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Roger Hicks
05-12-2009, 09:45
I am increasingly uncertain of the value of my advice, from the viewpoint of nearly 59, to someone who is 39 or 29 or worse still 19. Yes, I've owned more Leicas than I can remember; but what I need, want or can afford today may differ widely from what is best for someone younger.

Yes, some people think exactly alike. Today I finished the first draft of a novel, co-written with a friend who is exactly 40 years younger (1950/1990). Either we think identically, or telepathy is involved. But even then, there's a lot we don't have in common.

I own my own house, and I got my driving license and lost my virginity some decades ago. Hell, I got my LL.B. well over 30 years ago. I've been married twice (the second time worked). I can afford the occasional new Leica or lens.

She's been with her boyfriend 9 weeks, can't drive a car (not legally, though she's pretty good with a Land Rover in a field), and she is going to university in September. We're as close as two people can be, born exactly 40 years apart, and precisely because are so close, I am all the more aware of how distant I am from other young people (not necessarily that young).

So when I say, "Buy an MP if you can afford it," how much is that worth to younger and/or poorer people?

EDIT: Post 52 in this thread will (I hope) clarify the original point, which is to question the value of any 'what should I buy' advice.

Tashi delek,

R.

FPjohn
05-12-2009, 09:49
Mr. Hicks:

Your contributions are always cogent.

yours
FPJ

Brian Sweeney
05-12-2009, 09:53
I am surprised by how many of the younger generation (under 30) value and use the cameras that I grew up with and value so.

Some of the "younger generation" that I've known recently received Leica film cameras as college graduation gifts, and others that knew them were a bit jealous.

I've been giving away some cameras and accessories of late. Here is the reply from one recipient.

"I just received the camera about 10 minutes ago. I'm freaking out because I'm so happy, thank you so much! It's absolutely stunning =]"

I think she liked it. I bought it over 25 years ago, and gave it away when this person posted that her "Ebay Find" was not working.

Roger Hicks
05-12-2009, 09:56
I am surprised by how many of the younger generation (under 30) value and use the cameras that I grew up with and value so.

Some of the "younger generation" that I've known recently received Leica film cameras as college graduation gifts, and others that knew them were a bit jealous.

I've been giving away some cameras and accessories of late. Here is the reply from one recipient.

"I just received the camera about 10 minutes ago. I'm freaking out because I'm so happy, thank you so much! It's absolutely stunning =]"

I think she liked it. I bought it over 25 years ago, and gave it away when this person posted that her "Ebay Find" was not working.

Dear Brian,

A heartening story. I guess those are the people who think the way we do. And if we can't encourage the people who think the way we do, who can we encourage?

Tashi delek,

R.

MickH
05-12-2009, 10:01
"Been there, done that"

While us old(er) 'uns feel we may be holders of all manner of valuable hints and tips for the youngsters I think we should be very selective when we drop our pearls of wisdom. Personally, unless my advice is asked for on a specific subject, or if I can see real disaster looming for someone, I try to keep my trap shut.

Let them go there, do it and learn through personal experience.

Chriscrawfordphoto
05-12-2009, 10:15
Roger,

The idea of ever being able to buy an MP is such an impossible dream that I can't even consider it. That camera with one lens costs more that I earn in a year. For MANY, MANY young men of my generation that is the life we're stuck with, having been born to lower-class families in the USA, where wealth and connections are increasingly required to even get a job that pays anything approaching a living wage. I can't even tell you how many university educated people of my generation have never found jobs of any kind after graduation, their talents and education completely wasted. Those who do find work often make $7 an hour at Starbucks or Pizza Hut because that's all they can find. I persisted in photography despite nearly starving a couple of times and being homeless once because I in too poor of health to stock shelves or be on my feet all day waiting tables. (My problems could probably be fixed if doctors would see me, but without insurance they won't treat me).

So, yeah, advice to young people to buy an MP is really worthless, it simply is beyond any realm of possibility aside from those few smart enough to have chosen wealthy parents before birth. We all know the poor are scum who deserve it because they weren't smart enough or hard working enough, right? That's what they say here in Indiana.

Leigh Youdale
05-12-2009, 10:22
So, the word "afford" three times makes Roger 'too hung up on money"? - and so some people can't afford a new Leica MP, some can only afford an older model and many others make do with whatever they can afford and don't bleat about it.
Come one guys, give us a break!
Just go out and shoot photographs and leave the philosophising.

bob338
05-12-2009, 10:30
Roger,
You are too hung up on money.
The number of times you say "afford it", either in the first or second or third person is staggering.

I normally (almost) never hear this word in everyday speech.

(And I have been there, and done that.)

gee richard, got an axe to grind?

bob

bob338
05-12-2009, 10:37
So, yeah, advice to young people to buy an MP is really worthless, it simply is beyond any realm of possibility aside from those few smart enough to have chosen wealthy parents before birth. We all know the poor are scum who deserve it because they weren't smart enough or hard working enough, right? That's what they say here in Indiana.

if you listen to stupid people that tell you that you're scum, you'll stay poor.


bob

Dave Wilkinson
05-12-2009, 10:54
So, the word "afford" three times makes Roger 'too hung up on money"? - and so some people can't afford a new Leica MP, some can only afford an older model and many others make do with whatever they can afford and don't bleat about it.
Come one guys, give us a break!
Just go out and shoot photographs and leave the philosophising. Exactly! - and all this nonsense about encouraging youngsters to have MP's etc.!....cut the allowance!, a good thrashing every week, then two years in the army, is whats needed to bring 'em in line! :D
Dave.

JohnTF
05-12-2009, 10:59
The opportunities to acquire necessary equipment to do good work have never been greater, nor more affordable.

It is a good thing, and if one can afford what they "want" then, by all means, indulge yourself.

That said, I might, if physically able, prod almost anyone here out in the world with a good working $50 OM1 and a few rolls of film, and they would not exactly sally forth unable to capture an interesting image that presented itself.

Well, maybe it would take a $50 Nikon SLR. Both are readily available almost anywhere. I have seen an N90s with lens sell for that.

The MP would work as well.

Photography is a movable feast now more than ever.

It may be harder to discover what you really want, Roger I get the feeling you have figured out what you want?

Regards, John

Ducky
05-12-2009, 11:00
Boy, did this get sidetracked quickly.
Roger, when I wanted to know about large format, I bought your book (maybe I should have checked the free library first). And when I see a post from you I read it. I'm older than you by 15 years but still value your opinion.
Any one who asks another person if they should buy this or that, probably should not buy anything until they can confidently make up their own mind.
That's my advice, from an old man.

back alley
05-12-2009, 11:11
i believe that age is irrelevant.
advice is given and received and either acted upon or not but after i have given it then my part and the responsibility contained within is over.
you choose your future, not me.

joe

FrozenInTime
05-12-2009, 11:17
Choosing the best of something is easy - being contented with something that's adequate is more difficult, but it seems to be even more difficult these days.
I worked many weekends in a camera store while at university to eventually by a second hand M2 and 35'cron. During this time the store sold at best a M6 per two months - it was a big event when one was sold. The thought of owning a M6 myself never even entered my head.

Today, the newcomer could read these forums and be persuaded the MP was the only choice because of all the flaws in prior models.
In reality the incremental improvements between models are really minor.
There was a thread yesterday "Newbie Advice - Survival tips" which contained the worst advice that a newcomer could possibly follow - it was written from an elitist rather than a users viewpoint ( fortunately the thread was quickly deleted ).

I would not say "Buy an MP if you can afford it," but:
Buy the MP only once you have gained the practical hands on experience to know what difference it will make to your photography compared to a less refined/older/cheaper body
... and then if you can afford it.

