Lately, I've been of the mindset that most newer digital cameras aren't impressing me as much as camera's I've used in the past, nor are they as much fun to use or that they give me the same sense of satisfaction. Am I alone here? That's a tricky question because if you spent your hard earned money on something new and great, the last thing you want to think about is a nagging voice inside telling you that you like the camera you had before much more.
Well, that voice has been loud in my head lately.
Recently I've acquired a couple digital cameras that I used to use early on in my digital photography "career", the Sony V3 and Sony R1- both of which I bought and sold a couple of times. Why get them again, and why am I posting something about this here on my blog?
First answer is that they are not only sentimental tools of my past, they are exceptionally good tools even today. An even better answer is that I really enjoyed using them, quirks and shortcomings and all. Secondly, I wanted to share my thoughts with readers because I don't think I'm alone here and I do think the digital camera market has kinda suffered a sort of massive orgy of the same ol' in a different suit kind. If you've never heard of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you'll never get that reference, btw. Moving on-
Today's digital camera market reminds me much of the personal computer boom, back when megahertz and ram were the popular talk and bragging rights among PC owners. At some point though, the increases in megahertz and ram memory began to become a near yawning news item. This is because computers basically plateaued in speed and performance. Sure, you could eek out a bit faster system than the next guy, but you had to spend a LOT of money to do so.
This is an interesting comparison I know, and I might have lost you. I tend to use crazy metaphors to explain events in life, and luckily I have a few good friends and a wife that get what I'm after. Hopefully you too will understand where I'm going with all this nonsense.
That said, back to digital cameras. Yes, digital cameras have changed a lot on the last 10 years, a decade of model after model, improvements in megapixels, shooting speed, noise/grain, and fancy schmancy digital filter modes and gimmickry. To be fair, some camera models have taken giant leaps forward, so when I generalize please know that I don't have my head stuck in the sand either.
I guess part of me is a bit tired of all the hype with little real practical payoff in real life circumstances. In essence I'm getting less and less impressed with "new" camera announcements. And I wonder why I was so fixated on all that anyways in the first place. A paradigm shift has occurred in my life and I realized one day that what I was missing is what I already had- cameras I truly enjoyed. Yet like many, I decided that I'd chase the elusive tail of the impossible "perfect camera" instead of shooting and enjoying the cameras I already had.
As such, I guess you could say I got caught in a marketing bear trap, and I recently had to gnaw off my leg in order to escape it. There I go with the metaphors again.
Now to the crux of this memo. I've come to realize looking back on my photography work over the last 6-7 years that many of the images I like the most were shot with cameras long sold for "better" ones. In essence, you could say that I was doing fine, it wasn't broke, so why fix it? Well I already painfully admitted why, no need to rehash it, looking back now I could say I made some stupid decisions.
So here I am, selling a bunch of stuff on Ebay over the next few weeks, keeping a couple of cameras I know myself and my wife will enjoy, and replacing others with cameras I've used that have so many fond memories, both in use and images produced from them that I know I'll enjoy using again and hopefully, produce some good work with.
I've arrived at a bit of a Y in my photographic quest right now in my life, and to my surprise, I'm choosing the trail lead that says "photographs" instead of "gear". Yes the gear is the means to the end, yes I enjoy using it, and yes I look fondly at the cameras I want to keep or replace. But in the end, I really have lost my lust for the new and wonderful tech. What I have, what I've used, is plenty up to the task for what I personally need from photographic tools and the kicker is that I really enjoy using them.
I'm no longer interested in trying to impress others with my latest buy or keep up with the tech Jones's. If your first thought is "that was stupid, why did you do that in the first place?" have some compassion. I'm being honest, and open. I've learned my lesson, and I wonder how many won't. I hope they all will.
I'm enjoying photography again, my way, with cameras I like to use that aren't the popular ones in the online forums, per se. Some are classics, so occasionally I'll chat with another fellow who "understands" and that's truly wonderful, however, the important thing to recount here is that I am happy. A camera should be a means to an end, not an end of all means. Duh, I knew that (palm to forehead).
My final thought is that I hope others do get the retro virus, this is a bug worth having sleepless nights over.
Thanks for listening,
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