There are two routes to go with photography, especially when you’re nearer the beginner end.
The first is to get a camera, try it for a little while, then conclude it’s not for you, sell it, and get a different one instead.
This is probably fine once or twice, but if it starts to become serial behaviour, where you simply keep buying over and over to find the perfect camera, it might be time to consider the alternative.
That is, to use a camera that’s perhaps 80 or 90% ideal, and get to know it inside out.
Find its quirks and shortcomings, and work around them – even celebrate them – to get the best you can from it.
In some ways this is like comparing the old human model of consumption to the new.
30 or 40 years ago, people like us didn’t generally upgrade their camera every year, let alone every few months.
You bought the best you could afford – perhaps after years of saving – then knuckled down and made the best of it.
Getting another camera a month or two later just wasn’t an option.
Over time, the familiarity of the camera is what allowed you to get the very best from it, and to enjoy it to the fullest.
It became a trusted companion, not a fleeting fling.
In the modern age, where consumption is utterly rampant, we’re encouraged to buy over and over, without giving any of the cameras a fair crack of the the whip.
For me, through having hundreds of cameras, I’ve learned the hard way that no single one is perfect.
I’ve had very few that were downright awful, especially digital cameras.
The vast majority were perfectly capable, and ones I could have used for years enjoyably, and with satisfying results.
Those which have lasted in my collection are perhaps 90% compatible with my needs, then I’ve made up that last 10% by using them enough to know their strengths and charms.
I feel that this approach – this realisation – slowed and then virtually eliminated the previously relentless quest for the perfect camera.
As I result I’m happier because I’m not constantly chasing the impossible.
I’m enjoying the cameras I have because I know them better, and I’m getting better photographs, again because I’ve figured out through experience how to get pleasing results with each of the few which remain.
Put another way, familiarity beats any kind of instant compatibility, for me. And I don’t believe a completely perfect camera exists.
How has your experience been in finding the cameras that work best for you? Has it been more like a continual quest for the ideal camera, or finding one that’s good enough for your needs, and making the best of it?
As always, 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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