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Pro photographer uses $20 camera to prove it’s not the gear that makes a photo great

There is no denying that quality camera gear can capture incredible photographs. But it’s the person behind the camera that truly makes or breaks what an image ultimately becomes.

To prove this, DigitalRev has shared the latest video in its clever series titled “Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera.” In this episode, photographer Matt Usher is given an old Nikon CoolPix 995 and asked to capture the best possible images he can.

For context, a Nikon CoolPix 995 is 16 years old, has a three megapixel sensor, and offers a full frame equivalent focal range between 36–152mm. It’s a far cry from even the cheapest of DSLRs available nowadays.

Despite the obvious limitations of the camera, Usher takes it upon himself to capture the best images possible.

As explained throughout the video and seen from the resulting photographs, it’s Usher’s vision that makes the resulting images what they are. By figuring out the images and understanding the weaknesses of the camera, Usher knows what he can expect to get from the camera.

With this knowledge, he plans his post-production workflow before ever pressing the shutter, knowing exactly how he needs to frame and expose the photographs to get the most from the camera. For all but a few of the images, this meant capturing multiple exposures over the entire scene to stitch together as a panorama in Photoshop.

Related: Digital Camera Buying Guide: What to look for and what to avoid

By using multiple exposures and varied subject matter, Usher was able to pull multiple images together that are incredible considering the $20 camera he was working with.

This was just for show, but it’s an important reminder that it takes vision, not just gear, to capture incredible photographs. You must know what it is you want to capture before the shutter is ever pressed. Make the most of the gear you have and push it to its limits.