Victor Hugo said that “Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.” In essence this says that our dreaming should be a form of planning. This is hard to do at this time of year since it is Photokina 2012 time when lots of new cameras and lenses are announced and all the announcements try to convince you that you must buy their latest and greatest product.
While you might think otherwise given the number of cameras that I have gone though in the past few years, there has always been a goal or purpose in all of my camera purchases. I am a seeker of the smallest, discreet yet most ergonomic camera that I can find that suits my needs. My largest problem has been defining my future needs. I have traveled to various countries with a camera and wished that I had brought something different. An example of that would be the lack of a weather resistant camera that was sealed against dust while in the Sahara desert and the lack of a rain-proof camera with a long lens while traveling within the Amazon rain forest or in Costa Rica. Those events led me to get the Pentax K-5. Will I need that capability in the future? I doubt it, but what will I need?
One consistent need that I still keep coming back to is for a single camera that is small and light-weight but still has suitable ergonomics and image quality (IQ). I’m still looking for a camera that is easy to always take with me no matter where I go. I once thought that one of the micro 4/3’s cameras would be a good compromise. I liked the Olympus E-P3 but felt that the IQ was lacking in low light and that its ergonomics didn’t work with a long lens. I liked the IQ of the Panasonic G3 better but I kept hitting buttons and changing settings accidentally. It doesn’t look like the ergonomics of the Olympus E-M5 are sufficiently better … especially given the location of the on-off switch. So far, the best attributes of the micro 4/3’s system has been the smaller, but high quality lenses. Will the new cameras like the Panasonic GH3 overcome the poor ergonomics of its peers? They did make it larger so the ergonomics might be better, but it is now about the same size of the K-5.
So far I haven’t seen anything in the new cameras coming out that are worth me dreaming about … well except maybe the Fuji X-E1 or the Sony NEX-6. One of them might have the potential of being the best overall camera for me provided that I don’t need long lenses for wildlife, nor a weather resistant system. Will I need, or want such capabilities in the future?
Every time that I start looking at the new cameras trying to find the best compromise for my uses, I keep coming to the conclusion that there isn’t one single camera that will satisfy me now and that the only way I will be able to get down to one suitable camera will be to reduce my range of potential shooting options … to forget about the rare future chances that I will need a long focal length, weather resistant system for the Amazon rain forest and to forget about long lenses for photographing wildlife at a distance, etc. Maybe I should refocus my dreams on fewer types of photography.