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Saturday, 08 October 2016


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If you expand the term to "photographically comfortable", I realized that I'd made it when I began to throw out developer and fixer when I even suspected they might be going bad. :)

I work almost entirely in film and I struggle at times with buying the film and chemicals I want and need. As for cameras, old film cameras and their lenses are generally pretty cheap and over the years I've accumulated enough that I'll sell off unused cameras I don't use anymore to help purchase a new old camera. If I bond with the camera great and if I don't, I'll sell it eventually.

But your post made me think of those analog consumables and the argument that shooting film is more expensive than shooting digital because of them. But it's pretty apparent that in digital photography there are consumables as well, namely camera bodies -- a point I think you made in a post not too long ago. And they're generally pretty expensive. I don't pay much attention to the resale market in old digital bodies but I'd venture they don't hold their value very well so they aren't very convertible to new bodies as with old analog bodies.

Anyway, I'd argue camera-comfort is more easily attained with analog than digital.

It is a lovely sentiment and, after a lifetime of commercial practice and the vast inventory necessary for every contingency, I can proudly say that with retirement has come the ability to divest myself of all but that for which I have a passion. I found I was possessed by my possession but now ALL the digital stuff has gone and all I am left with is a 4x5 Toyo Field, three lenses: 75mm, 120mm and 210mm, some 72mm contrast filters, a lens shade and a Weston EuroMaster. See! Not even the need for batteries any more. It is blissful.


This obviously depends upon which cameras interest you, so I suggest to split it in several categories (which strangely happen to match sensor sizes, I wonder why). As in I'm compact-camera-comfortable, micro-four-thirds-comfortable and mostly APS-comfortable, close to full-frame-comfortable but not there and certainly not medium-format-comfortable.

A very apt description which may be applied to any one person's relationship to any one camera or would guess, group of cameras.

Good One Mike!

Good One!

My wif...err, I mean, accountant, allows me to spend up to $2000/year on camera gear. It's just enough to get me a new body and/or a couple of good lenses each year.

So, while it's nowhere close to Leica or Canon/Nikon pro-gear rich, it's "comfortable" enough to keep me in very respectable gear.

For me, "house-poor" is the enemy of "camera-comfortable." Too bad they don't make 3-bedroom camera obscuras anymore...

Comfort is trajectory-dependent. I used to fly airplanes and instruct in them, but currently live where there is little opportunity for this outlet. So cameras by contrast feel like one-spouse discretionary items. And when the planes went out, kids came in, so there was an obvious need. And when I talk to friends who have let a boat own them...


My Pentax DSLR is getting a bit wacky - manual mode now works like aperture priority, it keeps asking me if I want to unprotect my files (don't even know what that means). The manual focus ring on my olympus has just fallen off (that's OK, I use auto-focus nearly always). I'm amazed my over ten years old printer is still going. I'd quite like to upgrade lightroom to the latest version. As you can tell, I'm camera-poor and need to sell more pictures before I can justify any further purchases.

Just bought a signed hardcover book by Daido Moriyama. Not cheap, but since I can afford it...
My thinking exactly to put some money into the pocket of the photographer.

Being Camera Comfortable isn't a function of just your income and finances.

If you are a guy, it also depends on your WAF.

What's a WAF, you may ask? Well, let's put it this way. If you are an unmarried man your WAF is 100%.

If you are a married man, your WAF ranges from zero to usually something less than 100%. All gear-head married males understand this.


PS: Sticks and stones may break my bones, etc.

Personally the gear yoyo tends to go, not enough (for curent needs), too much, clear out, not enough. Digital cameras have at least reached the point of sufficiency so that is put to bed. I have had the same cameras for a few years. Magic. Currently lamenting my tripod purge as my direction has changed again. Oh well.

As an ageing physician, I've become camera-comfortable. What an appropriate term. But (there's always a "but") I've moved into a condo and found I'm camera & lens storage poor ! Oh well, there's always giving the kids their camera inheritance early ;)

It's an interesting idea. I'd say it does correlate well with a certain threshold of wealth. The ability to spend say $2,000 +-50% on a hobby.

I was camera-comfortable for several years, now I'm not. Though the used market may provide a way back in.

I'm cursed with being a frugal yankee. Comfortable enough to afford the camera I want and then some, but won't buy more than I can reasonably justify. I figure a large part of the reason I'm comfortable enough to afford what I want is because of years of saying no to stuff I don't need. Eventually it becomes habit.

I was camera-comfortable for several years, now I'm not. Though the used market may provide a way back in.

Same here. The income level at which one is camera comfortable is much lower if one is unsentimental and will to buy slightly used, year old gear or gear that is on the way out—and sell it within a couple of years.

This requires one to be unflinchingly practical and not develop an emotional attachment to gear—which, of course is the opposite of the mindset that motivates one to be interested in and acquire gear.

But there are people who are able to be thus routinely, including people who run private, maker-independent gear review sites.

I'm sure that the discomfort of GAS fits into this discussion somewhere?

I have to go along with some others who commented on the spousal requirement for camera comfort. While I might think I am camera-comfortable, my wife has injected more than a bit of reality into my fantasy. She has been pretty liberal, but this week put the brakes on my plan to upgrade to a Canon 5D Mark IV. Do I need it? Nah, the 5D III is more than adequate. Do I want it? Gimme gimme gimme new toy.

And to be totally fair, she was ok with a succession of digital bodies and Canon lenses over the years. And a new Leica M7 and assorted lenses as I wanted to go back to film last year.

Even being comfortable with deciding you have the funding to afford what you may wish, there is the issue of "care and feeding" (C&F), especially with any complicated electronics. It seems that the various electronic gizmos in my life are always needing updates, charging, or are just plain going obsolete faster than I can spend any significant time with them.

I'm double-afflicted, since I have two hobbies, photography and ham radio. I guarantee you can spend much more on ham radio gear than photography gear, without half trying.

I've since added the C&F Rule to any new purchase consideration. It's saved me from accumulating any more 'stuff' that may just sit in the corner, balefully staring at me, wanting to know when I'm going to get "round tuit".

Totally off topic, but

"Or maybe it's just my Scots heritage showing."

made me think of this:

The 50 cent jar
So large
By heck
Even the Scotch
Now shave the neck

(Ducking and covering)

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