Does your philosphy affect your choice of gear?

Discussion in 'Philosophy of Photography' started by Jock Elliott, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    It does mine.

    My philosphy is: I don't take pictures, I don't create them, I find them. I never know when a cloudscape, a landscape, wildlife or something else that is interesting will pop up.

    I stand in awe of many of the forum members here who present lovely, saturated color compositions or crisp, high-contrast B&W that looks like it was shot at F64 by the light of a hydrogen bomb, and I have really tried to like system cameras with interchangeable lenses, but the truth is that I know that eventually I won't carry them.

    So I stuff my old D-550 in a pocket or dangle the G12 from my neck. Because the best camera is the one I have with me when I "discover" a photograph.

    What's your philosophy, and how does it affect your gear choice?
     
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  2. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    Julien
    I'm a bit in the same boat as you. I don't generally go out specifically to take photos, as inpiration and interesting subjects usually come to me while I'm doing something entirely different. Carrying a dedicated photo bag with me all the time would be a hassle, which is why I bought the X100 almost a year ago. It's been my main companion ever since, like the D-550 is for you. I take 80-90% of my photos with it. I still have a DSLR for when I feel like shooting some birds in the woods and lakes nearby, but that's about it.
     
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  3. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Julien,

    The X100 tempts me. Do you feel limited by the single focal length?

    - Jock
     
  4. akulya

    akulya SC Veteran

    219
    Mar 1, 2011
    My photophilosophy is, take the camera pretty much everywhere, and see what happens. It's just about having fun.
     
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  5. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    This is one of the reasons I got my Leica, I wanted something smaller than the DSLR but a larger sensor than the LX5. I carry my Leica around with me everywhere.
     
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  6. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Kal,

    That's sound pretty much like my philosophy, very succinctly stated!

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  7. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    Julien
    Jock I don't feel limited by the focal length, but to be honest I was already using a 35mm FF equivalent for most of my shooting before I bought the X100, so that never was a worry of mine. I still need the DSLR with a long tele for animals. The X100 can't do that.
     
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  8. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    James,

    Color me deep green with envy for you Leica guys. If I had one, I'd probably spend the first month just admiring it.

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  9. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend Subscribing Member

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    No doubt it does. I'm not someone who carries a camera everywhere and waits for inspiration to strike. I either take out a camera, in which case I'm LOOKING for images and hyper-aware of the possibilities, or I don't and then I only occasionally see something that makes me wish I had a camera with me. I have an iphone for those occasions but very rarely end up using it for photos. We had a photo per day with cell phone cameras last November I think and I had my new iphone 4s with me all the time. And I usually had to force myself into "shooting and looking" mode in order to make sure I got a shot each day. Only one of my better shots came through that process. The other ones came on a couple of days where I went out shooting, but decided to shoot with the iphone instead of another camera - THOSE days I came back with some images. I'm just either ON or OFF, for the most part. Its a recreational activity for me and I'm either out doing photography or I'm out doing something else. And rarely the twain shall meet.

    That said, even when I'm out with the purpose of shooting, I don't like to carry a lot of stuff and my choice of gear is pretty specific to how I'm feeling. Very often its just one camera and one lens - often an X100 or GXR-28 or EPL3 with the 12 or 14 or 45. Sometimes I'll take a small bag and either carry the X100 and GXR or I'll take the EPL3 and maybe 2-3 extra lenses. Once I have the OMD, I'll probably do a lot of this kind of shooting again for a while, taking it out with a few lenses - still in a very small bag. When I travel I take a somewhat larger bag usually with a couple of bodies and a handful of lenses. Having two bodies available with a range of focal lengths already mounted seems to work for me. Two m43 bodies with the 14-150 on one and the 9-18 on the other seems to cover the waterfront pretty well. And then I'll stick a fast prime on one of them for street shooting or low light work. That's my ideal travel setup. But most of the time, I just take one camera and one lens and within a few minutes that focal length will be all I'll see with.

    I've tried carrying larger cameras that all but force the use of a viewfinder and it honestly seems to stifle the way I see stuff - I can't say why, but it does. I sometimes use an EVF or OVF and love having them available but not if they're the primary way the camera makes you want to use it. The GH2 felt like that to me even though its objectively not notably bigger than other m43 cameras I've had, but something about the design of that camera made me always want to use the EVF and I never enjoyed shooting with the rear screen. I THINK it was the way the EVF hung way out over the screen at the back of the camera, or the way the controls were laid out that just felt more natural with the camera at my eye. I'm hoping the OMD doesn't have that effect - from looking at the design I don't THINK it will, but if it does, I'll probably sell it as soon as another Pen model comes out with the flip screen and new sensor - an updated EPL4 or something. And the size and weight that makes you want to lift a camera to your eye just to steady it and balance the weight forces me to shoot in a way that feels un-natural to me, so small cameras are basically all I shoot with. The X100 is my largest camera at the moment and, unless I get something like the X-Pro someday down the road, will probably remain my largest camera.

    Just like some cars feel staid and steady and solid while other cars feel light and quick and toss-able, I find the same with cameras. And the light and quick and toss-able ones feel right to me about 99% of the time and seem to work with how I shoot, which has absolutely GOT TO be tied into my personal philosophy on some level.

    -Ray
     
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  10. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Real Name:
    Stephen Noel
    Does your philosophy affect your choice of gear?