The same would go for lenses: If you go to a gallery or show with real silver prints from HCB or Salgado - they just look amazing - and none were taken with those latest must have ASPH lenses.

ferider
05-12-2009, 11:28
Dear Roger,

allow me to look at it from the reverse perspective:

RFF has more than 23000 members: 75% are older than 30, and 50% are older than 40 (see recent poll). Most of us are male. Most of us do photography as a hobby. The hobby centers around "weird" cameras, some of them expensive, some of them cheap, some old, some recent. Clearly, though, the average professional photographer out there will use (professionally) different equipment than most of what we are discussing here. Not a very charming overview, but true.

There is a huge variety of members, including members that can afford an MP, members that can not afford an MP, and members that can afford an MP but would never buy one. A bit like the average "Wild Hog" that could afford a Hayabuza (arguably, technically the most advanced street bike), but buys an even more expensive Harley including technologies from the 50s. I am assuming that the average male above 30, who has time to use RFF, either does so out of boredom, as a distraction, or out of luxury. He certainly has had some significant life experience. Note that I am just talking statistics here, I very much value the female, the young, the professional members, and very good amateur photographers of course.

So, when this average RFF member is recommended "Buy the best Leica ever, an MP, if you can afford it", he might hear "You don't have an MP, the best Leica ever, because you cann't afford it". Which would be offensive.

Roger, I personally have learned a lot from you in terms of photographic technique, etc. And I would miss your educational tips, stories, and other contributions very much. But I wish the association of gear vs. price vs. perceived monetary value would somehow become less important at RFF.

Sincerely,

Roland.

Brian Sweeney
05-12-2009, 11:33
Afford it? In ate Peanut Butter for a couple of months so that I could afford a brand new Nikon F2a with couple of lenses when I was earning my way through school. I graduated without owing any student loans, and paid my own tuition.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gone for a used Leica M3. But I still have the F2a. It's thirty years old now. Works Great.

Solinar
05-12-2009, 11:33
My advice to young folks is to go digital - which is do as I say rather than as I do - mainly because I invested in film technology many years ago that still works for me. Starting from scratch today would be a different story.

Put me in the hobbyist group.

noimmunity
05-12-2009, 11:35
I wish the association of gear vs. price vs. perceived monetary value would somehow become less important at RFF.


I'll second that!

bob338
05-12-2009, 12:17
No axe to grind bob. You seem to be missing the point, as is Roger.





i was pointing out what seems like nit-picking to me.

bob

JohnTF
05-12-2009, 12:33
Afford it? In ate Peanut Butter for a couple of months so that I could afford a brand new Nikon F2a with couple of lenses when I was earning my way through school. I graduated without owing any student loans, and paid my own tuition.

If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have gone for a used Leica M3. But I still have the F2a. It's thirty years old now. Works Great.

One of the best, truly could see the difference in the prints.

I remained living at home and paid it off over a few months. ;-)
Had the lenses converted to AI and still have them.

Regards, John

charjohncarter
05-12-2009, 12:35
The biggest kick I get these days is when I'm out using a 'vintage camera' and some youngster (19 to 39) comes up and genuinely is interested in the camera. Sometimes they say, 'why do you use it?' and I just say 'I like it.' Sometimes a follow up, 'why do you use film?' I just say, 'I like it.' This could be the start of something great, don't do, own or think anything unless you can say, 'I just like it.'

bob338
05-12-2009, 12:35
So what's your contribution to the debate?

i disagree that roger's recommendation to buy an MP is useless. there are people who will be able to buy one at some point and maybe his recommendation gives them the drive to work a little harder for it.

if everyone kept to themself and didn't share their opinions on these very expensive toys/tools, we'd be left with what we had 20 years ago: articles in magazines that are supported by the companies they are reviewing.

bob

Steve Bellayr
05-12-2009, 12:37
People don't ask for advice they ask for confirmation of their opinions.

literiter
05-12-2009, 12:48
Roger,

When I was just 21 I knew everything there was to know about photography, more than that even. It had much to do with me being 21, and me being me, I suspect.

Now I'm even older than you and beside me on my shelves is a book I treasure, and I suspect I'd have treasured if I were 21 again. Its called "The Black and White Handbook".

I loaned this to a young fellow a few years back, and he finally returned it to me last week. He responded to the book by keeping it for a year or so and buying a film camera.

You are doing all right Roger....keep at it.

MIkhail
05-12-2009, 13:11
HCB was from a rich family so he could afford to buy Leica and shoot with it. So did Robert Capa.
Toni Vicaro could not afford Leica and he was shooting pictures with Argus C3 (or whatever that brick is called), but he was still shooting and created possibly the best war pictures ever...
Perhaps your young friend should think about this, rather than dreaming of buying a top notch equipment first and then dedicating life to photography... :-)

P.S.
That said, I sometimes read the discussions on this site and can't help but wondering: who are these people?!
I am pretty highly paid engineer at Ford Motor Co, my wife is very highly paid accountant, our family income is a lot higher than average, yet I cannot even think of the prices and equipment you guys are operating here in daily conversations... I am not saying this to judge anybody, good for you, I am just expressing an observation.

MIkhail
05-12-2009, 13:16
Back to the original question: I have a friend who is gone crazy on Leicas too ;) He said this once, and I remembered: "there is no point buying MP, because eventually you will want M6 anyway". Not having either I cannot agree or disagree.
I wonder what you think about it.

Beemermark
05-12-2009, 13:32
I am surprised by how many of the younger generation (under 30) value and use the cameras that I grew up with and value so.
It's because even young people value quality over mass produced, throw away plastic crap. I'm Rogers age and I can't see the allure of digital, I've tried and it's just boring. I can see it 100% from a business sense or from someone who just wants an image of their kid's birthday party. But for a hobby it's pretty boring. Can you name the alphabet soup of names of all the current Canon digital cameras for example?

As an aside my youngest daughter was a naval photographer for 6 years. On an aircraft carrier she took fantastic photos that were not only printed in the Navy in house publications but made the international news organizations. About 4 years into her Navy career they switched to digital, did away with the darkroom and she totally lost interest. She's now getting her Doctorate in Archeology and she called me the other day because she needs a camera for a dig in Barbados. I said I don't own a digital camera and she "I know- I want a film camera."

I'm fortunate to work on a daily basis with a lot of young people (mostly engineers) and as far as core values are concerned are no different then me or my long deceased father.

al1966
05-12-2009, 13:37
When asked I always say buy a good cheep camera, film if you want 0 and 1s if you want, Spend more money on books by great photographers. Lets be honest here you can get a good used slr for less than a lot of people spend on a night out. If your really skint go for a cheep 1970s rf use film from pound shops and the like. Go to the lowest priced photo lab till you start to know what you like. One of my favorite cameras cost me 99p. MP's and the like are great if you want one and have the money. But if you want to learn reading books is the way to go with loads of practice ie at least one film a wk. Lastly photograph things your interested in if its concrete or if its dogs.
But Roger is a man who knows what he is talking about and I have told a couple of starters to look at his sight amongst others. And if the rangefinder is the thing that works for you then I guess an MP is a good aim. Though Id be more tempted by a Mamiya7 or another medium format rf.

newspaperguy
05-12-2009, 13:45
quote=charjohncarter, "....don't do, own or think anything unless you can say, 'I just like it."

Amen. That's one to take to the bank !

(If you'll excuse the monetary implications.)

thomasw_
05-12-2009, 14:16
i believe that age is irrelevant.
advice is given and received and either acted upon or not but after i have given it then my part and the responsibility contained within is over.
you choose your future, not me.

joe

Joe says it well, though I would put 'often' before irrelevant to qualify it slightly. Roger, you are a honest and polite straight-shooter. No one can ask more from a man on the web. Just stick with that form and keep writing (especially about darkroom stuff) and shooting film.
Respectfully, Thomas

brachal
05-12-2009, 14:34
Telling a typical 19 year old to buy an MP may be good advice, but it's probably not practical advice. Tell them to buy a Bessa, or help them find an ugly but functional M2. These are things that might actually happen.
I recently turned my nephew on to Led Zeppelin. If he asks about a guitar, I'm not going to tell him to buy a $3,000 Les Paul, but I will go to the music store and help him find a really good $400 Epiphone.

