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Thread: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

  1. #1
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    What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    This came up in another thread, got off on the wrong foot and then got back on track, off-topic, so I thought I would pull it out and give it its own space.

    What drives you? Why do you do photography at all, and why do you do the type of photography you do?

    And of interest in this themed forum: what drives equipment purchases?

    ---

    My answers:

    1) My primary motivation is the space I am in when I make photographs. I love the feeling, the thought process, the routine, and everything about it. This part can be done with any decent camera, like my M6.

    2) A close second is seeing the results and working with them. I love getting a great shot, and work towards increasing the frequency. On a sidenote, I think maybe the frequency of shots I really like doesn't increase, but my standards just creep up to match. Ansel Adams once said that he estimated that he got 12 good shots a year. I know exactly what he meant (although his 12 good shots cannot be compared with my 12 good shots).

    3) My equipment upgrades are motivated by the desire for artifact-free images, as well as the ability to enlarge more without losing the image the digital soup that results from enlarging too much. With artifacts, I mean primarily things like coma, CA and so on, but also better boke, more sharpness, etc. Another reason is to enable more types of shots, like long lenses to get closer, etc.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Well, for me it is a simple thing, of getting great results easier. Now this goes for most of my work, there are exceptions. I count everything I can control in this section of work. (architecture, fine art, abstract stuff, nature, landscapes) What I don't count is for example, street shooting, wildlife.

    For the latter I think it really does not matter what camera you use, as long as you get THE shot. I don't need to be able to print these images huge in perfect quality.

    Now what drove me to get a P65 and now working with the Phase camera and a LF camera ? Two main things. The first thing is just to get great quality a lot easier and more enjoyable. There is no argument over, that a multi stitch image from for example a d3x has exactly the same quality as a P65 stitch or single image in a final print. However I never really enjoyed doing multi row stitches. I always hated it. Now especially with the P65 combined with a LF camera I can get one single frame or a simple three image stitch and have the quality I need to print as big as I want.

    The second thing is that there is just something special working with a LF camera again, it is just different. Now I just wished I had live view like on my 5DMk2, which would make focusing a LOT easier and faster.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    I wanted to add another thing. When i started shooting with the P45 a while back, I also shot with a 1DsMk2/3 at the time. My image rate was around 70% Canon and 30% P45.

    Now in the last 6 months, while traveling around the world that changed a lot. I just check my LR catalog. And the numbers are like this: 7200 images remaining, after sorting and editing. (One as to keep in mind that around 4000 are panoramic files)
    - 5000 are from the P65
    - 2000 from Leica/Canon
    - 200 G10

    I also would note that my way of working certainly has changed again and my great image rate went up a lot. It's just like it was with film, you don't shoot everything when you know you have to set up a LF camera for every shot. One just does it if one is confident the shot has potential.

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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    What drives you?

    I have to make images, it's a pathological need.

    Why do you do photography at all?

    Photography is just another medium.

    Why do you do the type of photography you do?

    Love of subject and location. The need to communicate.

    And of interest in this themed forum: what drives equipment purchases?

    Need, pure and simple. I'm not enamoured with cameras and equipment, regard them as tools and necessities and buy the absolute minimum I can get away with.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    What drives my equipment purchases?

    Results. Better, faster, easier path to capturing the content I'm interested in, consistently presented in a way I'm trying to achieve.

    I truly appreciate and like some people's Landscape work, but would do something else as a creative outlet if forced to do that type of work myself. So those criteria are meaningless to me when it comes to gear.

    I'm driven by studying and shooting people. Tired as it may seem to others, I never tire of capturing the "Decisive Moments" that define humanity. While this is much touted by many candid shooters, it is quite rare to see it with any consistency in a body of work. It's that goal of consistency that fuels my creative drive and keeps me at it.

    The reason I shoot weddings is that there are a lot of people there ... and they expect to be photographed ... so come to ignore you as you anticipate and pick the tiny moments out of the rushing river of time and freeze them forever.

    That's still photography to me. For most of my life the chief tool to do that was a Leica M ... which by it's very form places the emphasis on content over what the image looks like as viewed through a reflex camera. The M9 is the latest iteration of that way of seeing. So by default it is the most favored tool amongst the myriad choices I either own or have used for other ancillary types of photography.

