Why Your Hopelessly Inadequate Camera Is A Blessing

Take a close look at your current favourite camera.

You know there are cameras out there with better lenses don’t you?

Digital bodies with more features and larger, higher MegaPixel sensors?

Film bodies with better build quality, greater cachet amongst collectors, and a higher resale value?

But to focus on any of what others might try to convince you is missing from your own camera, is to overlook the beautiful, magical machine that it is.

Instead, make the most of all its inherent flaws, its endearing imperfections.

Embrace how it makes pictures not quite like any other camera you have.

Enjoy the uniqueness of the experience it gives you, and the happiness its brings you.

For all cameras are imperfect in some way.

It’s up to us to find the ones with that special chemistry we find irresistible, and celebrate them by using them as often as we can.

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What do you love most about your hopelessly inadequate favourite camera? 

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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12 thoughts on “Why Your Hopelessly Inadequate Camera Is A Blessing”

  1. Hi!
    I have a Halina 35X which is a fixed-lens viewfinder camera from the early 1960s. The photos turn out sharp in the middle but less so to the sides, and the corners turn out darker. But I love using it. It’s a rip-off of a more slick model, I hear. But the sound of the shutter is one of the best sounds i know of!

    1. Thanks for your comments Tobias. I’ve seen the Halina before, but not handled or used one. I think later on they made dozens of different models, one of those brand names perhaps that were used by different companies over the years.

      There’s often great satisfaction in using a simpler camera, it somehow gets us closer that pure wonder of photography.

  2. My hopelessly inadequate camera is dying. It’s a pain to use, but the results it gives … sometimes the simplest of devices are the best. If we honestly evaluate our cameras we’ll see we don’t use most of the ‘features’ they come with. In the old days you bought what suited your needs. Now they sell us things that try to do it all and we get to pay for buttons we never press.
    Coincidentally my upcoming next post touches (again as it’s a recurring theme in both our writings) on this very thing too.

    1. Marc you’re absolutely right about being sold stuff, it’s the same in any field of product, but technology is one of the worst for inventing new features for the sake of having something new to sell.

      Love your phrase – “we get to pay for buttons we never press”.

      I read about planned obsolescence some years back now, and talking to the general person in the street it’s amazing how few people realise this is a deliberate strategy of the manufacturers and has been for decades.

      “What, why would they deliberate only give a product a two year life span?” Er, so they can sell you a new one when this one breaks, is no longer update-able, or you’re convinced by the ad men that you can’t live without an “upgrade”!

  3. No matter what we have, there will always be someone who thinks it’s hopelessly inadequate, or not good enough…
    My K10D was called a toy in a forum conversation yesterday, and after I lucked into the SMC Pentax 50mm f/1.2 lens and showed a few images taken with the Pentax K-S1, I was asked “why would you use such a nice lens with this low level body?” Nevermind that the sensor in that low level body is more capable than any film this lens was designed for…
    Thankfully I don’t care about what other people say! ALL of the masters had equipment that would be considered inadequate today…

    1. Like I said in my other comment, I don’t think I’d return to that forum again!

      The only threads I’ve take part in on PentaxForums are about old gear anyway, like the K10D thread, Six Mexapixel Club, Takumar lenses etc. I can’t stand that stupid snobbery that you’ve recently experienced.

      1. Well, to be fair – I don’t think what one person says represents an entire community, especially online where anyone can sign up and be “a part” of a forum or group.
        Plus it was interesting – as a people observer that I am – to see how people buy the whole marketing concept that is geared towards them – that they have to have the latest and greatest, and that being good at something is more about having than about actually… being.
        There’s plenty of people in that forum that I admire, even some that do have a bit of a snobbery thing going sometimes, but I can at least respect them in some area.
        So, in short, I’m ok with imperfections… in pictures, in gear, but especially also with people… as long as it’s not abusive of course.

      2. It frightens me daily how many people are caught up in what I’ve referred to before as “the upgrade parade” and don’t see that the manufacturers basically just make up silly new features (and make old gear/batteries/cables/ports etc obsolete) just to keep the consumers buying and themselves in business.

  4. “Inadequate” is a very relative term. Bowie used to say that you should never throw anything away. He was talking in the context of music (ideas and recordings), but I think it’s a rule that can be applied more broadly to any creative discipline. A “rubbish” photo may turn out to be perfect for another project / use.

    1. Yes I recall reading about Bowie saving old lyrics not used then cutting them up and rearranging them to form new songs.

      I agree to an extent but I struggle to get my head around having too many photos (or indeed too many of anything).

      1. Also, whilst I certainly have repeated themes and ideas in my photography, I still like the idea of moving forward and evolving. I can’t do that if I’m constantly revisiting old photos that I probably should have deleted the day after I made them.

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