Beemermark
05-12-2009, 15:06
P.S.
That said, I sometimes read the discussions on this site and can't help but wondering: who are these people?!
I am pretty highly paid engineer at Ford Motor Co, my wife is very highly paid accountant, our family income is a lot higher than average, yet I cannot even think of the prices and equipment you guys are operating here in daily conversations... I am not saying this to judge anybody, good for you, I am just expressing an observation.
Hey I got stock in your company so go to work-:) That said (and I'm originally from Toledo and am also an "over paid" engineer) I've afforded Leica over the decades by buying used, trading, skimping, buying low, selling high, etc., etc. It's just a matter of buying what you want. Once you have disposable income (i.e. that amount over and above which you need to live) you start working for toys. I was in my 30's before I actually weaseled my way into a very battered and used M4 (which I had until just recently, so 30 years of service out of that very used camera). Now, once my kids got through college - which they probably paid 90% out of their own pocket I can afford to really splurge and buy almost whatever I want camera wise.

I think of the earlier post were the poor guy was complaining about not making a livable wage but he still owned a camera, had a computer and internet service and probably a lot more. I can guess he never spent a night in a Baptist mission eating stale donated bread for supper. I've been poor, and I mean poor but quite honestly in the '50's you never knew it because the government did'nt tell me over and over again how poor I was. We didn't have central heat until I was about 12, running water until 6 or 7 and I worked my way thru college after the second child so we never could afford a TV until 1984 when my youngest was about 6. Just didn't considered a TV vital for a family - let alone cable or internet.

I'm getting into a rant and need to stop -:)

momus1
05-12-2009, 15:26
I don't get it. What has age got to do w/ it? I know some 20 year olds that are conservative little old men, and some really radical 78 year old youngsters.

Chriscrawfordphoto
05-12-2009, 15:31
if you listen to stupid people that tell you that you're scum, you'll stay poor.


bob

I was being sarcastic. That's the attitude toward anyone who wasn't born into wealth where i live.

Chriscrawfordphoto
05-12-2009, 15:47
Hey I got stock in your company so go to work-:) That said (and I'm originally from Toledo and am also an "over paid" engineer) I've afforded Leica over the decades by buying used, trading, skimping, buying low, selling high, etc., etc. It's just a matter of buying what you want. Once you have disposable income (i.e. that amount over and above which you need to live) you start working for toys. I was in my 30's before I actually weaseled my way into a very battered and used M4 (which I had until just recently, so 30 years of service out of that very used camera). Now, once my kids got through college - which they probably paid 90% out of their own pocket I can afford to really splurge and buy almost whatever I want camera wise.

I think of the earlier post were the poor guy was complaining about not making a livable wage but he still owned a camera, had a computer and internet service and probably a lot more. I can guess he never spent a night in a Baptist mission eating stale donated bread for supper. I've been poor, and I mean poor but quite honestly in the '50's you never knew it because the government did'nt tell me over and over again how poor I was. We didn't have central heat until I was about 12, running water until 6 or 7 and I worked my way thru college after the second child so we never could afford a TV until 1984 when my youngest was about 6. Just didn't considered a TV vital for a family - let alone cable or internet.

I'm getting into a rant and need to stop -:)

Things aren't always as simple as they appear. I have the stuff I have because most of it was given me by people who liked my work enough to help me. I have lived in my car, have gone hungry so many times that my body is in terrible shape at age 33. My wrists are so thin that they're less than 2 inches thick. Right now, things aren't too bad. I am getting by because I am receiving student aid while I work on my masters degree. Without that, I would be eating at the Rescue Mission, and my son would be there next to me. Most of my classmates live with their parents because no one will hire them. My family does not want me. Unlike my female colleagues, I cannot marry someone who will support me as a housewife (or househusband! LOL).

Beemermark
05-12-2009, 16:09
Things aren't always as simple as they appear. . I'm trying to think how to reply and am have big difficulties doing so. I know from personnel experience that things are never as simple as they appear. People go from extreme poverty to extreme riches based on a combination of brains, skills, pure luck and being in the right place at the right time. My earlier answer just meant to state I know where your coming from. I can remember eating dog food because it was free and I was so hungry. Luck, God, good fortune and all that turned it all around until by age 55 I was upper income middle class looking towards early retirement. Today at 58 all takes it one missed refund check and it all collapses. Easy come, easy go. Worrying about it why just add wrinkles. I''ll say it again, your rich enough to have a camera (whether a Instamatic or Leica) an internet connection and a computer. You've made a decision to pursue a photography career, enjoy what you have and forget what you don't have.

bmattock
05-12-2009, 16:17
I like pie.

dazedgonebye
05-12-2009, 16:26
Things aren't always as simple as they appear. I have the stuff I have because most of it was given me by people who liked my work enough to help me. I have lived in my car, have gone hungry so many times that my body is in terrible shape at age 33. My wrists are so thin that they're less than 2 inches thick. Right now, things aren't too bad. I am getting by because I am receiving student aid while I work on my masters degree. Without that, I would be eating at the Rescue Mission, and my son would be there next to me. Most of my classmates live with their parents because no one will hire them. My family does not want me. Unlike my female colleagues, I cannot marry someone who will support me as a housewife (or househusband! LOL).

Chris,

I don't know the choices you've made or your circumstances (except bits I've picked up from reading your posts), but it seems that you are pursuing a creative path. "Starving artist" is a well worn term for a reason. If you're going hungry as a student, perhaps a better paying use of your time is in order.
I didn't pursue my dreams. Instead, I joined the service then got jobs that fed me and my family. I'm not always happy with those choices...but I made them and I live with them.


edited to add:
And thus I demonstrate why I usually have more sense than to give advice. It is never taken as intended and seldom affects the recipient in any positive way at all.

Chriscrawfordphoto
05-12-2009, 16:35
Chris,

I don't know the choices you've made or your circumstances (except bits I've picked up from reading your posts), but it seems that you are pursuing a creative path. "Starving artist" is a well worn term for a reason. If you're going hungry as a student, perhaps a better paying use of your time is in order.
I didn't pursue my dreams. Instead, I joined the service then got jobs that fed me and my family. I'm not always happy with those choices...but I made them and I live with them.


edited to add:
And thus I demonstrate why I usually have more sense than to give advice. It is never taken as intended and seldom affects the recipient in any positive way at all.

I'm not starving now. Struggling a little, but not going hungry. I'm hoping I can find gainful employment with more education, but the way the world is now, who knows. I know so many unemployed people who have tons of education, it is ridiculous!

I'm too old to join the military now, but when I was younger they wouldn't have taken me. I have a history of Epilepsy and until recently I wasn't strong enough to lift more than 25lb or so. I was in bad health when I was young, far worse than now.

samoksner
05-12-2009, 16:40
Well, I'm 19 and if someone was to tell me to buy an MP, I would simply explain that I'd rather spend that money on glass. I don't think that an age gap has to mean that we can't communicate in a straightforward fashion. Although I can hadly see myself offering that advice (buy an MP) i can see why someone else would, and i respect that and under the right circumstances, I agree with it.

When offering advice without knowing everything about someone, we tend to give generalized answers, i know that what i try and what many try to do is this: answer the question posed, offer a couple of different perspectives on that advice and then suggest another idea altogether: "or you could not get the MP and get an R3M and an R4M with a 25mm, a 35mm biogon and a 90 elmarit..." or whatever.

