Well, I finally did it. So that all of you won't have to continue to listen to me bleat about how I can't get a 35mm lens for a DSLR with IS, I sucked it up and bought a 35mm Minolta lens. Used. It was enormously expensive, compared to what it "should" be. It was painful for me to shell out for it...painful. I've been wandering around in shock for 24 hours thinking I'm never spending another dollar, I swear.
This is the seller's picture from the auction.
Of course, that's nothing compared to what needs to come next: forking over for a Sony A850 or A900.
I'll have to bite the bullet till my teeth crack. They'll need a vise and a winch to get that much cash out of my grip. I'm honestly not sure I can do it, that's how much of a skinflint I am. It's so sad.
Which reminds me of a story. When I lived in Chicago there was this tiny little camera store—I'm afraid I don't remember the name of the store or the proprietor, although I do remember that the street address ended in "1/2." It had a round glass display case at the back that held the owner's camera collection. He had gathered together many of the most interesting things that had passed through his shop. I don't remember specifics, I'm afraid, but it was quite an interesting and impressive little collection. Anyway, the owner—he was a young guy who specialized in locating cherry Deardorff 8x10s for the Japanese collector market—told me a trick he had for saving money for a camera. He said that every time he found himself with an extra fifty or hundred dollars, he'd convert it to a bill—cash—and stash it in the pages of a certain book, and forget about it. He'd put the book back on the shelf, and go about living his life as if the cash weren't there. Whenever he could, he'd add another bill to the stash. Then, when a camera came through that he really wanted, he checked the stash of cash. If there was enough, he'd buy the camera.
I'm car-poor right now, so no way can I afford a big Sony. But I did save up for the car...most of it, anyway...for three long years. Steadily, little by little. I did a pretty good job at it, too, turns out. So I guess I know how to save. If I start now, maybe I'll have a camera to go with the lens by Christmas. Or my birthday (late February).
Or this time next year. Or maybe I'll do a massive closet dump and have a big cash-raising virtual garage sale here on TOP. We'll see.
It's so sad. I am such a miser. At least I'll already have the lens.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by David Paterson: "Though I don't regards myself much as a miser, I know exactly how you feel. All the years I was a commercial photographer I could easily justify almost any spending on equipment; now I'm more than semi-retired it's hard to justify any spending at all. So I made a simple rule—no new money. As long as I can raise the cash by selling existing gear, office equipment, computer stuff, books etc. on eBay, then I can spend it on anything I want. So there is a diminishing supply of hopefully well-chosen new items and our home is rather more quickly cleared of under-used or never-used kit often kept for purely sentimental reasons."
Featured Comment by Arg: "Remember, most of what we perceive in an image as being due to the equipment used, if we know what equipment was used, is imagined. I am talking about brand vs brand comparisons of similar equipment. Hence your own Recommended Cameras #3, 22 April 2009. A brilliant essay that I refer to frequently as a grounding point. I need grounding points! The same applies to hi-fi, of course."
Mike replies: Arg, shamed with me own words. I am definitely working out of the irrational portion of my brain now.
I am saved when it comes to hi-fi by the absurdities of the manufacturers, who have put much high-end equipment out of reach for all but the truly rich. I have reached the point, however, that I can put together a superlative sound system that I have absolutely no desire to upgrade, and for not very much money. Unfortunately, it can't be simply bought with money. Also unfortunately, it took me 30 years of largely wasted time to get to this point. You know what they say: Oh well.
Featured Comment by Jeffrey Goggin: "Back in my record-collecting days, I came across someone who employed a similar approach to saving, except they would put the bills inside a record jacket—in this case, a vintage boxed set of opera music on the RCA Living Stereo label.
"How do I know this? Because I bought the record at a used-record store and upon taking a closer look at it once I returned home, found seven $100 bills stashed inside the accompanying libretto. My conscience required me to at least call the store and ask if they knew who the previous owner was—not surprisingly, they had no idea—so I kept the money (only temporarily, as it turned out, because I quickly recycled it into even more used records!) and made it a point from that day forward to thoroughly examine every used record I ever bought because you never know when lightning might strike again...."
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "I love it! The Online Photographer as a public confessional!
"Yeah, I certainly know exactly your feelings. I've had a spate of such indulgences this year. I'd cringe to relate them here, but I would like to share one story.
"Even though I don't shoot much film these days I'm still a bit of a mug for Rolleiflex TLR cameras. This past June I came across what appeared to be, and was, a terrific bargain; a like-new-in-box Rolleiflex 2.8 FX. Drop-dead gorgeous, a perfect 'modern' companion to the 3.5 T (circa 1962) model that I'd just had overhauled last winter. It was a costly, but rare, find nonetheless.
"When I received it I saw that there were highlight/cue notes penciled in the manual's margins in a woman's hand. Someone had studied this camera deeply.
"A couple of weeks after I had the camera I received an email from the lady who sold the camera to me. She ostensibly wanted to make sure I was pleased with the camera but I could tell from her tone that she wanted to also know that it went to a good home. By her account she bought it during a happier, more optimistic time in her life. It had become a bit of a target beacon for her, as she aspired to eventually reach a point where she would make good use of it. But she had now abandoned that goal and realized that the cash embodied in the camera was of more practical importance to her than the camera ever would be.
"I reassured her that her camera was now in very good, caring hands and would one day be used to capture something wonderful. (Now who's being excessively optimistic?) She replied that she was soothed by my note.
"What had happened in her life to cause her to abandon her personal moon-shot? Health tragedy? Financial calamity? Family dissolution? I can only imagine. But it did make me feel much better about reaching so deep to acquire a buggy whip, beautiful and functional though it may be."