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Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 03:08
There were several million dollars' worth of classic cars in the village car-park a few minutes ago -- and I thought, "I'd rather have a camera." There were three Ferraris (including a Testarossa), two ACs, an Aston Martin, several Porsches (356 and 911), Lotus, Morgan and lots more. The humblest were a TR6 and an immaculate Mini (a real one, not a BMW).

I thought, "Well, they're beautiful, but they're not worth the money to me." (In my younger days I had TRs and other minor classics, and my friends drove Big Healeys, XKs and the like). Then I realized that the camera I had around my neck (M8 + Noctilux) was probably worth more than the Mini, and possibly comparable with the TR. No doubt some of the car owners would have thought that was more money than a camera was worth (as, to be fair, would several members of RFF).

What has made you realize what your photographic priorities are? We all know about Ned and his Noctilux; when have you thought, "I'd rather have this than that," referring to a camera (or lens) and something non-photographic?

Cheers,

R.

David Goldfarb
05-03-2008, 04:11
I'm certainly glad to live in a place where I don't need a car, and certainly that potential expense goes toward other things--some toward the general expense of living in New York, but some toward cameras and such.

mfunnell
05-03-2008, 05:17
Roger, I know you're talking beyond cars - but cars it is for me. I drive a really beat-up 22-year-old Saab. The bloke who gave it to me couldn't sell it to a wrecker - they wanted to charge money to take it away! But its functional, and I have only a small need for a car. To and from the train station is about it - and I can walk in a pinch. Family and friends have often suggested that I could afford to buy a decent car. I could, but at the expense of any decent budget for photography: gear, consumables and (more important) the occasional opportunity to travel to where I can take photos outside my ordinary surroundings. Oh, and when I need to do that by car, I hire one.

The other (descretionary) expense that takes priority over even the photography is books. More books than you could imagine. Amazon must love me, and my local booksellers are personal friends. I hope not only because I keep them solvent.

...Mike

P.S. My last "I'd rather have this than that" was my decision to not buy the Hexanon 60/1.2, not buy the Canon 70-200/2.8 IS, not buy the Canon 40D but to buy a decent printer, learn serious inkjet printing, and get some photos on the walls. I'm very happy with the decision.

tripod
05-03-2008, 06:26
Personally, I choose to stay away from the high-end and expensive Leica gear like the MP, M8, M7, Noctilux, Summiluxes, and modern Summicrons. I have 2nd tier lenses like CV, Summaron, Summitar, and I almost always buy used gear like my M6. This is mainly a hobby for me, and I choose not to spend what some others do, but I don't begrudge them for doing so, it just doesn't make sense for me.

mfogiel
05-03-2008, 06:42
For me there's definitely a trade off between photographic expenses and the rest. But this trade off is currently more related to time - yes, time can be worth more than other things, if you have a fine collection of cameras and lenses in your disposal, but little time to shoot... So I am currently concentrating on gaining more free time.... As for the gear - yes I am always lusting after something ( currently a f3.5 Planar Rolleiflex F ), but I got to the point where I am actually waiting for certain lenses or cameras TO BE MADE YET... I have been blessed with Leica scepticism, and this has saved me lots of money... But I would certainly buy a new fast Zeiss RF lens even if it cost a bundle... ;-) My pipe dream now, actually, is to buy a house in France with a nice garden... Cheers Roger !

M. Valdemar
05-03-2008, 06:48
I was walking near the village beach the other day, and I saw several dozen voluptuous girls. A few well-endowed cute Japanese girls in micro-bikinis, one blonde Spanish girl who looked like a young Bardot, and nine or ten other mouth-waterers.

And I thought to myself "I'd rather have a camera".

And then I remembered I had take my meds and go back to the mental institution.

Gumby
05-03-2008, 06:53
... A few well-endowed cute Japanese girls in micro-bikinis, ...

Remember when that was more often than not an oxymoron... my, how times have changed.

Personally, I like my "friends" attitude about what he'd rather have. He always said "I'd rather have a cheeseburger."

aad
05-03-2008, 07:04
My priorities began to settle when I realized that to make interesting pictures I should have an interesting life-that stopped almost all my on-line photo posts and started all the printing and distribution of some projects that worked out.

It's been a long time since I bought anything photographic besides film and chemistry.

I'd take a car, I guess. Then take pictures of the places I went.

craygc
05-03-2008, 07:23
...A few well-endowed cute Japanese girls...

Remember when that was more often than not an oxymoron... my, how times have changed.

Well, as I type from once again in Tokyo, it still seems to pretty much be an oxymoron... mind you I didnt see many of the ones in micro bikinis lately, maybe they're different :p

BTW, being based in Singapore, I could never justify the money required for any car, let alone a luxury one. Anyways, Im more of a 4x4 type of guy...

charjohncarter
05-03-2008, 08:07
I always think I'd like this over that when comes to cameras (in 2008). But in 1976, I was like you I drove that XKE and thought it was the greatest (I still do). So my priorities have changed and so have I, no expensive cameras or lenses just ones that work for me, and I drive a Mini (not the real one, the BMW, which also works for me).

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2208/2392386905_876173dc51.jpg?v=0

RFBob
05-03-2008, 08:12
I must admit I am a car nut. I love old British sports cars. I have one car an '52 XK-120. Much like my camera gear in a preverse way. Rock solid steady, and ready for the next adventure. It works for me. I also acknowledge I am analog guy in a ditigal world. If I ever find a woman who can understand this life without asking I will marry her.

bmattock
05-03-2008, 08:16
What has made you realize what your photographic priorities are? We all know about Ned and his Noctilux; when have you thought, "I'd rather have this than that," referring to a camera (or lens) and something non-photographic?

I pretty much stopped buying classic mechanical wristwatches when I turned my attention to classic fixed-lens rangefinders. I likewise have not purchased much in the way of audio gear, although I am having a friend build a custom one-off tube (valve, for you Brits) amplifier.

Today I am off to the Audiokarma Fest - lots of audiophiles from all over converging on a hotel to show off their gear, swap and sell and buy, and I'm looking forward to it. But I doubt I'll spend more than the price of admission - no money for that anymore.

It is what it is.

Cars are cool - we have the Woodward Dream Cruise every year a mile from my current hootch. 40,000 classic hot rods and other great cars, and I love to look at them. Someday it would be nice to have a nice restored hot rod. But it is much harder to keep a car collection in a cupboard - at least the kind one actually can drive.

bmattock
05-03-2008, 08:27
Mine is just a case of personal choice and financial limits. No shoe gazing introspection or freedom through being poor nonsense.

Al Patterson
05-03-2008, 08:32
I always think I'd like this over that when comes to cameras (in 2008). But in 1976, I was like you I drove that XKE and thought it was the greatest (I still do). So my priorities have changed and so have I, no expensive cameras or lenses just ones that work for me, and I drive a Mini (not the real one, the BMW, which also works for me).