Roger, a we all know is very knowledgeable in the field of many things rangefinder and i can say that his advice is always welcome. I take his advice as the advice of someone with experience, but also as someone who has had the chance to have his hands full with fancy gear. I would like to flatter myself with the idea that I may provide a different point of view that is equally valid in the effort to give members the largest variety of advice possible from as diverse a group of people as possible.

WDPictures
05-12-2009, 16:48
I like pie.

Perfection.

wlewisiii
05-12-2009, 16:59
So when I say, "Buy an MP if you can afford it," how much is that worth to younger and/or poorer people?


Hey, I resemble that :D

I take that to mean buy the best you can get. Push the envelope, stretch yourself, etc, but get the best you possibly can get. Once you have money to spare, that will, for most of us, be a MP. For me, keeping my son fed, dressed & schooled will prevent one for the next couple of decades :) That's ok, that's the choice we made when we adopted him.

I may not be able to get a MP & a 'cron on a whim, OTOH, I do currently own some truely fine cameras and glass. See the .sig for specifics, but in the end I can do 99% of what I want to in photography without problem and, when the phase of the moon is right & I sacrifice a chicken ;) I can produce results no one will know aren't from a Leica & a 'cron.

Right now, if I had the money, I'd rather get a nice postwar Rolleiflex with a Tessar and burn Arista.EDU Ultra & Reala until I hit the floor flopping like a dying cockroach... :eek: :angel:

Thanks,

William

Beemermark
05-12-2009, 17:26
Well, I'm 19 and if someone was to tell me to buy an MP, I would simply explain that I'd rather spend that money on glass. I don't think that an age gap has to mean that we can't communicate in a straightforward fashion. Although I can hadly see myself offering that advice (buy an MP) i can see why someone else would, and i respect that and under the right circumstances, I agree with it.

When offering advice without knowing everything about someone, we tend to give generalized answers, i know that what i try and what many try to do is this: answer the question posed, offer a couple of different perspectives on that advice and then suggest another idea altogether: "or you could not get the MP and get an R3M and an R4M with a 25mm, a 35mm biogon and a 90 elmarit..." or whatever.

Roger, a we all know is very knowledgeable in the field of many things rangefinder and i can say that his advice is always welcome. I take his advice as the advice of someone with experience, but also as someone who has had the chance to have his hands full with fancy gear. I would like to flatter myself with the idea that I may provide a different point of view that is equally valid in the effort to give members the largest variety of advice possible from as diverse a group of people as possible.
Proof positive that age has nothing to do with intelligence, reason or good choices.

amateriat
05-12-2009, 17:43
People don't ask for advice they ask for confirmation of their opinions.
This is often true...

Roger,

When I was just 21 I knew everything there was to know about photography, more than that even. It had much to do with me being 21, and me being me, I suspect.
Now, that's a case of "been there, done that!" ;)

Now I'm even older than you and beside me on my shelves is a book I treasure, and I suspect I'd have treasured if I were 21 again. Its called "The Black and White Handbook".

I loaned this to a young fellow a few years back, and he finally returned it to me last week. He responded to the book by keeping it for a year or so and buying a film camera.For me, it was David Vestal's The Craft of Photography, over thirty years ago. I've treasured it ever since.

The biggest kick I get these days is when I'm out using a 'vintage camera' and some youngster (19 to 39) comes up and genuinely is interested in the camera. Sometimes they say, 'why do you use it?' and I just say 'I like it.' Sometimes a follow up, 'why do you use film?' I just say, 'I like it.' This could be the start of something great, don't do, own or think anything unless you can say, 'I just like it.'
That works for me!. :)


- Barrett

Soeren
05-12-2009, 18:53
Roger
Ok its taken out of contekst but I still find that particular advise to be of little use.
Leice may be longer lasting and better quality both mechanically and optically but I think it will do little to a persons photography that a e.g. Bessa wont do. may I refer to the two articles linked below.

http://www.rogerandfrances.com/howmany.html

http://www.rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps%20save.html

Though there are many things a leica will do well and some it will do very well it is not as versatile as a SLR (long lenses, macro, portraits etc) and even the SLR wont be king in all kind of subjects. The better advice will be pointing out which will do what the youngster want not you as the "Guru" says he/she want :) The MP may be THE CAMERA but that does not mean its the right next step for the hopeful young star photog in spe. The right advise may be "Get a TLR-" or "Get a LF camera-" "- If you can afford it" :)
Best regards

BobPS
05-12-2009, 19:48
I am increasingly uncertain of the value of my advice, from the viewpoint of nearly 59, to someone who is 39 or 29 or worse still 19. Yes, I've owned more Leicas than I can remember; but what I need, want or can afford today may differ widely from what is best for someone younger.

Dear Roger,

I'm in the age range you mentioned, almost 40 and as a guy who is new to RF world I find your advice and insights here on the RFF and on your web site are valuable. Keep 'em coming.


So when I say, "Buy an MP if you can afford it," how much is that worth to younger and/or poorer people?

I don't take that kind of advice as an offense, even though at the time being an MP is just too expensive for me. I see the advice as a kind of assurance.

Since an MP is expensive, if I plan on buying it, then I would need assurance or perhaps confirmation that I won't waste my hard earned money by buying an MP, that the MP is worth it.

Bob

Roger Hicks
05-12-2009, 20:02
As so often, I find that I did not explain myself well in the original post, made just before I went to bed.

By a combination of luck, judgement and hard work (mostly luck) I am better off than I have ever been. I can afford things I could never have afforded when I was younger, and that really was the point.

When I was a student I'd sometimes choose betwen a pint of beer and a copy of Amateur Photographer as my luxury for the week (all right, maybe I could afford two luxuries per week, but I'd spread 'em out so they were three or four days apart). When I was 25 and unemployed I sold a lot of the possessions I'd accumulated up to then in order to help me survive.

I used to haunt the camera stores and I loved finding a Zorkii 4K for a few pounds, even if I had to repair it. I bought and sold a lot of gear in my 20s; it was a significant percentage of my income.

But that was then and this is now. The advice I could give then (based on experience) was a lot more limited than the advice I can give now, because I now have a lot more experience. But the advice I can give now is of limited use to some people. I coudn't have followed it myself at (say) 29, let alone 19.

Hence what Richard sees as my hang-up about money. I didn't have any, for a very long time. Now I'm quite well off, though nothing like as well-off as many members of this forum. For example, I still don't have central heating, and it would be too expensive to install in my present house. So I get cold in winter. Or wear extra clothes, or huddle around the fire, or run up the electricity bill heating the bedroom, which is above the room with the wood fire in it.

And yet... In my 20s I once lived on muesli for a week in order to pay for a Leica accessory I particularly wanted, and I've never sold an M-series Leica out of financial desperation, though I have sold them to fund the purchase of more (usually newer) Leica gear. Partly this is because they are part of the way I earn my living, and a workman can't afford to sell his tools. Again, this colours my advice as against the advice you'd get from a hobbyist photographer.

Which was my original point. All these 'what should I buy' threads are so specific to one individual's circumstances and wealth and priorities that I wonder if any of us can give really useful advice.

Tashi delek,

R.

Soeren
05-12-2009, 20:38
Thats why I pointed toward the two articles on your website. Giving more general advise, pointing in some direction and talk about what this and that will or wont do or which type of gear is more suited for a specific kind of photography has helped me more than the specific "should I......" threads even if I have some part in posting those Q's myself. I especially like your " Quality plateau" idea.
Best regards

NathanJD
05-12-2009, 21:25
my advice

To my mind, together the 2 most important words you have used in this whole thread Roger.

Think about it for 1 moment; MY advice - it's what we all give on this or any other forum online or otherwise and it's what we're all able to bring to this particular table. It is up to the advice taker to weigh up their needs and the credentials of those who offer advice and then decide what to take from it.

We each have different needs, wants and circumstances that overlap the needs, wants and circumstances of other individuals in varying degrees.

