Recently I have frequently adressed my issues with purchasing new cameras and how I think about improving photographic skills. I have raised my concerns that changing cameras (and in particular for those who do so very often) might not at all improve their photography. Adopting a new camera takes time too.
But there is another thing with changing cameras. It will change your photography, whether you like it or not. If you did portraits with a MF camera, your photographs won’t be the same when you pick up a dSLR. The format (1:1, 6:7, 3:2, 4:3, etc.), size of film or sensor, different lenses, experience, all add up to that.
It used to be simple in the past. You were glad to have the money for one camera. You hoped the camera would last as long as possible (and they often did), and replacing the camera was only done when necessary. But now, people have more money to spent and they are trying more gear. Getting Canon gear and later replacing it with Nikon or whatever. Some replace their cameras now every year. Every camera has something distinctive and it will influence your photography.
When the loan DP1 arrived earlier this year I had a very good creative moment with the GX200. I tried to use the DP1 in the same way, but it was a very different camera. I had to change pace, find the flow again, and it affected my creativity.
Earlier this year I had some interest in a dSLR with a prime lens. When the DP1 came in the spring I kind of lost that interest for a while, but I have currently a new interest again. But the requirements are tough. The camera still needs to be small, I want to use a prime lens, and it should have a viewfinder. Autofocus is no priority, but the price should be low and the camera should still be rugid. Therefore I will try to work now with different focal lengths on my Ricoh. Instead of 35mm I will try something like 40 and 50mm lens.
A different camera often means different lenses too. It will change your entire view. So I need to be ready for it to make such a transistion a success. I often think it is much better to stick to your current camera. Make it work for you, grow into it, and explore your current creativity with the camera you have. And only switch or add another camera when you are really up to it.
Probably the most important criteria to change a camera, is because you want to make different photographs. I believe when you take photography serious you don’t need to replace cameras. I like it when a camera blends in with my photography. In fact you hardly realize how the camera looks like, it all feels natural.
All photographs by Wouter Brandsma