Another Road To Travel-The Freedom of less
I have been scaling back my photography kit for a while now and truth be known, I do not miss the gear I have gotten rid of.
I bet if you made a check list of your gear for the purpose of determining when that gear was used over time, you just may find that at least 50 percent never leaves your heavy back pack, roller bag or shoulder bag.
I finally got it. For years, being fortunate to work for Nikon I had access to an unending supply of samples of their most up to date technology to carry. I got used to having it all. I mean a lot of lenses and a lot of bodies and every accessory Nikon could tempt customers with. It was an incredible road to be able to go down for over 30 years. And I went down that road schlepping all that stuff everywhere I went. My back pack had to way over 50 pounds. My sample cases full of gear must have been loaded and unloaded from cars, trains and planes but it was free to use and it felt like it was mine even though it was not. So I got used to having everything.
Before working for Nikon, I shot Nikon as a stringer photographer and my road was less cluttered. I knew what I needed to get the job done, I knew what I could afford and it was not 40 pounds of spinal compression camera gear. All I needed was a couple Nikon FM2 bodies, and about 3 prime lenses.
When I retired from Nikon, I found myself burdened by the gear habit because I had become used to always having all the Nikon sample stuff at my finger tips. So I bought the best bodies and the best zooms, lots of accessories and I was set for life. But I forgot that a photographer is truly never set for life and the desire for new and more advanced gear is always present. But things they were a changing.
My back was in bad shape, I was going for major surgery on my spine and I just could no longer tolerate the BIG HEAVY OUT OF BALANCE CAMERA STUFF that caused my back problems in the first place. It was not my first back surgery. My first was neck. Years of carrying cameras and lenses around my neck and on my shoulders.
Mirrorless cameras and lenses reared their beautiful heads offering the promise of high quality imaging in smaller and lighter packages. This promise could not go without being noticed by techno freaks like myself and I soon had given my Nikon gear to my best friend.
I was now a micro four-thirds photographer. I had two bodies, 3 zooms, 4 primes, and yes tons of accessories. I gobbled up the concept about smaller and lighter. The promise was kept. The image quality was great, and the size and weight was a dream come true. But not all was wonderful in paradise. The micro four-thirds camera bodies were really small, but so were all the buttons and dials I needed for operating the cameras and ultimately my large hands holding and controlling all the functions I needed to be a creative photographer were failing me. My large pudgy hands and fingers were getting in the way. And that was not my only issue. The menus were triple layered and a bear to use (for me).
Continuing on this new road I finally wound up with and still use the Fuji X system. I started off with the same bad habits of having to own everything but that sure changed and I now work with a minimal amount of gear. I have the Xpro2 body, 27mm,35mm, and 56mm 1.2. There is an 18-55 zoom buried in a bag as well but I rarely need that. That is about 4 top 5 pound max with my primes.
The 24mp Fuji X system is high end and complete with incredible film like images produced by the outstanding sensor and optics. I should mention here that there is nothing at all wrong with Fuji’s 16mp sensor. It too served me well.
Should I need a lens for a special application meaning it would be beyond my normal shooting needs then I can rent one. It comes out to be better than having stuff that just sits around, and it sure has less impact on the wallet.
And now I am on one more road, maybe my last one and that has brought me to the real freedom of less. What is that? It is called a compact camera. It has a zoom lens built in which is made by Leica. It is high speed using all of the technology of the micro four-thirds VARIABLE ASPECT sensor and shoots outstanding stills with the added benefit of 4K video. It can record in a variety of formats without giving up megapixels should I decide to shoot the square format for reasons of nostalgia.
The best part is that it fits in a coat pocket and makes one heck of an all day travel around camera. It is called the Panasonic Lumix LX100. Should I want to I can take only this camera and it truly covers me for all the types of shooting I like to do. It is small enough to remain stealth on the streets and yet produce beautiful landscapes when needed. The lens is very sharp and the sensor one of the cleanest I have shot even at 6400 iso.
So I can have my Fuji when I want it, and I do most of the time, but this new road to photography freedom with the LX100 is one I am going to really enjoy like so many others already have. I have friends who only shoot these compact cameras and produce outstanding images all day long.
While I have chosen this Panasonic LX100 based on my personal preferences, you should be aware that there are also so great offerings from Canon, Nikon and Sony. The best place to see them is in a camera store. Going on line does not give you the atheistic feel of a choice you may want to make. However, be smart. Smaller does not mean giving up quality of image. Smaller means gaining a comfort level not provided by bigger cameras and lenses. As always it is up to the photographer to create the images. The tools you use are up to you so you may just as well be comfortable all day. Get the right tools.
One last note on keeping it simple. Lately I have found disenchantment with Adobe Lightroom CC and I have written on this subject as have many others. But when I get right down to the nitty gritty of processing an image whether it be raw or jpeg, I have to admit that Lightroom is the one that keeps up to date with new camera support and truly has all the controls anyone should ever need to process out a great image either for print or screen. It has taken awhile to finally make processing as simple as shooting.