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Monday, 06 July 2020


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Sometimes I shop simply because I haven’t done it in a good long while and want to see what’s out there. It’s been a looong time since I’ve even considered vaporware but lately, after a few late night web searches, I find myself curious about the impending (alleged?) EOS R6 and RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS. I’ve been shooting with my beloved 6D for 7 years now but recently I find myself noticing other cameras on the street. It might be time for a younger, prettier model. Giggity!

Hmm…was that a virtue signal about generally having my gearhead tendencies under control? Is it even possible to relay a virtue signal using the word giggity? :-)

Reading reviews isn't shopping 😂👍.

The thing about "virtue signalling" is that the act of criticising it is itself virtue signalling, just for a different "virtue".

Damn! Why the hell did I ever sell that Kodak 2D? (Maybe the price per sheet of 8x10 film had something to do with it.)

I still have 2 Nikon F2's which work well even though they are 40 years old.
In 2013 I bought a Fuji X-Pro1 thinking that it should last a long while. It still works but I am now expected to up grade to X-Pro3 with hardly any real gains.
In 2015 I bought a Fuji X-T1 it is a great camera but according to Fuji and pundits I should up grade to an X-T4. Yes that is 4 models in about 7 years; so much for a consumer society.

It is tempting to up grade but will that improve my photographs? I very much doubt it. Surely camera software should be up dateable for a camera body life of at least 10 years.

use of Kodak D-23 is not quaint or old-fashioned for me. It's great for producing negatives to be scanned for use in my photo essays. Then again, maybe I'm quaint and old-fashion.

I try to own a camera that are better than I am. That makes it impossible (or at least difficult) to justify buying a new camera that is even more-better than I am -- what would be the point? And it gives me a reason to become a better photographer.

Well, I've often purchased something before I've even gotten out of bed. Today, not even half way through my first cup of coffee, and still under the covers, I pulled the trigger on an Olympus Tough TG6, partly because my TG4, a great little summer beach camera (http://edgartownnews.blogspot.com/2020/07/big-bridge.html) has been mostly co-opted by my six year-old grandson - he's actually quite good - and partly out of panic of not having the option to do so in the near future.

“Shopping” is not the problem. I mean c’mon, nearly since its invention photography has been a gadgeteer’s heaven! As I spent last summer helping catalogue an enormous collection of daguerreotypes I was absolutely astounded at the number of photographic product patents that had been filed just a few years after photography appeared commercially in America!

No, shopping for lenses and cameras is great fun! The problem is when your photography is driven almost solely by your tools. If you have more “test” images than “portfolio” images you have a problem. If you’re more usually searching for scenes that might best highlight a lens’s characteristics you have a problem. If you organize your images according to the camera and lenses you used to take them you have a problem. If you’ve been calling yourself a “photographer” for decades yet still have no coherent, contiguous bodies of work you have a problem.

There are an awful lot of cameras & lenses around here, so it would be reasonable to assume that I must have done lots of shopping......
Perhaps I did, but I don't remember much of it at all. I don't actually like shopping for anything all that much. But I do acquire things.
When I decide I want a new piece of gear, I buy it, and then get on with using the stuff Since 2007, I'v e bought 2 main cameras. A Canon 1DsIII when it came out in 07, and I added a 5D IV about 6 months after it was announced. In that whole time the only other cameras I bought were a Canon G7x , and an Olympus TG-6 tough/underwater camera.
But I do have lots of lenses, and I use most of them regularly.
Modern cameras are just SO good that anything you feel unable to do, is probably not the Camera or lens' fault.
I find that very comforting. Even mildly taunting in a way----"go out and look, something will be there' or 'why don't you go practice the thing you failed at last time' When I get something good, it's my doing, when I don't it's my failing. I like that.
Shopping for cameras, never made anyone better. I remind myself of that whenever I get restless.....

