Most of us here don’t regularly make photographs of subjects ranging from plants to planets, high speed sports events to staged studio models, and wildlife roaming half a mile away down to insects at the end of your nose macro.
With a few weddings and family parties in between.
Which means we don’t need some highly sophisticated, versatile (and possibly non-existent) super camera with a 61MP sensor, ISO to 32000 plus, and a crazy 30x zoom lens to cover every possible photographic occasion.
Instead, we can settle on cameras that are far better suited to a much narrower purpose, and one that matches our favourite and mostly frequently explored forms of photography.
To simply find and use the best tools for the job, and avoid any duplication.
In addition, this is perhaps a sound fundamental approach for those of us who don’t want an ever expanding collection of cameras, with dozens which are, in function and capability, near identical.
Would you really expect to have six near identical claw hammers or 10mm spanners in a household toolkit? No.
Do you have five toothbrushes, four hair brushes, six bath sponges? No, you just need one for each specific purpose.
So by the same token, we don’t need half a dozen cameras that are almost indistinguishable, both in use, and in the final output.
Finding a set of best tools for the small set of photographic styles we favour, means more than just looking at spec sheet promises however.
It’s about discovering those that we just connect with most, love handling and using, and that encourage and implore us to get out and shoot at every opportunity.
I’ve been thinking about how I’ve tried to apply this “one camera for each purpose” philosophy to my own cameras.
When I want to shoot colour without any post processing, I reach first for my Pentax K100D DSLR.
For straightforward contrasty, inky black and white, with a wide fixed prime lens and compact body, up steps the Ricoh GRD III.
For pure pocketable lo-fi point and shoot action, where I don’t even need to focus, just compose and press the shutter, there’s the Pentax Q with 07 Mount Shield lens.
Then, when considering which particular type of photography you’re up for today, based on the small range you enjoy best, the most suitable camera chooses itself.
Which, in theory, should make it easy to not only select the most suitable camera for each occasion, but to keep our overall arsenal down to a small handful.
Again, a unique camera for each photographic purpose.
But then, perhaps the opposite to this approach rears its head.
Put simply, a curiosity in how any one camera sees the world.
Or more specifically, the tiny nook of the world right here in front of us, right now.
The Ricoh GRD III doesn’t see the world like I do with my naked eye.
But I like how and what it sees, and know it well enough to capture the kind of photographs I want to keep and share.
Similar with the K100D.
I remember being in a fairly dark woodland with it this past autumn, ankle deep in leaves, but the colours looked fairly muted, because of the lack of available light.
A couple of shots with the K100D though somehow revealed a depth and richness in the autumnal colour that I just couldn’t register with my own eyes.
Again, I love how this camera sees the world, and try to use it in situations where this is brought out to the optimum.
The trouble with this thinking is one can look at any camera (including the thousands you don’t (yet) own) and wonder exactly the same.
With this camera’s unique combination of lens, sensor, internal processing and the way I’ve set it up, how will it capture this scene before me, in a way I perhaps can’t even appreciate with my own eyes?
And so we’re torn between knuckling down with a small selection of cameras, using one at a time for a sustained period, and constantly exploring new (to us) cameras that might give a new view of the world we love just as much.
Or is this just me?
Do you get curious about other cameras, even though you have a collection of cameras for specific purposes that you love and use often?
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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