Last weekend I started selling off photo gear to make way for a new Sony A7. For some reason selling cameras is difficult for me. They are orphan tools sitting in a bag as backup equipment but still hard to part with. It’s stupid to invest emotional capitol in tools. Just the same I’ve been a tool user and maker all my life. I can visualize how things work. Not just mechanical things but pretty much anything. In software development that translated into a practical ability to build products. Code was my tool of choice then just as cameras are my tools of choice today.
The act of selling online is an immense pain. I use EBay to get rid of most of my stuff. It would be better to sell face-to-face but there aren’t many camera obsessed people in my neighborhood. Those that are generally have the good sense to use camera phones. You have to have a bit of arrogance to own a big black camera these days. Camera phones are just about as good and way more convenient. At least I don’t use 8×10 view cameras. Using those things really is obsessive, I tell myself.
The process taking photos of equipment and posting items online for sale continues. They could be mug shots, left profile, right profile, full face, on to the next item. With any luck a new camera will materialize on my coffee table soon. I can tell you right now that when the time comes it will be hard to part with that one too.
Clarity is a thing to be searched for and possessed as best we can. Something we strive to experience. But we live in a chaotic world that seems to move towards disorder. An argument could be made that clarity only exists in the past. Certainly there are moments in our lives when we reach a point of focus. Like the properties of a diamond we perceive clarity. For an instant the scales fall from our eyes.
Being a non-professional photographer has some advantages. The main one is that I’m free to move to a new camera or system without considering whether the change will affect my business. That gives me quite a bit more freedom to experience different brands of equipment. I can just sell off my gear if it doesn’t work out.
I have been using mirrorless cameras for around five years now. My last DSLR was a Canon 5D which was twice the size and weight of the Olympus Pen that replaced it. Moving to the Pen was a step back in some ways but the new system literally lifted a burden from my shoulders. Several Olympus cameras followed the Pen until I ended up the excellent OM-D E-M5. The freedom from bulk changed my attitude toward photography. It became an enjoyable experience again.
Then Fujifilm came out with the X100. Wow what a camera. Unfortunately the waiting list for the camera was too long and my patience was too short. I eventually ended up with two Fujifilm bodies, the X-E1 and X-T1. They have been my go to cameras for the last few years. Both have served me well and faithfully. The X system cameras and lenses are excellent in every respect.
As satisfied as I am with Fuji, it is time for another change. Today I’m putting all my camera gear up for sale. There is quite a bit of stuff move. Three camera bodies and half a dozen lenses must find new homes.
In some ways this move is recognition that my interests in photography have changed. In the last three or four years, digital black and white images have accounted for about eighty percent of my finished photographs. Along with black and white I’ve developed an interest in manual focus legacy lenses. Both are decidedly not mainstream professional activities. You would be hard pressed to make a living doing that stuff.
My next purchase will be a Sony Alpha 7 camera body and a couple of lens adapters. As much as I value sensor based image stabilization the idea of a small light weight full frame camera is very appealing. It is also a way of hedging my bet on the new system with a small outlay that is easily recoverable. I’m sure that it will take me at least several months to decide whether giving up the Fuji X system was the right choice. I think it’s worth the gamble.