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2208/2392386905_876173dc51.jpg?v=0

I'd love to have a Mini, but I'd be afraid to take it on any Interstate highway I've ever driven. And, NEVER on the Belt Parkway or LIE...

I have always driven small and cheaper cars and spent my money on used cameras and travel. That way, when my salary went down big time when I was laid off a few years back I just cut out travel instead of hiding from the Repo Man.

wlewisiii
05-03-2008, 08:45
For me, it was a recent realization that I missed my Kievs & didn't enjoy my Bessa as much as I had them. So I sold off a bunch of my gear & bought a nice mid 70's Kiev 4a & a 56 J-3 and have begun to gather up the Kiev/Contax kit I want. Really, what would tickle me, much more than any Leica, is a nice user pre-war Contax II with a collapsible Tessar 50/3.5 lens. and the time & money to take a year off & use it with my other small selection of lenses.

I do miss the Canon 35/1.8 I sold though ;)

William

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 09:02
Interesting how many people's priorities have changed -- and how others haven't.

I certainly agree that going places to take pictures (or as aad put it, to have an interesting life) is more important than changing cameras, at least once you're above a certain (very low) level.

William's missing his Kievs is a fascinating illustration that it's the camera that you like that matters, not the latest must-have ('must-have' according to the ads and consumer-driven comics, of course).

But I started using Leicas just under 40 years ago, having got hooked more or less by accident, and I reckon the occasional new one -- every decade or two -- is hardly rampant consumerism.

Cheers,

R.

Graham Line
05-03-2008, 09:18
Daddy always said pay cash and buy quality. Was just thinking this morning about my old Mercedes 250S, the last one before fuel injection set in. Top quality machines are always enjoyable, worth the money, and economical in the long run. Right now I'm enjoying an '84 BMW and a similar vintage M4-P.

JeffGreene
05-03-2008, 09:18
Roger:

When I was younger and single my pride and joy was a wrecked TR6 I'd restored with a friend; these days with my two youngest in college, I'm driving a Toyota. Camera-wise, I've recently made some trade-offs. I've wanted a Rollei SL66 for over twenty years. I've owned a Zeiss 50MM Distagon with no camera for about 17 years. I was convinced that the camera value had to drop and concentrated on acquiring the lenses. I guess you could almost describe it as a 20 year plan. :rolleyes:

But again, it's a trade-off. I'm unloading, regretfully, my 330F (in the classifieds) and will also be selling many of my fixed lens rangefinders. I'm just not using them anymore. So it's been pretty much a zero sum game with me. Although, the adjustment will still still keep me in the debit column vis a vis the total investment in my cameras over time. :(

I'm still learning my way around the Rollei, and unlike any purchase before find I'm enjoying it more and more, and hey, that's what it's all about! :D

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 09:42
I'm still learning my way around the Rollei, and unlike any purchase before find I'm enjoying it more and more, and hey, that's what it's all about! :D
Dear Jeff,

Thirty or so years ago I worked with a company called KREAB (Kreativ Information AB) and they had a lovely quotation inside the front cover of their brochure (from memory):

"Whatever you do, do it excellently, because if you don't do it excellently, it won't be profitable and it won't be fun -- and if you aren't in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you in business for?"

Cheers,

R.

gavinlg
05-03-2008, 09:51
I envy those that have no interest in cars and only see them as a mode of transport. I love cars, but definitely I love DRIVING more... Its sort of like how there are people who like cameras and gear - spend all day fussing over them, compared to people who go to race meets every month or take time off to go for a nice drive in the mountains every week. I am both, but more than cars themselves I love driving.


If you want to know where my priorities lie, for the last 6 years I've been driving stripped out, loud, low, hard and fast cars built for racing. I recently sold my last one, and bought a brand new mazda 3 so I could get on with work without having to concentrate on constant automotive distractions. So I could you could say my priority right now is my career.

charjohncarter
05-03-2008, 10:18
One thing about not falling for the 'this than that' syndrome, Is when you own a lens/camera for a really long time you get to know it. My Spotmatic I have used so much and for so long that I am hard wired to the ergonomics (I just know which way to turn the A ring, focus, shutter dial). Also, my Konica C35 I just know that a colorful scene in open shade will look great (or at least it will look great with certain films), etc. My new DSLRs are a hassle, plus they are different every year so it is a new experience.

Konicas C35 and FujiSuperiaXtra400:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3274/2449835687_86dee8654f.jpg?v=0

JeffGreene
05-03-2008, 11:04
One thing about not falling for the 'this than that' syndrome, Is when you own a lens/camera for a really long time you get to know it. ......:

I agree entirely with you, but in my case, I've never quite been content with the equipment I've worked with. I don't have that feeling with the new Rollei. I'm sure much is attributable to my general lack of talent, as many of the talented people on this board could reasonably conclude, but over the years I'd borrowed my friend's camera (SL66), in a way, I guess, to rationalize not having to purchase my own. After approximately 15 yrs of using it with my lenses, I realized that I'd gotten to know that camera, and felt its absence keenly when he moved away. When he offered to sell it to me, it was a no-brainer, although it required some sacrifice on my part. Since I've owned it, I find myself using it more and more. My Mamiya 6 used to travel everywhere with me. Now it's the Rollei. It requires more setup time, unlike tha Mamiya, and rather than being annoyed by this, I find its use has led me to spend more time thinking about the pictures I'll be making with it. I'd gotten lazy with the Mamiya 6 thinking that if I left the exposure to the camera, I could spend more time thinking about composition.

Sorry to run on so :), time to grade some papers and then I'll be off to make some pictures. Have a great day! :D

Tom A
05-03-2008, 11:28
In more than 5 decades of playing with cameras and cars. I have developed priorities. I suspect that I have owned about 120-130 cars in that time, ranging from Citroen 2CV's and to various more exotic ones (including a Mark VI Bentley - that was a trade for a handful of of Nikon F's and lenses, filled with sand). The only time I have bought new cars have been on a need basis, A Renault 16, a couple of LWB Land Rovers and an Econoline Ford 250. The rest have ranged in price from $0.89 to about $3500!
My criteria was for a long time "No car shall cost more than a good 50mm lens". Interestingly enough, my standards are higher today with the recent hike in the Noctilux price. I could get something interesting for that kind of money.
Currently I am driving a 15 year old Jeep Grand Cherokee. It is speeding up Global Warming a bit, but then "future generations can fend for themselves" and "let them ride bicycles"! Also, rising sealevels would shorten my walk to the beach by 30-40 feet!
Film is the most important part - anything less than a years supply gives me an anxiety attack - as well as the chemistry to soup it.
Cameras are not a problem - I have enough to last several lifetimes - which does not stop me from aquiring more when the opporunity arises!
Travel is also a priority - I like the idea of getting away, not to a beach, but to another place. It doesn't change my daily routine much, but affords me a different view from the chair at the cafee.
I appreciate the mechanical perfection of some cars.watches, kitchen appliances etc, but they are mostly regarded as subjects for pictures and I can't stand the current design trends with crappy ergonomics and incomprehensible intructions. When the manual is bigger than the product - civilization as we know is in a decline.
Leica's old manual for the M2/M3/M4 were wonderful. They worked hard to fill 12-14 pages and if you ever had used one of their cameras before, you could figure out a new model in 2-3 minutes (going from the spool load to the tulip of the M4 and getting used to the angled rewind crank was the extent of "complexity"). I looked at a friends Nikon D3 - splendid camera and amazing quality, but a 440 pages manual!
Hence my affinity for M2's and the simple operation thereof!

