Now that the football season is over (soccer to you godless heathens) I now have mornings to myself to get some shooting in. So I snuck off the Meadowlark Gardens just as it opened and paid my $5 entrance fee and in I went. I just wanted to wander and not worry about shooting anything with a purpose so I just had my Panasonic GX7 along with 3 lenses, the 45mm 1.8 (90mm eq), 12mm 2.0 (24mm eq) and the 60mm 2.8 Macro (12omm eq) with me. Sounds like a lot but considering I can bring an arsenal with me of cameras and lenses this all fit in my tiny Domke bag.
Normally I’m really lazy about switching lenses but considering I am planning an extended adventure later this year and not really wanting to take my arsenal with me I figured I might as well train myself that lens switching isn’t evil and as I crested the hill I saw this magnificent view and knew I had to put the 12mm on. Happy I did.
Just ran it through a couple filters. Was going to do a few layer masks but was happy with the green and blues really coming out. Then did a few more tweaks and was happy with it all. It’s not HDR which is what I have been doing most of my landscapes in but I really like the color and the contrasts.
I just have had an itch to do some architectural photography lately so I went out and did some shooting. Changed it up and used my Panasonic GX7 and the Olympus 45mm (90mm eq) to get tighter shots. It’s not a lens I use a lot for walking around but sometimes you don’t want wide, but a more compressed shot. Pleased with the results so far.
I had my Panasonic GX7 and the Olympus 45mm (90mm eq) on the camera and saw these on two different days. I haven’t shot much flowers lately so I figured why not. It’s a whole lot easier editing flowers then HDR photos. Some slider changes and a quick Photoshop Action and I was done.
None of these images has anything to do with this topic. They just happened to be the last images shot with gear I have just sold. Other than that they have no bearing what-so-ever on what I am about to write about. I also got to use enema in a title. Very excited by that.
I am fresh home from Ace Photo which is my local camera shop. I had made the decision to give myself a photo gear enema. To be blunt, I have way too much gear on hand and it was time to let it go. Clear the system out so to speak.
The list of gear was 2 Olympus EM5’s, 1 Panasonic G5, 1 Panasonic 7-11mm, and a Nikon 55mm 1.2. I also had 3 grips for the EM5’s as well. The images in this piece were shot on the G5 and the Nikon 55.
One EM5 was my first Olympus camera after shooting Panasonic for awhile. I had moved away from Olympus because it was stuck at 12mp on the sensor and the Panasonic had a 16mp chip. It made a difference at the time. When the EM5 came out I sold my Panasonic gear and got the EM5. It made me happy. That camera has had some serious adventures in its life. It really had survived one night in Bangkok (well really more) and a few other interesting places. The guys at Ace Photo were laughing at its condition because it was “well loved”. I pointed out that the dust and dings on it add value considering the places it has been and the images it has captured. Sadly they pointed out that cameras can’t tell stories. It served its time well and each ding on that body attests to its adventures. I hope it finds a nice home with someone with a wild streak that goes on “adventures” once a year or so and relives the memories the rest of the time. The Bilbo Baggins of camera owners.
The other EM5 was used for concert shoots so I didn’t have to switch lenses as often. It made sense at the time because the Panasonic G5 I purchased for that purpose sucked at concert photography. So I now had 2 Olympus EM5’s and a Panasonic G5. Then I acquired a Panasonic G7 which made the G5 useless except for when I would put manual lenses on it because it was nearest to shooting an old school camera as it didn’t have image stabilization or focus peaking.
So I had all these cameras and I mainly shoot with a Olympus EM1. I have the most excellent 12-40mm 2.8 Pro lens and I ordered the 40-150mm 2.8 Pro lens this week. Reality is these two lenses is and are going to be my bread and butter in personal stuff and paid. It made sense to get another EM1.
Sure the new EM5MK2 is out but it didn’t impress me. Sure it can do that 40mp uber resolution crap; thats it nothing moves and you have the tripod bolted to the Earth’s core. Oh, and it flips out the LCD now. I gave it a big meh. The EM1 is shaped like a DSLR. With a nice grip! Yes, I moved to micro 4/3 gear because of weight but mirrorless camera makers love to eschew gripping points for coolness. Sorry, I’ll take uncool DSLR look that weighs less then a full sized DSLR and I can actually hold on to it. Sadly the camera hipsters will never give me a fedora so I can shoot Lomography stuff and be cool. I’ll take functional over fashionable.
The lenses I sold were also not in use. I used the Nikon 55mm 1.2 but it was never seriously. It was nice to brag I had a 1.2 lens but mostly pointless. I bought it on a whim and sold it equally as fast on a whim. Admittedly the camera nerds even at the store were cooing over it but we all knew sexy but ultimately useless. Like most Playboy Playmates.
