Thanks Doug.
    Now we know.
  18. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    Hi Mike,
    perhaps you'll be able to help me.
    I can't find any senseful translation for "you can't buy game" in German.
    What does it mean?

    Thank you in advance
  19. As you might guess, the phrase originated in the sports world. So, for instance, buying the breathtakingly expensive Air Jordan shoes will not enable you to play basketball like Michael Jordan. In photographic terms it means that you can't become a better photographer simply buying the latest gear. The gear may have greater capabilities but unless YOU improve the chances of your photographs improving are slim.

    Another way of explaining it is to rephrase: You can't buy photographic skill.
  20. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    Thanks a lot Doug.
    Now I understand the phrase...

    Kind regards
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