Sometimes having choices sucks. My brother and his wife are looking to step up to digital SLRs and they asked for my advice. I told them about a few different cameras to look at, and some lenses to think about now and down the road. They were quickly overwhelmed by the options and of course, the price. My sister in law asked what the best combo was for $800. I sent her a link to an eBay listing for a Leica M3 with a 50mm lens and a LEICAMETER, currently listed for $800, and told her it was the nicest 35mm camera ever made. This was tongue in cheek of course. My sister in law takes about 400 pictures during a single 3 hour party, so she would never consider film. Looking at the listing though, she wrote back that the M3 would be way too complicated to ever figure out.
I thought about this for a second. The LEICAMETER couples to the shutter speed dial and tells you what aperture to set. This effectively turns the manual Leica M3 into a shutter priority (Tv) camera. This is dead simple! I starting thinking about RAW files, EV offsets, native ISOs, histograms, etc. What the hell? There’s too many options these days.
Like many of you, I’m starting to build an interesting collection of cameras and lenses. I have a Canon 7D and original Digital Rebel with 4 lenses between them.; a Holga with some accessories, and a bunch of stuff in between. One thing I learned early on is the One Camera/One Lens Rule:
Only take one camera and one lens with you. Leave everything else at home or in the bag
This means taking my 7D with a 50mm prime to a music festival. Since I only have the 50mm lens, I’m forced to get creative with subjects that might not fit with a 50mm lens. The 50mm on the 7D can be difficult because it’s slightly more tele than a 50mm on a full frame camera. Or just the Holga with a fisheye lens and ringflash. I got a lot of strange looks and comments when I took my Yashica GSN 45mm rangefinder to Oktoberfest a few weeks ago. But that’s the camera I decided to grab that morning. Other times it’s my medium format TLR. I’m not creative when I have every option available to me. I actually shoot my 7D very little because of this. I get creative when I have limits placed on me. Since I’m not getting paid, I don’t feel I need to cover every angle for whatever event I’m going to. Plus, there’s usually plenty of other people taking pictures, so I’m not going to miss anything important. So I use this rule to force myself to get more creative, instead of just taking point and shoot-style pictures. Although, I do have some old 35mm point and shoots as part of my arsenal…