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Wednesday, 24 March 2021


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In a thread on The Pentax Forums, several of us have been saying the same thing over the last few days. The really compelling/necessary reasons to upgrade during the first decade of the digital revolution have largely vanished now for stills work---an excellent 2014 camera is still excellent. It seems to me the more interesting and significant advances are in video right now. I'd say digital medium format, too, except that a) it's a niche, and b) cameras like the 645Z and the first Fuji's are still incredible stills machines, and it's now a "generation" behind (looked at in one way, which I don't).

Change for the sake of change. Despite digital investment I much prefer shooting B&W film in different formats. I purchased a beautiful Wisner 4x5 technical field that was to replace my old Toyo 45F.
The Wisner is art work to look at, so nice it belongs more as a display piece than a working camera. But I took it out and found the movements to be frustrating to operate and despite the quality not as smooth as the all metal, precision Toyo. Solution? I put a bright screen on the Toyo and will sell the Wisner and hopefully get back close to what I paid for it. Lesson learned? Maybe.

The Leica M3 vs. M6 thing is not quite the same and an early generation digital camera vs. a more modern model.

The film cameras were just light tight containers for film. The film was the sensor and processor and could be inserted into a 40 year old model or the latest one. Digital imaging keeps evolving and at least on-paper renders what came before at a minimum dated, at worse obsolete.

That said, my only full frame digital is a Nikon D700 which gives me images that look great. It is probably 5 generations behind the current sensors, but I can't see upgrading. I'm also using older Fujifilm cameras, with no intention of tossing for the newer ones.

I refuse to a be a follow on beta tester for the newest thing. After the bugs are worked out, and it is about to be replaced is the time to buy.

You only know this now? Is not clear from your post if you just realise it now or if you just decide to write about it now. I am sorry but like many people (like me) you are probably an addict, and your addiction is newness.

The new gadget case is particularly nasty because it turns into useless complexity: when it is no longer usefully possible to make a machine better, then to get people to buy a new machine you either make it better in a useless way (very small number of peoples need a camera with a billion pixels), or you add complications to it. These complications do not make it better, just more complicated. And your brain is not getting bigger so soon you no longer understand the machine you are using as it is too complicated.

But new gadgets are not the only newness you can be addicted to. I am mathematician: I work with paper and pen (well, and sometimes LaTeX to type papers, but that is typing what I know already, the work is paper and pen). Well, paper is just paper and pens are just pens ... except no, you can always want a better, nicer, pen which will help you think better (but it won't), and nicer, better paper which ... also will not help at all.

And I am guitarist, and the sort of music I play really uses guitars which stopped changing in the 1960s, and aplification & FX which stopped not long after that. I do not need more strings or more knobs or more volume (usually less volume) or more ... anything. But ... I think I need better wood, or an older guitar, or a lighter guitar or a thinner guitar, or a guitar owned by a famous person.

And so we enlessly seek the newness to which we are addicted and which will prevent us achieving anything good.

(And, just to keep us hooked, the newness is sometimes good newness. I am not very big but for a long time I have played a thick guitar (Gibson ES-175). Now, because of newness-craving I have a thinner (and lighter) one (Heritage H-575) and, well, it is just much easier and it is also much better than my loved 175 though I do not admit this in company. And so because it worked now my addiction looks for other guitars again, or will do soon.)

The condition is commonly known, in photo circles at least, as GAS.

Need gets overridden by want all the time. We like new toys, it seems.

I had an interesting email exchange with a friend about purchasing a new car, which was prompted by my having made my last car payment on my current car 2 weeks ago. He had reached the same milestone in 2017. He felt the pull to buy a new car at that time even though he still liked his car, in fact still does to this day. But he knew that the longer he lived without having to make a monthly loan payment, the more he would resist doing so. I know how he feels now and it has only been 2 weeks.

I don’t know why that mouse is incompatible with the Mac but if it’s the buttons one can find out which number each is by trial and error and assign them in MacOS.

Is this because shopping (for non-essentials such as food) now seems to be a leisure activity? And when did that happen?

I purchased my Canon 40D in Sept, 2007. It was the first 40D delivered at the Calumet store in Santa Ana, California. It replaced my Canon 20D. I still have it. I used it for both advertising and editorial work, plus personal motorsports and surfing shots.

Eight megapixels (20D) is overkill for either the printed page or 5K screens—the 40D's ten megapixels is more than sufficient. I'm not a spendthrift, therefore I've no reason to update.