I suspect that most of us are in the same boat. These days, the more time I spend looking at photography equipment sites, the more likely I'm going to eventually hit "buy" on something I might not need. The purchases that especially bug me are software that I use once or twice and then abandon. Personal vaporware, and you can't turn around and sell it on Ebay. Things that help me avoid the shopping urge are, reading more, learning more, finding new tricks that my existing equipment and software can do, and actually getting out and shooting more, like I did this morning. It also helps when I start to save more, which sounds paradoxical, but when I have a little more in the bank account the urge to keep saving and avoid spending goes up.

There is at least one $900 lens I have my eye on, alas (what's worse is it's a focal length I already have, just "higher quality")

Such a different approach than mine, neither Right or Wrong

My way is strongly function oriented. Many of my photo friends in Oly OM days were deeply enamored with the OM-3, and then the OM-3Ti.

The 3Ti is a gorgeous camera, with a finish unlike anything else I've seen. And yet, they are cameras with no mirror lock-up or aperture pre-fire. Maitani's vision of the OM system is wonderful, but with a deep flaw in the aperture mechanism that introduces vibration with every shot.

The OM-4(T(i)) bodies were the first to fully address this problem. So I never had any interest in the OM-3s.

My basic questions all the time are: If I am happy using it and with the results. Second, whether there is a camera (or lens) that will allow me to to the photography I do more easily or better or will allow me to do photographic things I would like to do, but can't with present gear.

My Canon 5D lasted over five years as primary camera, for the simple reasons that I enjoyed using it and nothing else I could see met the improvement criterion. The 60D that followed it lasted a, grudging at the end, 15 months.

I'm always shopping, in a vague sense, in that I keep track of new bodies and lenses. I was very happy to put the 60D behind me when the E-M5 came along.

Just now, my GX9 bodies have pleased me for 1.5 years, and I see nothing on the horizon that looks better - for me.

Frugal me shopped for cameras a lot (Bel Air Camera was a frequent stop during lunch hour), but didn't find the camera body improvements significant enough to buy very often. Full frame 35mm film had higher resolution, camera metering was nice, aperture priority automation was huge, digital provided instant gratification, but always preferred manual focusing as being easier than fighting with the camera over where to focus, and finally electronic viewfinder magnification helped me to focus as my vision got worse with age.

So Mercury II half frame for me as a child c. 1955, Nikon F Photomic FTn in 1965 as a gift from my dad for college (my wife used her grandfather's Leica IIIf), EL Nikkormat for us in 1972 with aperture priority exposure used during our working years, Nikon D700 in 2008, and finally a Nikon Z6 in 2019 for easier magnified manual focusing. (And an iPhone also, of course.) Amazingly, still have every one of our cameras, and they all still work great without ever getting servicing.

Continue to be surprised at how infrequently major improvements that actually mattered to us happened, especially that the good enough EL Nikkormat (we eventually bought three of them) did everything that my wife and I wanted for almost 35 years. (With the exception of using a small Canon point and shoot camera while waiting for the full frame Nikon D700 to be invented, because I refused to go back to half frame just to go digital.)

Of course, in recent years when the film cameras became unwanted and ridiculously inexpensive, I indulged by buying several examples each of most of the film cameras I had skipped, but just for fun: Nikon F2, F3, F4, Hasselblad, Rolleiflex. And those temporarily unloved apochromatic Leica R lenses purchased at huge discounts when Leica dropped the R cameras, but converted to Nikon F mounts have been a joy.

My journey is different.

When I was younger by about three decades, I shopped more - having more disposable income - and became a user collector of old and new Leica (plus others) film gear and more enlarging lenses than I actually needed.

When digital came, I stopped buying film cameras but did not splurge on digital (I have only 3 digicams, all >3 years old) as much as I did with film (lost count). I did not chant the "film is dead" and jumped ship. And also, parting with Leica gear is painful and I don't know why.

Today, I am seeing a resurgence in types of film and so, dusting off my film gear, I'm back to using film again. One full circle.

Wait. Are you implying I’m a nut, too?

[No. --Mike]

Mike, stopping shopping? The reverse may be in the cards for awhile. I have heard the term "revenge shopping." People who felt depressed and confined during the Trump Virus shutdown go out and spend angrily to make up for those months that they could not shop (in person). They overbuy and then think they feel better.