    While others ponder, pixel peep, and agonize over feature sets in an attempt to turn the race horse into a pack mule, the M9 decision was an instantaneous, no-brainer one for me as a simple continuation of the tool I chose to use ... so I can get on with achieving the objective.

    -Marc

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    I started developing film and making prints because a girlfriend at Uni was into photography - she showed me how to develop a print first epiphany - and it was love at first sight- We had a lot of fun in the tiny Students Union darkroom at Sydney University- red light on and all hahahhahaha

    After Uni and grad school I had no darkroom and was too busy doing rocket science stuff - it was 15 years later that i was introduced to my second epiphany - a Leica M3 with a 50 cron. Show me the negs and slides - sure he said ..man they popped! anyone who cant see the difference between a fast wide open Leica shot and anything else on the neg is blind..or maybe has never developed film and different lenses or made a print by hand....

    still it took the canon10D to get me really excited - i could control teh whole proces without resorting to labs..that hooked me - controlling my own workflow..

    Since then I have been climbing the learning curve... buying anything I feel like and trying everything - why? cos I love shooting man - it is that simple and you wanna know something ? anyone that doesn't like the gear as in really doesn't care ...well I will guarantee you they know NOTHING about photography..

    it is liek saying a musician doesnt like his guitars or a chef doesnt like his knives or a racing driver doesnt love his car setc etc etc - it is TOTAL BS to say the gear doesnt matter total and absolute BS. - the surest mark of a non photographer - tagged immediately!


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    Senior Member KeithL's Avatar
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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    anyone that doesn't like the gear as in really doesn't care ...well I will guarantee you they know NOTHING about photography..!
    I care in so much that I choose my equipment with the greatest of care and value what that equipment allows me to do, but love the equipment itself...nah, it's just a means to an end.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Well interesting questions but pretty easy to sum up for me. Honestly I started as a Pro at 19 and turning 53 next month it is all my career life really knows and knows well enough to fit in my own shoes. Along the way i bleed through every technology change ever made with regards to film and digital. In digital I was one of the first adopters back in 1991 with some really horrible cams by today's standards. For me it was evolving and trying to always push ahead of the technology. Been through many many systems with never really a resting spot with any of them. More my goal all the time was quality of file and a cam that does almost everything. It still is my goal as i try to shoot one main system for all my work. I like simplicity and also like to know my system so well that I can pull any shot out of the hat regardless of limitations and obstacles. I said this before but it really should be in part of the title of Commercial Photography/Problem solver. That is the job and what we get paid to do, it that vein my most comfortable file to deliver to a client has been MF digital.

    I have been searching for this holy grail for many years regardless of maybe client needs like only for web and such but when i grab a camera in my hand it is not for sport it is for MY satisfaction that even drives me to shoot in the first place. If it is something that has boring files or is boring to shoot than I am bored and i will not get excited enough to even pay attention. When you have been doing it this long you are after the thrill of shooting when you grab a camera. Sure i do it for money but I have also turned down many career changes as well that did not involve shooting. It is my passion as well as the passion to learn and teach it. Frankly teaching it now is almost even more important to me and maybe the biggest reason this forum is even here.

    But on the same path as my passion it is also my passion to have very good gear to go along with that. More my reason for that is quality and ease of use . Hell i can shoot lights out with a Nikon, Sony or Canon but frankly the files do nothing for me except record images. There simply is no real life to them that I see and get out of MF. Call it any crap you want and 35mm shooters are loading their shotguns as I speak and forming a posse to the Mancuso house with rope in hand to do the deed the old fashion way "Hang him High". Hate to say it but CCD sensors are all i ever want to shoot in a serious capacity, although I really like my GF1 but to me it is my toy and not my preferred tool to work with.

    Now part of all this is time behind the monitor and less time processing images is also my goal. I want systems that work out of the gate and files that jump at me. I am very tried of the evolution path that I have gone through over all these years with struggling to get great images from camera or software. Sexy cameras may sell some but working camera's that produce easily sell me. I want stuff that works without hassle anymore.

