It’s no secret that in the last seven years or so I’ve shot hundreds of cameras, and owned as many more that I never made a single photograph with.
The cameras I’ve paid over £100 for I can count on one hand.
Those that cost me under £20 I’d need the hands of an entire village to help me add up.
So what is it about buying cameras that’s so alluring, and specifically, ones that cost so little?
I want to answer this in two parts.
First, the appeal of any used camera seems greater to me than using a brand new one.
Before I’ve even got my hands on it, I wonder –
Who’s owned it before?
Male or female, what age, what nationality, where did they live?
How did they use it?
To capture their holiday and family memories year after year? As a more serious art making tool that produced thousands of wonderful photographs? Or did they never even take it out of the box more than once or twice?
Where did they use it?
Just at home to photograph their cat (and if so where was home), all over the country, all over the world, in cities, forest, mountains, deserts?
And I wonder what sights that camera’s eye has seen, what places has it discovered, what experiences has it been an intimate witness to?
Second, we add in the bargain part.
One element here is that I just love getting value for money.
I’ve had cameras that cost hundreds new that I’ve paid a tiny fraction of that for.
The objective quality of the camera hasn’t changed over the years (in fact if anything it’s more likely to seem higher quality than modern equivalents).
I’m getting the same object that its first owner paid five or even 25 times for. This absolutely delights me.
Another factor is how incredibly well the experiences of using a bargain camera compare with other ways we can spend a similar amount of money.
Take something like the FujiFilm FinePix S7000 I bought a couple of months back for around £12.
I mean, what else does £12 buy you these days?
A main course in a half decent restaurant, or a starter in a more expensive one?
Two gallons of fuel that won’t even get you 100 miles?
A cheap t-shirt that might not last a dozen washes?
Half a day’s parking at an airport?
Weigh this up against the hours of potential joy the camera can bring – and the hours beyond those, when you enjoy and share the photographs you made with it – and it really has to be one of the most rewarding and intelligent uses of £12 – or any other small amount these old cameras can be picked up for.
So there we have it, the irresistible spell of the bargain camera.
Used cameras – very enticing with their past stories and promises of multiple future trips at your side.
Cheap cameras – amazing value experiences that can’t be matched by much else in any area of our lives.
You can see why I keep succumbing.
How about you? Do you have a weakness for the irresistible spell of the bargain camera too?
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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