Matthew Allen
05-03-2008, 11:45
The rest have ranged in price from $0.89 to about $3500!

Tell us more about the $0.89 car please.:)

Matthew

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 12:42
Leica's old manual for the M2/M3/M4 were wonderful. They worked hard to fill 12-14 pages . . . !
Dear Tom,

Reading this, I realized that I had never actually seen one!

I am perplexed by people who ask, on line, for manuals for cameras where you would need to be severely mentally defective, or never to have seen either a 120 or 35mm camera before, to need any advice whatsoever.

This does NOT include Werra wind-ons, Zorkii-4 rewinds, and many other eccentricities.

Cheers,

R.

Tom A
05-03-2008, 13:30
Tell us more about the $0.89 car please.:)

Matthew

I was living in Sweden (early 60's) at the time and a friend of mine's dad had a huge scrap metal operation, cars,planes and ships. When he got something in in the car section that was a bit too nice to break, he would phone me "What do you have in your pocket right now" I would count through the change and tell him " Ok you just bought a XYZ car". The deal was if I resold it (usually with an empty gastank), I would deduct the orignal amount and we would split the difference. The $ 0,89 car was a 1953 Citroen Berlina 11 or 15CV. Came with a 3/4 tank of gas too. I drove it for 4-5 days and a friend bought it for $1.00. Ok, he had to put almost $5 in the tank! He kept the car for many years. There were weeks when I had 2-3 of these cars and I occasionally had difficulty remembering what I was driving! Usually only had one working battery that you had to carry between them.

Gumby
05-03-2008, 13:36
I am perplexed by people who ask, on line, for manuals for cameras where you would need to be severely mentally defective, or never to have seen either a 120 or 35mm camera before, to need any advice whatsoever.

Perhaps there are people out there who have an intellectual curiousity, or enjoy the "collector aspect" of the original documentation. What's wrong with that?

Yammerman
05-03-2008, 13:42
Dear Tom,

Reading this, I realized that I had never actually seen one!

I am perplexed by people who ask, on line, for manuals for cameras where you would need to be severely mentally defective, or never to have seen either a 120 or 35mm camera before, to need any advice whatsoever.

This does NOT include Werra wind-ons, Zorkii-4 rewinds, and many other eccentricities.

Cheers,

R.

So if other people need a manual they are severely mentally defective but if you need one thats Ok?

Classy thinking.:bang:

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 13:46
So if other people need a manual they are severely mentally defective but if you need one thats Ok?

No. Some cameras are so simple that anyone of normal or moderately below-normal intelligence can figure them out of they have ever seen a camera before.

Others are not.

Which bit didn't you understand?

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 13:51
Perhaps there are people out there who have an intellectual curiousity, or enjoy the "collector aspect" of the original documentation. What's wrong with that?

Collecting documentation, no problem.

Intellectual curiosity: about what? If every operation on a camera is self-evident, or evident to anyone who has ever owned any other 120 or 35mm camera, the only reason to look for the instructions is to collect the book.

So many people have been brainwashed by instruction books of 100+ pages that they tend to forget that with many well-designed products, you don't (and indeed shouldn't) need an instruction book. As with my observation to Tom. The only obscure bit about Leicas is the depth-of-field notches in the rangefinder patch.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 14:04
Roger... you are being obnoxious. This really diminishes the respect one might give you as a "mentor." Is your intent to be a mentor, or just to be contraversial?
Dear Ed,

Controversial, every time. For me, that's what being a mentor means.

Photography isn't difficult. Technique is pandered to everywhere.

Thinking is generally discouraged, but I try to encourage it.

If you see this as obnoxious or indeed as controversial, tough. Find another mentor.

A small example from my schooldays:

Physics master: "I am told China exists. Why do I say this?"

Me (after several other suggestions from others -- he deliberately waited before asking me): "Because you've never been there."

Physics master: "That's right." (Switches back to physics.)

Someone else: "But you've seen pictures of China!"

Physics master: "No I haven't. I've seen pictures captioned as China. Might have been Wales for all I know."

Someone else (bear in mind that this was in less politically correct days): "But they've got yellow skins and slant eyes."

Physics master: "They might have been Welsh. I don't know what Welsh people look like. I've never been to Wales, either."

Question everything (the Buddha himself advised this). If you don't understand it, set it aside. If you don't like it (you find me obnoxious), set me aside too. Not a problem for either of us...

Cheers,

R.

Gumby
05-03-2008, 14:08
If you see this as obnoxious or indeed as controversial, tough. Find another mentor.

I have no problem with thinking; I, too, encourage it. In fact, I practice it often. I've even read a few old camera manuals even though I could figure it out just by fiddling with the camera. I do have a problem with name calling - mentally defective, etc. Re: mentorship... OK. :)

Brian Sweeney
05-03-2008, 14:10
I just found a Rollie 35TE for $15 at an antique shop. I'm glad I looked up the online manual. You have to advance the film before collapsing the lens. If you attempt to collapse the lens without the shutter being cocked, it can damage the mechanism. Apparently, the person that put the "$15 as is" did not know that. It works now.

On the Leica M3 Single Stroke- the RF patch's DOF indicator marks for F8 and F16 are well explained in the instruction manual. I'll assume they are the same for my M2.

On the Nikon S2, the shutter dial stays in the lifted position when using 1/1000th. Says so in the Manual.

But I could pick up the Nikon SP and use it right-away. I just bought the $20 Instruction Manual for the collector's value.

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 14:18
I have no problem with thinking; I, too, encourage it. In fact, I practice it often. I've even read a few old camera manuals even though I could figure it out just by fiddling with the camera. I do have a problem with name calling - mentally defective, etc. Re: mentorship... you ain't no mentor of mine old goat! :)

Dear Ed,

Another piece of advice from my schooldays, pertaining to examinations. READ THE QUESTION. Or in this case, read the reply.

To paraphrase: I am perplexed by those who ask for manuals for cameras where no manual is needed by those who are not mentally defective or have never seen a 35mm or 120 camera before.