    As far as my system I am very pleased with it today and you almost NEVER heard those words come out of my mouth. Yes i loved the DMR and M8 but neither one had enough juice to go BIG and that was my biggest issue with both of them but certainly my two biggest favorites in 35mm format. But going to MF was such a jump up. Today i sit very cautiously at other systems on what they would do to help improve me and my shooting. The S2 is Intriguing and very much looking forward to running it in hell to see what it can do. If it completely knocks my socks off than something to think about BUT i have not been impressed by much on whatever has been said or the shots yet until i get it in my hands . Just that simple
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    What drives you? Why do you do photography at all, and why do you do the type of photography you do?
    I don't know how to answer this. I could say that it's why I live, what gets me up in the morning, why I spend most of my weeks in a cube farm so I can afford to do what drives me.

    What gives me goose bumps is understanding and communicating with a wild animal well enough that it feels comfortable around my camera; the photo is a means to share the goose bumps with family, friends and everyone else.

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    And of interest in this themed forum: what drives equipment purchases?
    The camera should be complex enough to meet the task, and no more so; the camera and lens should accurately direct the image to the capture medium with minimal artifacts, and the camera should be be comfortable to use for hours at a time. And I want to make big prints.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    What drives you?

    Passion for getting the best images and results I can achieve with the equipment I can afford.

    Why do you do photography at all?

    Photography is the medium I express myself most easily. It also helps me see the world I live in more intensely. And I am photographing since I was 12 year, quite a long time now.

    Why do you do the type of photography you do?

    My artistic goal is to generate great looking, bright and inspiring images, which show the beauty of our planet and of our life and help preserve it for future generations. This is increasingly important in a time, when destruction of the beauty of our nature by us human beings still continues despite the fact, that we all have the responsibility to stop or at least constrain this process as much as possible, in order to hand over our world and its health and beauty intact to our next generations.

    And of interest in this themed forum: what drives equipment purchases?

    First and foremost the desire and need to get the best equipment I can afford for specific jobs. As photography is a passion and I do not make my living (so far) of it, this has already been very expensive over the past decades. Owned almost all camera systems in 35 - digital and analog - Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Leica, Sony etc. and in MF - Hasselblad, Contax, Rollei. Just on the jump now into MF digital and those who know me know that I still have no glue which system to get - will be either Hasselblad, Phase or Leica .....

  11. #11
    gdwhalen
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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Good thread Carsten as I do think that it gets to the essence of the discussion last night.

    Although I am a firm believer that content always trumps equipment. I also believe that the best equipment, given good content, will trump bad equipment for the same content.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    My view is great equipment helps me free myself to do the task at hand much easier from a tech POV which free's the artistic side. Bottom line if i constantly have to worry about the gear than that puts to much pressure on the actual capture. Like I have said many times it needs to work for me and able to master it without thinking about it or it gets sold.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    What drives me? There's always a story to tell, a story to be remembered. I'm always looking to find another angle, another view. I guess it's a kind of passion for me, and I always bring a camera to be able to hand my perception of the world over to those who want to see and to listen.

    The camera should be the simplest possible, so that I don't need to be aware of its existence. Lenses are what does it for me. If I like a lens, and know its limitations, I only need that single piece of glass, even if it's something I picked up for $100 at a second hand shop.

    I'm not on the MF bandwagon yet. Too expensive and partly to large. I might end up there some time in the future anyway, but first, it will be Pentax. They have the lenses I want. Good, traditional lenses that make me concentrate and care about what I see through them.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Motivation for Photography
    I just like to photograph and keep moments, feelings, places, friends etc. in an image. SInce I dont do it commercially I also try to give prints to friends who are on my images. However for some reason I feel that for me it is not only the result but also the process to take an image.

    Equipment:
    As an engineer I am kind of fascinated by mechanical equipment and well designed and functional equipment.
    For example even if I know I can take the same image with many other cameras I enjoy to have a Leica in my hand. I prefer the feel of a Nikon D3 or D300 much over the plastic feel of a D40.
    So choosing eqipment is about function but also about feel for my part.
    I like to use the Hy6 for example because I wanted a system where I can use a WLF and have a more traditional MF-approach than the more DSLR-feeling of a Mamiya body.
    So not only decisions from the brain but also from the stomach. (which is not good for my wallet)

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    To have fun shooting photos, thats all!
    I am hobbyist and i think i will stay with that level.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    As a child my grandmother took pictures of me with a kodak Brownie....my father recorded our family photos and four children from birth to marriage.....some embarrassing moments recorded.

