Buying Cameras And The Need To Measure Personal Growth

Something I love about having children is seeing how much they learn and evolve.

They change so fast, plus absorb information and learning like sponges, and it’s fantastic to see them grow, literally changing day by day sometimes.

As adults, once we’re in a fairly settled home, relationship and job, we don’t have anything like the speed of growth of children – physically or otherwise.

Plus it seems harder to track and appreciate – we can go two or three or five years feeling we’ve stood still, which is impossible as a child.

It dawned on me that because of this, we then tend to look for other interests or hobbies we can measure our progress in, just to reassure ourselves that we are still evolving.


For example, even something simple like blogging and seeing your number of published posts and readership steadily grow, or cycling to work and practising yoga every day, or tracking your daily steps, and seeing how all of these build over time, is both rewarding in its own right, and for that measure of progress it brings.

Which is why I do all of these things!

With cameras, I definitely feel there’s an element of this growth tracking at work here too. 

Buying a new camera brings a fresh challenge and fresh possibilities.

Generally, there are one of two approaches, and desired outcomes – 

  1. You attempt a different kind of photography (which can be subtle, not necessarily radical) and therefore expand your range of photographic talents.
  2. You try to recreate your favourite type(s) of photography you’ve achieved with other cameras, with a new camera, and by conquering this, it shows you can adapt what you’ve learned to new kit, again a reassuring measure of your progress.

Or, you do both of the above with the same new camera. 

So for me, looking forward, I can see that perhaps the best way of satisfying both my need for learning and measuring my progress, and my need to keep things simple and minimal (I don’t want 50+ cameras and lenses again) is to have a handful of cameras to provide enough variety, with some of those being interchangeable lens cameras.

A DSLR for example with, say, a modern 35mm AF lens, and an older 50mm lens, gives both consistency in using the camera body, as well as variety and progress in trying to master the two different lenses, of different focal lengths, and that function differently.

You can fairly easily measure how you evolve with each different lens, each time you use them.

If I think about using just one camera and lens for the rest of my life, I immediately wonder how I would gauge my progress, or would I be taking near identical images year after year after year, and feel stuck in a rut?

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you like to have ways to measure your learning and growth in life? How does this manifest in your photography life? 

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).

Thanks for looking.

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