A photography journey – Dressing up with accessories

We’ve all been there. From buying a trendy strap, a soft shutter button, stickers or leather case for decorative purpose, to something more functional such as getting remote cable release, lens filter, L-bracket or cage for functional reason. The camera accessories market booms especially during the time when hipster-photographers are growing in numbers, and when carrying a camera is a fashion statement rather than to take photos with it.

I am guilty of hoarding a lot of accessories myself. Straps and soft shutter button are my go-to items used in decorating my camera. I had also purchased thumbs-up for my Fujifilm camera as well, you know, the piece of metal that tuck into your hot shoe and gave a space for your thumb to rest on. I believe many hobbyist out there are a fan of Peak Design product as well, owning their capture clip and straps and other camera accessories (I’ll talk about camera bag separately in my next post).

I get it that we want to pamper ourselves, we want to look good and trendy and have our camera standout among the boring black metal blocks. We want to be different, hence owning all the decorative accessories. And just like fashion brands, they are pointless and serves little purpose, adding little to no value to our photography journey. But we just can’t help it couldn’t we?

I believe everyone has their own fair share of stories in accessorising their camera. I sure do, but I have since toned down a lot and now I’m just sticking with functional items on my camera. Perhaps it is part of the journey, or perhaps it is just something to do with our personality? I wonder. Let me know if your journey differs from the ordinary. Till then.

A photography journey – The arsenal of lenses

Aside from camera acquisition, another item that are frequently replace or upgraded in our arsenal would be lenses. For a lot of beginner (myself included), we started off by purchasing a camera body that comes with a kit lens, that kit lens will be our one and only lens for quite a long while until the day when we wanted to go wider, go longer, or go bigger in aperture. That’s where the slippery slop begins.

From here onwards, there are those who started to specialise on a genre of photography, hence they would opt to spend on specific lenses. For those who enjoys shooting wildlife or birds, they are happy to splurge on a telephoto lens. For those who enjoys landscape, they will probably end up with an ultra wide angle lens. For portrait shooters, they will get some mid-telephoto lens with wide aperture.

Of course this is not the end of the slope. There will always be a constant debate between whether owning a zoom lens is better than a prime lens. Practicality versus ultimate performance, it’s hard to choose for sure, and some ended up with both eventually. For me, I started off with kit lens, and soon I ventured into primes. There’s a point of time where I shoot only with 21mm, 35mm, 50mm and 90mm prime lenses. But as time goes by, my priority changes, and I have ended up with 3 zoom lenses now, covering 16-35mm, 28-75mm and 70-200mm.

There are a lot to talk about when it comes to lenses, third party versus main brands, various specialty lenses such as macro lens, defocus or smooth focus lens and etc. have always been there, tempting us to bring them home. Well, to me, it’s good too try out different lenses, but the important thing is to know what you want to shoot and achieve in your final picture, and then buy the lens that will help you to achieve that.

Do you have a cabinet that is full of lenses? Till then.

A photography journey – The tale of film and digital

Nikon FM3A

The next part of the photography journey that I would like to talk about is on the medium… film and digital. For the younger generation or those who just started photography in a more recent years, it is very likely for them to begin their journey with digital camera, and most of them will continue to stick with it throughout their journey. However, there are a curious bunch who are either started way earlier in the old days or deeply rooted into the art of creating pictures, who ended up ventured into something else… which is shooting with film.

For me, it’s more of a nostalgic feeling I get when shooting with film camera. It reminds me of the days when I used the point and shoot film camera and take pictures in my school. There are certain experience (and frustrations) that you will get when shooting with a film camera as opposed to digital. The well known quotes of “every shot counts”, “no more spray and pray” and “get it right in camera” are some of the key reasons why I felt shooting film, or the limitation imposed when shooting film, is actually a good training ground to hone your skill and craft.