    When I went to college I minored in photography and my Anthropology professor owned a Leica M. In the small Vermont town I went to school the local drug store had a camera counter and the clerk was a Leica collector / dealer. I scraped every dollar I had to buy a Leica F and few used lenses and was hooked photographing rural Vermont and making black and white prints at the college darkroom. Everyone discouraged me from making this a profession but I did not listen and worked in a camera store as a salesman. One of my customers was an IBM engineer and asked if I wanted to apply for a job at the local semiconductor facility as a photographer.

    This job lasted twenty-eight years giving me the flexibility to develop skills in product, scientific,portraiture, editorial, and photojournalism. IBM manufactured many of the computer chips starting with the first PC's and later Motorola, Apple PowerPC etc. I was able to develop processes for photographing the semiconductor chips that were on the forefront of technology and even some of the first CCD's and Custom ASIC CMOS components that run todays games....Nintendo, Xbox, and Playstations. I was able to buy and experiment with film cameras in all formats and started using digital in the 1990's with the first Kodak 6 megapixel DCS1 and later Sinar and Leaf. I should be better with equipment, as a photographer and digital processor but I was always more interested in creating images.

    I retired from IBM this year to work with my black and white art photography which I shoot with the Leica DMR / R9. I guess I have come full circle back to my roots of visual fascination with black and white. I am looking forward to soon buying an M9 to shoot more photojournalism photos......Tom.

  17. #17
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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Quote Originally Posted by zonevt View Post
    As a child my grandmother took pictures of me with a kodak Brownie....my father recorded our family photos and four children from birth to marriage.....some embarrassing moments recorded.

    When I went to college I minored in photography and my Anthropology professor owned a Leica M. In the small Vermont town I went to school the local drug store had a camera counter and the clerk was a Leica collector / dealer. I scraped every dollar I had to buy a Leica F and few used lenses and was hooked photographing rural Vermont and making black and white prints at the college darkroom. Everyone discouraged me from making this a profession but I did not listen and worked in a camera store as a salesman. One of my customers was an IBM engineer and asked if I wanted to apply for a job at the local semiconductor facility as a photographer.

    This job lasted twenty-eight years giving me the flexibility to develop skills in product, scientific,portraiture, editorial, and photojournalism. IBM manufactured many of the computer chips starting with the first PC's and later Motorola, Apple PowerPC etc. I was able to develop processes for photographing the semiconductor chips that were on the forefront of technology and even some of the first CCD's and Custom ASIC CMOS components that run todays games....Nintendo, Xbox, and Playstations. I was able to buy and experiment with film cameras in all formats and started using digital in the 1990's with the first Kodak 6 megapixel DCS1 and later Sinar and Leaf. I should be better with equipment, as a photographer and digital processor but I was always more interested in creating images.

    I retired from IBM this year to work with my black and white art photography which I shoot with the Leica DMR / R9. I guess I have come full circle back to my roots of visual fascination with black and white. I am looking forward to soon buying an M9 to shoot more photojournalism photos......Tom.
    This was a good read to start my day. Great story.

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Quote Originally Posted by KeithL View Post
    What drives you?
    Need, pure and simple. I'm not enamoured with cameras and equipment, regard them as tools and necessities and buy the absolute minimum I can get away with.
    I'll confess to being at the opposite end of the spectrum here. I find cameras and related equipment (lighting, reflectors, etc.) fascinating. I look at them very much the same way I look at fine watches or automobiles. If you were to rate a watch based on it's ability to tell accurate time you're better off with an inexpensive Seiko or Citizen quartz. Such a watch, or it's equivalent in camera gear, has no appeal to me. There's a visceral and tactile pleasure for me in finely made gear. If you've ever focused a finely made lens you know what I'm referring to. Why these things matter to me is something I could probably spend a few years on a psychiatrists couch determining

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    Re: What drives you (and your equipment purchases)?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I look at them very much the same way I look at fine watches or automobiles. If you were to rate a watch based on it's ability to tell accurate time you're better off with an inexpensive Seiko or Citizen quartz. Such a watch, or it's equivalent in camera gear, has no appeal to me. There's a visceral and tactile pleasure for me in finely made gear.
    That's very well said! I'm totally agree (as my budget allows ).

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