Itís not about how much money those who offer their advice have or where they live or what they shoot, but it is about general consensus and relevance to those who ask and only they know the level of such.

My point? There is no absolute answer in any subject except mathematics.

Soeren
05-12-2009, 21:32
Ehh no I don't give advise, I offer my opinion.
Best regards

Rayt
05-12-2009, 21:38
When I was in school I had absolutely no money for photography. I really had to sacrifice to get an FM2 and two lenses. And then it was about eating well or buy film and processing. I learned about Leicas from reading Shutterbug and had always wanted one but thought the advertised prices in the B&H catalog were just insane. Even twenty years ago a 50/2 Summicron was $900 if I recall. My car cost me $900. Now I have school age kids and wonder what sacrifices I need to make again to put them through college. As much as I like or even love the Leicas they are just cameras and there are more important things.

Rayt
05-12-2009, 21:41
People don't ask for advice they ask for confirmation of their opinions.

Ain't that truth. Worse is when they ask what you think of their photography and then get really upset when you tell them. :o

Sonnar2
05-12-2009, 22:12
The biggest kick I get these days is when I'm out using a 'vintage camera' and some youngster (19 to 39) comes up and genuinely is interested in the camera. Sometimes they say, 'why do you use it?' and I just say 'I like it.' Sometimes a follow up, 'why do you use film?' I just say, 'I like it.' This could be the start of something great, don't do, own or think anything unless you can say, 'I just like it.'

True, very true.

And people like different things for one or another, very individual reason.

You just can't give general advice for buying equipment. It depends too much on the person, his background, needs, experience and intensions. And of course, money.

All you can say is that the MP is probably the better camera than, say, a M4-2. That can be judged at base of specs. But if you LIKE a Nikon S2 better than a Canon P, or the results of non-aspherical type of Summicron better than a ASPH. one, that can't be judged this way.

To most younger people nowadays, you stated correctly that a Leica MP is out of the real world anyway. To the very small part of people who *probably* can effort a MP, I would say: Don't try it. Don't stay at home saving money for any GEAR. Go out with the best camera you can buy immediately, i.e a Canon QX or even a Holga, expend your money for trips to interesting places, have fun, make pictures. It will do more good in life and probably make you a better photographer (if this is your intention).

notturtle
05-12-2009, 22:17
I think some people have confused a simple, honest post with an opportunity for socio-economic debate.... but a person who can afford a Leica or whatever it may be (Mamiya 7II/Hassy?) should not necessarily decide not to because other people cannot.

Roger, if your advice is based on what you think the person would get along with and work well with, then your advice is just as valid now as it was 30 years ago. I am very sure you are not advising out of a desire to make the person more like you. I believe there are a lot of opportunities where the older ways have not only quaint appeal to the younger generation, but real positive dividends. nothing everything that comes under the banner or progress is good for a person, practically or in terms of their emotional well being.

As you know Roger, I am 33 and shoot a Leica. On average, it is the best tool for me under most of the circumstances I shoot, but then again I am not an adrenaline chasing DSLR jazzy angle shooting cyber ninja. I never will be. for some that approach and kit works, but for me it would work about as well as handing the cyber ninja my Leica...

Kit advice is useful as a way of shortening lists, but nothing beats hands on experience under real world creative shooting conditions. Wandering about NY city at lunch time with a camera on a test shoot for half an hour will not help you that much if you are going to be shooting Kenya's wildlife from a vehicle at dawn and dusk. I found myself learning vertically in the last two years to make things work where I am. Techniques and kit I used elsewhere simply did not work here as I had hoped. I had to redesign my approach from the ground up with dramatic improvements.

I do think people who are offering advice ought to check their experience in the paricular niche being advised on (if indeed it is a niche). A lot of people are serial internet advisors and are welllllll out of their depth when it comes to the real deal. They enjoy the subject and it excites them (fair enough) but do not know when to admit to the limits of their REAL experience.

At the expense of making myself very unpopular I will use a military/security analogy. There are the poseurs who own lots of flash gear and preen in front of the mirror. They look like a superhero and an unknowing person would think they could fly at 30,000ft with their new Oakley shades. However, the experienced eye can see glaring errors in how they have put their equipment together, where things are, what is not going to be useful , such that if every put under real pressure, they encounter severe (possibly fatal) difficulties. The machine parts are there, just not assembled in the right order so as to actually work. Kinda like an engine having its pistons in upside down.

You are not one of them Roger. You advise based on experience and having read a couple of your books the objectivity is evident. Honest advice with the recipient's best interests as a guide will never be amiss as long as the offerror knows the limits of their experience. I for one, could have done with a half hour chat with an experienced photojournalist/documentary photographer on bags, kit carriage, straps, monopods etc some time ago. would have saved a bit of time. I am 33, but I am sure someone who cut their teeth in the 60s would have offered better advice for a B&W RF film user than most people shooting a DSLR today.

Roger Hicks
05-12-2009, 23:20
Thats why I pointed toward the two articles on your website. Giving more general advise, pointing in some direction and talk about what this and that will or wont do or which type of gear is more suited for a specific kind of photography has helped me more than the specific "should I......" threads even if I have some part in posting those Q's myself. I especially like your " Quality plateau" idea.
Best regards

Dear Soeren,

I should have thanked you earlier for posting those links, which are indeed the exact opposite of 'Buy an MP'.

'How many cameras?' (http://www.rogerandfrances.com/howmany.html) suggests that once you're hooked on photography, it's a slippery slope but there are all kinds of cheap cameras that are fun.

'Saving money' (http://www.rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps%20save.html) is about where it does and doesn't make sense to economize, complete with recommendations for silly-cheap cameras.

The latter is where we talk about the 'quality plateau' -- the point at which the photographer matters more than the camera. There is a level where buying a better camera will make you a better photographer, or more accurately, will give you pictures closer to what you hoped for, but it's surprisingly low: an old Nikkormat with a 50/2 Nikkor is more than good enough.

After that, the only reason to buy a 'better' camera or lens is because you like it more, or possibly because in certain speciaized applications, spending more money may make life easier (e.g. ultra-fast lenses, camera movements, whatever).

Perhaps the answer is that I should try to put more effort into www.rogerandfrances.com, and stop trying to answer excessively specific questions on the basis of insufficient information. "What camera should I buy" depends too much on how much money you've got, what sort of pics you like to shoot, and what your priorities are.

Even so, I can't help feeling that an awful lot of the time, the advice on this forum boils down to 'Buy a Konica IIIa, it's just as good as a Leica' (patently untrue for many applications, though equally, there are a fw where it's actually better) or 'Buy a Leica M6ttl, it's just as good as an MP', which to me is equally patently untrue unless you are a hopeless devotee of the M6ttl, or 'buy an M6ttl, it's nearly as good as an MP, but a lot cheaper', which is clearly true but involves buying second-best if an MP is what you really want.

'Buy an MP if you can afford it' is a sort of counsel of perfection, but it is sincere advice from someone who (a) has tried an MP as well as most of the other choices, (b) can afford it, for a given value of 'afford', and (c) will say without hesitation that you can take excellent pictures with many other cameras, which are a much better buy if you are so overstretched by buying the MP that you are constantly worried sick in case you scratch it, never mind break it.

Oh: and Notturtle, thanks for the military analogy. It struck me as perfect.

Tashi delek,

R.

sojournerphoto
05-12-2009, 23:38
We all know the poor are scum who deserve it because they weren't smart enough or hard working enough, right? That's what they say here in Indiana.

