Keeping it simply small

Some time back I wrote some thoughts about keeping things simply simple. In that post I wrote about the FinePix X100 camera which I think has yet to be released. This particular camera though, got me interested once again in keeping abreast with developments in the manufacturing of cameras. I’m still looking forward to seeing the X100 camera up close but I’m liking what I’m seeing from other manufacturers, specifically in the micro four-thirds arena — also referred to as mirror-less interchangeable lens cameras (MILC), or electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens (EVIL). Whatever.

But before I continue on that topic, some thoughts about the X100. On my recent trip abroad I shot almost the entire time with a 24mm prime lens (equivalent to a 35mm lens on my camera). I did this to keep the weight and bulk of the camera down as we were doing 8 to 10 hour days of walking and sightseeing. Aside from my camera severely acting up due to the cold, shooting with a prime lens proved to be fun but there were times when I would see a shot and be unable to capture it because the prime was simply the wrong lens for the occasion. This didn’t worry me but it did get me thinking about the X100. This beautiful camera comes with a fixed lens (35mm equivalent) and after my experience with a prime I wonder if FujiPix are doing the right thing. I would really like to see this camera take off in popularity in order to encourage other manufacturers to start thinking outside the box but I can’t help but wonder if a fixed-prime will put some people off from buying it. Perhaps FujiPix should consider making this camera with interchangeable lenses. I guess time will tell.

Anyway, during my holiday I came to realise a few things about my photography. The first thing had to do with my camera; it’s heavy, it’s bulky and hardly inconspicuous. In other words, it’s not ideal as a travel camera. I didn’t have a choice though; it was that or nothing and I did seriously consider leaving my camera at home. The thing is when I am at home I am never out walking hours on end with my camera. It’s always short trips and the camera doesn’t feel like too much of a weight around my neck but since my return I find it to be a little cumbersome. There was a time many years ago when I would carry around a large camera bag filled with two SLR bodies, five lenses, a tripod, two flash guns and a bunch of other accessories. When I think back to those days I don’t wonder so much about how I did this but rather, why!? But the question is redundant, how or why doesn’t really matter in the end but one thing for sure is that those days are well and truly over for me and I have come to realise that I will need to downsize my camera gear if I am to continue making photographs. Hence my interest in the X100 and micro four-thirds cameras, in particular the Olympus E-PL2 of the PEN series. The E-PL2 isn’t out in Australia just yet but I have looked at the E-PL1 and there is much to like. I won’t go on about the technical details and functions of these cameras but I could see the E-PL2 becoming my next camera. It is small, discreet and simple. It offers small interchangeable lenses, manual controls and from what I read, good quality images even at higher ISOs.

The second thing I realised while on this trip wasn’t so much a realisation as much as it was a gentle reminder. I truly enjoy the act of photography. The pure joy of seeing. The blissful fun of making images. Admittedly, I didn’t make a huge number of images relative to the many opportunities that cities like London and Paris offer. I took a lot of family snaps but there weren’t so many occasions where I would totally lose myself in a moment of seeing. And that’s another thing I realised, or at least understood more profoundly about my photography. Photography for me is very much about being alone in the moment that I may totally lose myself so that I may become the whole. That probably makes no sense at all outside my own head but there you have it. Being with my family is an absolute joy in its own right and I’ll happily forgo photography to spend time with them but those special moments I’ve come to experience while out making images seem to be linked, somehow, to solitude. Something to explore a little deeper one day.

At any rate, where my photography is concerned, I want to keep it simply simple and where my camera is concerned I’m starting to think that I need to keep it simply small. I could go as small as the Olympus XZ-1 or the Panasonic LX-5 which seem like excellent cameras but right now the PEN cameras have all my attention as they seem to offer the benefits of an SLR without the bulk and weight. Of course, knowing me, I’ll probably just stick with what I have but who knows.