Note, in particular, the choice: mentally defective, or completely unfamiliar with 35mm or 120 cameras. I do not see the 'name calling' in this.

You provided one and a half perfectly good reasons why someone might demand such a manual (I'm still not fully convinced by 'intellectual curiosity'). This legitimately reduced, but did not remove, my perplexity.

Whether I am, or am not, any mentor of yours is a matter of sublime indifference to me, but I do slightly wonder why you felt the need to call me 'old goat'.

Cheers,

R.

Gumby
05-03-2008, 14:22
Please accept my apologies. I'll amend that in the post.

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 14:25
I just found a Rollie 35TE for $15 at an antique shop. I'm glad I looked up the online manual. You have to advance the film before collapsing the lens. If you attempt to collapse the lens without the shutter being cocked, it can damage the mechanism. Apparently, the person that put the "$15 as is" did not know that. It works now.

On the Leica M3 Single Stroke- the RF patch's DOF indicator marks for F8 and F16 are well explained in the instruction manual. I'll assume they are the same for my M2.

On the Nikon S2, the shutter dial stays in the lifted position when using 1/1000th. Says so in the Manual.

But I could pick up the Nikon SP and use it right-away. I just bought the $20 Instruction Manual for the collector's value.

Dear Brian,

I completely agree. My point was simply that some cameras are so unbelievably simple -- the average roll-film folder springs to mind -- that no instruction book should be needed by anyone who has owned any other similar camera.

We are all familiar with 'do not force it -- get a bigger hammer' and if we run into problems with a camera (i.e. it seems hard to operate a particular control) t is entirely reasonable to look for the instruction book or (more usually) ask for specific help on line.

A good example is the extra tension on the 1/500 shutter speed on leaf shutters, and the normal advice to set the speed before cocking the shutter. But (as with the Leica example you quote) this is transferable knowledge. I would never find fault with anyone for asking why 1/500 was hard to set -- ONCE. But a whole instruction book for a specific camera?

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 14:29
Please accept my apologies. I'll amend that in the post.
Dear Ed,

Gladly and unreservedly accepted; and please accept mine also for the brusque response.

Cheers,

Roger

Tom A
05-03-2008, 15:01
Oh boy - I didnt realize that I would start a mudslinging match by referring to manuals! My background is journalist/photographer/chemist and industrial designer. As a designer I tend to look at something, try to figure it out and if the complexity of the piece of machinery is such that I can't grasp without going to them manual - I will do it. Scanning Electron Microscopes, Beckman Analyzers. high speed centrifuges (good idea as things tend to fly about if you dont balance it).
Most cameras that are well designed are intuitive to use and should be. The fact that the manufacturers try to cram everything in to them "because they can" is counter productive. Very few of us need or want it and those who do are willing to spend the time learning about it or buying a model that will do all of this!
Case in point: My current watch is a Seiko Chronograph which has a fancy alarm function in it as well as a split second timer. It came with it, I did not need it (it was bought at a yardsale for $80). After 16 month I have still to figure it out. I can't set the alarm or when I do by mistake. I cant turn it off without pressing every damned button! The split second timer looks like the gadget panel on the RD 1 camera. You press a button and various dials spin around in an interesting way. I did look up the manual on-line and it did not tell me anything that was useful. Oh,well - I bought it to tell me what time it is and that it does well!

My Mac comes with Photoshop CS3 (I think) - I have still not figured out how to use it. Adobe Lightroom on the other hand is designed for someone who wants it to do what I want, without having to spend days pressing keys and pushing a mouse around whilst muttering "What the H### happened now!". All I want it to do is to put black frames around my pictures that go on Flickr. I tried reading the manual and the "how to" stuff and as anyone who has ever visited my Flickr site can see - I still cant do it!

It is not that I could not learn these things, but it i simply that the time it takes to learn it is in no way proportional to the use I have for it!

Look back at things like the Gralab timer for the darkroom, the Focomat 1c, the M2/M3 and even the early M6 and you have simple, well built designs that even after decades perform well.
If you look at a bicycle, you can see how it works and though you will fall off a couple of times before you get the balance right - it actually functions as you imagine it in your mind! Look at the stash of remotes required to operate a basic cable box, a monitor and a DVD player and you go back to reading books (which is better for you and does not require a manual) and then try to make heads and tail of a Canon/Nikon/Leica Digital camera manual and Tri X makes sense.

One day the manufactureres of these gadgets (and that's what they are) will wake up and find that we have all gone back to the basic lead pencil and an envelope with stamp on it as they could not figure out how to use the latest upgrade in whatever system they were using. Time is money - and time having to read badly written, incomprihensible manuals for functions we dont need or want is a waste of money in my opinion!

dee
05-03-2008, 15:02
Back to priorities ...
It was recently that I dee'scovered that , in an autistically glitched world , that hands and eyes actually work together to make a Leica II '' real ''

This led to a somewhat feverish aquisition of many '' real '' cameras - ironically [ ? ] , mostly Leica-likes from the ex-USSR ... This obliterated any previous passions .

Then I found that the M 8 created the same , all too rare magic connection ... but with instant results !

An inheritance permitted this once-in-a-lifetime purchase , however I did not even agonise over the more that adequate stereo system that was a previous '' priority '' - even with the prospect of using Russian lenses , I needed that camera as a window onto fragmented world ... [ and one Fed collapsible has that sparkle ! ]

Neither did I hesitate about buying a 6 month old Leica Digilux 3 instead of 3x Voightlander lenses - because the Dig 3 offers the same connection in the more familiar guise of an SLR - and that lazy zoom , and I knew that this would be the last of a traditionally styled camera

I drive an Alfa 147 , so I am not indee'ferent to cars - we also have a 2cv which actually needs driving - rather like a Leica II with similar innovation , but without any hint of quality of engineering !

To simplify , my cameras contain / filter / make accesible , a confusing world as no other objects have - incl my previous Minolta SLRs ...

My current priorities therefore are for several Voigtlander lenses to extend ''emma'' the M 8's capabilities ... though ASdee tends to swap priorities with exhausting frequency - I really think that emma is there fore the duration !

dee

Roger Hicks
05-03-2008, 15:19
Oh boy - I didnt realize that I would start a mudslinging match by referring to manuals!
Dear Tom,

Around 30 years ago I used to write software manuals for mainframes. I remember one software package designed for vehicle fleet maintenance. Ti summarize a conversation early in the manual design stage:

Me: Imagine I am a 16-year-old school leaver who has been told she has to operate this system next week. What buttons do I press?

Subject matter expert: It's not that simple...

Me: Then go back and re-write it until it is.

S.M.E. But the system architecture...

Me: I repeat: I am a 16-year-old school leaver. What buttons do I press?

And it got rewritten.

EDIT: Dee: love your example.