Obtaining and displaying the latest and greatest proclaims one's economic chops, producing a superior work from modest means testifies to one's creative chops.

Nothing wrong with the pursuit of perfection, long as you realize it's often more an ideal, than a permanently sustainable reality.

Kitchen gear is an interesting place to compare male / female acquisition patterns (if you can sort out who actually wanted pieces found in a shared kitchen).

Maybe it's just because ads are now very individually targeted, but the kitchen equipment ads that I see feel to me aimed at men.

Could be as simple as a tradition that men are allowed to bleed (at arterial levels) into their hobbies, and women are not (American 20th century culture, generalization and of course not universally true).

But I still look at the Misen ads Facebook serves me a bit wistfully.

But, personally, I'm on my third new kitchen knife after about a 35-year hiatus, and the first was my first ceramic blade, the second was an unsatisfactory replacement when the tip on the first one broke, and the third is a satisfactory replacement :-) . And we have a new Instantpot, but it replaces a 40-year-old rice cooker, a 30-year-old pressure cooker, and two more recent (maybe only a decade!) slow cookers. (Really; the old appliances, which worked fine, have already gone to Goodwill.) And I've already used it more than I ever used the slow cookers, and I hadn't used the pressure cooker in decades, and it's not quite as nice as the old Panasonic rice cooker but it's good enough (as expected).

For a long time, Windows machines were simply better than Apples for work purposes. There was more software, the software was more advanced, there was a great variety of available keyboards, etc. Eventually, Apple caught up. In terms of both hardware and software, it became sufficient, though it never had the wide flexibility of PCs. But the operating system: glorious. For people who simply wanted to work on a computer, it really greatly surpassed (IMHO) the confusing Windows systems. And (IMHO) the early 27-inch iMacs were close to perfect. They were the 747 of computers. But Apple then had to screw with them, and they have become less and less perfect as they've gotten thinner and sleeker. The early iMac had a built in CD player, for example, so you could pop in your favorite album and listen to some tunes while you worked. Now, a CD player is a plug-in accessory that sucks up one of your few USB slots and clutters up your desk. Apple then began this process of almost annual OS upgrades, which means you've always got some sort of software problem. I depend on my computer for work, and Word for Mac is no longer compatible with Microsoft's PC versions (in some minor but absolutely maddening ways) and Word is the standard software in the publishing industry in which I work. After messing with Windows 10 in a Best Buy store, I reluctantly decided I could live with it, and ordered a Lenovo iMac look-alike that will probably become my work machine. I still like the Apple OS better than Windows, but I can't live with Apple's constant screwing around and chasing after fashion. Bottom line: The upgrades made me downgrade.

I think I’m at that point with my Fuji X-T2. I’ve had it over 4 years now and despite the temptations of the Nikon Z system (in part nostalgia: my first ‘real’ camera was a D70 and I loved it), I can’t honestly justify upgrading to an X-T4. About the most I can convince myself is acceptable is something like a Ricoh GRIII, since it’s different enough from my main camera that is fills a functional gap. Even then, I have the Fuji 27mm pancake, so do I reeeeally need the Ricoh?

Early Digital Cameras were amazing in concept , and allowed us to glimpse the promise of a digital workflow. In execution they fell a little or a lot short. For a decade, there were real reasons to upgrade---newer cameras, really were enough better to make a practical difference.
We formed some 'bad' habits. "Gear' got more attention than pictures.
Camera makers made great stuff and 'got fat' while expecting the bubble to last.
Now, cameras are so good , that it is really difficult to think of any technical deficiencies that we wish to be corrected in 'Next year's Model'
We are much closer to Pictures taking precedence again, where we mostly don't care about the gear.
That doesn't mean we don't appreciate it, or enjoy it, but cameras go back to being tools, and like tools good ones last a long time.

So I would say, it's nothing to stress about, go make pictures with whatever camera feels comfortable.

Well, I can say nothing to this but I bought that lens with the express idea of it being the perfect size, weather sealed, etc...

But as I sold it to you, ya see how that went!:)

The Fuji 35 1.4 is slower to focus, less weather resistant, and bigger, and I just like it better. Shooting that on my old XT-1 is just fun. The 16 1.4 on the XH-1 is just the same.

To "albert w erickson", the quote "Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants." is from Epictetus. My trusty old Nikon D750 is almost six years old now but, when I look at the latest and greatest new cameras, I don't see enough new features to make me consider buying it.

