New Photo Gear Keeping up with the race
I like my photo gear. It’s one of the things about photography that appeals to me. I’ve always liked having the best equipment I can afford. My first foray into 35mm was back in the early 70’s with a Konica T (or maybe T2??) with a few lenses. Soon afterward, I purchased a used Leica M4 rangefinder camera and three lenses. I used the photo gear from both systems happily for years. In the case of the Leica, for almost thirty years. Also, in 1997, I switched my SLR (single lens reflex) brand preference to Canon. And then, in the early 2000’s I switched to Canon digital altogether and never looked back. In 2015, with the development and proliferation of digital mirrorless cameras. I purchased the newest Leica M rangefinder camera and 4 lenses (green, no less!!). At this point, I use that camera for most of my images, though I still like and use the Canon gear for specific subjects and situations. And my plan was to continue along that path. In fact, I was excited to learn that Canon was introducing a new DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera to “replace” my 5dMkiii. I also learlned they were also introducing a new, updated version of an extreme wide angle zoom lens (16mm-35mm) which is four generations or so beyond the original I purchased in the 90’s and still use. Here’s the bad news: I’m through with the race. And I think that means I am going to phase out of Canon…and maybe more. For starters, I had read that the new 16-35mm zoom would be coming out this fall and had decided it was time to update. I suggested to Judy that, for the first time, I was thinking about “pre-ordering.” But then I read the press releases about the new lens. Heavier and longer than my lens by far. Wait a second…that’s the wrong direction! Also, it’s supposedly sharper. So, I realized that in almost 20 years no one has ever commented on the lack of sharpness of my existing lens which I use quite a bit. How sharp do I need? With regard to the new Canon 5dMkiv, I read the specs carefully. Not much global improvement to the things that matter to me. That is, I have NO interest in video capability, so “4k capable” means nothing to me. I just want to take photos. Also, it has 30 megapixels. First of all, that creates too large of a file for my computer system to handle effectively and efficiently. Secondly, who really “needs” more megapixels? That’s so “2006.” That is, it WAS a selling point in the industry ten years ago, but it’s not any longer. I make prints 11×17 and they are plenty sharp. I’ve even made large prints from my first (and relatively primitive) digital camera and no one notices. If all ya got goin’ for ya is the sharpness of your photos from additional pixels, I think you’re in trouble, anyways. I’ve read on forums, “But wait! What if you one day have to make a very large print?” Raise your hand if that’s ever happened to you or if you’ve noticed it on someone else’s work. Besides (news flash!!), there is software available to improve your files to enable larger sized prints if you are ever confronted with that problem. So, where do I stand now? Probably not getting the new Canon camera or lens. Keeping my existing Canon gear for now (which I really like!!) until I get the time or inclination to see some of the newer and smaller options that allow for long lenses, extreme wide angle, and closeup capability….subjects that I currently photograph with my Canon gear. And I will probably keep shooting more with my Leica system and possibly adding to that as needs dictate. We really are living in the golden age of photography! The advent of digital technology, new cameras (too often and too frequently!!), cellphones (don’t forget to use that!), and computer programs give us all more access and control of our creativity from start to finish. Everyone is a photographer! (I read recently that 80% of people who take photos think they’re good photographers!!) One just has to find the photo gear that literally fits your needs and lifestyle. Canon (and likely Nikon) prosumer camera equipment seems to be moving the other direction for me.