Glen Charles posted ...

Why I am not buying any more cameras

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Why I am not buying any more cameras

Category: General Discussion

Posted: 11-6-15 6:07 PM - Views: 2428

By: Glen Charles

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I wonder if some of you are as fed up as I am, with the proliferation of cameras that just don't seem to make better pictures ?
I have 14 digital cameras dating from 2002, all can make good pictures. Average cost of the cameras in 2015 dollars is $1,000. If I include all the Leica glass, I have bought, I guess I have spent over $20,000 on cameras, so far. And I think that enough is enough. I don't want to part with any of them because they represented the best technology of their time. In fact I can't put any of them on the shelf because just handling them brings back happy memories. The other week I made some pictures with the first digital camera I bought in the UK - a Toshiba PD-MR70, a 3.3 MP camera with Leitz vario-Summicron f2.0 - 2.5 with a proprietary Toshiba 1/1.7 sensor. The camera is so nice to shoot with, and so simple to use. It has almost the same feeling as my old M-6.
The latest cameras are a family of SONY NEX-5's which couple to just about any lens made by man. With its small APS-C sensor all the old lenses work well, Pentax, Nikon, CSV, Leica and so on. There is no subject they can't handle. The body balances perfectly with my favorite lenses, in fact the lenses seem to be supporting the body, and if you grip the lens you can swing the camera around comfortably.

I recently spent an hour in the SONY store in Florida and tried out every product. Nothing handled better and nothing was simpler to use. In fact the more recent the camera the harder it was to get it set up right.
In frustration with this nonsense, I went back to the M-6 for a while.
But I am hooked on digital manipulation of images, and it doesn't matter what I use to shoot the picture as the end result is often not going to look like the scene.
So, I set up each camera for specific purposes and now I just have to grab the right camera for the subject. No swapping lenses, no camera adjustments. Each camera is set up ahead of time for a particular mood I am after. Now, I no longer feel that any of them is obsolete. I just pick up the camera focus and shoot. Oh happy day if were that simple! Every camera uses different batteries and has to have a specific charger, so the batteries are always being charged, and I have to carry all these wires and things wherever I go - the wires take up more space in the suitcase than the cameras.
I am looking wistfully again at the M-6 with its 28mm Summi attached and external 28mm finder.

What can any manufacturer offer that makes better pictures?
As I scan the LI site for great pictures, I see no correlation between camera technology and picture impact. In fact I see an almost reverse relationship. Some photographers seem to wring miracles from older hardware. I have been writing about the factors that make good pictures for many years, and I can say for certain that new "advances" in camera design are not helping to make better pictures.
Humans blur the pictures, and whatever technical differences can be measured in the lab can't be demonstrated in real life photography.

So, I am not going to buy any more cameras. If I can't make a good picture with a 10 year old camera, then I might as well take up knitting!

What do you think?

Replies ...

Reply Nr.10 from Leica Images on 09-7-21 7:41 AM

Well, so much for not buying anything. Sold the Q2. Picked up an M10 and am waiting on a Sony A6600.

Reply Nr.9 from Jerry on 07-27-21 9:14 PM

Finally, somebody else who has come to an understanding about making images and the tools involved in the process. I reached the same conclusion years ago. I pretty much have abandon the pixel chase. Over the years I have found that the simpler the camera is, the more I can concentrate on the subject matter. Some one once said that the best way to learn photography is to take one camera and one lens,  and use that combination for several months. I confess to being an old school photographer. And I find the new technology has freed me from the darkroom.  I enjoy the digital image, and the ones I like the most come from the simplest, most direct approach is to make the best image in camera and limit the amount of post processing. I'm sure that is the preferred method for a lot of photographers. I learned the real reason for a making a photo was when I used a brown KODAK box camera to take a picture of my father in 1953. He passed two years later. I carry that photo in my billfold to this day. Never pass up a chance to make a good/great photo. Good luck, best wishes to all of you. An old camerabum.


Reply Nr.8 from Leica Images on 07-11-21 9:17 PM

Asb of today, I only have a Q2, a Nikon F6 and my Samsung Cell Phone camera. I may, just may pickup a Sony or Nikon to go digital beyond 28mm thatthe Q2 limits me too. Other than that. I'm set.