Cheers,

R.

mfunnell
05-03-2008, 16:22
On the "side path" of dSLR manuals - last weekend I picked up a Canon 40D my father wanted (they're cheaper in Sydney than Canberra) and had a play with it. It has a nice thick manual and lots of whizz-bang features. But being already familiar with Canon SLRs it took almost no time to figure out, even for new features not in my camera - and the manual is still in the shrink-wrap. There were a couple of minor wrinkles - for example, they've switched the ISO and flash-exposure compensation controls. But nothing that took more than a minute or so to figure out.

My view is that the controls are complex because they do lots of stuff. You don't have to use them, though. There's nothing to stop you setting it to all-manual and using it that way (in that case, though, I'd prefer my M-mount or OM gear). But if you do want to use all the features (or just some), they're there, they're not hard to learn (though only practice makes them 2nd-nature) and you only have to learn 'em once because they do translate to newer/different models. dSLRs are about 50% of my photography and, by now, the controls are transparent to me (at least the Canon ones). I use dSLRs for what I find 'em good at. Which makes changing to the simplicity of my RF gear, for other things, relaxing and so that much nicer :D

...Mike

merlin
05-05-2008, 21:21
Hey, bmattock, the Woodward Drag was – aside from girls – my number one priority back in high school in the early fifties. Four one-way lanes from Birmingham to DEEtroit City and back. Stop/start lights every ‘Mile’ road – you know, Fourteen Mile, Thirteen Mile, Twelve mile ....

Two good friends back then had, respectively, two cool cars:

1) A yellow, shabby-looking, slightly-rusted 49 Willys Overland Jeepster originally equipped with a laughable 63 hp stick-shift engine ... only this one secreted a full-race Cadillac V8/hydromatic in it's bowels plus well hidden exhaust pipes and a beefed-up front suspension to keep the front end up at stock level.

2) A very plain, 49 Olds two-door V8 fastback owned by a widowed grandmother, modified only with headers and duals ... “Really grandma, it's a little noisy but you're gonna get great mileage”!

Come a Woodward Night we’d strip everything out of an interior except the two front seats, then troll the Avenue looking for ‘hot’, ‘showy’ cars. First stoplight or two we’d rev-up like nurds and let them blow us away, then eat them alive out of the third stoplight. It was great, great fun for one night now and again but never a second night – the Really Big Hamtramack Boys would have 'the word' by then and be out cruising their really low-profile monsters, ready to beat the Willys or the Olds and/or those smart-ass silver-spoon drivers from Birmingham to a pulp.

Things photographic didn’t appear on my list of priorities until I got out of college and got more reflective. Since then I’ve been deeply in, and deeply out of photography but if I could have anything back from my done-with past it sure wouldn’t be that original M3 or any other camera, or my souped-up 70 911, or a certain, very special sailboat. What it would be is my best-high-school-friend’s grandmother’s 49 Oldsmobile with the backseat out and the headers and duals on. Then I'd just sit and look at it and remember all the great stuff my friend Burt and I did those too-quick, so-special years. It's what being 71 will do to you!

PS: Easy-going subforum Roger, seems one will be able to stray a little once and a while without getting shot.

Bruce

Roger Hicks
05-06-2008, 00:54
PS: Easy-going subforum Roger, seems one will be able to stray a little once and a while without getting shot.
Bruce
Dear Bruce,

Well, it's entertainment. As long as people don't get nasty, I'm not too worried. After all, I don't have to respond to every post.

It's also useful displacement activity. Right now I should be doing an illustration for my regular column in Land Rover Monthly but this is easier...

Cheers,

Roger

Ronald_H
05-06-2008, 02:44
Hmm interesting. I love both cars and photography.

My daily drive is a 2005 diesel Fiat Panda, bought new. Tiny, impossibly frugal yet sophisticated enough for my needs (safe, good seats, aircon, great stereo, satnav). It's what I need, as opposed to what I want (an Impreza or Mazda MX-5 for example). I bought it new to be able to drive without problems for years. I can afford a 'sexier' car, yet, with the taxes, fuel prices and speed limits in the Netherlands, I chose not to.

YET, I also still own my very first car. It's a 1971 Opel Kadett. Not sexy or special in any way. Restored for far too much money (twice the amount it is worth). I just couldn't part with it and bring it to a scrapyard. Completely irrational. I rarely drive it too.

W.r.t cameras, I have a nice Nikon kit (D200 with a good set of primes and fast zooms). I'm an amateur, don't make money with photography so no D300 or D3 (yet). Still, I can do with my gear what I want and it gives fantastic results. It's way more expensive than many people would want to spend on photography. Yes, most of my lenses are second hand, and the zooms are 3rd party. But they are of course still very good lenses.

I also have some Nikon MF gear, bought for next to nothing. That's just for fun, although the results can be great too.

As for Leicas... I just bought my first one. I also bought a 'cron. Yet, I looked long and hard for a user and had a really great deal on my 'cron. Still, they produce great images. But do I need it? No.

So it's a balance between the head and heart. Yes, a good modern car, quite lavishly equipped, but a very small and frugal one. Yes, an oldtimer, but a very plain one.

Yes, a good modern camera system, but with second hand and 3rd party lenses. Yes, a Leica, but an ugly old one with a CLA and a bargain 'cron.

It does say a lot about me doesn't it... I can afford an M8 + lenses, but for that amount of money I could buy my whole current Nikon & Leica outfit! The closet full of gear, my bags, my scanners, all of my lenses, the old manual gear, the M2, my studio strobes, my light meter, my backgrounds, my light modifiers, even my fancy computer...

Or indeed, I could buy a Fiat Panda for that amount of money... and in the US probably a medium sized SUV :D

Ronald_H
05-06-2008, 04:28
My Mac comes with Photoshop CS3 (I think) - I have still not figured out how to use it. Adobe Lightroom on the other hand is designed for someone who wants it to do what I want, without having to spend days pressing keys and pushing a mouse around whilst muttering "What the H### happened now!". All I want it to do is to put black frames around my pictures that go on Flickr. I tried reading the manual and the "how to" stuff and as anyone who has ever visited my Flickr site can see - I still cant do it!

It is not that I could not learn these things, but it i simply that the time it takes to learn it is in no way proportional to the use I have for it!



Hi Tom. This is quite an eye opener, especially the last paragraph. Years ago I started playing with the then current Photoshop. I agree it's not user friendly, but after a week of playing I got what I wanted. Everything I ever wanted to do I figured out by trying. I use Photoshop almost daily, I'm a digital child (just), my whole photographic thinking revolves around it.

But the point, as you so well put it, is that it should not take more time than you are willing to put into it. The whole photoshop thing was just for fun, I never thought about it. It sure was difficult at first, but there was zero pressure and little frustration.

