Machines that make pictures


I counted up how many machines that make pictures were in my house owned by my wife and I. It's :-

11 x Smartphones (We never throw them away or sell them - for security concerns)

1 x iPod

3 x iPads

1 x 35mm film camera

1 x 1" sensor digital camera

4 x APS-C digital cameras

2 x 35mm sensor digital cameras

So that's 23 in total. And 15 of them shoot HD video as well. And at one time or another I have taken pictures with all of them, uploaded them to a stock picture library and made sales. Now I'm not going to go into why I've got and used all this lot, simply because I'm not really sure, it just sort of................happened! I would also point out that only one of them, my Leica R5 has a mirror inside it, so technically 22 of them are mirrorless. 

OK, so I don't actually take an iPad or my old smartphones out with me to shoot pictures these days, though I have done and the reason there are so many smartphones is I'm paranoid about them being hacked if I sell them and I haven't got round to going through the process to securely wipe them. But I do genuinely like using a variety of gear to create my images with and each offers me something different. 

Now all of this might seem a bit extravagant, but I know of many professional photographers, both now and in the past who own a lot more than this. And that's before I start talking about lenses. I do from time to time have a case of 'Protestant ethic' and think about culling my 'collection' and deciding which does the job best. But then that's never going to happen. Basically because there is no reason to do it. As a full-time photographer I get tax allowances on my gear anyway, so in real terms it costs me a lot less than might be assumed and since I spend very little on anything else I can afford to indulge myself. Plus it also keeps me sane. ???

I've never had a desire to be a brand fanboy, even though it has to be said that quite a few of the above 'real' cameras are Leicas, but I think I've tried virtually all of the different camera manufacturers products at one time or another. For example I've never owned a Hassleblad, but I've used a colleagues to shoot some pictures with. And much as I like cameras as aesthetic objects, ultimately they are all tools. Because without my input they are just lumps of plastic, glass and metal gathering dust on a shelf. Though if the photographic internet is to be believed, owning them seems to be an end in itself and the pictures they take simply samples to be pixel peeped on a computer screen in some kind of competition to be the owner of the newest, the best and the most likely to draw envious gasps from like minded enthusiasts. 

I can genuinely state, hand on heart, that if I only had one to work with and anyone chosen at random, I could create images I like with any one of those machines / devices. And I have considered at one time or another selling everything bar one smartphone and basically starting again from scratch. And that slightly crazy notion has surfaced again since I got an iPhone 7 Plus. I'm in the process of doing a monster post on a day spent using the iPhone to shoot a 'photo essay'. My plan is to post all the pictures and video I shot in one post to show just what this thing can do. Because, quite simply, it could, under the right conditions, probably replace everything I own already and I could probably make just as good a living as I do with all the rest. However, the problem isn't the phone but the UK weather. If I lived in California or Australia, then maybe it would work, but the UK has far more 'mixed' light and I need cameras and lenses that will deal with that. 

It is however surprising to some just what basic gear can be used to create sellable stock images. I still sell images shot with my earliest digital camera (2 & 4MP) since at least 50% of my images now sell for internet use. Any days sales usually include images shot on film (35mm and MF), DSLR's, Mirrorless cameras and smartphones. And yes I have sold images shot with an iPad. But then I turned my passion into a job so that I could be a full time photographer and that, for me, involves using a variety of cameras and lenses and I do have a tendency to collect things. I currently have 7 guitars and 5 bicycles as well and seem to have great trouble parting with stuff.

But since I make a decent living from the cameras, lenses and guitars there is really not a problem. And cameras are really not 'Machines that make pictures' as far as I'm concerned. I would imagine that applies to you as well if you are reading this. It is I suppose a good idea to have a 'reality check' every now and then. Though whether I do anything about it is another matter!!