If someone looks at one of your photographs and sees imperfections, others might suggest that the photograph isn't that good. We normally don't see imperfections in a great photograph. Of course there are exceptions to this... Shooting at ISO 5 million (I know impossible) might produce excessive grain and make the photograph unusable.
The photograph shown here by Aaron Wallace is a great photograph and was taken with an Olympus EPL-1, a pocket-able 4/3rds camera. The lens used was a Zuiko 14-35mm f2.0, a really great lens. I saw an EPL-1 down at Staples yesterday with two kit lens for under $500... ($400 at Amazon). Take away the cost of the kit lens and what would be the price of the EPL-1, say $300? Chris Smith and I looked at one when he and Cami were up doing their course "Bending the Light: 411" in November.
I'm sure that if we looked at the the full resolution version of this photograph we might possible find some imperfections. And if there were imperfections I bet someone would have to point them out because we'd all be going WOW! I don't think we'd notice any imperfections in this shot even if Aaron had used one of the kit lens!
(Please note that this copy of the photograph is poor.. it is only 98k in size.. I snipped it with permission from Aaron's Flickr page).
Which one of us wouldn't want this shot to to be part of our portfolios. I would! In fact give me a couple of thousand like it!!! I'm sure Aaron is making a living at this based on his skills...
Some times we all do to much "pixel peeping" I think. It is fun.... It might be right.... but in the end there are many other factors, most importantly our skills as a photogapher that make for a great photograph. It isn't the equipment, it is the photographer.
To see more of Aaron Wallace's work head to his Flickr page, I personally think he is a very, very good photographer.