There is some threshold you sometimes cannot get over. Very relevant here is doing my own B/W development. For you Tom, that is probably second nature.
For me it took 10 years to get there! I was more or less forced to, because my 'pro' lab made such a mess of it. I had so many doubts and questions, how do I load film on the reel, what developer should I choose, do I need a stop bath, do I need a darkroom, how do I store my chemicals, how do I check if my fixer is still good, where the %^&* do I order a changeing bag these days, etc. etc.

Now I'm over that 'hump of doubt' and I enjoy it immensly.

So I totally understand waht you are getting at, I just approach it form the other side :rolleyes:

M. Valdemar
05-06-2008, 05:18
Want a black border in Photoshop really fast?

Make a black box a little bigger than your image.

Take your image and paste it into the middle of your black box.

Save it. Photo with border.

If you want to get fancy, use a textured scanned frame of a real black film frame as your "black box".

dee
05-09-2008, 06:22
Hmmm ...

Seems to be an sub thread on manuals and teaching ...

I am a Pro Interior Dee'signer [ Inferior Desecrator ? ] , but back in the 60s there wasn't a lot of real teaching about ., i would never survive a college course of today !

But , I was adopted by a pair of real architects to do holiday work for them , so I suppose I must have had something going for me .,, then fell straight into a decade or so of Hotel ID , which was OK ' till I was expected to run a studio - why push someone who can do one thing really well into something totally different ?

Now , I kind of try to guide the young women * [ many more than in my day ] designers whom I work for and with , in Commercial Office refurb .

[ * Gender issues mean that I can ''hear '' SHE frequencies ... sense HER, but I am totally blind / deaf to HIM frequencies - which isn't ideal as '' I "" am physically '' NOT HER "" OOPS !! So , I can '' listen '' to her , sense who / how she is ... not the words, they mean nothing ...behind the words ?

ASdee is binary - something is or it isn't - Lieca IIIc isn't Leica II , I can't ''see ' it as another object , just '' not right '' Leica II .
Few people seem to be able to grasp this , or make sense of it , but Autistic '' behaviours '' all stem from this essential difference , and are therefore obvious to me . ]

At work , we are working with , a PA , or someone from the company which is relocating , who has little or no experience of what we do .

My ASdee means that I often grasp what others see as dee'ficult , but fail on simple stuff . Often i has been assumed that I am just lazy or want to avoid the schedules and meetings which bemuse me .

GET TO THE POINT dee !!! ASdee rambling !!!

I was taught KISS ...

KEEP IT SIMPLE - STUPID .

The M 8 interface and manual is a great example of this - the Dig 3 needs a degree in Digi-speak !

I would say to a client , to the horror of colleagues - '' Treat me like a kid as i know nothing of your company - allow me to ask stupid , obvious questions and try and come up with a brief suitable for a 10 year old - "

And it works , not 'cos I needed that brief so much [ I do this all the time ]
BUT , because the client is then at ease to ask me '' silly '' obvious '' questions - relieving some of that uncertainty

Now I have applied the same idea when coaxing gender confused and / or abused vulnerable XX people to talk to me - and it works !

But I am strictly limited to ASdee / SHE people - and my hobbies / career - I can't keep up with the conventional interaction - I am totally lost there !

This should apply to all programmers and teachers , but there are good and mediocre in all areas - a good designer does not necessarily make someone who can '' think back '' to the beginning - being a constant child maybe a help for me !

Maybe we need more kids as programmers and manual writers !

dee

Gumby
05-09-2008, 06:49
Maybe we need more kids as programmers and manual writers !

... and fewer greedy impulsive "kids" in the marketing and financial departments. Often bad product design and documentation results from undisciplined requirements for product functionality and usability - because the marketing guys/gals/whatever want the broadest market appeal even if the product doesn't meet anyones "real" needs; and the financial guys/gals/whatever want to get something on the shelves before the comptetetor and make a profit even if the buyers end up being somewhat disappointed. Add to the fact that the folks writing the documentation are often the very last consideration and all-too-often not an integral part of the design team. Documentation is also the first budget to get cut when funds get tight.

bmattock
05-09-2008, 06:53
If you can't keep up, take notes.

Roger Hicks
05-09-2008, 09:13
I would say to a client , to the horror of colleagues - '' Treat me like a kid as i know nothing of your company - allow me to ask stupid , obvious questions and try and come up with a brief suitable for a 10 year old - "

And it works . . . Maybe we need more kids as programmers and manual writers !

Dear Dee,

For the first, yup. I also used to remind them that they wanted a product that anyone could understand, and that I would therefore try to ask the questions their least competent users would ask: in particular, "What happens when I press the wrong button?"

Not so sure about kids as programmers, though. After all, we've been kids, and have some idea what it's like; they haven't been our age yet, and have not been faced with anything like as many technologies they haven't grown up with.

Cheers,

Roger

dee
05-09-2008, 14:49
O>K Roger , Guru - people who can still remember being worried about whaat to do next - I have met so many '' experts '' who rush through explanations without a though of how they might be leaving someone behind -

It's odd , with my propensity to getting lost in general stuff , [ it's like lost kid all the time in an out of phase world ] I tend to notice others getting confused ... so it's something I pick up and try to fix immediately .

It's easy really - all you have to do is tell a story , with a beginning , a middle , and an end - and follow up with an index of all that could go wrong - as I was told , tell it once ,tell it twice , then wrap it up all over again ...

Why can't these people get it ? - " cso they are lost in their own little worlds ?

dee

Roger Hicks
05-09-2008, 14:57
. . . people who can still remember being worried about whaat to do next - I have met so many '' experts '' who rush through explanations without a though of how they might be leaving someone behind -

Dear Dee,

You know the origin of the word 'expert'? It comes from 'ex' meaning a has-been and 'spurt' meaning a drip under pressure.

Many years ago I heard of a wonderful way of dealing with arrogant primary school teachers in the UK. The person who devised it (a lecturer in education, cheeringly enough) would hand them a copy of Pravda and tell them to read the lead story out loud.

When they protested that they couldn't read Russian, he'd say, "Don't argue. Just read it."

After two or three rounds like this, he'd remind them that many of their pupils felt the same way about English.

Cheers,

R.

dee
05-10-2008, 06:23
Dear Roger

NEAT !!!- 'specially as the cyrillic alphabet sends my Asdee into orbit as my head tries to resolve it ... hence my poor ID stolen Zorki ' Feds !

I love it ! It's like that for me with schedules etc - I can '' see '' many spaces in my head , like several different offices , but I can't , for the life of me count the number of differnt chairs , desks , carpets etc .. neither can I remember yesterday's work by Project Name - yet once I am shown the visuals , it's all there .

For decades , I have been stupid ... now , realising the WHY of ASdee , i am simply '' other-wise ''

i guess this makes me think again about others being called ''retard '' [ by the kids , who, to be honest , I agreed with , 'cos I knew my head wasn't working right !]
'' lazy '' dreaming '' [ by teachers ] as I was at school .

incidentally - please keep on being informative in AP ! I just love it ! 'Specially when people rise to the bait !

