It doesn't matter how great a photographer if you don't have the right tools. Even Annie Liebvitz would get only average shots with a lower grade digital camera because it's very limited in terms of settings that you can control.
In photography, basic equipment like a good ditital SLR and a tripod are not just important, but absolutely vital to obtaining the perfect shot, especially in wildlife and landscape photography. Check out this video for a good list of things the professional photographer needs.
Equipment included in this video is the nikon d3x, nikon 14-24mm, nikon 70-200mm, mamiya rb67, gitzo tripod and agfa camera.