Mental Anguish #3

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This article brings me to the third leg of my anguish relative to photography, and that is which camera(s) do I need or would I like to use?  While it depends on what I’m photographing, I prefer certain cameras and lenses for their ease of use with my hands & eyes, crop-ability, image quality, etc. so I am always looking for a balance between what I photograph and what cameras work best for me.

In the past year I used a Pentax K-1 full frame camera as well as several different Fujifilm cameras and lots of lenses and different waterproof pocket cameras in order to better handle the lighting conditions while photographing various Homewood events and activities and landscape.  I then sold all of them and went back to Olympus micro 4/3 cameras with fewer lenses.  I did this because I was having trouble with my hands and back when using the larger heavier gear, and thought I could get by with less and it would help.    I found that I could accomplish all that I needed with micro 4/3 gear when it came to getting suitable images for Homewood uses.  Mainly the reason I could do this was because of my use of LR improvements as well as my skills to process the images.  I have still been looking to see if there is another camera that I would rather use for some of my personal photography.  I would like something simpler and better engineered that was more of a joy to use.

Now that I have been using an Olympus TG-6 camera to make images (like for the above photograph with no processing other than perspective straightening), I have been finding that it really helps with my hands, especially in colder wetter weather conditions and that it is convenient to carry in my pocket.  I am also finding that I can do quite a lot with this camera even though it is just a small pocket camera with a 1/2.3 size 12MP sensor.  Some of my processing changes have helped with my ability to make the images that you have been seeing in my posts lately.

I have been getting very comfortable with just using the TG-6.  I am sure that if I were to travel by air again that it is all that I would take and use due to its size and ruggedness.  The main shortcomings, if you wish to think of them that way, are the lack of shutter control and the need to use very slow shutter speeds in darker lighting conditions, and the lack of a viewfinder.  The impact of no shutter control means that I need to take pictures of things that aren’t moving in low light.  The lack of an EVF is amplified because I have switched to transitions eyeglasses and they turn dark in bright sun when it is most difficult to see the LCD when composing.  Fortunately, I can see well enough if I take my glasses off to help see the composition and the LCD of the TG-6 is better than on the TG-5.  I have also increased the brightness of the LCD.  Sometimes, the limitations of only having an effective maximum focal length of 100mm can be a problem, but not one I’m usually facing in my personal photography.

I have even found myself thinking about “what if the TG-6 was my only camera?”  I’m sure that would limit my Homewood photography, but not all of it.  It is something that I will continue to experiment with for a while.  Who knows, it may be my next big step towards simplifying and reducing the “stuff” in my life.  I have been exploring this idea and watching what Adrian has been doing with his photography as he has been using smaller one-inch sensor cameras.  If for whatever reason I stopped with my Homewood photography, I would probably reduce my gear down to just the TG-6 and/or a camera like the new Fuji X100V.  I like challenges and I find the concept of using less very intriguing, but there are still times when I would like a larger sensor and a faster lens to reduce depth of field.

As I have written in these last three posts, I am undergoing a lot of anguish and I intend to keep exploring and making more changes.  I haven’t made a decision yet, and indeed I probably do not want to make a decision relative to cameras yet since that would give me less to think about, but I do want to be prepared to take the next step if/when necessary.

I am probably closer to making changes in my subject material and processing, etc. than I am with cameras.  We will need to wait and see how that goes as I keep exploring and discussing things with my friends, and even maybe trying some other cameras, something more capable than the TG-6.  I would still like a more capable camera with higher quality images that is better engineered and more of a joy to use; but first I need to figure out what I want to photograph and can’t make with what I own.

The whole time I have been pursuing photography I have been dithering with whether I am more interested in the gear, cameras and lenses, than I am with making images.  I would like to stop this dithering and concentrate on what my intent, or purpose, or primary interest is in making images, but I find that to be difficult.