They don't say that around my house. Everyone's different.

agricola
05-13-2009, 00:02
Roger

from the other side of the world, and one year older than you - I hope your wife is well.

christopher - you have a fine looking son, and you take good pictures

this thread has been an interesting read

NathanJD
05-13-2009, 01:59
Ehh no I don't give advise, I offer my opinion.
Best regards

Semantics ;),

I stick by my point:


My point? There is no absolute answer in any subject except mathematics.

mfunnell
05-13-2009, 02:30
My point? There is no absolute answer in any subject except mathematics.And even mathematics can only show you some absolute answers. For others, even if the answers are absolutely true you may have no way of knowing it. There's a rather famous theorem demonstrating that, as I recall...

...Mike

gnarayan
05-13-2009, 03:46
'buy an M6ttl, it's nearly as good as an MP, but a lot cheaper', which is clearly true but involves buying second-best if an MP is what you really want.


Roger,

Every camera site has its share of the "Which camera should I get" threads. When it is for a digital camera I usually point people here -

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp

It'd be useful if this site had something like this. It'd be even simpler in some ways for 35mm RFs because there really aren't all that many features so you need fewer otpions. Budget, digital or not, fixed Lens or not, which mount, frame lines, VF magnification, bottom or back loading, in camera meter or not, AE or not. Many RF cameras are bought used so a rough price guide like http://www.antiquecameras.net/leicamcameras.html
would be needed for budget. It'd still take a long time to assemble the camera database but it does not have to include every single option straight away.

Even if the poster gets multiple results after their constraints, it should be a lot easier to pick between that subset and give advice that is more useful to them.

Another alternative is simply avoiding the threads entirely.

Cheers,
-Gautham

Roger Hicks
05-13-2009, 04:00
Another alternative is simply avoiding the threads entirely.


Dear Gautham,

Sure, but what intrigues me is that most people genuinely want to be helpful. I'm just looking at how much help we can realistically give one another in this particular realm, and coming up with the answer, "Distressingly little."

Cheers,

R.

Krosya
05-13-2009, 04:29
I am increasingly uncertain of the value of my advice, from the viewpoint of nearly 59, to someone who is 39 or 29 or worse still 19. Yes, I've owned more Leicas than I can remember; but what I need, want or can afford today may differ widely from what is best for someone younger.

Yes, some people think exactly alike. Today I finished the first draft of a novel, co-written with a friend who is exactly 40 years younger (1950/1990). Either we think identically, or telepathy is involved. But even then, there's a lot we don't have in common.

I own my own house, and I got my driving license and lost my virginity some decades ago. Hell, I got my LL.B. well over 30 years ago. I've been married twice (the second time worked). I can afford the occasional new Leica or lens.

She's been with her boyfriend 9 weeks, can't drive a car (not legally, though she's pretty good with a Land Rover in a field), and she is going to university in September. We're as close as two people can be, born exactly 40 years apart, and precisely because are so close, I am all the more aware of how distant I am from other young people (not necessarily that young).

So when I say, "Buy an MP if you can afford it," how much is that worth to younger and/or poorer people?

EDIT: Post 52 in this thread will (I hope) clarify the original point, which is to question the value of any 'what should I buy' advice.

Tashi delek,

R.

It always cracks me up how you manage to include something about your 19 yo "friend", Land Rover, etc in your posts/threads lately. Wonder why's that?

As far as your advice " Buy an MP if you can afford it " - I think real question is - will that MP make them any better photographer? If you said that to me - I'd be asking "what can MP do that other cameras can't?" I have never had an MP. Not because I can't afferd one, but because i see no need in one - so many other cameras work just fine for me.
I think it's like " Buy a Range Rover if you can afford it" advice - Toyota Land Cruiser can do same if not more.....

I suppose I'm more practical when it comes to these things.

Krosya
05-13-2009, 04:43
Chris,

I don't know the choices you've made or your circumstances (except bits I've picked up from reading your posts), but it seems that you are pursuing a creative path. "Starving artist" is a well worn term for a reason. If you're going hungry as a student, perhaps a better paying use of your time is in order.
I didn't pursue my dreams. Instead, I joined the service then got jobs that fed me and my family. I'm not always happy with those choices...but I made them and I live with them.


edited to add:
And thus I demonstrate why I usually have more sense than to give advice. It is never taken as intended and seldom affects the recipient in any positive way at all.


I Think this is pretty much right on - I fully agree with above post - it's all up to you - you make a choice and you live with it. I could have chosen to be "creative" and have several jobs making $7/hour, yet I chose to go get a job that makes my life fairly comfortable, at least at the moment. And no - I dont come from money, Actually I make more money than anyone in my family ever did. Did I have to give up some things - sure. It took time and hard work, but it paid off. And based on my own experience, I can say that I dont buy any excuses, such as - "well thats just how things are around here" - it's all up to you. Keep in mind there are many self-made millionaires - many college drop-outs that didnt have much in the beginning.

Roger Hicks
05-13-2009, 08:15
I suppose I'm more practical when it comes to these things.

Not on my reading. Read posts 52 and 60 before indulging in any more cheap shots.

Elsewhere I've said, "Take what you want, and pay for it, saieth the Lord." You have. I have. We've chosen different things and paid different prices. I'm happy with my choices, and I'm happy that you're happy with yours.

Unike your attitude to me, I don't feel the need to attack your choices with innuendo. Thnk about it. 'Friend' in inverted commas is pretty offensive. Yes, she is a friend. A wonderful friend. She's also a bloody good writer, and both Frances and I regard her as the daughter we never had. I hope you have friends as clever and as close.

Oh, yeah. Are you the one who thinks that shiny new cars are essential to happiness? I apologize if you're not, but someone was saying something similar recently, and it ties in with your Land Rover comment. Again, it's priorities. You have yours; I have mine; the person who thinks shiny new cars are important has his (assuming it wasn't you). Let us celebrate the choice that is open to us all, rather than attacking those who hear a different drum.

Cheers,

R.

Gumby
05-13-2009, 13:48
Oh, yeah. Are you the one who thinks that shiny new cars are essential to happiness? I apologize if you're not, but someone was saying something similar recently, and it ties in with your Land Rover comment. Again, it's priorities. You have yours; I have mine; the person who thinks shiny new cars are important has his (assuming it wasn't you).

Dear R.

I think that was me who you are thinking about. If so, you are incorrect in your assumptions... or should I say, your 'innuendo'?

I also like camera equipment that is not beat up; but it doesn't have to be new!

:p
:D
:)

Roger Hicks
05-13-2009, 20:00
Dear Ed,

My apologies, As I said in the other post, I wasn't sure who it was, but the point stands. We all have our priorities, and different priorities suit different people.

Then there is the question of common politeness -- which, mercifully, is common on RFF. I found Krosya's use of inverted commas around 'friend' distinctly offensive, and his comment on the Land Rover merely peculiar. Then again, his new thread, about how we should all be nastier to one another, is even more peculiar.

Tashi delek,

R.

notturtle
05-13-2009, 21:50
Sometimes people include comments about themselves that are there as flags... pointers... passive comments as to what makes the person tick, merely because those things are important to the person and they like them. They are not necessarily pretentious statements. We should take them as we find them, much like people.

I would never own an old Land Rover... bec I could never fix it if it decided not to play :D

I would imagine the recent references to the 19 year old friend and the LR are because he has found a great deal of happiness in conversation with the former and ownership of the latter. My goodness. The most incredible experiences of my life have all revolved around people. I do hope that when I am fifty something, younger females are not off limits for interesting conversation. In fact the mere suggestion would vex young women immensely and rightly so. Its the same reason why so many adults are afraid of having physical contact with anyone else's children. Such a shame; the children miss out on so much.

Roger Hicks
05-14-2009, 02:08
. . . I would imagine the recent references to the 19 year old friend and the LR are because he has found a great deal of happiness in conversation with the former and ownership of the latter. My goodness. The most incredible experiences of my life have all revolved around people. I do hope that when I am fifty something, younger females are not off limits for interesting conversation. . . .

