A question as undecided as time itself: what makes a photographer? From personal experience, I've heard this more than once and been asked it more than once. The answer: there is no answer, it all comes from personal opinion. But to even start to answer this question on one of the two arguing sides, some things must be brought to light.
Cameras are ever evolving. Every year, some sort of new model and feature comes out on a new camera, making that one the "latest and greatest." More than ever now, smartphones are easily making their way into the world of photography. Lens are made for smart phones now, one can simply edit and post their photos to social media in an instant. Then there are the more traditional cameras, where most people associate the word photographer: the bag holding the camera, the telescopic lens, bulky flash, tripod, etc.. In the age where everything is becoming smaller and more powerful, the traditional cameras have had a small problem with keeping up: who want's to lug a bag around with all sorts of supplies when you an just pull out a phone and do everything right then and there.
Probably the best story I've heard came from a man who was getting he and his wife's wedding photos done. They hired a professional photographer, and they told the photographer on site what they wanted. Expecting some sort of elaborate set up, the couple were quite surprised (and thought it was a joke) when all the man had brought with him was a tripod and pocket camera. The couple got in position for the photo, and let the photographer do his thing. Granted the couple were very confused, they left with plans of hiring a "real" photographer. The photographer sent the photo to the couple the next day, and were completely blown away by the quality of the photos taken.
What this all boils down to is show versus end product. What makes a photographer: the elaborate fancy set up with multiple flashes and an expensive lens? Or is it simply how the photo's come out in the end? My personal opinion is that it is a mix of both. My family and I go to the races every year with a small set of cameras: pocket sized to a mildly expensive one. The photographer's hired at the track to do the photos have massive telescopic lenses that cost more than ten grand. At the end of the day, I like to compare the photos that are taken by my family versus the ones taken by the photographers. A lot of times, the photos are equally as good as the professional photographer's at the track.
It comes down all to a matter of opinion. Some people simply like the whole flash of being surrounded by all the equipment (no pun intended). Others care for the simplicity of being able to fit a camera in their pocket and just call it a day. Neither is truly right or wrong.