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Friday, 31 August 2012


The thing is, bonding has absolutely nothing to do with technical ability or specifications - as long as you are happy using the camera you will be more likely to get pictures which make you happy. I 'bonded' many years ago with my beloved OM1, and though I eventually had an OM4Ti it wasn't quite the same, emotionally. When I sold my OM gear to 'go digital' I sold the OM4Ti but bought an old OM1 on eBay just for nostalgia. And now? after numerousl digital cameras from P and S to DSLR, failing to find that same 'chemistry, I believe I'm actually bonding with (gasp) the little Pentax Q. Go figure.

If you are shooting pictures of statues on bridges in Wisconsin your problem is inspiration, not equipment.

Spend the money on a trip to somewhere interesting.

Appropriately enough, it's exactly a month now since I ordered my E-M5. It's ridiculously expensive for a camera cheapskate like me, but it was the closest I've seen recently to my ideal of a digital camera. It's the first camera that made me open my wallet to get a replacement for the Nikon D40 I've used for five years now.

I have bonded with the E-M5. Sure, there are things that could be different, or better, or whatever, but mostly we just get on fine. I'm even somewhat surprised because the E-M5 is very feature rich compared to a D40. I use what I need (or really want to give a chance) and the camera is set up to facilitate that and not let other things get in my way. Some of this new-fangled stuff is pretty damn handy.

But last night I edited a couple of photos I had taken with the D40 before getting my little Olympus. You know that at base ISO, the D40's CCD delivers as good as noiseless files? They look… smooth. Extremely pleasant in my book. Of course, I'm comparing 6MP to 16MP, pretty much apples to chicken drumsticks, but still. Does it matter when I've edited the photo and put it on Flickr? No. Will it matter when I finally do some prints? I don't know, but I'm excited to see what happens and probably not, no. I'll certainly be able to easily print bigger prints (not very important to me) with the Oly.

So, what the hell am I getting at? I just like looking at the files from my D40. At low ISOs, even maybe at higher ISOs, they just look nice to me. But don't get me started on what the dynamic range of the old D40 did to the contrast range of those photos I was working on last night.

Starting four years ago, every day, I take a walk and shoot subjects in my neighborhood. I use a Pentax K-5 then post-process with LR4.1, plus NIK pug-ins. I've yet to be bored and love the gear/pp combo, warts and all.

I consider every photograph a 'throw away,' an experiment. For the ones that make the cut, the next steps are all finding ways to be true to the subject's story. It's NOT what the subject can do for me, but what can I do to for it. (per JFK)

Anyway, sounds like you just need a challenging project and change of scene. Perhaps it's time for that Turnley, Abell, or (you name 'im, or 'er) workshop in an exotic location you've always wanted to do. Take your son along, He may not be into photography, but that's OK. He'll get along fine on his own and will never forget the experience.

Life is short... Go for it!

Robert Harshman...

...Ha, ha ha....as a guy that knows a lot of contractors, you've got to be kidding me...there IS no: "it's just a hammer", I was once working on a project in my backyard, and my neighbor (a contractor), looked across the fence and said "Is that an old XYZ hammer? That's a great one."

EVERY field has it's dream equipment! From Purdy brushes for painters to Marshall Town trowels for archeologists! Get with the program!

Have to agree with you 200% about "finding your groove" (though must
admit that I don't understand about half the audio terms used for
describing the speakers.)

Personally, I have problems apparently, with Nikon cameras. About
two years ago, I broke a savings plan to purchase the D700 and
70-300 Nikkor lens - and then discovered I could hardly use them.
Somehow the menus, button placement, options just didn't feel natural,
and I could never count on what the results would be.

Don't get me wrong, I think the D700 is one of the best digital cameras
ever made, and when I get a good picture, it's outstanding. Just
that I never know whether I'm gonna get a good picture, or at least the
one I saw in my mind's eye. Not something you want to lug along (it's a
really heavy piece of equipment) and not feel comfortable with.

But I digress. The point of this post is that there's another mandatory
piece of "equipment" contemporary photographers need to master:
software. And I find this is even more personal than the black box and
glass you use. And talk about "binding" !

My personal favorite is ACDC Pro 2.5 and Paint Shop Pro (any version.)
The ACDC program is 5 years old, has been upgraded 4 times since
first appearing, but I have yet to find anything that compares to it in
managing and editing batches of photos. I run a photo archives, so
often have to document, organize, and edit groups of other people's photos;
the program is small enough to run on older pc's; is very fast, and
wonderful for managing metadata and "fast-and-dirty" editing.