Exactly. As I said elsewhere, we've just finished a 65,000 word novel together and are currently revising it (changing the colour of someone's hair so its the same in chapters 1 and 17, clarifying whether someone is on the 'phone to China in French or English, that sort of thing). We take it in turns writing, and revise each other's first drafts, and sometimes even we can't remember who wrote which bit.

Today I took her down to Poitiers to catch the train home to spend a long week-end with her boyfriend, and later today Frances and I are going to have barbecued veal chops (her favourite) to celebrate the fact that we met 28 years ago today, May 14 (which is also my brother's birthday) in Palos Verdes in Southern California.

There's enough sh*t in everyone's life -- Monday and Tuesday we're having the roof done, wood treatment on the inside, slates and flashing sorted on the outside -- and it's nice to dwell on the things that make us happy, and not just photography. Good friends, good food, and of course wonderful partners; June is our 27th wedding anniversary.

Yes, it can be tedious to read about the private lives of people you don't care about, but the remedy is simple: don't read about them. And if by mistake you do, don't waste time answering. One of the really nice things about RFF is that some people do turn into friends. I've met a few, and talked to a few more on the 'phone, and I hope there'll be more.

Now I'm going to start yet another thread, about what other creative things (than photography) RFF members do.

Tashi delek,

R.

Gumby
05-14-2009, 02:26
... but the point stands. We all have our priorities, and different priorities suit different people.

If that is your point, which I cannot disagree with, then please confine your comments to that point.

You, too, inflect your "points" with innuendo that some might take as offensive. Re: shiny autos... it isn't necessarily an issue of "happiness" but "effectiveness". If I rode up to a meeting with my customer in a beat-up car (even if it were a "classic" Land Rover) I would get no respect and probably no job. That's just the way it is... it's like the difference between wearing a neck tie or a soiled tee-shirt. I drive a Mercedes and wear nick-ties out of business necessity. It is to meet the needs of my business environment and customer expectations. It is, indeed, a matter of priorities but not priorities based on happiness.

The Aston Martin... well, amigo, that IS a matter of happiness. So maybe you are half right. :)

Roger Hicks
05-14-2009, 02:39
If that is your point, which I cannot disagree with, then please confine your comments to that point.

You, too, inflect your "points" with innuendo that some might take as offensive. Re: shiny autos... it isn't necessarily an issue of "happiness" but "effectiveness". If I rode up to a meeting with my customer in a beat-up car (even if it were a "classic" Land Rover) I would get no respect and probably no job. That's just the way it is... it's like the difference between wearing a neck tie or a soiled tee-shirt. I drive a Mercedes and wear nick-ties out of business necessity. It is to meet the needs of my business environment and customer expectations. It is, indeed, a matter of priorities but not priorities based on happiness.

The Aston Martin... well, amigo, that IS a matter of happiness. So maybe you are half right. :)

Dear Ed,

I apologize for unintentional innuendo. You are quite right: there are environments where a Mercedes and necktie are expected, which is absolutely a part of 'take what you want, and pay for it, saieth the Lord'.

But I'd still say that such priorities are based on happiness. You're happier with a necktie and a shiny car and your business environment. I'm happier with T-shirts (they can be washed, you know), 501s and being a writer/photographer. Sure, I have to put up with some sh*t from editors, and even more from publishers, but I hated being a wage-slave and I'm not cut out to be an entrepreneur or employer.

Tashi delek,

R.

antiquark
05-14-2009, 07:41
Buy an MP? That's actually the opposite advice I would expect from someone who's been around the block a few times, so to speak. I would expect to hear "buy a cheap camera, good photos are made by the person, not the camera."

What does an MP + lens cost, $8000? I can think of some things that would enrich a young person more than an MP, at the same cost.

Like, maybe travel around the world a few times, or take some college/university courses, or volunteer in a poor country and use the money to pay the rent. I dunno, $8000 is a lot of money to spend on an object when you're still getting started.

emraphoto
05-14-2009, 08:06
going to have to agree. spend $1000 on a camera and the other $7000 on a trip. it will lead to better photographs.

novum
05-14-2009, 08:15
Photography is a movable feast now more than ever.

Wonderfully expressed, John, and I feel that you're absolutely right. We have a surfeit of choices and so many different ways to indulge ourselves, and yes, express ourselves.

novum
05-14-2009, 08:17
i believe that age is irrelevant.

Age becomes exceedingly relevant, sooner than you realize! I know I'm taking your comment out of context, but I couldn't resist.

novum
05-14-2009, 08:54
going to have to agree. spend $1000 on a camera and the other $7000 on a trip. it will lead to better photographs.

How about $1000 on a camera and $1000 on a decent photography course, and then spending the rest traveling?

FrankS
05-14-2009, 09:14
Buy an MP? That's actually the opposite advice I would expect from someone who's been around the block a few times, so to speak. I would expect to hear "buy a cheap camera, good photos are made by the person, not the camera."

What does an MP + lens cost, $8000? I can think of some things that would enrich a young person more than an MP, at the same cost.

Like, maybe travel around the world a few times, or take some college/university courses, or volunteer in a poor country and use the money to pay the rent. I dunno, $8000 is a lot of money to spend on an object when you're still getting started.


Totally agree. Imagine 2 young photographers. One spends $300 on good used equipment (say just for example: Nikon F3, 28mm, 50mm) and $7700 travelling the world collecting experiences. And a second photographer with a brand-spanking new MP and not a clue about the world. Who is (way) ahead?

Insert Bessa R and CV35f2.5 if you're against SLR's. I just think the F3 is better value.

Roger Hicks
05-14-2009, 19:47
Buy an MP? That's actually the opposite advice I would expect from someone who's been around the block a few times, so to speak. I would expect to hear "buy a cheap camera, good photos are made by the person, not the camera."

What does an MP + lens cost, $8000? I can think of some things that would enrich a young person more than an MP, at the same cost.

Like, maybe travel around the world a few times, or take some college/university courses, or volunteer in a poor country and use the money to pay the rent. I dunno, $8000 is a lot of money to spend on an object when you're still getting started.

That was a good part of what I was saying, only you have expressed it better. The advice that's suitable for a 59-year-old may be different from the advice you'd give a 39-year-old; is almost certainly different from what you'd give a 29-year-old; and should be completely different from what you'd give a 19-year-old.

But (of course) I was 19 in 1969, and 2009 is a very different world from 1969, so again, the advice I'd give a 19-year-old me in 1969 (if I had a time machine) is different from the advice I'd give a 19-year-old today. That's the other large part of what prompted the original post.

But in all cases I'd say, buy the best camera you can afford ('best' being defined as 'the one you're happiest with'), bearing in mind (as you so rightly say) that 'afford' also includes 'allowing for other ways you might better allocate a limited amount of money'.

One thing I wouldn't waste money on, though, is a photography course. The basic techniques are easy; there are plenty of books and websites for practical advice; and you'll learn best by doing.

Tashi delek,

R.

mknawabi
05-14-2009, 20:53
I could afford an MP if I really wanted it. I have a job, no bills to pay except for school (which is cheap at a community college), and maybe car insurance (after I buy my car that is,) so the spending power of the youth is actually pretty high.

Roger Hicks
05-14-2009, 21:23
I could afford an MP if I really wanted it. I have a job, no bills to pay except for school (which is cheap at a community college), and maybe car insurance (after I buy my car that is,) so the spending power of the youth is actually pretty high.

Thanks for the superb illustration of the difference between Bermuda/the UK in 1969 and California today -- and for an illustration of priorities...

Cheers,

R.

charjohncarter
05-15-2009, 12:17
Chris Crawford: hang in there, go with what you want to do. We all, or most of us, have had hard times, I sure have (at your age I wasn't broke, I was negative equity). When I quit work 7 years ago, I couldn't believe where I was with dinero and comfort. I worked for myself and even though it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do, I stuck with it.

