When you first get started with photography or anything for that matter, there’s always that need to get “the best.” By the best, I mean the best camera body, the best lenses, the best camera bag, the best film, the best developing paper, the best printing paper, and the list goes on and on. Sometimes, there’s a different fascination with getting “the rarest” or “the trendiest” cameras out there.
I myself have gotten caught up in the craze a few times. The first was when I thought I wanted to shoot digital. It was a short lived experience. I genuinely took only three sets of photos on my camera before sitting it on my desk without touching it for months on end, and the conclusion was always the same. If I had a better lens or a better camera body, I would use it and take better photos. I eventually did upgrade the camera body, and that camera set for about six months before I realized it wasn’t the camera.
When I started with manual film cameras my experience was different because I had the opportunity to try different types of cameras while learning how to take photographs. I started with the Pentax k1000, moved on to the Canon AE-1, the Minolta 300 or 500 series, and finally I tried the Nikon FE2. I fell in love with the FE2. It’s not the typical or popular camera, but it is the camera I jelled with the most. It was the easiest for me to use and the most comfortable in my hands.
I did get caught up much later with film cameras. I blame it on two things: YouTube and medium format cameras. I became obsessed with watching YouTube vlogers who did series on the types of cameras and film they use. One particular video tag that I watched a lot was the best quality cheapest film camera videos and the thrift store camera videos...I may have had minor Ebay obsession with the Olympus Muju II camera, like everyone else that drove the price up. I ultimately didn't get one...but I'm still checking every Goodwill I come across.
Medium format cameras had a different effect. My senior year of college, I shot on a Hasselblad. It changed my life forever. It was insane because shooting medium format film made the most ordinary things look extraordinary. For all of you film fanatics, you know the Hasselblad is one of the most coveted medium format film cameras out. From the moment I developed my first roll my plan was to get a medium format film camera, but I needed to find a good one on my budget. After reading tons of reviews and watching YouTube videos about the camera mechanics I had to stop. It was an unhealthy obsession.
Finding a new camera wasn’t a problem. The real problems was spending more time finding a camera than using the one that I have. I didn’t need a new camera or more popular camera to take a good photo. You take better photos by learning about your camera, figuring out how to take better shots, and then taking better photos. No lens or camera body is going to make you a better photographer if you don’t know how to take a good photo. Start with the skill, then you can get new toys.