I have tried each upgraded version, several Elements and Lightroom versions,
and nothing comes close to the speed and ease and reliability of Pro 2.5
and Paint Shop (for more complicated layer editing with plug-ins).

Again, I have nothing against all the other software, it just doesn't "bind" with
me - like the Nikon. Being able to use the same piece of "equipment" for
over 5 years today is saying something. I take off my hat (everyday) to those
ACDC engineers. God bless you.

Dear Mike,

I early adopted m43 by getting an E-P1 -the G1 wasn't really going far enough into the m43 concept to me. The camera was a dog, even at its prime time. Huge inaccurate AF zones, slow AF, confused menus, noisy-ish above ISO800, tight DR... but it was love at first sight, a completely new way of doing "high image quality" photography that was only to do with DSLR until then. But the crucial parts were the trips I did with it, fitting in my new very little bag, snapping in scotland, canada, portugal, corsica,... Living with it. The results were stunning.

I got the E-M5 as soon as I could get one, ordering on its press release day. It arrived. Wonderful camera, fixing about every shortcomings of the E-P1 and competition. The files are worlds better than the E-P1 but guess what, no love yet, and I'm still looking at my old E-P1 with wet eyes (so do you with your GF1, I guess). Only mutual respect for now but I'm completely relaxed with it : I know it's going to be a hit when I'll start moving with it and stop treating it like a jewel. That's the thing, it's impressed me so much, I waited for it so long, that it got like a distant dream, almost as if Charlize Theron [or any beautiful man/woman of your dreams] proposed me out. Not sure you'd behave totally happy & relaxed ;-).

The NEX7 is an impressive camera but I'm expecting it to be the wrong remedy. I appreciate your approach "A99+x becomes my portrait cam" better.

Just relax, grab your omd along. The E-P1 had a terrible learning curve and the OMD shows similar signs.

Greetings, S.

In a way, I understand. I like using some cameras, such as the Hasselblad (ahem). Recently I was considering to buy a Nikkor 28/1.8 but ended up buying a Zeiss 25/2 since the latter one immediately felt right while the Nikkor felt a bit boring.

But in another sense, I really think camera bonding is a first world problem. Last time I went out was because the weather was unusual and it was the pictures that mattered. The gear did exactly what was expected. I didn't get into some mushy feeling of 'bonding', I took the shots. I appreciate a fine piece of gear as any other gearhead, but at the end of the day I do this for the pictures.

PS. recently shot with my Nikon F100, which I liked a lot 10 years ago. Didn't feel as great anymore; the new stuff is incredibly capable.

You're killing me with the Contax porn!

Contax cameras are now so darned cheap that I sampled those waters and REALLY liked it. I tried a 159MM and we bonded. It wasn't the world's sturdiest camera but it sure fit me like a glove.

The problem was the lenses! Thanks to the craze for adapting, prices are stratospheric. All I could afford was a few pedestrian Yashica lenses. I ended up selling the Contax and feeling completely unrequited.

s'funny, and subtle, this bonding thing. All it proves is that sometimes 'better' isn't actually better.

Not long ago I bought a little Olympus rangefinder (auto everything) and thought WOW, this F.Zuiko 40mm 1.7 lens is amazing, but it might be nice to have a bit more control.

The I saw a better (more controlable) model in a junk shop and had it expensively repaired and refurbished, and sold the original on eBay to pay for the repair.

In the meantime I went out and shot the 'better' camera and realised it was a lot less fun. Fortunately the buyer of the original decided that he wasn't happy with the condition so now I've got it back and I'll be selling the 'better' model!

"relaxation shift,"

Funny stuff Mike, I didn't read the 108 comments to see if I am duplicating anyone. But I "assume" they were about cameras. Mine is about HIFI! In the 70s and 80s when I ran a HIFI store, I was often asked what the difference was between a $5k system and a $10k or $20k system was, I always said "You sink a little deeper in your chair".

2nd the Contax porn. I really held out for years before going to digital simply because I loved my RTS II/W3. A digital RTS is asking too much, but maybe a Digital G2??

Maybe it's the constant humming noise coming from the IBIS?

My only complaint about the OM-D so far is with the rear most "main" dial, which I have set for exposure compensation. It's hard to get at because of the way the flip out screen is designed. So I end up using my index shooting finger, which slows things down a bit.

