One Month, One Camera – February 2019 (III) Summary (Or Why Camera Chemistry Is More Important Than Tech Specs)

Online dating sites are more popular than ever. On paper it makes huge sense to meet up with people who are already compatible with you in a number of important ways, rather than take pot luck with a random stranger.

But however wonderful a potential partner might sound in their profile, there has to be a certain amount of chemistry when you engage with them in person.

It doesn’t even have to be a physical, romantic chemistry – that can evolve later. But if you just don’t “click” with the other person in some way, it’s unlikely to go anywhere, however much you might want it to.

In my experience, much the same conundrum exists with cameras. 

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There are cameras that have sounded perfect for me in the manual, or in a review, and have had all the features I might need, but I just haven’t gelled with them.

Case in point is the camera I used throughout February for my One Month, One Camera (OMOC) project, the FujiFilm FinePix F810.

It’s compact enough, has plenty of manual control, offers very good feedback on screen, is well built with a classy metal body, and makes pretty impressive photographs.

No, make that really lovely photographs. And it only cost me £15.

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That’s plenty of big ticks for the FinePix, and I really can’t complain much about anything.

Yes the mode dial moves too easily and is always on a mode I don’t want when I take it out of my bag. Yes it has way too many buttons and they’re not logically arranged.

Yes the menus and functions aren’t very logical either and a bit baffling for a first time user. Yes the widescreen feature is pretty pointless as it just crops the 4:3 image and doesn’t make the field of view or focal length any wider.

Yes the handling is a bit slippery (I applied grip tape front and rear), and yes the tiny viewfinder is next to useless, and the viewfinder warning light plain annoying (I applied gorilla tape across both).

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Ok, maybe there are a few things I can complain about.

None are major, but maybe together they’re enough to keep me emotionally at arm’s length from the FinePix, and nowhere near ready to consider a longer term commitment.

I just never loved using it, or walked past it on my shelf and felt the urge to pick it up and play with it, even if I wasn’t taking pictures.

And trust me, there are plenty of cameras I have done this with!

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So, unlike the charming little “Golden IXUS” (Canon Digital IXUS 870 IS) I used in January which I have kept, the FujiFilm won’t be finding a long term place in my camera arsenal. 

Onwards to March!

Which camera do you remember offering great potential, but then just never having any chemistry with when you used it?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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6 thoughts on “One Month, One Camera – February 2019 (III) Summary (Or Why Camera Chemistry Is More Important Than Tech Specs)”

  1. I had just one such experience as far as I can recall. After years of using various Rollei TLR’s with 75/3.5 taking lenses and reading glowing reports of the (much more expensive) Rolleiflexes with 80/2.8 lenses I was finally offered the extended use of a 2.8F. My first impression was pretty negative. It felt very front heavy on the strap around my neck compared with the 3.5MX-EVS that was my daily shooter at the time. Worse yet, I could not curl the fingers of my left hand under the bottom of the 2.8F to operate the shutter with my left index finger as I did with the 3.5MX. The much bigger taking Iens was in the way. I was forced to operate the shutter with my right forefinger and found I could not hold the camera as steady. The result – my negatives were half a stop brighter in dim light and not nearly as sharp. I returned the 2.8F with my thanks for the opportunity to try it out.

    1. Doug, thanks for your thoughts.

      I think sometimes we just need to give a new (to us) camera a chance, they’re slow burners that need time to reveal their idiosyncratic charms… I was hoping this FinePix might be like that but I never really warmed to it greatly.

      But other times, we just know immediately a camera just isn’t going to work well for us, like you with the 2.8F…

  2. One of the advantages of having hardly an budget – it that I don’t really know what a great camera SHOULD feel like – so I kind of get on with anything. I was never a big fan of Fuji though, I always thought they operated in strange ways.

    1. Thanks Stuart, I think with anything it’s easy to get spoilt by higher end stuff then think you can’t possibly settle for anything lesser. Which is a shame because it often then makes you blind to the charms of lower end and/or older equipment, and how much they can do.

      Plus for me it adds an extra layer of reward to be able to make a photograph I’m proud of with a camera that only cost a tenner or something, rather than hundreds or thousands.

      I’m still slightly curious about Fuji, I may get another camera of theirs and try it out at some point. But yeh my initial impressions are the design and functions aren’t very logical!

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