Nikon says “A Photographer Is Only as Good as the Equipment He Uses”

You’ve probably heard the expression “It’s the photographer, not the camera”, but apparently Nikon — or at least one of its PR people — hasn’t. A few hours ago the company updated its Facebook page with,

A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?

Needless to say, the post was met with quite a bit of disagreement in the comments.

Here’s a sampling:

Because a chef is only as good as their sptaula? and a musician only as good as their guitar… wow Nikon.. sad you said this

BTW, to the person who posted this… You are an insensitive, unthoughtful, unthinking, stupid intern to posts stupid things without Thinking of what your writing. But hey, congrat’s on the cool Marketing School. Doubt sales will increase because of your stupid post. My 02

I am really disappointed in this post, Nikon. Come on, this pretty much teaches people that they can just buy and expensive camera and lens and suddenly become a photographer – the reason why the market is so incredibly saturated right now. It’s about a person’s artistic eye and ability to work their gear properly.

Nikon why did you post this dumb question? I purchased the best lenses and camera that I could afford. If my pictures are crap then I know its my fault. The masters can take stunning images with a box brownie and the best camera is the one that you have with you at the time. There I feel better now

Please tell me you meant to say that the equipment is only as good as the photographer. Please. You meant that, right?

Cameras take, photographers create

Somebody should get fired for this very unfortunate statement from a reputable brand like Nikon.

I generally use my eye. It’s manufactured by my parents and can be a little iffy with the reds/greens, but it gets composition just right!

If you’re a marketing person at a camera company, this is a good lesson on what not to write on your company’s Facebook page.

(via Pixiq)

Update: Nikon has responded by updating its Facebook page with this message:

We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.

  • Anonymous

    Words cannot express the magnitude of this failure.

  • Sebastián Soto

    Epic comment:

    “Keith Michael Brooks: This post is stupid.” 96 Likes

  • Brett

    I’m not surprised. All companies will eventually have some slipup on a social networking site. They probably hired someone who doesn’t understand photography.

  • Sebastian Oliva

    That’s a really stupid blunder, put it in contrast with the One thousand and One Nights Tales website

  • Matty

    If gear is what makes us better photographers, than we all should get Leica’s! ;)

  • Mason1973

    I suspect it was a very innocent mistake from a PR person and nothing more. Don’t understand why people get so mad about something like this. Like no one who commented has ever messed up posting something before. It happens, get over it.

  • Charles Mason

    it was broadcast to nearly 1 million followers, and pretty much sent the insulting message, “if you can’t afford better gear, then you’re limited as a photographer”

  • Mason1973

    It was a leading statement to talk about lenses and how people use them. I guarantee you a young PR person sent it and had no idea it would be insulting. We can make a polite correction and give him/her a little slack. I’m sure they caught enough hell over this already. Nikon just needs a review process on social marketing posts. They probably don’t any process currently like a lot of companies and they’ll probably think about doing that after something like this.

  • Keir Wyndham-Ayres

    Pretty sure you’re only as strong as your weakest link, it’s just most cameras these days are very very good so it doesn’t usually come into play.

  • Tatyana Skymyrka

    photographer may not only be as good, but quality gear surely does help.  superior glass and sensors that push iso’s to what is pretty much approaching “night vision” cameras are pushing photography beyond boundaries.  If only we all had to work with perfect abundant light and have enough time for MF.

    The person screwed up wording a tad, and internet mob is out.  oi wei. yawn.

  • Ernest Duffoo

    And god knows you can get a good picture with cameras dating back to the invention of the camera.

  • Daniel Fealko

    There is a grain of truth to the statement, though it probably should be worded as “A photographer can be limited by the gear he (or she) uses.”  If that statement weren’t true, then most of us wouldn’t spend the kind of money we do on gear.

    No doubt the poster of the original Nikon statement will get 39 lashes with a canon strap.

  • Roy Warner

    Anyone who says that this is a simple mistake, no harm done, no reason to be upset, doesn’t understand marketing and PR. Sure, it’s probably an honest mistake, but that doesn’t mean that Nikon didn’t give some ignoramus the reins to broadcast an insulting statement to 900,000+ fans. 

  • Mason1973

    Given all the real problems in the world today, I can honesty say no harm done, no big deal. 

  • Anonymous

    So the real fail is letting some junior marketing person handle the social media.  I think it would be telling if they cared so little about their marketing.

  • Keir Wyndham-Ayres

    Which is why I’m sure you’re using a cheap compact camera instead of wasting your money on those big expensive SLRs, right?

  • Wolfheinrich

    Poorly worded as many have mentioned, it’s a blunder alright. 

  • Lee

    I once posted the question “If it’s the photographer and not the camera, then why do we spend so much on photo equipment?”  That got them going.

  • Skinner Photographs

    The 18 year old intern who heads the Nikon Social Media Dept. probably thinks his statement was TRUE. 

  • Sesquipedalatist

    Well, that was sadly worded. I hope it was merely a case of “not thinking before speaking” and not a marketing ploy. Personally I take all my photos with a cheap camera – and love them. (not that I wouldn’t mind upgrading when the funds present themselves! :) It’s about the heart, eye, and patience you have to get the picture in your minds eye translated into the image you snap. It all starts with the idea in your head. With the moment. Not the gear.

  • Thirtynothing

    “BTW, to the person who posted this… You are an insensitive, unthoughtful, unthinking, stupid intern to posts stupid things without Thinking of what your writing. But hey, congrat’s on the cool Marketing School. Doubt sales will increase because of your stupid post. My 02″

    Got English?

