In my view, the camera or for that matter gear, matters a lot and I mean a lot. But the question when asked after seeing and appreciating your work is analogous to asking the kind and make of brushes and colors a painter has used for making her/his masterpiece. That is, frankly, amusing to me. If that is so, then let us make it an even field. These tools of the trade should take all the credit, be it brushes or colors of painters or the gear of photographers. But, on the contrary and in reality, camera and other gear matters a lot while brushes and colors are seldom broached by the audience. A bad painting is often attributed to person’s limitations while a bad photograph is often attributed to the camera. You will often hear, “I clicked many pictures, but you know, my camera is not good”. While the person saying that may be right, it does not mean that bad pictures are essentially due to the limitation of the camera. It may actually mean s/he doesn’t know which brush to use for what kind of stroke or how to use it adeptly in the first place. Be it brushes/colors or camera/gear, they are just tools of the trade. We are their users. Unless we know how to choose and use our tools, how can we expect the desired results.
To support my theory, I have picked some of the iconic pictures of world-renowned Magnum photographer, Mr. Raghu Rai. Please see them and judge yourself if you need a high-end camera to get them.
Your need for a high-end camera and gear depends on your desired level of control over framing and exposure. For sports photography, speed of the camera is critical. Fashion, wedding, food, advertising and other commercial types of photography certainly demand better tools of the trade and training.