I like to downgrade these days. I like older cameras. Dinosaurs like me. With optical viewfinders instead of video screens, eye-size video screens. I like old Nikons and old Nikon autofocus lenses. With the screwdriver type AF. I also like the old manual lenses but my old eyes can't focus crap anymore so let the camera do it. I like the D700 more than the D800 or D810. Never tried the D850. Never had any interest in the Z series.

The problem is, I'm buying too many old cameras and old lenses. This is as bad as upgrading all the time! I keep buying bigger bags but they're harder to carry--D700s are heavy.

For relief from carrying all that ancient technology, I have my Fujis. I love the little Fujicron lenses. I love their size and weight and speed. I love their image quality as well. Of course I use them on my old X-Pro2 bodies. Because I like the older bodies better than the newer X-Pro.

I have no intentions to upgrade my X-T3 any time soon. I would certainly consider a smaller companion camera (ideally a new version of the X70) but I don't need a "better" camera to replace my current one.

I'm also perfectly happy with my Samsung Galaxy S8+ first released in 2017, though perhaps I wouldn't be if I used it more as a photography tool, which I don't.

You mentioned Henry Wessel and Michael Kenna. I suspect that they didn't/don't buy new cameras for a simple reason; They had pictures to make, and their cameras had become 'invisible' to them. That is, they could think about their pictures, and make them, without having to think about their cameras.
Getting lost in 'menu hell', or wondering if a new lens might have 2 more lp/mm in the corners wide-open than the current model, are not ways to help you make better pictures.

Great thoughts. I had been thinking some on this recently when the X-E4 was announced. My first step into the mirrorless market was a three-year-old Fuji X-E2. Though I loved the images, I hated the backwards step in video capabilities and losing some of the function I was used to with my old Canon gear. When the X-E3 came out, I saw that nearly all my misgivings when I purchased the X-E2 were resolved (including having a capable video camera when needed).

I was nervous about how I'd feel when the X-E4 was announced, but after I read about it and all the decisions they made with it, I felt...content. I realized that if my X-E3 were to die today, I'd go out and buy another X-E3. There is nothing about the new generation that calls to me except that that it is new. That's a nice feeling.

Mike, what is the make and model of the chef's knife that you like so much?

[It is a Zwilling J.A. Henckels Germany *****FIVE STAR 8" chef's knife.

It's this one, with the contoured handle:


I think I got mine on closeout, and now the price has gone the other way if the ones available on Amazon are representative. --Mike]

I bought an Olympus E-M5 II several years ago to use for work. After a scare with a corrupt memory card almost lost half a day's work, I "upgraded" to an E-M1 II for its dual card slots.
I sold the E-M5 II to fund the purchase, but I later missed the look and feel of it, so I bought a second one as a "backup body," but when I never needed that backup, and the job wrapped up, I couldn't justify keeping it so I sold it.
I still found myself looking longingly at photos of it online, reminiscing about it, until one day two justifications came together at once: I decided some of my smaller primes looked ridiculous on the E-M1 II, and although the Pen F seemed like a good body for them, the E-M5 II was just better in many ways for me, and I came across an eBay listing for a reasonably-priced Limited Edition E-M5 II that is in a colour reminiscent of the OM-3 Ti. That sealed the deal. I bought my third E-M5 II, knowing that its status as a "collectible" would help justify finally hanging on to this one forever.

I think it was byThom who said somewhere in the late 00's essentially "if you're not making good photos with the digital cameras you own, it's not the camera"

I've taken that to heart and while I'd like to upgrade, I still use my D300 with various lenses that are all at least 10 years old.

But, I have shot much more with my cell phone, and that's likely to continue. And the lens improvements there have been the biggest change.

I can't remember where I came across the story - maybe in Paul Auster's lovely anthology of True Tales - but I liked the old guy dragged unwillingly shopping for a new hat. Unhappy with everything... suddenly, unexpectedly, he finds the perfect one. His wife soon crushes that triumph: "it's your own old hat, that you left on the counter!"

The thing that is a priceless commodity is the time to use the kit that you have. If you have to earn a living in a 'proper job' to pay the bills then the temptation is to long to be photographing all the time.

If you earn a living as a pro photographer, having enough time and energy for personal work is so precious. Sadly, many pros find the enthusiasm for their own photography dims and declines after the working day is done and some of them rarely pick up a camera other than to satisfy a client.

The more kit you have, then the more time you have to spend organising it all and agonising what to take out with you when you are free to photograph at will.

Hey, don't let me put you off, but sometimes 'less is more' is a good adage to work with. And not just in picture content. ;-)

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