I do have to say that I missed only 5 days of work in 33 years and took two weeks vacation; not together. You will get there, this country is going though a bad patch, but we will come back: maybe even stronger.

Keith
05-15-2009, 15:59
Advice means squat IMO ... you have to find out for yourself what is going to suit you and your photographic needs so buying the wrong camera on someone else's well meaning advice will get you along that path to rationallity faster ... which is not a bad thing I guess!

WDPictures
05-15-2009, 17:40
...

One thing I wouldn't waste money on, though, is a photography course. The basic techniques are easy; there are plenty of books and websites for practical advice; and you'll learn best by doing.

Tashi delek,

R.

Not sure I would discredit all photography courses although I've certainly had a poopy one or two. How then does everyone feel about workshops, weekend warrior style or otherwise?

blw
05-17-2009, 14:31
Personally, I wish I had an MP to trade to Roger for a week or two(or longer?) of his time in my darkroom and out photographing.

Leigh Youdale
05-17-2009, 14:52
I suppose I'm more practical when it comes to these things.

Looking at your list of equipment - I don't think so!

F456
06-21-2009, 08:35
I am increasingly uncertain of the value of my advice, from the viewpoint of nearly 59, to someone who is 39 or 29 or worse still 19. Yes, I've owned more Leicas than I can remember; but what I need, want or can afford today may differ widely from what is best for someone younger.

Yes, some people think exactly alike. Today I finished the first draft of a novel, co-written with a friend who is exactly 40 years younger (1950/1990). Either we think identically, or telepathy is involved. But even then, there's a lot we don't have in common.

I own my own house, and I got my driving license and lost my virginity some decades ago. Hell, I got my LL.B. well over 30 years ago. I've been married twice (the second time worked). I can afford the occasional new Leica or lens.

She's been with her boyfriend 9 weeks, can't drive a car (not legally, though she's pretty good with a Land Rover in a field), and she is going to university in September. We're as close as two people can be, born exactly 40 years apart, and precisely because are so close, I am all the more aware of how distant I am from other young people (not necessarily that young).

So when I say, "Buy an MP if you can afford it," how much is that worth to younger and/or poorer people?

EDIT: Post 52 in this thread will (I hope) clarify the original point, which is to question the value of any 'what should I buy' advice.

Tashi delek,

R.

Roger, I'm only 6 years younger but all I would say is your writing always comes across as if you have already met and know your readership personally, so you are probably quite a natural at connecting with people, regardless of age.

If you weren't, I wouldn't have gone out and bought a brand-new M6 and Summilux-M 35/1.4 in 1991 straight after reading your 'Night and Low Light Photography' book. I haven't looked back since except when I see my bank statements!

Out of interest, may we ask what the book is about?

Best wishes,
Tom

watchyourbackgrounds
07-05-2009, 22:03
Chris...photography is a great hobby and hard way to make a living--as you know. The advice somebody gave about getting another job=not bad advice. As for your degreed friends who can't find work: Yes, it's hard. But if I may speak as an employer (I am that), I can tell you that degrees don't mean all that much. It depends on the job, but many employers simply want somebody who is honest, reliable, aims to be useful when there's no obvious work to be done (I call them "broom-grabbers," because they literally sweep the floor when they can find nothing else)--and somebody who can get along with existing staff, and won't scare off or put off clients or customers. Clean, well-presented, not smelly, sort of neutral on those regards, but with a good attitude and work ethic. A good handshake, a direct look-in-the-eye. To some people, this sounds corny. But these qualities score high marks with employers. I've often thought that along with a resume, somebody looking for work could say, "I'm honest, I work hard, I'm not a slacker. I'm low-maintenance, I'm clean, I can get along with customer and staff. This job means a lot to me. I want to get it, and if I get it, I'll work hard to keep it."
I'd be so impressed, I'd find a spot for that person, somewhere. There are plenty of people with degrees who don't have those qualities.

Kent
07-06-2009, 08:48
Wow, what an interesting read.
Whatever everybody here might think about cheap or expensive gear, about the "MP" or "being able to afford it", this forum brings together some well reflected and intelligent guys, so it seems.

I, for my part, am a 38 year old hobby photographer who grew up with SLR photography and who has just some time ago realized the fun that shooting with an RF cam can be.

I think that there are different eras in everybody's life.
As a young kid you normally don't have a lot of money and you perhaps save for quite a while to buy your first decent cam.
When getting older you maybe go to university and cannot afford to shoot a lot at all.
Then you start to earn some money in your first real job and understand that you can buy some things for the first time in you life.
This is what happened to me.

Now, I earn some good money, but I have to pay for a house, two cars, a family with two kids and a lot of insurances. So, there is not that much left to spend on equipment - which I really don't deplore, because as it has been said above there are more important things in life than cameras or lenses.

But then, of course, I hope that in perhaps two or three decades with the kids through university, I will be able to buy some cameras and lenses that I could not afford now. Just for the fun of using and "feeling" them. Pleasure and enjoyment has a lot to do with it - and that's competely irrational, but so what? ;)

Rui Morais de Sousa
07-10-2009, 07:31
Hello everybody,
Please allow me to first express my admiration for Mr.Christopher Crawford, for his sincerity and honest actitude about his situation: next time I look at his photographs, I will surely take a more attentive look!

Now about the MP. I can well understand why Roger recommends it: it surely is a GREAT camera! Most certainly the best in it's type (still in production).

On the other hand, I can't see why (if I see it as a photographic producing tool) it should be better than my 54 year old M3, or M2, or M4... I even dare to say that I have no doubt that I can make such a good photograph with my 50 euros Zorki camera and Jupiter 8... (altough not so elegantly...).

Cameras are only tools, and I could point out many different situations were a Leica MP would be a BAD tool to choose...
(So could Roger, of course. He surely has much more experience than me).

I can well understand that people in this Forum talk a lot about Photo-Gear (I love it too!), but it somehow makes me a little sad that we talk so little about PHOTOGRAPHY.

When I joined the Forum, I tried to start a discussion about something like a "rangefinder photographic visual-language". One or two people bothered to answer.
Now, if I would start a thread like "show me your Noctiwonder and your fanciest yellow camera", I have no doubt that I would get hundreds of replies...

Photo-Gear? For sure! But please, it gets so poor and so boring if we only have that to discuss...
I found the words of Christopher (and a couple others) much more rewarding than most of the discussion if MP yes or no...
(And yes, if we pretend that we are a group, maybe we should also care about the good or bad situations of it's members! The world is not equal all over).

Sorry for getting a little off topic, but it is something I have been feeling for some time now.

And thank you Roger for your always interesting advises. Reading you is always an enriching experience.
Cheers,
Rui
AL-MOST-LY PHOTOGRAPHY (http://ruimoraisdesousa.blogspot.com/)

thinkfloyd
07-15-2009, 10:21
I, too, chose a more 'creative' path and have had money problems... but, I know I chose this and I got by... I spent years living in my van that I had since high school (I'm 30 now and I still use that van, though not living in it anymore), touring the country as a musician. I was given a macbook as a Christmas gift from my mom, so I was able to pursue my writing by doing it freelance (the bulk of my income now). I am a freelance photographer as well, apprenticing for years, but now earn decently from it (if there are projects, which are few and far between). Far from being rich, I cannot afford an MP now, I intend to. With a Noctilux married to it. While driving around in a '69 Mustang... Roger, I get your point. When I was younger, I wasn't able to afford the best (I can 'technically' afford it now, but having a young daughter makes me save for her, instead of for my wants). It all depends on your priorities and what you really want. When my daughter is older, I may get that MP (or M9) with a Noctilux in a '69 Mustang. But till then, I'll get by with my beat-up van, VC lenses and RD-1 (which I saved for for many months!) :)