This gear vs skill challenge puts an amateur with a Fuji GFX 50R against a pro with a Google Pixel 3

Jul 23, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

This gear vs skill challenge puts an amateur with a Fuji GFX 50R against a pro with a Google Pixel 3

Jul 23, 2019

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When you talk about photography gear online, one thing is inevitable. Somebody will pipe up talking about how “the gear doesn’t matter, a good photographer can make a great image with a potato!”. Well, Linus and Brandon over at Linus Tech Tips decided to put this to the test.

Brandon is LTT’s DP. He has a lot of practical experience with a lot of gear in a lot of shooting scenarios. Linus is… Well, he’s Linus. He knows his tech, but isn’t exactly an expert when it comes to shooting photographs. In this video, Linus takes up arms with a Fuji GFX 50R vs Brandon with a Google Pixel 3 smartphone to see if skill or gear (or luck) is most important.

The Fuji GFX 50R is a $4,000 medium format digital camera (plus lenses) whereas The Google Pixel 3 is a smartphone. A pretty decent smartphone, but a smartphone nonetheless. Surely the two can’t compare?

The pair test both of their skills and gear in five different challenges…

  1. Action Photography
  2. Fashion Photography
  3. Food Photography (dog food)
  4. Headshot Photography
  5. Couples Pregnancy Photography

All five of the challenges had set criteria upon which the resulting images would be judged. And while the video does try to make a go of a realistic comparison between skill vs gear, it’s Linus Tech Tips, so they don’t always take themselves too seriously.

The challenges themselves are both hilarious and a little bit cringeworthy. Brandon is an experienced cinematographer and there’s no doubt that, for the most part, his images were pretty good, despite only using a phone. You can see the anguish in his face in parts of the video where the phone simply isn’t capable of giving him what he wants.

On the other hand, watching Linus fumbling through what most of us would consider fairly basic stuff definitely made me chuckle. To be fair, he’s facing double trouble, because he not only knows nothing about photography but also doesn’t really know how to use the actual camera. But it was interesting to see his approach on some of the shots, and he admits that he got pretty lucky on a few of them.

As to whether skill or gear ultimately wins out, you’ll have to watch the video to find out. And while the video is 38 minutes long, it’s worth a watch – even if just for the entertainment value.

But I’m curious about your thoughts. Can gear really trump skill? Did either of them produce images you’d have been happy to have shot yourself?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “This gear vs skill challenge puts an amateur with a Fuji GFX 50R against a pro with a Google Pixel 3”

  1. Gary Sthland Avatar
    Gary Sthland

    Know what your doing and you can take pro pictures with a entry level camera costing $200

  2. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    Why did they not call me up; if I win I keep the camera.