Your camera's a tool, not a jewel.

Started Feb 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
amalric Forum Pro • Posts: 10,839
Re: Your camera's a tool, not a jewel.

Aberaeron wrote:

amalric wrote:

I would like to bring back the debate in topic. To me it is clear that present cameras are towers of babel - they have an excess of features which is disorienting - if you compare them to film cameras. Have they increased creativity?

I think it was Ming Thein and excellent photog and blog author writing that an artist needs to limit its gear to what is strictly needed by his work, any excess reflecting negatively on the work. Artists have always known this, even choosing artificial limitations, to test their skill.

I have a camera so complicated it took me months to get familiar with and that seriously limited my activity. Sometimes I wish I had a Leica, not for prestige, but because it has kept its native simplicity. Of course I don't have the money


Just because they have all those functions available, it simply does not mean you have to use them. At its simplest you could select intelligent-auto mode and concentrate 100% on your composition. Or buy the simplest camera you can find. You are spoilt for choice with both new and older used cameras, including film cameras. Most people choose something other than point-and-shoot even though the majority of owners of the simplest DSLR's have no idea how to adjust them. Some use A or P mode because they think that is the 'done thing' without knowing anything about how to alter the simplest exposure parameters. Of this majority group, the ones who consistently get the best results in terms of snaps are the ones using fully auto mode.

As I said in other posts, no matter what your wealth or status, people aspire to more and 'better', both for themselves and their families, even if they don't actually need it and even can't utilise it. It is human nature and what drives development.

There was an interesting article by Petapixel on the trend in expenses by aspiring Pro photographers in the US in 2013.

It was duly noted that for the first time they chose to spend more in photography courses than in gear. That is v. sensible because whatever the camera your skill matters first. Even, to some point, the camera might become indifferent, or you might have several, depending on the tasks.

Remember also that HCB had only one camera, one lens, like most Magnum photographers. It wonderfully concentrates attention, the most precious of a photog.'s resources.

What consumers do I couldn't care less, they mostly use cameras (or phones) to celebrate family moments, which are uninteresting to others. Let them clamour endlessly for features, which might be quietly ignored  by one who has an art project in mind, with more strict requirements, and a more general meaning. That's the difference between considering a camera like a fetish, or a tool.

Isn't it a paradox that, in their retro drive, companies like Fuji long to find the original simpler ur-camera?

A niche market but growing. Perhaps we've had enough of consumerist fetishes.


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