The Importance of Gear

Leica CL and Fujifilm X Pro2

In photography circles, there is a lot of emphasis put on photography gear. Photographers love to talk about gear. A loose interpretation of Moore’s law states that the amount of processing a chip can do basically doubles every 18-24 months. With that, camera manufactures seem to release a camera update on the same schedule. This feeds into photographers’ lust for new gear, often times skewing gear conversations to talk about the latest tech coming out in next year’s camera release.

Conversations like this are fun and all, if kept in check, but I think that it also causes some unhealthy photography related discussions. Think about what the best camera is for you. Is it the best performing camera, is it a camera system with a specific lens that gives you a certain look, is it the camera system with the latest technology, or the camera that inspires you to go and make photos? Whatever your answer is, it is the correct one, and so is the answer of someone that contradicts your viewpoint.

I’m a big believe that all of the camera manufactures make cameras that are good enough, so it boils down to what your specific needs are. If I wanted to get the best camera system from an image quality perspective, I would probably go with something like a Canon or Nikon that have tons of lenses available from decades of making camera systems. If I wanted the best performing camera from an image sensor and auto-focus perspective, I would probably go with a Sony. It turns out, what I wanted in a camera system was something that harkened back to the photography process when I first got into photography back in the early ’90s. Because of this, I have opted for a Leica M6 as my every-day film camera and a Leica M-P typ 240 for my every-day digital. These cameras help put me in control of all of the settings of the camera and help me look at a scene with my eyes and start to envision images before I put the camera up to my eye. It’s not for everyone, for sure, and I probably miss a lot of shots because this is how I choose to shoot, but when I make a photo where everything comes together, I know that I made that photo, not the camera.

To stick to this theme, for my main camera system when I am doing client work, I have chosen the Fujifilm x-series system with an X Pro2 and an X-T2. These cameras have great image quality and the auto-focus is good enough. Even though there aren’t as many lenses available as some of the other systems, the lenses that are available are beautiful. They are very sharp, they have great color, the focus well and a lot of them have great character.

When I talk to other photographers, I hear all of the arguments as to why I should upgrade. Better autofocus, better low light performance, higher resolution, larger sensor, better lens selection…but in the end, the Fuji system inspires me to go out and shoot more and I think that is the key. The more I shoot, the more I want to go out and shoot. I find myself wanting to buy new gear when when I am not shooting very much. It is kind of a response to stay engaged in something that I love in the times when I am not inspired to go out and make photos.

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