    Probably. But, I would be hard put to describe it.
    Mostly my photography has been "country", not "street". I really like having a camera/lens in hand, not pocket or bag. I like to be able to "palm" the body from the back side and the lens facing inward, while carrying. I have never found one lens that completely satisfied me. But if I can only carry one it is usually the "Nifty fifty" equiv. But then I am very aware of the very small things when out and about, so macro is always desirable ability. I have long lenses and occasionally I try to get up close and personal with small critters.
     
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  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    I have no qualms about carrying a camera bag, so a pocketable camera is not a requirement for me to carry a camera with me more often than not. You can say whatever you want about Micro 4/3, bad or good, but the ability to carry three quality lenses ranging from 18-300mm (35mm equiv) and a body with a large(ish) sensor in a small bag weighing barely more than a kilogram has been an absolute revelation.
     
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  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator Moderator Subscribing Member

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Real Name:
    Luke
    I can't quite give up my micro 4/3 kit because I love shooting tele (or fisheye.....or macro....or shooting shallow DOF), but for the couple months the kit sits at home and the X100 is the only one being used. I wouldn't say that I feel limited by the single focal length, but often I'll see a shot in my head and then lift the camera to capture it and realize that I'm too close or too far. So I either need change position or change the shot.

    I'm not sure I have a philosophy except that I like to walk around and shoot things that interest me sometimes. I don't like changing lenses and I've recently discovered that I don't like carrying a bag (It never seems to stay on my should right) so I guess in a way it has informed my choice of gear as it has pushed me into using the X100 almost exclusively (which is fine, I guess).
     
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  13. ajramirez

    ajramirez SC All-Pro S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    Real Name:
    Antonio
    I always carry a bag myself. At this point, I have mainly three systems, each of which is neatly packed in its own bag. Which bag gets taken out depends on what I'm shooting that day. If it's film, its a Domke F5xa packed with a Leica M6 TTL, 35, 50, and 90mm lenses. Very small, light and discreet kit. If it's digital, a Domke F5xb (just a tad longer than the xa, but not as tall) packed with a Lumix G3, 9-18, 14, 25, and 45mm lenses. Again, very small, light and discreet.

    The third bag is a Tenba Messenger large which holds my EOS system. This one only leaves the house if I'm shooting for someone else (very rarely) or if flash needs to be used. Much too heavy to carry around.

    Cheers,

    Antonio
     
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  14. winginkris

    winginkris SC Veteran

    315
    Dec 15, 2011
    For me, the focal length is a bit limiting(I like taking pics of animals), but I'd buy one again if I didn't already own one. You learn to "zoom" with your feet. I haven't had this much fun with a camera since my high school days(a long time ago)! I'll probably end up with the xpro as there are too many times when I could use the extra focal length and from what I've read so far it seems the shooting experience is similar to the x100.

    As far philosophy goes, my camera has become a tool that gets me out of the house. It's with me all the time, but I'm not always taking pics unless something really catches my attention. I'm also more "country" than "street". Unfortunately, I live in the suburbs and without driving some distance, there's not much country here. I also don't like hauling a lot of gear, I like things more "simplistic" which is one of the things I like about the x100. Put a couple of accessories on it and go take photos! When I had my DSLR, I had a closet full of gear. I've sold most everything off and now have just the x100 and a couple of bags and couldn't be happier for making the change!
    For me, it's what gets me out "exploring" the world a bit more.
     
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  15. nikki

    nikki SC Top Veteran

    519
    Sep 12, 2011
    Dublin ,Ireland
    I will take a couple of cameras with me if Im going out to take photos - as thats what I like to do - but for everyday I got my GRD. It was a bit odd at first only having a fixed focal length but got use to it very quickly! I actually have got more shots by just having the camera on me at all times and its nice and small.- and I think im a better photographer for it !:smile:
     
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  16. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    Well when I first got it, I spent the first couple of months with buyer's remorse due to how much it cost. But I never regretted it.

    Incidentally, I could only afford one lens after buying the body, a 35mm prime (almost a 50mm on the 1.33x crop). For the vast majority of the time I didn't feel I needed anything more. If I got another lens it would be telephoto.
     
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  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    My "one body, three-four lens" Micro 4/3 bag is the canvas bag from the Olympus 4/3 50-200mm f2.8-3.5, with a microfibre towel inside to keep everything apart! It has a zipped flap that opens all the way from top to bottom so I still have access to everything inside.
     
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  18. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Probably. But, I would be hard put to describe it.
    Mostly my photography has been "country", not "street". I really like having a camera/lens in hand, not pocket or bag. I like to be able to "palm" the body from the back side and the lens facing inward, while carrying. I have never found one lens that completely satisfied me. But if I can only carry one it is usually the "Nifty fifty" equiv. But then I am very aware of the very small things when out and about, so macro is always desirable ability. I have long lenses and occasionally I try to get up close and personal with small critters.[/QUOTE]

    Steve,

    I also try to get up close and personal with small critters sometimes. It usually results in going full optical zoom and full digital zoom on the G12, like this picture. (Not great IQ, but I got the ducks!)

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Luke,

    It sounds like you are in the same boat as me: you don't like to change lenses or carry a bag = simplicity!

    Cheers, Jock
     
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  20. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Nikki,

    My only problem with fixed focal length is that sometimes I can't zoom with my feet . . . for example, in the case of the duck pix elsewhere is this thread. My water-walking skills are severely limited, just ask my wife!

    Cheers, Jock