Buy the very best and get rid of GAS. I got a Nikon D850 when it was having discount with free stuff and seem to be camera GAS free for now. Lenses are different story. How tasty are those Nikon PF glasses? :)

I always use your links to B&H and Amazon when shopping. Are you telling me not to buy anything more for three years?

[Sounds stupid, huh? But actually what I've always said is that you should always do what's best for you...it's just that IF you're going to buy something ANYWAY, then please buy it from one of TOP's affiliates. So there's actually no inconsistency. --Mike]

My personal approach to GAS is to buy well-established gear new, or used, at a big discount. I never buy the latest of anything. I find it easier to justify when I'm not just wasting money on the latest fashion. My best recent purchases were a new Lumix G85 and a refurb Fuji XF10 for a total of £500.

I have so much stuff that I don't use that I have decided to sell things first to fund the new things I want to buy.
What also helps is to force yourself to wait three months after you made your choice. In most cases you will change your mind.

I decided to look back on my shopping days to see if there was any trend or consistency. I'm gonna mostly confine it to my Digital days, beginning in 2002.

Living in the same region of Northern California since 1963, I was greatly influenced by the existence of a brick & mortar camera store where I bought my first Nikon F, probably in 1964. I used that until it's death on a river trip in late 60's. Then I had a Hasselblad 500C and 3 lenses as a graduation gift. After my long involvement in a redwoods conservation battle, ending in 1978, I must have taken a long break. I'm quite hazy regarding specific cameras used or acquired after that until 2002 when the digital files recorded all the camera & lens data.

Back to that store again, which remained in business until a year ago. With both Canon & Nikon gear available to look at and borrow over a weekend, it looks as though I was very prone to rapid change in gear.

2002 - Canon D60
2003 - Canon 10D
2004 - Hasselblad with Kodak 8MP back(way too heavy)
2005 - 07 Nikon D2X
2008 - Nikon D300
2009 - Nikon D300 replaced by Nikon D5000 (don't know why)
2010- 12 Nikon D5000 replaced briefly by 1st Fuji X-Pro 1 which was replaced by Olympus OM1-EM5
2013 - 14 Olympus (liked for ruggedness; sold for being too small)
2015 - 2020 2nd Fuji X-Pro 1 (inherited from deceased friend) and still in use
2020 - Panasonic 47MP S1R & 2 lenses (so far).

Clearly, the 1st decade of digital for me was represented by an endless parade of camera/system changes (but I never owned many lenses); by the end of 2012 to just a few weeks ago, I owned only 2 cameras, the Olympus and then the 2nd Fuji, which I will not sell but may update with a small 26MP version like an XT-30 for example.

The Panasonic was funded in a grant for use in a special project and is wonderful so far. But I bet I will eventually fall back to the smallest possible Fuji as my last gasp in photography!

I was recently given an OM-D that I didn't much care for at the time (I already have a bunch of perfectly usable cameras) but it's become my standard 'walkabout' camera.

Aside from that, my main camera is a Sony A900 from 2012 which still takes great pictures (although the eyepiece cup was lost in a Croatian lake and the motor in the 70-300G lens packed in a few years ago) and an Ebony 5x4 from 2006. I'm considering replacing the A900 with a Sony mirrorless but I've been considering that for the last four years. The Ebony is a thing of beauty which will almost certainly outlast me plus they aren't made any more.

GAS is a state of mind and, as such, can easily be cured. You just have to learn to be content with what you have. Perhaps that's easier for someone approaching 60, like me, to say than for a younger person but with age comes the realisation that possessions do not bring happiness and that the treadmill of continual updating just leads to more waste.

"But there have been a number of false starts, when I bought something and just didn't like it once I started to use it."

Now that I can sympathise with!

If only camera makers didn't make cameras that you fall out of love with. The Olympus Pen E-P1 comes to mind.

Well, for me it's a bit relieving to sell old, unused stuff. On the other side, buyig stuff, no matter what is it, bores me. Don't know how I got there. After all, I still take photos with a camera.

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