(Warning: this post is all about photographic equipment. If that’s not your thing, tune in tomorrow.)
After much thought about the state of my photography at the moment, I’ve decided to make a change. A pretty big change, actually. Lately I have been focused more on the equipment I’ve been using, or more appropriately, acquiring, and less of the images I’ve been producing. Or, as the case has been of late, not producing. But I’ll come back to that later.
This time two years ago, I made a significant camera purchase. I upgraded my old digital camera to the Fuji X100, which I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with. Everything about it was amazing–the silent shutter, the image quality, the size of the camera, the viewfinder…I loved it. Sure, the focus wasn’t the fastest, and it some operational quirks, but it was great for me. Just this month, my camera developed SAB (sticky aperture blade), which is a well-documented problem and has plagued the X100 throughout its production. So the X100 went off to New Jersey for repairs.
The bigger thing that the X100 led me to was rangefinders. After dabbling with this rangefinder-style digital camera (yes, I’m prepared to deal with the Internet pedants who will no doubt take issue with me using the term “rangefinder” in any reference to the X100), I wondered about the real thing. The X100 was to blame for my introduction to rangefinders. As in the movie Inception, or like with the Ghostbusters theme song, once you get into your head, you can’t get it out. Soon afterward, I stumbled upon a local seller on craigslist who was selling his Minolta CL and two lenses. Needless to say, I bought it. In the two years since then, I have had that CL, 2 Leica M3s, 2 Leica M6TTLs (the 0.85, then the 0.58), 2 Zeiss Ikons, and a Leica MP. I’ve had nearly every M-mount lens you could think of too–everything from 15mm to 90mm, and some of them more than once. This has gotten me back into film, where I had previously been focused on digital photography. And I do love shooting with rangefinders. I’ve also tried a number of digital cameras over the past two years too.
But it’s all become a bit stale recently. The main issue that I see is that my time for shooting is severely limited now; I hardly ever get a chance to go out and do what I enjoy, and with winter arriving, things aren’t going to get better in that respect. So almost as a way to stay connected, I’ve been getting more focused on the gear. That’s not to say that I wasn’t already focused on it (I’ve been a bit of a gear-head since I started getting into photography) but now it’s gone too far in that direction. Another conclusion I’ve come to recently–the time is near to move on from 35mm film. I don’t think it will ever die out, and I want to still use it, but digital sensors can now match or exceed 35mm in every way (for output, the process will always be different) and to have such expensive 35mm equipment just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
So I made the bold decision to sell it all. This is the big change I hinted at back at the start of all of this.
In the weeks since then I have diligently taken photographs of my gear, and listed most of it for sale on the Internet in various places that I use to move and (all too often) acquire photo equipment. I donated some things that weren’t worth much to a local college, and sold some things locally as well. I’ve sold a lot. If the post office had frequent flyer miles, boy, would I be rolling in them. Seriously.
I picked up a used Sony RX1 to play around with as my digital since everything else is sold, and I think that when the X100 comes back from repairs, it may be moving on as well. That’s how much I like the output of the Sony.
Which means I have very few cameras, and no plans to keep buying more.
Now I’m going to spend the time that I spent on gear trying to think of new projects to shoot. Try to force myself back out there to get shooting.