  • Avaviel

    This isn’t newsworthy.

  • Williamleong

    With that blunder, traffic to the site increases many fold. I see that as marketing WIN.

  • Man with a camera

    Corporate idiots

  • Anonymous

    No kidding.  I guarantee most (if not all) of the folks here lambasting the PR person say at least 3 stupid things each and every day of their lives.  I know I do.


  • Anonymous

    No kidding—these folks sound quite scholastically advanced for trailer park types.

  • Roy Warner

    I can say all the dumb shit I want, I don’t say it to millions of people as an official representative of a huge company with a devote following.

    All of the other real problems in the world today are totally irrelevant, so why even bring that up? Doesn’t change the fact that this is extremely irresponsible of the rep and that damage has absolutely been done to the company’s image. I prefer Nikkor lenses for video due to sharpness, and I won’t stop using them because of it, but I know plenty of people who will take this seriously.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous idiots.

  • Anonymous

    Are you really this worked up?  It’s funny, only because it’s so stupid.  

    It was a dumb thing to say.  Lots of people reacted.  PR intern is getting a reprimand.  Nobody got an STD.  End of story.  

    All the big-headed PR police need to take up yoga or something. 

  • Roy Warner

    If the “PR police” are prevalent enough to be given a nickname, then would you not agree that damage has been done? 

    The point of a comment section is to say what you think on that subject. Since the post is about something Nikon said, naturally the comment section will have supporters and detractors. Why are you so surprised?

  • James W

    It is just a blunder. Social marketing bites back :-)

    I’d say a good lens is 1 part of making nice pictures. Off course sometimes you don’t even need a lens to make interesting pictures

  • Luke D.

    Oh well. Back in late 90’s, when people were starting to understand computers, I often heard “WHAT A STUPID MASHINE!” shouted to the monitor screen. I replied “Machines can do ONLY as much as person who operates it knows”. Ergo – “The equipment is only as good as you are”.

    Oh – and to Mr Nikon PR: try to ride one circle in F1 car. It’s (probably) the best car in the world – so you driving it will be the best driver? :P

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I’m not surprised.  I’m amazed.  

    “Words cannot express the magnitude of this failure”, “…insulting message…”, “insensitive, unthoughtful, unthinking, stupid intern”, “somebody should get fired”.

    Talk about missing their calling in life.  All these people should have moved straight to Hollywood after High School.  I guarantee their skills at melodrama trump anything they will ever achieve in photography, even with access to the best glass on the planet.

    Seriously, where’s the fire?  

  • Anonymous

    If I had a dollar for every “photographer” who has ever posted a photo as offensively boring or ugly as this intern’s post is dumb, I’d be able to buy the entire internet and erase any existence of the morons who think this represents even the slightest ‘magnitude of failure’.

  • Henning Nilsen

    I don’t get why people get so bent out of shape because of this.
    Disagree? Prove them wrong. Don’t complain over the internet.

  • Travis

    I don’t mean to play stereotypes here but I do get a lot of Nikon users in my camera store with that sort of opinion.  Complete refusal to look at anything but Nikon lenses or accessories is probably the biggest thing.

  • Matt Gibson

    Nikon can easily make sure this kind of faux pas doesn’t happen in the future, though.

    They just need to buy their social media guy a better keyboard.

  • Ray

    If they believed that they wouldn’t have made a poor entry into mirrorless systems. Clever marketing ploy to get everyone talking NIKON and it’s working, bad press can also be good press.

  • Guest

    Good point, and the original statement isn’t really wrong. Sure a good camera alone wont make you a good photographer, but that’s not what the original statement says either. As a photographer you can certainly get to a point where it is the camera and equipment that is holding you back, not your creativity and technical understanding. Just because you can take good picture with an old point-and-shoot, that doesn’t mean a new dslr will let you take better pictures, or that a f0.95 lens will let you take truly magical pictures that you would never be able to capture with your kit lens.

    All these comments taken from Nikon’s fb page are really reacting to a claim that was never made. They never said equipment makes you a good photographer.

  • James Whatley

    If I had a dollar for every social media mistake blamed on an ‘intern’, I’d be able to do the same I’m sure.

  • James Whatley

    Not necessarily young or junior, perhaps merely just misinformed.

  • Guest

    “will let you” should of course have been “will not let you” at the end of the first paragraph above.

  • Jauhari

    Terrible statement even written

  • Jules

    While I do agree that it’s a retarded statement, it however does not constitue a PR mistake imo: most of their money nowadays comes from incompetent wannabe-photographers buying expensive gear that’s way beyond their skill or knowledge.

    So of course they’re gonna tell people that the more money you put into your photography gear, the better your pictures will be. Or else why would any sunday photographer buy all those lenses and shit?

  • Anonymous

    after the FAIL of the V1 / J1.. this? poor Nikon.
    I will follow your advise and buy a Leica.

  • Havard Fandrem

    If that statement is so horrible, then why is PetaPixel so pro-Leica?

  • Scott Winters

    I know its un popular …but I totally under stand the post…Being held back by out dated gear sucks…Blurry lack luster shots suck…Carl Zeiss makes sweet Lens because of the quality of the shots you get through that lens…A killer full frame sensor is killer for a reason. I completely under stand the statement…otherwise why would the Hasselbladline even exists.

  • DarrinSearancke

    Yes. Some photographers have talent, others are under the impression they have it. This covers all professions, creative or not.

  • Adri

    Update…:”NikonWe know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t buy that.  To be that misinformed while working at one of the world’s major camera companies is a rookie mistake, not one a veteran would make.