Not long ago, I got rid of my 2012 Toyota RAV4 V6. It was not only the first SUV I've ever owned, it was the first SUV I'd ever driven. I bought it in an effort to be practical, and because my other car (since sold) was an older Mazda Miata, which is great fun but close to the most impractical car you can buy. The RAV4 had only 16,000 miles on it when I said goodbye.
I'm still kind of shocked that I traded it in. I had set up everything to run for five years (service contract, warranty) and I could easily have kept it for that long. The RAV4 did everything well. Great freeway car; easy to drive; good ergonomics; extremely practical; four-wheel drive. The dealer was the best dealer I've ever worked with and the dealer's service department was almost surreally efficient. If the RAV4 was a taste of how far "the automobile as appliance" has come, then it's come a long, long way from my boyhood, when my father would have his Oldsmobile "checked" by the mechanic at the corner gas station prior to a trip from Milwaukee to Indianapolis "just in case."
Here's a comment Gordon Cahill wrote in response to the Canon 6D post the other day:
The Canon 6D seems to be an extremely well-rounded imagemaker. Very good at most things. Brilliant at some and with few weaknesses for the vast majority of photographers.
Without wanting to insult the many fine photographers using this camera, I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Because it's boring.
This, for me, is the golden age of photography. There's so much choice. There's so much diversity. There are cameras that are so much fun to hold and use. The 6D is too safe. There's no risk involved. And while the 6D does everything well it's the best at nothing. It's not the lightest or the heaviest. It doesn't have the most or least resolution. It is just so middle-of-the-road.
Canon and Nikon will always do well because they're safe bets. Nothing wrong with that. But there's nothing there that inspires me to go out and shoot. You could have written exactly the same peice and just inserted the Nikon equivalent.
With so much happening in camera technology, why would I choose the same old same-old as my only choice, unless I crave the safe option. Fuji, Sony, Olympus/Panasonic and Leica are making waves. They're making new stuff possible. They have limitations (limitations are good for photography) but they provide challenge and reward. And you just want to pick them up and take photos. Because they're fun.
Gordon's comments really reminded me of the RAV4. I approved of pretty much everything about that vehicle. And I couldn't wait to get rid of it.
The RAV4 was excellent in every single way except one: it was not much fun.
I think I have a habit of carrying automotive <—> camera analogies a bit too far—in the same way I carry musical <—> visual arts analogies too far occasionally. They're so useful and so illuminating that I guess I can be guilty of not appreciating the disparities to quite the extent I should. For instance, no one (or very few people) needs to be a professional driver of a consumer passenger vehicle. Yet some people are indeed making all or part of a living with their Canon (and Nikon) DSLRs. And of course we haven't "proven" that a 6D isn't fun. Maybe it's the most fun for some owners. And of course I'm sure we will hear from some people who consider this whole idea to be indulgent and pointless. The camera's just a tool, period, end of sentence.
But I think this is why I would personally choose a Panasonic GX7, or an Olympus E-M5 or E-M1, or a Fuji X-E2 or X-T1, or a Leica T (which I got to try the other day, briefly), or a Sony A7[x] or A6000. Somehow, they're just more fun than a DSLR.
But why is that? I can't quite put my finger on it. I don't quite get why a Fuji X-T1 is "more fun" than a full-frame DSLR. Yet somehow...it is. The Panasonic GX7 is even more fun than that. Why?
Is "fun to use" an important criterion to you?
And, what's fun?
And, how come?
While you're thinking about it, I'll be sitting here trying to think of the most fun camera I ever used. And by the way, the car I have now is less practical than the RAV4 in almost every way (except that my car payment went down), and it has more flaws. But it's a lot more fun, and that more than makes up for it—I like it better. (Maybe I'll write about it some Sunday when I have more time.)
(Thanks to Gordon Cahill)
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Featured Comments from:
Dave Jenkins: "I want to speak up on behalf of the Canon 6D, which I think of as 'the little camera that could.' Unlike other commenters who want their cameras to excite and inspire them, I only want my camera to serve my photographic needs. I love cameras, but I love photography more, and everything I want my camera to do, the 6D does quietly, precisely, and extremely well.
"Seeking to save weight in my travel kit, I experimented with Micro 4/3. My OM-D E-M5's are lovely cameras in many ways, but I think travel photographer Gerald Brimacombe may have a better solution. He also experimented with mirrorless cameras, but now travels with only one lightweight, full-frame body and a midrange zoom. I don't think I want to be quite that spartan, but my 6D, along with my 24mm ƒ/2.8, 40mm ƒ/2.8, and 70–200 ƒ/4 zoom make a great light and compact combination that will handle almost any situation within my range of photographic interests."