Do you find that in this Pixellated era , that magazines other than AP / B/W Photography / BJP seem to have lost the plot on what photography is all about ?
Lot in hyper space ?
Or is this too provocative ?

Respect

dee

sojournerphoto
07-07-2008, 13:19
Until recently I drove a v8 MG, but now I have a citicar and a fwe cameras

Mike

photovdz
07-26-2008, 15:02
Satisfaction is when you don't feel the urge to buy the latest gadget...
I drive a minicooper (real one) and a rover BRM and use a lot of photo gears (M3, contaxes... OM, even a G2)... and since sometimes I don't feel the need to buy more photo gears
(I open ebay and nothing happens... ) nor to change car (even if the BRM is beginning to show evidence of age ... 200000km)... is it age... ?

If I could stop working for money, find a small house in sardinia ... and migrate...

Stephan

and by the way, I have a humidor with some cigars... and a xenon 0,95 adapted to a pen FV...

Roger Hicks
07-26-2008, 15:55
[QUOTE=photovdz;863519]If I could stop working for money, find a small house in sardinia ... and migrate...

Stephan
QUOTE]
Dear Stephan,

Close to what I did...

Cheers,

R.

photovdz
07-26-2008, 16:17
And have time to do that... (Rollei 35 S on scala ? with a little problem on top of the film... must have been a bit warm in the glove bow of the BRM)

Livesteamer
07-26-2008, 17:35
It started with the magic of black and white printing in my older brothers basement darkroom about 1966. Gradually I migrated to Nikon F's and spent twenty years with them. They did what I wanted reliably. In 1990, after having trouble focusing wide angles in low light I bought an M3 with 35 f1.4 summilux and I fell in love. It worked and felt great and made wonderful photos. In 2001 an inheritance allowed the purchase of a bunch of Leica gear and I have no desire to change that. It's what your comfortable with. As to cars, I have a Triumph GT6 I bought in three truckloads. That probably makes me a bit crazy. Joe

Paul Jenkin
07-30-2008, 04:53
I have a very nice 2001 BMW 520i sitting on the driveway at home. I also enjoy driving it. However, as I live in the wilds of Essex and commute 50 miles each way to London Mon - Fri, I only ever get to drive it at the weekends.

Its current market value is about £7K (£5K trade in) and, like most cars 'of a certain age' it's depreciating quite nicely...!

Priorities are interesting. I have an M6 but I'd really like an M8 - and I see that Leica are doing a deal whereby if you trade in an old camera, you also get £400 cash back from Leica - surely a sign of a full-frame M9 waiting in the wings if you ask me (please don't as I haven't a clue).

So, do I let my 520i 'rest and rust' or do I flog it and buy an M8 (and a cheaper, older and possibly less reliable car)?

Graham Line
07-30-2008, 14:29
Keep the 520i. The M8 is just a fling, the 520i is a commitment.*

*My '84 318i is just fine, thank you, and so is the M4P

Stephen S. Mack
10-17-2008, 16:24
Who was it who said, "when I have a little money, I buy books. If there is anything left I buy food and ________" ; forgot what else he'd buy if he had any money left over from buying books, but I thought that it could be updated to: "when I have a little money, I buy cameras and film. If I have any left, I buy food and clothing."

With best regards,

Stephen S. Mack

wlewisiii
10-17-2008, 17:27
I've always heard it attributed to Erasmus. A good way for a group to get to know each other is to have everyone write down what thye would buy and then also what they think each other would buy in that sentence. Quite revealing...

William

John Camp
10-18-2008, 00:16
I've read this entire thread, and sitting here thinking about it, I can honestly say that I've never had or collected any mechanical device, from camera to car to boat or pen/pencil, for which I felt any strong affection or thought of as anything but a tool. I do recognize that some of them had aesthetic qualities -- nice looking cars -- but I never felt any regret when I got rid of them.

The four things that I collect with serious affection are photography, paintings, pottery and books (I have a couple of thousand books on painting, perhaps five hundred on photography.)

One reason that I may eventually leave the Leica fold is that I have no particular affection for Leicas, which most other Leica people seem to have -- they speak about their love for the nocti or the M3 or whatever. I very much like the effect of a good nighttime informal noctilux street portrait, but it's the portrait I like, not the lens.

While I haven't felt any *strong* affection for these tools, I do find that wandering around with a Nikon D300 (but not the D3) hanging from my fingertips feels pretty good. I've always liked Nikons; they fit me. But I'm not pulled backwards by any of them -- when a new model comes out, I usually move along to it.

JC

Roger Hicks
10-18-2008, 02:21
. . . when a new model comes out, I usually move along to it.

JC

Dear John,

Has that made you a better photographer?

That's not an attack. Some people find that a new camera does, indeed, prompt them to become a better photographer. Others reckon that if they've got a tool they're familiar with, and that delivers good results, there's no reason to move on until the new model offers a compelling mix of new features.

Thus, I didn't get a new Leica between the M4-P and the MP, because although the M6 had a meter, it also had the M4-P finder which I find markedly inferior to the M2. Then the MP came along with the meter, better finder, trigger base...

Even then, it's not exactly a new model; more like an improved version of the camera I had. With Nikons, I love the brutal simplicity of the F; the F2 struck me as a ponced-up F, the F3 as just pointless, and subsequent models as increasingly oversized.

Finally -- let's be honest -- the less time and money I spend 'upgrading' my cameras, the more time and money I can spend on using them, which is the bit I really enjoy (and what they're for).

Cheers,

R.

-doomed-
10-18-2008, 08:14
There were several million dollars' worth of classic cars in the village car-park a few minutes ago -- and I thought, "I'd rather have a camera." There were three Ferraris (including a Testarossa), two ACs, an Aston Martin, several Porsches (356 and 911), Lotus, Morgan and lots more. The humblest were a TR6 and an immaculate Mini (a real one, not a BMW).

I thought, "Well, they're beautiful, but they're not worth the money to me." (In my younger days I had TRs and other minor classics, and my friends drove Big Healeys, XKs and the like). Then I realized that the camera I had around my neck (M8 + Noctilux) was probably worth more than the Mini, and possibly comparable with the TR. No doubt some of the car owners would have thought that was more money than a camera was worth (as, to be fair, would several members of RFF).

What has made you realize what your photographic priorities are? We all know about Ned and his Noctilux; when have you thought, "I'd rather have this than that," referring to a camera (or lens) and something non-photographic?

Cheers,

R.