Interesting the comments on the 45mm Olympus lens. it seems quite a few of those that've not bonded with it use it on Olympus bodies. Whereas mine is attached to my GF1, and I absolutely love it. Maybe it "bonds" as much with the GF1 as much as it bonds with me. Or maybe it is because most of the time I shoot B&W with it?

But you're right, technical specs don't really matter a jot if you can't gel with the camera (or car, amp, speakers, whatever).

Apply double-sided tape.

Man, that Contax was my dream camera BITD. Never got one.

Bonding is all about positive feedback, whether tactile, optical, or artistic. So, it's very personal. I love the original Diana but the Holga leaves me cold. I loved my Pentax 6x7 and love more than anything my Mamiya 6 but could never get with TLRs (except my Gakkenflex). I loved my Leica M2 until I discovered the Mamiya 6, which is the easiest to handle and most physically responsive camera I have ever used, and so it lets me make good pictures.

I'm at LaGuardia waiting to board a plane to Toronto, my Fuji X100 packed, hoping for a second honeymoon. I bonded with it when I first got it but it's fallen into disuse. Sometimes a change of scenery...

Another "2nd" for Stan Greenberg and his Nikon. As I stated on here earlier, I have a Nikon and something about it just doesn't work for me, altho every time I use it professionally, it gives me the needed results.

Before I got into (read: was forced by clients to stop shooting film and got into) digital, I would borrow a Canon 20/40/60D series camera when clients were adamant about getting a digital result. I didn't even read the manual, just moused through a few things on the back, set it up, and every thing I popped off looked OK enough. When I needed to finally get into it, I did extensive research on everything and decided that the Nikon in my price range would have the best output for what I was doing, and it was on the bottom of my price range vs. the Canon, which was on the top. Since all I shot was 120, 4X5, and 8X10, it wasn't a "I've already got these lenses" thing.

Ever since I got the camera, it has been "no-joy". I can get some decent results all right, but it seems to be more by chance than design. It has been "no-joy" to the extent that I don't want to shoot with it and can't trust it, and hence shoot a lot less than I should, and if I'm doing something for myself, well, no problem, I just shoot film.

The auto-focus certainly seems more "possessed" than the Canons, with the Nikon selecting what to focus on with "whimsey", while the Canon seems to just focus on what I want. Even when I set the spot to focus on the Nikon, especially for portraits, sometimes it won't lock on and focus at all. And this with all Nikon lenses. Then I've found I need to set the thing for "natural" under strobe light, and "juiced" under available, to get the same results. I've spent weeks poring over the million page book for the Nikon, and even bought a laminated "cheat-sheet" to carry with the camera. There's also the "you can set this with a menu, or by pressing this button, or by pressing these two button, or..."thing that's always going on with it (and you can change settings with your nose very easily).

At this point, I have a few extra bucks put away, in which I was going to purchase the Nikon G series 60mm macro, and the 85 1.8, but I can't get away from the feeling that if I just went and purchased the Canon Rebel T4i, I might just get something I want and fall in love again. Nikon's not helping this, as a pal has gotten the new D800 and has shown me some "rave" stuff with it. The chance to buy a camera that at asa 100 can outdo most of the 120 based digitals I rent, certainly seems like a positive thing, but when I look at the body, with all those "warty" buttons, I just get the shivvers.

As an aside, I remember a story where someone from a newspaper was "bagging" a new photographer they hired because she couldn't do anything good, and she was complaining about all the hand-me-down equipment she was given that was marginally functional. They finally had a technology upgrade, and issued new equipment to everybody, and lo-and-behold, the next week, the photographers work was "golden"! You cannot stress enough the impact the correct camera makes to the photographic process. Would HCB be himself if he had shot with a press graphic?

I have that 85mm and the 35mm lens and both bond very well. However, I cannot say with Nex 5N and may be a bit better with the A77. It seems somehow an anlogy thing like lens you can bond with but I wonder however, may be one cannot bond with a pure digital camera.

Lately I got a piano after 2 years with my Yamaha P150 digital one. Even thought the piano is 30 years ago and also a Yamaha (YUS1 1980s), it bonded very well. I never got this feeling with the P150. Both are used to play essentially one piece (Moonlight Sonata Mv 1; I do not know that I can play piano but found out strangely one day I can use iPad to play this song). Hence, it is not the song. Human are not computer and hence cannot bond with it.

Tom Kwas,
I don't know what it's like now, but I believe (I was told*) that back in the 1980s, National Geographic kept a fully stocked equipment arsenal, with multiple bodies of every make and model of camera and all the lenses. Photographers could grab whatever they wanted, whatever suited them.


