Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Perfect Camera Doesn't Exist

Love - Tehachapi, California
Captured using a Sony RX100 II.
There is no such thing as the perfect camera. It's never been made. It doesn't exist.

Every camera has at least one flaw. Perhaps it's too big and heavy. Maybe the controls aren't designed well or it doesn't fit comfortably in one's hand. The image quality may lack in some way. The camera might be too slow. It could be that it just isn't versatile enough. Maybe it's too simple or it might be too complex. It could be just too darn expensive. Every camera that's ever been made has some issue that makes it fall short of perfect.

Back when I was taking photography classes in college over 15 years ago, on the first day of the first class I brought with me a Sears 35mm SLR. I was told that this camera wasn't good enough because it wasn't capable of full manual mode (it was permanently in aperture priority mode). I was told that the Canon AE-1 was one of the best 35mm SLR cameras ever made, so I bought it.
Tasty Quality - Palmdale, California
Captured using a Sony RX100 II.
The AE-1 was probably 20 years old at the time that I purchased it. It still worked great, and was highly regarded. But it wasn't perfect. In fact, compared to today's cameras, it was quite primitive, and it required the photographer to manually set everything. It had a light meter, but otherwise was a mechanical experience. That's not necessarily bad--slowing down the process can be good--but it's far from ideal.

I'm thinking about all of this because, as you may know, I replaced my DSLR with a Sony RX100 II, and I'm writing a review of the Sony camera. The RX100 II has some shortcomings, but so did the camera that I replaced. Every camera that I've owned has had shortcomings. In fact, the camera I used to own that had the biggest upside, a Sigma DP2 Merrill, also had the biggest downsides.

When I first purchase a camera I pay attention to all of the things that I like about the camera. But as time goes on I seem to pay less attention to the things I like and pay more attention to the things that I don't like. Eventually, as I focus more on the negativity, I begin to dislike the camera. And, more often than not, a year after I purchased the camera, I replace it with a different camera.
Shoots & Ladder - Pasadena, California
Captured using a Sony RX100 II.
This is symptom of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). It's easy to be envious of new gear. Camera manufacturers and those who sell cameras (and those who are paid by the manufacturers and sellers) do a great job of making you think that the latest gear is better than what you have. But the truth is that the new cameras also have flaws. None of them are perfect. There are things that you won't like about them.

Besides, your gear doesn't matter. The ability and creativity of the photographer is what matters.

Those who rave about new gear, proclaiming something as the greatest, move on from that gear within a short time. They don't pay all that much attention to the flaws at first, but after some time the shortcomings become more and more annoying. Then a new camera comes out that supposedly doesn't have those shortcoming, and the cycle continues.
The Five Senses - Glendale, California
Captured using a Sony RX100 II.
It's better to be content with your gear than constantly buying new cameras. You are wasting money and time.

It seems that a balanced approach to buying cameras is to consider what it is that you need your gear to do, and find something that does that. And whatever the shortcomings are, because there will be shortcomings, be alright with them. Don't let them bother you. Don't entertain negative thoughts about year gear. Be happy that it does what you need it to do. Don't get caught up in the hype of new gear because that gear isn't perfect. You'll be just fine without it.

I think that a good attitude goes a long ways when it comes to contentment. If your glass is half-full and not half-empty when it comes to your camera, I think you'll find yourself more satisfied with what you already own.

No comments:

Post a Comment