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Saturday, 13 August 2011


Back when I was an active model railroader, we had a gentleman in the club who was a Big Wheel in serious model railroading collectibles. I learned early on to ask the value of what he was handing me - as he'd hand over a $10k* locomotive almost as casually as he'd hand over a soda pop. *That* made me uncomfortable.

* Yes, $10k. Some of the late 19th/early 20th century stuff is scarce (#'s known to exist being in the single digits) and chased after by a lot of people.

Another hole one could go into on a lens is
a laser sharp, autofocus, multi focal length Pinhole.

If all you want to do is write about it then sell it why don't you just rent one for a week? All the fun, none of the psychic pain.

There's a two part answer here.

I have an Eos DSLR and a few L lenses. Using the very expensive 17mm TS-E still scares the heck out of me, so must be getting close to my limits of comfort for a lens

The reason I could afford that 17mm is that I save up by shopping cannily for the cool film bodies and lenses I could never afford back in the '80s. My spending limit here is, give or take a bit for something special, up to about £200 ($300-ish). For the last few years it was a Canon F-1N and a bunch of other FD stuff, which paid for my exotic tilt-shift. This year and next it's Contax/Yashica & Zeiss, which will pay for my next DSLR and let me move on to an OM-2 SP based system, then...

My limit for newfangled digital bodies and lenses is whatever I can sell the contents of my old green billingham bag for...

Usually I think hard about expensive purchases, even if my business easily affords it, but once it's bough I try to forget about its price. My M9 looks quuite banged up, but I am shure many good picture I made with it wouldn't have been taken, if I babied it. I never buy anything which I cannot afford to loose/smash.

"your camera should never cost more than your car". I feel the opposite way round. Your camera gear (not to mention the lighting) should always cost more than your car. Money spent on a car is dead money. With a camera you can create. With a car you just create fumes. Just my opinion for what it's worth.

Great question Mike.

The way I look at it is as follows. Buying a good lens is like getting it for free. For example: I bought a Canon 35 f/1.4 a few years ago brand new from B&H. It cost me $1149.99. Today that lens sells at B&H for $1499.99. I could sell it for more than I paid for it. Thus....I used it for a few years. Took great care of it....and now if I want to sell it I can make a bit of money.

your camera should never cost more than your car

Hmmm... I figure that if my car is worth more than my camera, my priorities are out of order. My "car" is actually a 17-year-old pickup truck so just about any camera will do ;)

Reflecting on Mike's comment about being perilously close to financial ruin: yup, been there too long, but with that in mind my most expensive camera purchases have turned out to be the most productive ones (and have hit all seven points on Sunday's blog post).

I never spend more on a single item than I would spend on a gift.

I wouldn't spend a lot on something that I can get comparable results with for less. But I am frugal (read: cheap)

I wouldn't purchase a Leica Summicron because I know there are cheaper lenses that are for all intensive purposes, comparable. **yes I know it's subjective.**

but that's just who I am, I wouldn't say no if someone was to offer me one though.

My current limit on what I would comfortably spend is either the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L or the new Canon 24 and/or 17 mm t/s lenses. I've lusted for those lenses for the past 2-4 years but haven't been able to pull the trigger yet.

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