… the more they stay the same.
Unlike most stories that start that way, I do mean the more they change. My last post here was Um… Uh… focused (sorry) on the new addition to my lineup, the very awesome 70-200/4VR and how I’d been simplifying my gear. I told the story of film SLR to medium-format to no cameras for a couple dozen years to another SLR to no gear for a couple years to my first dSLR.
Ok, maybe I missed some of that. Who cares?
I’ve enjoyed photography since I was about fifteen. Unlike wine, I don’t get any better with age, however. And possibly because of that, I’m constantly in search of the perfect gear. That’s often complicated by my ever-present, without-regard-to-the-subject GAS: Gear acquisition syndrome. New gear reviews, forum suggestions, it doesn’t matter, it all fuels it. So I’m on the lookout, constantly, for that elusive, perfect setup. That ‘perfect setup’ is also informed by whatever restrictions my mind has decided to labor under.
Sometimes it’s weight, maybe it must all be OEM. There’s always something. So let’s sum up. The basics of this ‘perfect setup’ are: must be at or near pro level (the thought that someone could see that I was carrying consumer grade gear would diminish my already limited abilities), must be the newest (ie: best) version, must cover all possible uses even if no real desire to shoot those situations (gotta have a posing stool even though we’re going to shoot landscapes), should take into account the whims of the Internet crowds and should address my wants rather than my needs. And represent whatever new/current limitation I have placed on myself. Excellent!
The 40D with the four leases I mentioned was the closest I ever came to the goal. 24-105/4IS, 10-17, 12-24/4 and 70-200/4IS. Awesome group. I could take the body and three of the four with me just using jacket pockets. Covered everything from 10mm fisheye (love love love) to 200mm stabilized constant f4 telephoto. But GAS got me.
The D300 and sorta matching lineup didnt grab me the same way. So I went through the GAS buy-and-sell routine for five more years. End lineup? A far less than perfect D7100 with 10-20 (variable aperture – shudder!), 24-120/4VR, and 70-200/4VR. No primes with big apertures for subject isolation (something that actually does matter to me). No macro (again, a diversion I enjoy).
A few years ago, I toyed with using m43 gear. Bought a Panny GF1 with the kit zoom. Bumped the camera into my face repeatedly trying to put eye to viewfinder. There’s no viewfinder on the GF1. Sold it. After, I found Ranae liked it. But we demanded pro gear!
The world got me down again and so I must respond with a changing of the gear. The new m43 stuff starts to look interesting again. A new ‘need’ has arisen: gear that meets all the normal (for me) requirements and can go with Polly and I on hikes. Well, walks. Light and small and awesome!
The search begins! Ah, heady and exciting times! From something that will work to something that will do everything! Sure, the Canon S100 would work. Sigh. Or! I could get the new 5 axis IBIS all awesome all the time Olympus EM1! Sure I just started out wanting to capture the occasional snap but hated using my phone. And sure the S100 would fit perfectly in my murse. But what if instead of a morning sun lit lily, I spot a Grey Fox at 20 yards. The S100 won’t do! So a compact super-zoom! Wait a tick, that won’t fit in the murse! Requirements altered. Now must serve as primary system with flexibility (ultra wide angle to long telephoto), high quality (pro build, constant aperture, image stabilization, excellent reviews from all the right people) and small. Oh, and have a viewfinder (at the top of the viewfinder world).
The EM1 was the obvious choice. Lots of buzz. Great reviews. Great lens choices. Of course none of this could meet the original need of something to capture the occasional shot while unobtrusively accompanying us on our bike trail walks. Enter the GX7. With a pancake lens, it could go along! Hmm. Now all I have to do is sell all my great nearly new Nikon gear.
Finally I have my GX7. A Leica 25/1.4. A Leica 45/2.8 macro. The Panny 14-42 kit lens. And the Panasonic 35-100/2.8 incredi-zoom. Nice. Getting a Panasonic G5 with kit zoom and a Panny 45-200 for the wife. Now we’re cooking with fire.
So I moved from film to digital for good reason: cheaper, film was dying, all that. Moved through Canon gear due to too much money and GAS. Moved to Nikon cause Canon wasn’t keeping up and Nikon had high iso performance and a great LCD. Moved through Nikon gear due to restlessness, seeking that perfect setup I had under Canon and GAS. And now to m43 due to need of a small flat camera for occasional use and now for everything.
I’m truly messed up.
I still need the Panasonic 7-14/4 for wide angle and a couple uwa primes for bokeh. And maybe a 100-300 for long work on the G5. Which itself might need to be upgraded to the G6 since it has Wi-Fi and IBIS.
Maybe I should wait for the G7 since it’s rumored to have weather proofing and hybrid focusing.
And I like zooms, so I’m going to need the 12-35/2.8 since it’s the pro zoom in the focal range.
Until the new group next year – they look aweSOME!
Which reminds me that Trek will probably update my new bike with disc brakes next year and I really need those.
It never ends.