gear

On Camera Resale Value

Higher Education

Chris Gampat at the Phoblographer breaks down the resale value of the major camera brands, both film and digital.

It’s such a strange way to think about buying a camera.

If I’m going to make an investment in a camera or lenses, I’m going to think about the lifespan of the equipment and how much work I can get done with it. Resale value doesn’t enter into the do-I-buy-it equation at all.

For me, I’d rather have a well-used camera that helps me make photographs than worry about selling it down the road.


Change of Pace

Ann Arbor, MI

John Carey at 50 Foot Shadows, after his X-Pro broke, picked up a classic Canon 5D after a long absence.

Funny thing happened in that, I found myself inspired by the change of pace. The original 5D has such a beautiful sensor, it’s like changing film. While I miss flexibility in ISO and dynamic range the photos I get from the 5D are moody, colorful, contrasty, they really have a life of their own, in fact, as some of you already know, the camera defined my style 10+ years ago when I started to shoot with it.

Carey took a look back to when he first put down his 5D. His feeling then matches my own now: “This is a still photo camera. There is no shame in that.”

No shame, indeed. In fact, I see it as a point of pride. When you want to take pictures, you pick up a picture-taking machine.


New Camera Strap

Gordy Camera Strap

Maybe it’s waking up out of winter, or maybe it’s just a little more sunshine affecting my brain – but I recently splurged on some photography gear.

This year, to kick off my project, I treated myself to a new camera strap from Gordy’s. It’s not going to make my photos better, and it’s not one of those $100 artisan leather products that get all the reviews. It’s a simple leather strap that holds my Canonet around my neck. And it’s dark brown, with red and burgundy accents.

It’s half fashion, half pragmatism. My old strap was a simple nylon affair, thin and unassuming. It did the job, sure, but not well, and it wouldn’t win any beauty contests. With this new leather strap, at least I feel like human beings made it with attention and care.

I also have this thing where all my camera straps need to be brown. Whatever.

Gordy’s does this nice thing where they feature photographers’ cameras on their photo gallery. A nice way to show off gear, and their product. They have a great Instagram account, too.


On Compact, Fixed-Lens Cameras

Canon Canonet

Leave it to Eric Kim to beat me to a post I’ve been mulling over for months:

There is no perfect or ideal lens or focal length out there. Rather, it is about finding the lens or focal length which fits 80% of your needs. Psychologists call this “satisficing” (a mix between satisfying and sufficing). Rather than aiming for “perfect”, you aim for “good enough.” And by aiming for “good enough”, you are a lot happier and and satisfied than people who are “maximizers” and aim for “perfection.”

When I buy a Mac, I always go for the consumer, mid-range version. I bought an iBook, the consumer-grade notebook, and now I buy iMacs, the consumer-grade desktop. It’s nice to have a pro machine, but the combo of size, price, and capabilities make the mid-range Macs my go-to computers.

So it’s going to be with me and cameras. My Canon EOS M, the Canonet, the Olympus Trip 35, even the Fuji X100 I rented for a week – these are all consumer grade, small size, fixed lens (the 22mm never leaves my M) cameras, and they’re my favorite to take with me when I’m looking for ease of use and image quality.

Even with my Fuji X-E1, the 27mm pancake lens never left the front of that camera, and it was – in spirit – a fixed-lens compact camera, perfect for traveling.

As Kim says, these kinds of cameras (Sony makes one, as does Leica, Canon maybe be working on a full frame version, etc.) are good enough for most needs. Need to get closer? Move closer. Need a wider angle? Buy a 28mm version. For most people, 28-40mm is good enough for most situations, and most of the film compact cameras came with a 40-ish lens for a reason.

Also, you just can’t beat the size and portability. It’s the throw-it-in-the-front-seat-of-your-car situation: is the camera small enough to take with you on most daily commutes and travel? Will it fit in your commuter bag or purse? Is it unobtrusive, and is it easy to carry around?

Just as important: is it fun to use?

For these smaller, fixed-lens cameras, the answer is almost always “yes.”


Floppy Disk Cameras

I’m totally a sucker for this kind of stuff.

In college, our newspaper had a few staff photographers. If we writers had to take the photo, though, we brought along an old Kodak DC digital camera that used floppy disks. You could only take five or six photos, and the quality was crap, but they were dummy proof.

Man – 640 by 480 pixels!

(via PetaPixel)


More Canon 5D Love

Hidden Corners - Ann Arbor, MI

From Tom W:

You Don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great image. If your main hope is for fantastic image quality outdoors and if your willing to settle for lower dynamic range or high ISO performance there are a number of fantastic choices for photographers looking to start out in the world of full frame cameras.

A modern classic indeed. Everything old is new again.

(Via Robert-Paul Jansen.)


Shopping Season

Shopping Season

This time each year, all the major camera and lens companies put their products on sale, along with the rest of our consumerist-crazy world. You can get some seriously great deals from Thanksgiving to the new year.

Rebates, bundles, sales – if you’ve waited all year, and you’ve been a good boy or girl, now is the time to grab your gear.

Six years ago, it’s exactly what I did. I bought an older-model Canon Rebel T1i with a lens bundle, and it changed my life. Here I am today, a hobbyist photographer, because I jumped on a great deal during the holidays.

Here’s a tip to help you feel better about your purchases: If you shop through Amazon, use their AmazonSmile program to help your shopping dollars give back to a charity or cause you care about (my dollars support our local nature center). Or shop through the affiliate links of an artist you enjoy.

Give back to others, and those in need. And then be good to yourself, if you really mean it.


Have Realistic Expectations

So the next time you buy that new camera— have realistic expectations. It will be good, but it won’t completely transform your photography nor solve your life’s problems. Try not to be too excited with your new gear— as you will eventually get used to it.

10 Practical Tips to Fight G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) by Eric Kim

What I like about Eric Kim is that he suffers from the afflictions he writes about, which makes him more real and honest to me.

But his advice – that buying new camera gear won’t make you better or happier – is spot on.

I admit that a Canon EF 135mm f/2 lens has been on my wish list since I rented it this summer for a wedding. So is the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4. So is a Canon EF 100mm macro lens. So is…

But you know what? I’m not a professional photographer, and I don’t need any of those lenses. I use a classic Canon 5D. I carry a EOS M, first gen, around. None of my lenses are Canon L lenses. And all of that is fine.

A lot of photographers struggle with this, and this frame of mind is easy to find on photography blogs. The challenge is not to let gear reviews and photo websites get the best of you.

My latest method? Using adaptors to try out my manual focus film lenses on different cameras. It’s a way to get a lot of mileage out of the gear I already have. Just repurposed. More on that later.

And for you non-photographers out there, pay attention. You think you need the big fancy camera with the telephoto lens? You probably don’t.

Not yet.