Also, I bet if camera makers just put out new cameras every 5 years or so, the market would be more stable. It is quite silly that its a race to see who puts out the next camera.

Reply Nr.7 from Bill Schneider on 07-11-21 2:38 PM

I've kind of settled on using the x-vario and a vl-114. I'm finding I can get the images I want if I do my part and think about the cameras qualities and limitations. Buying the next great camera is an endless venture I care to avoid.

Reply Nr.6 from Terry Clair on 03-13-16 10:05 AM

Loved you post Glen and I agree. I have been in the "find the perfect camera" rut for years. ( All of the camera manufactures can thank me later! ) I have several cameras from 1" senors to full frame and I love/hate them all. Leica has come the closest for me, as a still photographer, to being perfect in it's operational simplicity. But being involved in electronics all of my life I really love the technology and have been a die hard Panasonic fan. The DMC-L1 with it's wonderful Leica zoom lens, which I still use, was my first Panasonic but far from my last. Cameras like the Fuji S2 Pro and Olympus E-1 were amazing to use and are still on my shelf and still work well. I even find that with the latest processing software the results are even better. I still think that at low ISOs that the CCD sensors are hard to beat. For me the M43 cameras make a lot of sense. I can pick any lens I have and the appropriate adapter and produce a photograph. Of course I then spend hours on the computer making a final image which is so modified from the original image it could have been taken with any camera??? Saying that I will probably go on collecting cameras as new technology emerges just for my personal interest. The new Panasonic GX8 sure looks nice reminds me of my DMC-L1.
I guess what I am saying is what ever camera fits your hands and the operation doesn't get in the way of making the image you want then you have your best camera.

Reply Nr.5 from Ced Muscat on 02-4-16 12:56 PM

Glenn we are after all just mortals.
Have you not looked into what fishermen carry to the water's edge?
Every conceivable gadget that they have forked out good money for, thinking that would bring home the prize fish of their lives...
Well we photo mob are just the same.
You are right the best camera is the one you know, so let's get on and be happy with them.
Enjoy using them to get us out & about into the fresh air & do what we love.
Happy picture hunting.
Reply Nr.4 from Lilia Binder on 01-18-16 8:47 PM

Thanks to all of you for your comments as it inspired me to buy a Nex 5 or 5n (or another model that I can't remember). Am hoping you can advise which to buy as I have a drawer full of lovely Leica lenses which I normally attach to my Fuji body & adapter. (Tried Leica but it was too heavy).
Living in Manhattan I walk everywhere, but with serious full spinal instrumentation some years ago, I have to be extra careful about weight.
Appreciate your feedback.
Kind regards,
Reply Nr.3 from Chris Frangoulidis on 12-8-15 1:27 PM

Yes. I fully agree with Glenn. Cameras are getting all the more complicated, and full of buttons, especially where the palm of the hand should have a secure grip. I find it most annoying to try to shoot with one hand, and have the settings change because of the squeeze of my grip (vid.X-Vario). Try switching from colour to black and white. With most cameras you will miss the shot. It seems that these cameras are not developed by photographers but by technicians and marketing people. Only the M's hold their own tradition. Konost seems to be a promise. But remember, some of the best photos were produced with a 50 mm standard lens. Only.
Reply Nr.2 from Ron on 11-25-15 5:33 PM

I understand what you mean, Glen. I was recently looking for "portability" and after reading some rave reviews and swayed by very convincing salespeople, I bought a Sony RX100 iii with its 1" sensor and seemingly endless features and settings. It's a nice very high-tech camera yet still just a lens/sensor/viewfinder hooked to a computer at the end of the day.
Reply Nr.1 from Gip Young on 11-12-15 4:35 PM

Enjoyed your post Glenn. The old DMC-1 is my favorite cameras. The images are as good as the new systems,which I agree is surprising after ten years. Most of the research dollars I am sure have gone into cell phone sensors. I shoot my little Pentax frequently, for the 4.5 crop and its very tight pixel pitch. But it is a pain to focus and feels like a box of animal crackers. Leave the M-6 on the self and keep snapping with the Nex-5. After shooting my other newer cameras I am always amazed how good the nex-5 feels. Don't see anything out there that excites me. Hopefully we will live long enough to see a must have camera.

Cheers Gip
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