Remind you of anything?




Having been writing a lot about Voigtlander SLR lenses, I was moving a few pieces of gear about yesterday and by chance I "parked" the 20mm + adapter on my Olympus OM-D and immediately got a sense of deja-vu. It was so reminiscent of the camera lens combinations that I was using back in the 1980's when I first started my obsession with photography and cameras. I know this is what the OM-D is about visually, but it was the particular size and shape of the lens that brought it all back to me. My early adventures with a Pentax ME Super, and the cameras I coveted but never bought, (couldn't afford them) like the Nikon FM2 and the original Olympus OM's. 

For some reason I don't think I've ever gone out shooting with this combination. A situation which will be remedied soon.

This is why I can only sell cameras with great difficulty, why I keep putting them on ebay and taking them off again. I find a new combination and all of a sudden I'm dying to use it.  Despite my constantly telling myself that I only need this one or that one and that its the pictures rather than what takes them thats important, I can't seem to shake off my gearhead tendencies. I just think this combination looks wonderful, and just holding it brings back all sorts of memories of loading up a roll of Kodachrome and walking round the Lake District and along French beaches with this endless enthusiasm for searching out pictures. 

I'm actually glad that I still have this passion for photography and when the sun is shining I can't wait to get out of the door with a camera in my hand. My savings may be non-existent, but I have a shelf full of cameras and lenses that makes me smile every time I pass it. Its probably not healthy to like cameras quite so much, but I can always remember the thrill of going into a camera shop in the early days of my addiction and it seems I am intent on creating one of my own! I do spend an awful lot of time thinking of ways to make them look better. I'm not sure every photographer spends time obsessing about the right leather case, the right lens hood etc. Or maybe they do? Maybe its part of it. Certainly musicians care about the instruments that they use and let them express themselves and why should photographers be different? 

There is of course this fundemental difference between "need" and "want". I don't need as many cameras as I have but I love having them around. I've just got an Olympus E-PL5, but I seem in no particular hurry to ship out the E-PL3 despite knowing that the chances of me using it again are relatively small. Plus I do seem at the moment to have a particular fondness for what I've got. Some cameras I don't take too and can sell them with no problem. The Sony RX100 was one of those. Great camera but felt like a gadget. I also seem to have had no problems with selling the Leica X2. It sure looked great but there was something about it I never really liked, though I'm not sure why. The problem ones are these Olympus retro recreations. Its those I have difficulties parting with. The designers there seem to be able to punch my buttons with ease, damn them!! I also like the NEX-6 and NEX-7 functional look and then of course there are the Nikon DSLR's, I'm sure partly because Nikon SLR's were always objects of desire for me when I couldn't afford them. And then there is the lovely little GX1 and the G5 with its electronic shutter.

As you can tell I'm a hopeless case and I will probably be like this until I run out of money or succumb to the fading of the light. If I could see these things as tools then everything would be simpler. I could make rational sensible decisions based on rational sensible criteria. But then where's the fun in that? Cameras and lenses as objects of desire. Sounds terrible doesn't it. But its a cheaper obsession than coveting a Ferrari and a lot more interesting than collecting beer mats (what isn't?) and of course I can actually use them to make a living. (Note how I've cunningly turned it around!!) To be honest I could perfectly well still be earning my living with the Canon 5D Mk II I bought four years ago and I'd probably have a lot more money in the bank, but then I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have taken the pictures I have and still retained my passion and enthusiasm for the second most pleasurable thing that I do. 

Some photographers like the "buzz" of the moment, the thrill of the chase and the hunt for that special image, some like the pleasure of viewing and printing their work, and while I like those things too (apart from the printing), to me there is nothing better than coming up with a combination like in the images above and anticipating what might be achieved with it, and what it might feel like to use. I've said often enough that I worked to become a professional photographer in order so that I didn't have to do anything else to make a living, which always got in the way of me taking pictures or thinking about taking pictures. And I love the fact that doing what I enjoy gives me an income. And yes I do realise how fortunate I am that what I enjoy shooting co-incides with what people who buy pictures want. But then how much I tailor what I shoot so that situation remains the same, who knows. I certainly don't. 

Ultimately, while things continue along this relatively successful path, and by successful I mean that I'm not liable to go broke anytime soon, I imagine I will continue in much the same way. Moving cameras to the "for sale" shelf and then moving them back again. There will never be enough days of good light in the UK for me to get good value out of most of what I buy, but then that has the advantage that I sell on "mint" cameras. (See, there's always an upside!!) So more of the same for the foreseeable future I imagine. 

Now that GH3 looks interesting.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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