The Panasonic 7-14 was the real value on the trade. It’s a wanted lens. Its cool at first then quickly goes into the bag to collect dust until that 1 or 2 times a year you drag it out. There was dust on it from nearly a year of non-use. I bought it by accident on eBay. I bid thinking I would be sniped at the last minute. Wrong! So when it came time to look at stuff for sale it was quickly put into the sale pile. I just don’t use it.
So why am I rambling on about all this and writing a long piece on what would make a lot of people have gear envy? Hoping it hits home to fellow photographers that sometimes we have too much crap. You need to give yourself a gear enema and focus on what you need versus what you think you need or want. Look at it and stop thinking maybe I need it or “HOLY CRAP I WANT”. Odds are you don’t.
Growth as a photographer isn’t from gear. I look at my images from a years ago which I have published recently. I don’t even own 90% of it anymore. I know for a fact that the cameras were irrelevant. I didn’t need to spend the money on the stuff. I could have equally used what I was using before I convinced myself that I need that shiny new piece of equipment.
So give yourself a gear enema. Use the money to buy something you will use and need. Even better; pocket the money and save it for something else or spend it on education. Want to be a better photographer; take some classes. You will be better served by doing that then you ever will be from buying another piece of gear.
PS – Damn those Sony A7R’s are nice! Kidding! Mostly.
Still don’t feel like launching into a series yet so I figured I pull out some stuff that never saw the light of day. Both of these were shot with the Panasonic LX7. The LX7 had an interesting feature where you could change the crop on fly with a twist of a dial. So the one image was done in a 1:1 and the other was left in standard 4:3.
I don’t often write much on this site except a paragraph or two. I mostly focus on the images and let them talk for me. I write enough at work and for other projects that pontification here seems redundant.
With that out of the way I am going to talk about why I sold my Fuji X100S.
First off I want to say I don’t have anything negative to say about the camera. If you are a Fuji user then by all means go forth and shoot. The images coming out of the sensors in Fuji cameras has been liberally sprinkled with unicorn tears and pixie dust. They are gorgeous and I really wish the other camera manufacturers took the time to do a bit more with the sensor other then shove megapixels at them. Yet, there is more to a camera then the images that are produced on it. If it was all about sensors we be shooting on Sigma Foveon sensors.
There is something that as a photographer, you feel the need to be connected to the camera you are using. I’m not going to get all romantic about it. It’s just a fact. You can read David Hobby and Zack Arrias about their love of Fuji and their connections to their Fuji cameras. Me personally I didn’t connect.
Let me get the physical out of the way on the camera. The Fuji X100S was a gorgeous camera. It’s the first camera I ever owned where random people stopped me and asked if it was a classic film camera. When they were told no, they wanted to look at it closer and marvel at it. It’s a stunning piece of photographic machinery. It looked cool. It looked sexy. It had everything a head turner needed. I still miss the ascetic qualities of the camera.
Yet there was a downside to the camera. It was bulky. It’s not a light toss in your pocket camera. Here are the dimensions: 26.5 W x 74.4 H x 53.9 D mm / 5.0. W x 2.9 H x 2.1 D in. Here is the weight: Approx. 445 g / 15.7 oz. (including battery and memory card). It’s not a petite little pocket camera. You either had to hang it off a strap or toss it into a camera bag.
This alone was the killer for me. It started slowly because I was wowed by the cool factor of the camera. Every photographer was raving about them. I knew I had to have one. Once I got it and the cool factor wore off and the shiny new camera smell was gone it sat. I found myself reaching for my other cameras. Don’t know if it was a conscience choice or something else that drove me but I would go for other cameras around it. The Mighty Canon 330XS was being used more then the Fuji X100S was. It was light and more importantly pocketable. The other thing was no one cared where the images I was producing were coming from. They didn’t know it was a $179 point and shoot versus the $1300 Fuji. They just liked the images. Still, I kept the camera and would take it out with me shooting. Often times in conjunction with the Canon. I would remind myself that I had a photographically superior camera in my bag but I still found myself reaching for the Canon more just because I felt more comfortable with it in my hand. It was more natural for me to use.
The Fuji X100S viewfinder was always something I fought with. I don’t like optical viewfinders. It may be because I only shot with them a few years and I wasn’t in love with them and when I switched to micro four-thirds cameras and their EVF’s I was hooked. Yes, the X100S has a viewfinder you can use in optical mode, full EVF or hybrid mode. The problem was the switch would get hit and you would spend time trying to switch it back to the right mode. It took time and it was irritating to me. The viewfinder was also a pain for me because I am left eye dominate. So I would have the bulk of the camera shoved into my face. I tried to use it right eye, but again I go for comfortable and intuitive. It was just natural for me to put the camera to my left eye.
So I fought it. I really wanted to love this camera. The images it produced were great. It was beautiful. It was the “in thing” for photographers. It was also not connecting with me but I stubbornly clung on.
