One Month, One Camera – A Project for 2019

Despite having considered a one month one camera project many times, I believe I’ve only actually done it once.

That was back in the summer of 2014 with my then new to me Yashica Electro 35 GTN.

I shot a dozen rolls of film and really got to know the Electro, in the midst of a phase when I was buying more cameras that I had time to use.

The project was a welcome relief from decision fatigue and scattered the seeds for my later evolution towards fewer cameras.

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These days, my camera of choice is nearly always a digital compact, which I find more practical and enjoyable than anything else.

Despite radically culling my camera collection from over 50 to just a handful, I resigned myself some time back to not being a one camera kind of guy, however appealing cameranogamy sounds on paper.

So I currently have a small arsenal of two Ricohs, two Panasonic Lumix, a Pentax and a Sony. Let’s called them the Special Six.

I’ve used each of these enough now to know what I need to do, both to get the kind of experience I enjoy (making the camera as invisible as possible), and the resultant photographs I’m proud of.

Despite this familiarity, I still feel there are further benefits to be had from immersing myself in one camera only for a sustained period.

So for 2019, I plan on using one camera per month. Every month. 

Sometimes this might be one of the cameras mentioned above. But I’m not averse to trying something new now and then.

Now I don’t have the overwhelming overspill of gear I used to, and have all my cameras on one small bookcase shelf, I have room for perhaps one more, a month at a time.

If I try a new camera for a month and love it, then I might keep it in place of one of my Special Six.

But I have no intention of adding a new camera every month and expanding the collection indefinitely again.

In conjunction with this project, it’s also an ongoing intention of mine to show how affordable photography is as a hobby.

In my film days I showed how one can get started in film photography for £27 or on an even tighter shoestring.

Whilst my most expensive current camera, the Ricoh GRD III, cost around £150 (still a bargain considering its quality and capability and that it cost around £600 new), others I used in recent times cost only a tenth or twentieth of that.

For example, the cracking little Sony DSC-L1, which set me back around £7, and is often the first I grab when heading out.

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It is these kind of cameras I plan to use if I seek out any new ones – minor digital classics that were very capable in their day (10-15+ years ago) but were quickly overlooked as the next model in line with more MegaPixels and bigger zooms jostled them down the pecking order for consumer attention.

It may turn out then, that this project is called something more like A Dozen (Minor) Digital Classics.

More updates to follow as I decide on my camera for January.

Have you tried a one month, one camera challenge? Do you have any photography project plans for 2019?

Please share your thoughts below (and remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what I’m into right now.

24 thoughts on “One Month, One Camera – A Project for 2019”

  1. We don’t have any project planned. We would like to continue sharing the rare finds, the funny ones, the sad ones (once in a while) – the photos of the reality of life. Looking forward to what you have to share with us. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments.

      I see from your blog you’ve been busy already in 2019. The layout works really well for the kind of single image posts you do, very effective.

  2. Sounds interesting Dan. I have not done this in years, but for more than a decade I only had one camera and two lenses, so any photography that was done by me was with the Olympus OM 1 and 50mm and 100mm lenses. I can’t remember feeling any need for more gear. It was easy to pack that kit for any kind of outing. I had hoped to cut down to one or two cameras, at least for digital, but my Panasonic Lumix’s have let me down repeatedly in important work-related situations, so I guess the big, heavy Canon stays, at least for now. I only have one lens for it, but it has never,ever failed to get the job done. I love the Panasonics though, and really enjoy using my old M.F. lenses. If I only took pictures for myself for fun and wasn’t in a hurry the only camera I would need would be the GF-1.( I like it so much I bought a second one as a back up) I am surprised that I don’t see much about how to do photography on a budget, it seems like it should be a popular topic. I recently read a book written in 1937 about photography, and was shocked that the costs of taking pictures are almost exactly the same, or a little less today than before the war.(Film, digital is even less) Film actually costs less today. And yet everyone screams about what an expensive hobby it is and the high cost of film and processing. Ha!

    1. A decade with the OM1 and two lenses and not knowing anything else seems pretty heavenly sounding to me! Do you still have it?

      What has happened with the Lumix cameras that has let you down?

      I have the GF1 as I think you know, great camera. That said it feels big compared with stuff like the Sony DSC-L1 I’ve been using a fair bit in recent months. I keep the GF1 mostly for my old M42 lenses but have wondered more than once about selling them and the GF1. Compact is my future it seems!

      I have written about photography on a budget with film a few times in the past, and an upcoming post talks about how most of us need much lower spec cameras than we probably think we do. Oh and I have another post in draft about shooting digital on a tight budget, from buying the camera onwards.

      That Sony I mentioned above cost me about £7, and I had an old 4MP Lumix that was plenty capable, very small, handled well (better than the LX3 and GF1!) and cost me about the same amount. Crazy cheap, and there are thousands of cameras like this available… I’m sure one or two might find their way to me for this one month one camera project!