I'll agree with you in that sense , classic cars at times really arent worth the money; I have two things i am enthusiastic about ,and those would be cars and photography . I mean the cars got me into it because i was always taking pictures of them , but soon i started wanting my shots to get more detailed so i got a camera with a zoom and all that , then it was a DSLR . I was in the middle of a decision between buying a donor to restore my beetle and a new lense for my DSLR (this was before i discovered the rangefinder and all its glory) I bought the lense.

I think back on it and say why did i buy the lense over the car, ive been a car nut for as long as i can remember. I bought it because i really and truly enjoy photography. I put my car hobby on the back burner alot to cameras and camera gear now.

My priorites have changed i guess , not so much that i feel one is better, but if it were between my beetle and a chance to pick up a decent used M3 or M4 , id pick the camera, i guess i just like being able to capture life or a moment in time i cannot replicate ever again.


I hope that all makes sense.

- Scott

Henryah
10-18-2008, 11:24
About priorities.
There was a burglar some years ago,who made the following statement; If there is a Lada parked outside, there must be something valuable inside.
Keep your front door locked!
Henry

John Camp
10-18-2008, 12:43
Dear John,

Has that made you a better photographer? That's not an attack...<snip>
R.

Roger,

That quick assertion that the question isn't an attack made me laugh -- isn't that just the way of the Internet now, where any kind of a question, however innocent, is often treated as an attack?

The fact is, when I upgraded from an F3 to F4 to F5 to D1x to D2x to D3 (and D300), I did at each step become somewhat better as a photographer, mostly because I wasn't all that good to begin with. I believe a better camera helps a no-more-than-competent photographer more than an excellent photographer. Each of those F upgrades was significant -- much more significant, I would argue, than any M upgrade after the M3 -- especially for my use, which was mostly journalism. I was a writer, not primarily a photographer, though I was good enough and interested enough in the photography that I wound up publishing quite a few photographs in both newspapers and (scholarly) magazines and now in online publications.

I once had the privilege of working for an entire year on one project (as a writer) with a truly excellent photographer, and his ability to "see" actually altered the way I wrote; his pictures forced me to notice and to deal with things that I hadn't seen on my own, and made the stories much better. That's the difference between competence and excellence.

By the way, I've taken a good deal of instruction from you and Frances, and your books remain in my collection...

JC

Roger Hicks
10-18-2008, 13:53
Dear John,

[Comments added in quotes]

Cheers,

R.

Roger,

That quick assertion that the question isn't an attack made me laugh -- isn't that just the way of the Internet now, where any kind of a question, however innocent, is often treated as an attack?

[Too bloody right!]

The fact is, when I upgraded from an F3 to F4 to F5 to D1x to D2x to D3 (and D300), I did at each step become somewhat better as a photographer, mostly because I wasn't all that good to begin with. I believe a better camera helps a no-more-than-competent photographer more than an excellent photographer. Each of those F upgrades was significant -- much more significant, I would argue, than any M upgrade after the M3 -- especially for my use, which was mostly journalism. I was a writer, not primarily a photographer, though I was good enough and interested enough in the photography that I wound up publishing quite a few photographs in both newspapers and (scholarly) magazines and now in online publications.

[I fully accept what you say. People often imagine that a newer, better camera won't benefit a mediocre photograher. But living up to the camera can indeed be a hell of a kick up the bum.]

I once had the privilege of working for an entire year on one project (as a writer) with a truly excellent photographer, and his ability to "see" actually altered the way I wrote; his pictures forced me to notice and to deal with things that I hadn't seen on my own, and made the stories much better. That's the difference between competence and excellence.

[A fascinating illustration. Thanks.]

By the way, I've taken a good deal of instruction from you and Frances, and your books remain in my collection...

[You are very kind; thanks. As I say, it's a poor teacher who does not want his pupils to be better than he is.]

JC

Ronald_H
10-18-2008, 14:14
Dear John,

Has that made you a better photographer?

That's not an attack. Some people find that a new camera does, indeed, prompt them to become a better photographer. Others reckon that if they've got a tool they're familiar with, and that delivers good results, there's no reason to move on until the new model offers a compelling mix of new features.

Thus, I didn't get a new Leica between the M4-P and the MP, because although the M6 had a meter, it also had the M4-P finder which I find markedly inferior to the M2. Then the MP came along with the meter, better finder, trigger base...

Even then, it's not exactly a new model; more like an improved version of the camera I had. With Nikons, I love the brutal simplicity of the F; the F2 struck me as a ponced-up F, the F3 as just pointless, and subsequent models as increasingly oversized.

Finally -- let's be honest -- the less time and money I spend 'upgrading' my cameras, the more time and money I can spend on using them, which is the bit I really enjoy (and what they're for).

Cheers,

R.


Indeed. I bought my first SLR because a colleague made breathtaking pictures with his Contax G1. I had a fixed focus piece of sh*t back then and didn't know anything about photgraphy. I worked that first plastic SLR very hard and within a few short years I upgraded to a top of the line model of the same manufacturer. The finder, the AF system and the new lenses were quantum leaps over my old equipment. My pictures got a lot better too. But working with that first SLR tought me what the limitations were of my equipment. So what made me a better photographer?

My Nikon D70 was actually a step back compared to my film SLR. But the instant feedback of digital also made me better, especially in the studio or when adapting to changing light conditions. Digital is a lot less forgiving on the edge than negative film is. When you see your mistakes instantly, it helps a lot that you can try again immediately.

But when I upgraded again to a D200, I had to admit that I appreciated the advancements over the D70... but it didn't show up in my pictures anymore. My photographic style and interests were changing too.

After picking up a Nikon FM, and shooting a few rolls of B/W I had a new challenge again. Figuring out the FM was quite easy and I really enjoyed its efficient simplicity. But getting the best out of 35mm B/W, that's a wholly different game... and I am still looking at new mistakes. But that won't stop me to get a nice MF camera soon. And yes, I also had to buy a rangefinder Leica with a 'cron, to understand what that's all about. I think I'm starting to get it...

Roger Hicks
10-18-2008, 15:00
. . My priorites have changed i guess . . . Scott
Dear Scott,

Yes, and I think this is very important.

You need to be able to recognise when YOUR priorities have changed; when your younger self is still setting them; and when someone else is trying to change them for you.

Cheers,

R.

Squonk
10-25-2008, 15:19
I would submit that it's not upgrading your camera that makes you a better photographer, but (apart from taking lots of pictures and looking at good ones) changing cameras or camera systems. This will often induce new types of pictures and make you grow as a photographer. In that respect, upgrading from a Canon 40D to 50D (check out the flurry of 40D's currently being sold on eBay ;)) will give you less gain than switching from that 40D to a full manual 70s SLR (i.e. downgrading!) or a rangefinder or a Ricoh GRD or a MF folder or TLR or...

I experienced the same phenomenon in music, when switching from a classical to an electric guitar or using a synth for the first time after only playing the piano. The new sounds at your disposal almost automatically make you play different kinds of music and rekindle your creativity.