I have enjoyed my time shooting with film cameras, be it rangefinder or SLR, and I have enjoyed the use of various film stocks, manual focusing, reading the light meter and so on. I don’t think it is necessary for everyone to go through the use of film camera, but for those who really enjoy photography, it’s a good way to experience the history and origin of it. And for those crazy one, they would go as far as developing the film themselves, hacking their scanner in order to get the best film scanning result and so on. Darkroom skill is a different territory all together, and I had been wanted to experience it but sadly have not been able to do so.

If you are on the fence considering whether you should try using a film camera, just do it. It may not be your cup of tea in the end, but I believe the experience is worth while for your photography journey. Till then.

A photography journey – The camera lust

In order to kickstart your photography journey, you would require a camera for sure. It can be in any shapes and form, from smartphone to point and shoot, from mirrorless to DSLR. Whatever it is, its a tool that you will be using to capture a picture, to turn your vision and imagination into a still art form.

For me, it all started with my very first Canon PowerShot G12, followed by PowerShot G1X. Later on, I switched to Fujifilm and used X-Pro1, X-E2, X-T2, and the X100 series cameras. I have also used Leica M9 and M240 before I finally switched to Sony A7 III. Well, that is… of course, only half of the story. I have also owned a few film cameras along the way, like the Nikon FM3A, Zeiss Ikon, Fujifilm GW690 and Hasselblad Xpan.

That’s a pretty long list for the past 10 years. There are those who argued camera is not important, it’s all about your vision. While there are those who argued camera is equally important as your skill, as it entice you to go out and shoot. Whatever it is, I believe for most of us, especially hobbyists are inevitable in owning all sorts of cameras along our photography journey. Some call it gear acquisition syndrome, well, I agree that there are those who are into camera buying and not photography itself. But for most of us, it’s more than just gear buying.

We started a new hobby, stepping into the world of photography. We wouldn’t know for sure what we like and what we wanted. Hence, a lot of trial and errors may occur along the way. Trying out cameras from different manufacturer, different form factors between SLR and rangefinder, trying out different sensor size and technology and so on. Eventually, we will find what suits us the best and settle down (or we are running out of money to fund our hobby). Also, as your shooting style changed, your skill evolved, your requirement changed, it’s totally normal that one may need to switch to a different camera in order to keep them going.

As we settled down in our hobby, getting matured, have better understanding on the world of photography, I believe most of us will end up sticking with a camera for a longer period of time. Do you have any confession to make on your long list of camera used?

Good enough is probably good enough

Stumbled upon this video on YouTube. I must say it is indeed true and resonates well with what I believe in. There’s no need to own the best, one just need to evaluate on your requirement, needs and budget and make your purchase decision accordingly. Of course everyone’s need and budget is different, some really need to own the latest and greatest plus have unlimited budget… so… yeah.

For me as example, I use my phone a lot, hence I’m willing to spend on the higher end iPhone 11 Pro, both for work related matters and for it’s camera. For earphones, I’m willing to spend on something with good sound quality and noise cancellation, as these are again, have higher prioirities in my needs.

When it comes to other stuffs, I’m willing to skim. I don’t own the latest and the best camera, I’m still wearing Apple Watch Series 3 (and loving it), I don’t wear luxury branded clothing… and the list goes on. Sadly, I have limited budget, so I have to make do with my priorities and work around it. Sometimes may even need to hunt for bargains or look for alternative products from China.

Do I envy those who owns the best? Do I feel incomplete without the best of the best? Well, not really. At the end of the day, you will realize that there will always be something better out there, and it is impossible for you to own them all. Spend within your means and buy what you need.

This reminds me of another scenario. Often people asked me when I’m buying my own house the next time, am I looking for a 3 or 4 bedroom units and so on. And my answer will always surprise them, as I’m good with even studio, maximum I would go for is just 2 bedroom and nothing larger than that. Why? There’s no need for a huge house, and I rather spend the money renovating to have a comfortable and lovely home. Smaller house, less maintenance… it’s a win to me for sure.

Anyway, different folks different strokes. There’s no one size fits all solution here. This is just my thought. Till then.