      1. It’s hard to do that. All I know is that as the year unfolded, I made more and more truly wonderful images. It wasn’t the F2 itself that made that happen; I am sure I could have had the same effect shooting virtually any camera. It was the stopping of fiddling around with gear and just making photographs.

      2. Thanks Jim, I anticipated you would say something similar.

        I’ve got closer to this myself now only shooting a handful of cameras, but am curious to see how another step of discipline (ie shooting only one camera per month, not potentially three or four) will make an impact.

  3. Dan, I have a lot of other things to focus on at present so photography will just be the very, very special shots that I see that need recording for my laptop viewing. I definitely know I will want at least 30 or so images for my lap top viewing…..screen savers etc

    1. Will you have a camera with you all the time Susan, in case one of those special shots presents itself, or will you go out specifically with camera to seek them out?

      1. Dan, I have a little digital camera in my hand bag and my mobile phone camera with me most of the time. when I go on walks I decide whether to take a camera or not. it depends on the focus of the walk. I like to have a camera on hand most of the time …. susanJOY

  4. I’ve never really set out to use one particular tool as such. I’ve approached my creativity from the other side. Looking at all types of images has helped me pin down (as it were) what sort of things I like looking at and why. And then I search for ways of translating that vision into hard copies.

    So, it’s never been a case of using a particular camera and seeing is achievable, and how it affects my results. It’s been more a case of what tools I can (and need to) use to achieve the ‘look and feel’ of images I want to create. After all I am the only one who I need to please 🙂

    Best wishes for a great year ahead mate!

    1. Best wishes for the year for you too Anton!

      I understand what you’re saying, but for me it took a while and various experimentation to find that “look and feel”.

      You don’t know what you want really when you start out, I just knew I liked capturing pictures of things I found beautiful (usually up close and usually in nature) with my camera phones 12 or so years ago so started exploring how I could improve and tailor that with “proper” cameras.

      Once we know what kind of look we like, we can choose the best tools for the job, depending on budget, or set up what we already have to get as close to it as possible.

      That said, I still like trying a different camera now and then to see how the world looks through a slightly different eye, if that makes sense.

      1. sure is it makes sense mate… Been there, done that 🙂

        One day I found myself looking down at my notepad and pen I used for journaling, and decided that it didn’t really matter what type of pen I was using. I love my fountain pens. But it didn’t matter as it was all about the words. That realisation has released me from the (then) constant search for ‘that one’ camera…

        Of course there is a pure joy of looking for ‘that one’ camera, pen, bicycle, etc. But prose needn’t be defined by the writing tool (don’t mention calligraphy okay 😉 ) Any well constructed prose flies free of those constraints.

      2. I do oscillate (but perhaps not wildly) with this.

        Sometimes I just want one camera and to forget about all others and get on with shooting.

        But a part of me is now not so much curious about the hunt for “the one”, because I’ve found at least five or six cameras that are 95% good enough to fit that role.

        Now it’s more like “ok so I know I can get the results I want with one of my fave cameras. But what about trying out this 15 year old 5MP compact from Canon and seeing how that feels, and how it “sees” and captures the world”? So the quest has become not to find something better, but to find something a little different…

        Maybe you love Mars bars and Snickers, but now and again, you just want to try a Kit Kat, or a chocolate bar you’ve never had before…

      3. Love that choc analogy!!
        I just dropped for a 12-pack of JAPANESE KitKat variety 🙂
        I know I shouldn’t have… BUT I DID!!

        Enjoy your quest mate. Anything to the interest peaked and out there shooting (more power to you)

  5. A very timely post. Increasing physical and vision issues are making my all-manual 35mm cameras increasingly difficult to use and, frankly, less fun. I have been thinking of trying the other extreme with my wife’s AF and AE Nikon F6 and 24-85mm VR lens. Now, thanks to your post I am going to try it for a month.

    1. Doug, that’s really exciting to hear.

      That became a factor for me too with manual focus lenses when I was using them on DSLRs, even those with the better viewfinders. I though AF would make it easier but sometimes I think it’s more the fact you’re squinting through a viewfinder and seeing the lens make the scene come in and out of focus that hurts the eyes. At least it seems to with me.

      Using a digital compact with a screen has eliminated this to the point that I’ve only just remembered it after your comments.

      I look forward to hearing how you find the AF Nikon, I’m sure it’ll be a very useful experiment.

  6. We’ll see. I already replaced the 1″ wide Domke strap she had on the F6 with the 1-1/2″ wide strap I used on my Hasselblad. The Nikon is a big heavy lump. On the other hand, I suspect the weight combined with the VR will result in much sharper pictures than I have been taking. The first roll of film (Tri-X) will tell the story.

    1. Heaviness aside, many SLRs (and DSLRs) are very satisfying in the hands in terms of comfort and ergonomics. Yes a weightier camera feels more stable for shooting at slower shutter speeds too. Look forward to the story!

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