Monday, October 24, 2016

A Joy and A Curse

by Carol


After a recent day out shooting my lower back and shoulders were killing me! I felt like an old lady! I carry a full frame Canon and 3 lenses - two of which are significant zooms. They are in a well padded camera bag with my filters, batteries, etc, etc, etc. I often have a purse and a tripod hanging off my shoulders too. And this is nothing compared to what I travel with!

Now you must understand, I love my 5D Mark II. After initially starting my journey with a Sony Alpha, I made the difficult decision to change my kit because, at that time, used Sony lenses were rare and I wanted to be able to search eBay and amazon for well priced lenses as my skills and interests expanded. I was also sold on the idea of a full frame camera to gather every pixel.  I scrimped and saved and finally bought the Canon, thinking it would be the last camera I would ever buy. Over the years I added lenses - a long zoom, a wide angle, a portrait lens - until I thought I had gathered all the basics I could need. 

I should have known better. Working in a technological field, I knew that electronic progress marches forward unrelentingly. But I also realized that it is so unrelenting that you can't possibly keep up with it all. At some point, you just have to decide what features are important to you and stick with them. 

What I did not anticipate was my own aging and its effects on my attitude as well as my muscles. What did me in was my last trip to Europe two years ago. I lugged so much equipment up and down cobblestone streets and the steps of quaint inns that I began to feel ridiculous. Everything I did involved a maze of planning. Did I need every lens every day? Would carrying a backpack mean that every time I wanted a lens I had to kneel down and remove my backpack, dig in for what I need and restrap it on? If I stuck in a purse for evening, would I miss a shot at dinner because my camera wouldn't fit in, or would I end up wearing a heavy camera around my neck all night and never use it? Did I end up bringing my 50 mm because it was the lens I needed or because I was tired of carrying the others? At some point would the money I spend on equipment mean that I could spend less for travel? I know, I know - all of this is part of the fun of photography! I love seeing what different lenses can do. But the truth is, that I have a limited budget and I have my favorite lenses that I use most of the time, so why am I carrying all this stuff half way around the world? I was becoming lazy and settling for a zoom, wasting the equipment I worked so hard to buy. I was jealous of the easy mobility of those with less gear.




Of course, other baby boomers were having these same thoughts, which is why I thought this post might interest some of our readers. I began to pay a lot of attention to David duChemin talking about his new mirrorless Fuji. (here) I asked a lot of questions of some of my acquaintances who had already made the move. Last summer I began renting mirrorless cameras to feel them out. Eventually I decided to make  a kind of trial run. While I was still not convinced that I would ditch my beloved full frame, I did see the writing on the wall. I narrowed down my choices.

I explored the Sony Alpha A7 R2, the Olympus OM-D 10 and the Fuji X-T10 that convinced duChemin to make the move. The Sony, which offered a full frame in a mirrorless camera, seemed like it had the most technology in a more traditional package, but frankly, with the lenses I would use the most often it was almost as heavy as my current camera. I did fall in love with the Fuji which has a CMOS sensor.  but it's lenses are around $1000+ a piece and I am not yet sure whether I want to make the move in that big a way. If I eventually become convinced that this is my path, I will sell my current gear and choose it. I was worried about the Olympus being a 4/3 sensor, but that worry abated when I read that technology had advanced so much that the Olympus actually could do much of what my Canon did in a 4/3 format. The light weight, affordable lenses and great stabilization (yes, old people shake more too...) convinced me. I purchased the OM-D10 at a Labor Day sale where it came with two tiny zoom lenses. The camera and both lenses fit in a regular purse (that I picked up at Marshall's and padded a bit) with my wallet and phone and sunglasses and keys.  In our recent Rhode Island trip it was with me and accessible everywhere we went. It was a joy to walk around with only a purse!



Certainly, there are major adjustments to be made. The menu is very different than that of the Canon and there are buttons that can be assigned varying functions. I haven't played with the WiFi yet, and I still feel very awkward with it. I wasn't happy with my first day's shots in R.I., but after playing with the settings the second day's were dramatically better. I have lots of homework to do. I want to make comparison shots, and to try different lighting situations. My goal is to know it backwards and forwards by my planned trip to Italy in fall 2017in the hope that maybe it will be all I need to bring.  I'll let you know how it goes.....

Are any of you mirrorless users? I'd be interested in your experiences. And,by the way, don't forget the wise words of Maxine:








9 comments:

AFishGirl said...

Really grateful to read this post and ponder it. I'm at that junction of "where to from here" as far as fear goes and think about the whole thing and yes, the dragging tripod story, yes, well I remember. I'm going to take a peek at your new camera online. Sounds like you've made a great decision for your own needs.

Carol said...

I have to say that I am rapidly falling in love with it .

Dotti said...

When I bought a new camera last December, I thought about a mirrorless kit but decided to go to a full frame Canon 6D. I selected this instead of one from the Mark D series because I knew they were heavier than the 6D, which also had to advantage of having the same footprint as the 60D that I'd been shooting with. I don't regret the decision. But like you, I cannot carry tons of gear around all day. I don't carry a tripod with me and I usually select a lens for the day and stick with it. Occasionally I might slip in my 50mm 1.4 but not often. My tactic for keeping it light is one lens for the day. On our recent RI adventure, I used my 24-105L the whole time. The 100mm macro that I brought on the trip never made it out of my room and those were the only two lenses I brought with me. Were there times when I wished I had the 100mm? Sure! And the 300mm, too. But you know what? I made do with what I had and was able to handle the gear load for the day. This does not mean that there might not be a mirrorless kit in my future ...

kelly said...

it's always the struggle as a photog and adventurer I think...trying to find the balance between having the right gear and the ability to move freely. my current camera/lens setup is quite heavy...I find myself thinking about a new 50mm (my old one died a couple of years ago). thanks for sharing this awesome info! xoxo

Sharon said...

Thanks for your post! You perfectly express my thoughts about carrying around my Nikon and lenses in Europe. Just returned from a 3-week trip. I took my new 55-300 zoom and my 35 mm lenses and never took the latter on day to day sightseeing. Too much, too heavy. I'm wishing for a mirrorless for future long trips on cobblestone streets. I'm glad to know you like yours . . .

terriporter said...

I know we all discussed this at length in Rhode Island. The weight of our gear . . . it seems to get heavier every year. I love what my Canon 5D Mark III can do but carrying it around with a heavy lens attached is about all I can handle so I try to do as Dotti said above and choose one lens for the day. I rarely have my 100mm macro off of my camera at home but it just doesn't work as my sole lens while traveling so I try to limit myself to my 24-105 and for the most part I am happy with that. But then there's that flower with the perching bumble bee and I want my macro! I'm glad you are happy with the Olympus and I may be going that route at some point. Or maybe I'll just hire a caddy to carry my gear around for me!

Focusing on Life said...

I should have attached the picture of us in Arizona - where we rented a stroller to carry our gear!!

Roxi Hardegree said...

Love your photo edits. I'm in the middle of a two week vacation and haven't changed lenses yet. The bag stays in the car or RV. Hubby doesn't have the patience to wait on me even if I did lug that bag around. About 50% of my shots this trip are with my phone which I figured would have been even more.

Viv@Thoughts from the Desktop said...

I now have a Panasonic bridge camera with an enormous lens and I adore it. I have no complaints at all but... like Roxi my iPhone is now my first choice !

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