More than a Tool - Choosing a Camera

It's true that a great photographer can make beautiful images with a terrible camera. It's true that the quality of the lens will make more difference to an image than the quality of the camera body. It's true that the camera is just a tool.

But...

Sometimes you want a tool to just get out of the way. You don't want to be aware of the color renditions on your tv when you watch a new movie, you just want it to absorb you in the experience. Sometimes you just want a camera to do it's job and translate what you see into an image.

But...

I think there can, and should, be more.

Photography for me is as much about the experience of photographing as it is about the images themselves. It's never as simple as just turning a scene into a photo. You're making choices, what to include and exclude, where to stand, where to focus, how to focus...

It's a creative act and sometimes I want to be conscious of the camera's part of the experience. I want to enjoy the balance of it in my hand and the sound of the shutter release. I don't want it to be cold and clinical. I don't want it to be bland and generic either. I don't mind a few quirks. There's a pleasure in engaging with a well designed and crafted tool that might not be exactly perfect.

A new Toyota is a better car than an old classic Porsche. Safer, more reliable, more economical, more practical and quite possibly faster too. But the Porsche will entertain and delight, and yes, annoy and frustrate too. I know which I'd rather drive.

Sometimes you might just need the right tool to get the job done. But if you're creating art, or experimenting, or developing a personal project? It doesn't have to be an old product either to have charm and a little personality. There are still new products designed and built with care and their own unique character.

The best camera for you and I isn't necessarily the best camera, but it should be a pleasure to use and help you make images with character, regardless of sharpness and megapixels.

Perfection is not something I admire. A touch of confusion is a desirable ingredient.
— Saul Leiter
Trying out the Fuji X100F

Trying out the Fuji X100F

My first old Porsche, about 10 years ago cost much less to buy than the cheapest new car on sale at the time. Pretty reliable but it did like to drink...

My first old Porsche, about 10 years ago cost much less to buy than the cheapest new car on sale at the time. Pretty reliable but it did like to drink...