Good cameras have nothing to do with photography, really. Great pictures have been made with all types of camera, from the very earliest and most primitive to the latest and most expensive, and a good photographer, given sufficient freedom, can adapt to any sort of tool and make good work with it.
Even knowing this, I seem to always have to have a Camera-of-Lust (CoL). It is apparently a requirement of my brain to have a fetish object to desire, aspire to, and perseverate about at any given time. It is a neverending parade of idealized cameras, one giving way to the next.
It's like having a car in mind that "I would buy if I could." I always seem to have one of those that I'm carrying around in my thoughts. (Right now it's the Alfa 4C, which is my kind of go-kart.) Of course, if I could buy those cars, I wouldn't. I still like to think about 'em.
I am maturing, so none of my current camera infatuata approaches the absurd level of obsession I felt for the Leica M6 and Olympus OM-4T back in the prime of my years. That is a good thing, believe you me, brothers and sisters.
Current common camera-of-lust for a great many photographers: the Sony A7r
And actually owning these objects does no good, because with each aspirational object I buy, I just find something wrong with it so I can transfer CoL status to the next object in line. Much like the greener grass on the farther side of the fence, nothing I actually possess can be as good as my idealized mental picture of whichever camera it is I happen to be pining for.
Staying out of Vegas
Okay, I'm exaggerating with all this. (A little.) But you probably know the feeling.
It's all silly and ridiculous—but then again, it's a lot healthier than a lot of things that other people get lodged in their brains. I am not thinking about blowing up a building, or how to scam old people online, or how to scrabble together enough cash for my next spree in Vegas, for instance. (I have never been to Vegas. There's a slightly less well-known tourist slogan: "What stays out of Vegas, doesn't have to worry about what happens in Vegas.")
Some CoLs come and go a lot faster than others. Some surprise me. I got over my highly transient aspiration-infatuation with the Nikon Df very quickly, for instance. (Not that those aren't nice; I hear people who buy 'em are generally liking 'em.) At the moment, it's a Canon 5D Mark III and EF 24–70mm ƒ/2.8L II USM lens I'm hankering for. Why? The latter just seems like God's own lens. The more pictures I see that were taken with that lens, the more I like it. I would of course probably be perfectly happy with a two-pound lens for at least three whole weeks before I was ready to jettison the weighty beast and move on to something else. And so it goes.
The Fuji X-T1 is now entering the CoL gravitational field. It's not there yet, but I can sense it hovering out there.
Imagining needs 'n' wishes
All this usually has a lot to do with something called "What I want." I have tastes you see. Preferences. Predilections. Personal points of connoisseurship, determined over years of thinking about cameras too much. There's almost always something wrong with the Camera-o'-the-Moment (CotM) that helps justify locking the laser guidance system in on some new CoL.
It's no wonder, really. Has there ever been a time when we had more cool and appealing cameras to choose from? Ever in history? Quite possibly not.
So here's the interesting part. I have an Olympus E-M1 (our Camera of the Year for 2013) which I bought a few months ago. And Spring is due to arrive here within a mere 90 days, which means the light will get nice and the weather will be warm and balmy and pleasant to be out in again...for a while, before it gets blisteringly hot and the sky goes white and the air dulls with humidity. So I'm all set to give the E-M1 a workout.
And then Mike's going to do a little exploring of his own twisted psychology, because the E-M1 has everything I always said I ever needed or wanted. EVERYTHING.
So how am I not going to like this camera? How am I going to knock it off its pedestal in order to make room for the next CoL? It doesn't seem plausible. It doesn't seem like it's going to be easy.
I'm sure I'll think of something. But it's going to be interesting how.
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Ms. Jen: "For me right now, it is not a Camera of Lust, but a Lens of Lust (LoL). I keep looking at the Zeiss ZF.2 21mm and thinking of what I could do with it...."
Mike replies: LoL! I like it.
Tom Hassler: "My personal reality regarding this theme would be IoCoL (Idea of the Camera of Lust.) The premise of XYZ camera is very seductive, but the execution is somehow fatally flawed, usually in a stupid and preventable way. According to some of the hard-core testers on the Interwebs, the A7-series falls squarely into this category. Such a shame, because the idea of it really does push my buttons!"
Ken Ford: "I'm lucky—my CoL is the relatively affordable Fuji X100s."
Mike replies: ...This time.
Robert Roaldi: "Oh man, the Alfa 4C."
Mike replies: Seriously.
Dennis Mook: "All 'Cameras Infatuata' are direct descendants of 'Cameras Obscura.' No matter how hard you try, you would be fighting the very essence of camera creation. Just let it happen and enjoy the ride!"
emptyspaces: "That Canon 24–70mm is every bit as awesome as you think. But consider the 6D body in place of the 5DIII—it's a 'nice piece of kit,' as our UK friends would say. And it'll save you enough to grab a 50mm and 35mm ƒ/2."
Stephen Scharf: "I just got my Fuji X-T1 on Tuesday this week. My first impressions, after taking it out of the box, popping on the absolutely amazing Fuji 23mm prime (yes, I finally bought it), snapping off a few frames and reviewing them was...'WOW!'
"Fuji has hit another one outta da park. If you actually held this beautiful camera in your hands, looked through that amazing viewfinder, and made some images with this lens, it would most definitely be in your CoL. I'm in the throes of passion as I write this, and I actually own the thing."
"By the way, I understand your infatuation with that Canon 24–70mm L II; it's a helluva lens. I just bought the new Canon 70–200mm ƒ/2.8L IS II this summer, so I'm familiar with what Canon is doing these days with their glass. But the new Fuji 23mm ƒ/1.4 prime is like a lens from the gods. Astonishing, just astonishing."
Mike: I have my fingers in my ears and I cannot heard you, Scharf. So it is no use and you might as well stop it.
Steve Biro (partial comment): "I was in B&H the other day and finally had a chance to handle two cameras that hadn't been able to up to now: The Fuji X-T1 and the Ricoh GR. I think I'm in trouble. The Fuji was flat out the best fit for my hands that any camera has ever been. The grip size and shape were perfect and so were the arrangement and function of the traditional, external controls."
Mike replies: Are you in cahoots with Scharf, Biro? A league of Steves? I tell you, I'm not listening. I'm not. I'm really not.