The fate was sealed when I bought a Ricoh GR. It was magic out of the box. Yes. It’s a black rectangle with a lens shoved on the front. There is no elegance and beauty to it. It does one thing really well; take pictures. I didn’t have to fiddle and adjust it. I didn’t have to use a strap or carry it in a bag. It fit in a coat pocket. It fit in my jeans pocket. More importantly, it fit in my cargo shorts pocket and takes a hell of a beating. It also completely surpassed the Fuji X100S.
I connected with the Ricoh GR like I never did the Fuji X100S. It was the camera that complimented my Olympus cameras. It was the camera that went everywhere with me (still does). I don’t feel like I am forcing myself to like this camera. I just do. The more I used it the more the Fuji X100S sat. It started to collect dust. If I went on a trip I would pack the Fuji but it never got pulled out of the bag. The Ricoh was with me everywhere. If I felt like I needed more I would pair it up with one of my Olympus bodies and a lens on it and go out. I felt like I could shoot anything and I did.
I have even shot professional work with the Ricoh GR. Sure its not technically as good as the Fuji X100S. It’s got a slower lens. It doesn’t have the fancy viewfinder and the cool film effects but it just does it for me and the people who wanted my images.
It was with this realization that I knew the Fuji X100S and I were going to have to part ways. It wasn’t a happy thought. I knew I was going to take a blood bath on the resale market. Plus I knew the X100T was coming based on the sheer volume of rumors that were picking up and images that showed it in the wild. It was time to cut my losses while I could. Like ripping the bandaid off the wound. Just get it over with. So I did. I lost about 40% from what I paid for it but it was done.
The thing is, I don’t miss it. I knew I would not.
Which I guess brings me to the point of all this. I started with Canon cameras. I bought a Canon 5DMKII thinking it would take my photography to the next level and give me cred as a pro because it was a pro camera. I sold it because I never shot with it. I reached for smaller and lighter cameras every time. I went with Sony for a bit because I liked their translucent mirror technology. It was just a passing interest. It was sold. I have went through a list of Olympus and Panasonic cameras but I always kept a micro four thirds camera around. I invested in good lenses for them. When the Olympus EM5 came out I bought one after selling some gear off. It felt right and I kept investing in lenses. When the EM1 came out the Canon gear and all its fancy glass went.
The thing that is hammered home by honest photographers is the gear is irrelevant and it is true to some extent. There are always other factors and lens quality is a big one but for the most part a camera is a camera. What you produce with it is up to you. What isn’t mentioned is that you need to connect with your equipment. It needs to be an extension of yourself. You don’t need to think about the camera because you know it like you know your own hand. It’s apart of you.
So that is why I sold my Fuji X100S along with a host of other cameras. I never felt connected. I never felt like they were apart of me.
I love leaves in black and white. It really just shows the texture and it gives some tonality to an otherwise mono-chromatic subject. The first image is of some bamboo that I stuck the camera into it and pointed upwards. I shot it on my EM5 with my Panasonic 20mm. The second is some random leaf plant that I used my Panasonic G5 and the Minolta 50mm 1.4 on it.
I haven’t had a lot of success shooting leaves. They are hard to really get into focus on a camera without making them run together and look weird. So using my Panasonic G5 and my Minolta 50 1.4 I seemed to have found a balance that works for me. So enjoy the fall colors.
The post name should be a band name, album title, or song title. Please contact me for licensing!
Solace in shadow sounds better then me taking random pictures of stuff that had shadow elements in it. I did stick to a theme of all the images have some sort of architectural element in them. I did this during the later afternoon while the Sun was starting to set and the shadows were deepening. Granted I did take some editing liberties but the shadows were as they fell, I just “enhanced” them to give tonal separation.
For those interested in such things, it was my Panasonic G5 and a Minolta 50mm 1.4 that I had set for 5.6. No idea why I use the Panasonic for the adapted lenses but it gives a closer feel to a manual camera as there is no focus peaking or image stabilization so I really need to slow down my photography and pay attention to what I am doing because the camera isn’t going to save me if I screw it up.
Person who works for me ran into my office screaming if I had a camera. Of course I did. I had my Panasonic G5 with a lovely Minolta 50mm 1.4 on it. She grabbed it and immediately went to the window and tried to take a shot. I asked her if she knew how to use the camera. “Of course” was the reply I got. Then I saw her looking at the lens and trying to figure out why it didn’t autofocus. Finally told her the lens was older then her and it was manual only. So I took the camera from her and stopped the lens down to something like F11 and took the shot. I’m on the 11th floor and my window was dirty on the outside but I was focusing to the distance and older lenses tend not to show the flaws newer lenses do. After some serious editing and realizing the camera and the lens were only going to resolve so much I was pleased with the image. I hope you enjoy it.