*Perhaps Jim Richardson could confirm or deny this, if he reads this.

It's the stupidest little things that can get you. I've fully bonded with my little E-PM1. Even though the E-PL3 is just a hair shy of identical to the E-PM1, I can't really bond with it. I use it to take pictures of my kid, and it does yeoman service in that role, but if I'm shooting art photos, I'm always happier with the E-PM1 than the E-PL3. I think it's the way the extremely useful flip-out screen on the E-PL3 keeps my thumb from resting just like I want it. Really stupid, but there it is.

You only truly own a device once you've modified it.
Cars, sound systems, boats, fishing gear, cameras, the principle is the same.
If you want to bond, put some skin in the game (an American expression I intend to adopt).

Responding to Mike and his comment about National Geographic's equipment supply in the 1980s. I'd say what Mike heard was painted a little too broad a brush. NG staffers in the '80s certainly got a kit of gear and I think it was mostly of their own choosing. Some of them were Leica users at the time, others Nikon, others Olympus. Not many Canon at that time. And the equipment shop kept a lot of gear on hand, but more for special jobs. So, long glass was available, and they would often have what you needed if your gear broke down in the field. I would say there was no shortage of gear, but not exactly an open door policy on the equipment shelves. Since the phasing out of the staffers, of course, the change is that we all own our own gear, with the possibility of equipment loan for specific jobs while on assignment for the magazine. Again, those loans would generally be for the more exotic equipment, not everyday bodies and lenses. But, back in the day certain staffers did head out into the field with cases and cases of gear. Jim Stanfield was famous for his meticulous planning and being ready for any contingency anywhere in the world.
Hope this helps.

Speaking of long-term relationships with a guitar, Brian May (Queen) still uses the guitar that he and his dad made from scrap materials when Brian was a teenager. Here's a heartwarming interview about it:

I love my OMD.
But i'm amazed how easily you can drop this camera, compared to some other stuff i've owned.
I dropped it in Cannes, from couple of feet, resulting in a bad mood throughout the day...nothing happened to the camera...well, nothing much. The battery door lost its swiftness, and a rather big dent in the corner, showcasing white metal inside. But it worked like before.
Few days back, i again dropped it. I pulled the Macbook wires from the elmira and thud, the camera followed. Another dent, but it works. I've noticed that the write times have gone up, but it must be something else...
While we are at it, let me also confess my newly found love for the DP series Merrills, the DP1M and DP2M. Sigma has on its website (sigma-dp) image samples from both the cameras and the shots look great. Seeing them is like realizing that there was something wrong with my eye sight earlier. Mike you must check this out. Now they come with some huge (un-manageable) resolution also.

This earlier TOP post comes to mind...


I have the exact same problem with the 45mm. It's sharp, takes nice photos but something is missing. I've gone through so many 50mms on the micro four thirds cameras looking for the one that fits me right and although I'll hang on to the Olympus 45mm for the autofocus the Contax G 45mm is my favourite even though it's manual focus

Sold my gf1 because of the sensor but it's still my favourite micro four thirds camera. It just felt right in the hand and hopefully Panasonic go back to a camera that is similar to it. The GX1 feels cheap in comparison.

Having just upgraded from the Toyo 45A to the Chamonix 45N-2, I have been experiencing a mild shock. I was so accustomed to the Toyo and its design type that now, the difference of the Chamonix has thrown me for a mild loop. The advantages of the Chamonix -- less than half the weight, more flexible, generous and additional movements outweigh the different operating style it represents.

With greater movement, at least one of my two lenses is a bit limited plus my vision has changed so a new focal length or two may be advisable, and I would appreciate smaller, lighter lenses to keep the kit as trim as possible.

Right then ... bonding will take a while.

Earl, I love ya!

You think you've got it hard, Mike. There isn't a single digital camera I believe I could bond with. Couldn't do it with my K10d or D700. And there isn't a digital camera on the market I lust after. I just got fed up using - in comparison with truly great cameras like the F2, RTS, OM1, etc - rubbish, plasticky, cheaply-made tools.

Since my livelihood doesn't depend on photography or the need for the instant results/gratification of digital, I've gone back to film. Rolleiflex SL66E for 120 and Contax SLRs for 35mm. I've wasted so much money on digital cameras, printers, scanners and ink that I don't even want to think about it. Thankfully, I've realised the error of my ways and will never spend another penny on digital photography unless the scanner I use to upload pics to my film-based blog packs up.

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