Whats on the shelf?

Left to Right > Panasonic GX1 Olympus 12mm f/2 lens, Olympus E-P2 45mm f/1.8 lens, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, Olympus E-PL3 12-50mm zoom lens, Fuji X-Pro 1 35mm f/1.4 lens, Panasonic 20mm f/3.5 lens (Nikon mount), Sony NEX-5n 18-55mm zoom lens, Voigtlander 75mm f/2.7 Heliar lens, Sony NEX-7 Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 lens, Sony e-mount 55-210mm zoom lens, Sony NEX-7 Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 Nokton. 

So entirely E.V.I.L / Mirrorless / CSC. As per usual, more than I need, less than I would like to own. The advantage of not owning a Leica M9 or some large DSLR + lenses is that I can afford to have more of this stuff. The price of the M9 alone covers most of the cost of the bodies. There's a fair amount of interchangeability here with the m-mount lenses and the Nikon fit Voigtlander useable on all of the bodies. I'm still waiting on a couple of adapters to arrive to make that possible, but its a useful consequence of these mirrorless cameras.

I had planned to maybe trim this down somewhat, but currently I'm looking to hang on to all as long as I'm able. I get different things from each, and its a bit like having a selection of different musical instruments to work with. Because the sensor is included in digital cameras its equivalent to having 7 cameras loaded with different films, though I do have two identical cameras with the NEX-7's. 

The NEX-7's are the most used cameras, and if I could only have one that thats what I would keep. The Fuji is obviously new, and despite its (many) flaws and quirks, I do like it. Though its going to get used almost exclusively with MF lenses. The two Pens are my little indulgence. They produce the smallest files, and if I'm honest, the worst image quality of all of these, but I love them dearly and they are capable of producing a decent high-res stitched image, and I certainly sell a lot of pictures taken with them. 

The one I've used the least is the Panasonic GX1, and I'm in the process of changing that. One of the reasons I've used it so little, is I find it uncomfortable to handle. Its just a bit too small. The Olympus E-PL3 handling has improved somewhat with the leather half-case, so I've just ordered something similar for the GX1, to see if bulking it up a bit makes it more comfortable. I would like to use it more as when I've worked with it in the past, I've really liked what I've seen.

All of them have a slightly different character and using each of them makes me work in a slightly different way. This is actually quite useful, taking as many pictures as I do. I work again and again in the same locations and its useful to have a combination that gives me a different way to produce pictures. 

I do have this protestant ethic type guilt, that makes me think that I should really be working with just a couple of cameras and of course there is the fundemental notion that of course the pictures are more important than the gear, but it is stimulating to use different combinations and see where that leads me. There's the famous Snowdon quote about always taking something that you haven't used before on every job, and while it might sound somewhat unprofessional, it is important to "freshen up" my approach whenever I can. I do take different type pictures with different body / lens combinations and the more I can make every trip a bit of an "adventure" the more I like it.

Often you see all sorts of reasons given by photographers to justify the amount of gear they own. But ultimately it comes down to what we want to use rather than what we need. I have no children who will go without food if I buy another camera, and at the moment I can afford to do that without having the furniture removed by the bailiffs, so why not. I spend very little on anything else and as I've written before, being a sad photo geek, I spend nothing on drink, drugs, gourmet food or going out "enjoying myself". Though the concept of spending an evening in a noisy, crowded environment pouring overpriced alcohol down my throat is hardly my definition of enjoyment. 

So I'm happy to currently indulge myself. I could possibly pretend and attempt to convince you that all of these were necessary for a full realisation of my artistic vision or some such twaddle, but they aren't so I won't. Its enough for me that I enjoy using them, and enjoy looking at results. It would worry me much more if either of those two activities became less fun than they are now. Then I really would be in trouble!

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