One Month One Camera – July 2020 (III) – The Perfect Balance?

For July I embarked on another chapter of my ongoing One Month One Camera (OMOC) project. 

You can read the original premise here, or see all OMOC posts here.

This time around I used my Samsung GX-1S, a Pentax K mount DSLR from 2006 with a 6MP sensor and nothing more than the essentials, not even shake reduction. 

I couldn’t resist the Samsung at the price it was going for, with a more unusual lens that turned out broken, but somehow I managed to fix.

My conclusions this month are twofold –

1. A basic old camera like the GX-1S is really all I need with a DSLR.

I wasn’t constantly thinking I wish I had a 24MP sensor or GPS or 38 point AF or rapid consecutive shooting modes.

For my kind of photography – slow and considered, usually close up, with vintage lenses – the little Samsung ticks the few boxes I needed, in a user friendly and reliable way.

It gets me closer to the essentials of photography – light, shadow, texture, composition, depth of field, focus – without unnecessary gimmicks getting in the way.


2. One camera plus a few lenses is probably the perfect balance for me. 

I have four Pentax K mount DSLRs, but three are pretty similar (the GX-1s, K100D and K-m), with the later K-30 being the odd one out.

It doesn’t have a CCD sensor but the handling, large viewfinder and dynamic b/w mode make it appealing enough to keep as an alternative.

But really the variation comes (in both user experience and the final image) with the lenses.

Over June and July I wanted to explore some different lenses, and made a few purchases.

In July with the GX-1S I ended up using six different lenses, but mostly the Petri CC Auto 55/1.8, Helios 44M-4 58/2 and MC Zenitar-M2s 50/2, all of which were quite new to me.

I don’t plan to buy new lenses (or even one new lens) every month, I want a small set of lenses for the long term.

But with the arsenal I now have, there’s the option to have variety across the lenses, with consistency in the camera I’m using them with.

Which I think is where I’ve always wanted to be.

I don’t feel that time spent learning a new camera has any benefits now, I’d rather stick with those I know how to get the best out of, and that bring me most enjoyment.

With a range of lenses though it provides that diversity to keep me inspired and excited about going out to shoot – I’m not sure I’ll ever be a purely one camera with just one lens kind of guy.

My plans for August are vague.

I’ve only been out once so far as I write this, about a week in, and the current heatwave has put me off venturing too far for too long!

It’s likely I’ll be sticking with the Pentax DSLRs and M42 lenses though.

How about you, what have you been using lately? How much variety do you like in the equipment you use?

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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6 thoughts on “One Month One Camera – July 2020 (III) – The Perfect Balance?”

  1. Too hot here as well! I’ve been shooting mostly large format film, with my Chromacamera 4×5 camera, some with my Nikon F3, and digital with Olympus OM-D EM-10. The Olympus is also my light meter for large format. The large format is my camera for thoughtful, slow composition.

    1. Martin, just looked up the Chroma camera, amazing that these are being made in this day and age. I know nothing about them, do they take some kind of sheet film or do they expose directly onto paper?

  2. We went to New Orleans over a week ago, and I took the K-S1 this time because I thought we’d take a lot of pictures in the dark. We took some, and it was useful to have it, but I kind of wish I had taken the K200D instead, since it has one of the best CCD sensors that I’ve known… I did get some nice sunset pictures with the K-S1, including what might be one of my best – the skyline of New Orleans behind the Mississippi River from a ferry boat, that would not have been possible with the K200D. So it was the right decision, I think…
    As far as lenses, I’ve been considering trading my DA*16-50 (already!) for a DA 21mm Limited, and my DA 35mm Limited Macro for a DA 70mm Limited – so I can go out with just three lenses (the 21, 70 and my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 Art). I think I’ll be happier – though I also think I’ll be spending more time changing lenses… on the New Orleans trip I ended up using just the 16-50mm and while all pictures are acceptable and some are decent and a few are quite good, I feel the primes could have been even better…
    It’s the famous “primes vs. zooms” question…
    We’ll see, I’ll sleep some more on that idea…

    1. For me when I have just one (prime) lens, I just automatically start to seek out the compositions that make most sense for that focal length. If I have a zoom I’m always second guessing, there’s too many options, too many decisions.

      This is also why when I do use a zoom, like my F 35-70, I kind of forget it’s a zoom and just use it at one focal length, which with this lens is 70mm, 95% of the time. So I see it as a 70mm prime (albeit a slow one) rather than a zoom.

      1. Thought about this again, and will keep the DA*16-50 for now… the DA 21mm doesn’t really offer better image quality, I think.
        And maybe I’ll save up to get something else instead of the 70… maybe a Tamron 90 Macro?
        It never ends 🙂

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