The truth is:  There is no perfect camera.  There never was . People judge cameras differently.  Some old-timers judge a cameras “perfectness” by how close it looks and feels to some older camera they loved decades before.  Leica fans come to mind here.  Others judge cameras by comparing them to the top model DSLR’s which is great if this is also a top model DSLR, but what if it’s just a point and shoot for the enthusiast?  Not a fair expectation to say the least

 

I’m always a bit amused when a significant new camera is either anointed or tried and convicted before it even hits the hands of users.  This ‘judging’ process takes place by equipment junkies on popular photography forums everywhere.  They make bold proclamations based on the smallest tidbit of information read in a preview, or even a comment made in jest but stripped of context elsewhere.

Invariably the first models of these new cameras make their way first to the equipment junkies.  Equipment is king in their world so they’ve placed pre-orders and keep track of their “spot on the list” via the same internet forums.  A top five place on a waiting list lends a certain status among their own kind, a sense of awe and respect given only by other equipment junkies.  The logic dictates that if this person was smart enough to secure a top five place on a waiting list, then he must be omnipresent and indeed special.  A ‘real photographer’ is what he desires to be thought of, but really folks.. “Real Photographers” don’t have the time or inclination to play these games.  They’re out taking the best pictures possible with their old camera.

As the first models find their way into the Equipment Junkies hands.. the first “user reviews” appear.  It’s like throwing gasoline on a bonfire!  The spread of information from this point happens so fast you can’t keep track of it all.  Opinions are made and verdicts rendered and hot arguments take place across the photography forums worldwide.. mostly by people who have never held or touched the actual camera.  I dare say 99% of these people aren’t “real photographers.”

The truth is:  There is no perfect camera.  There never was . People judge cameras differently.  Some old-timers judge a cameras “perfectness” by how close it looks and feels to some older camera they loved decades before.  Leica fans come to mind here.  Others judge cameras by comparing them to the top model DSLR’s which is great if this is also a top model DSLR, but what if it’s just a point and shoot for the enthusiast?  Not a fair expectation to say the least.

Everyone’s photography style is different.  I’ve long told the readers on this site that photography is about balancing the variables.  They’re called variables because they vary.  They vary by circumstance, need, and desire.  One model will never fit all, though that’s the holy grail camera companies worldwide would like to achieve.  There’s a reason they call it the holy grail.

The best we can do is find a camera which best fits our needs as individuals.  This means what’s great to some reviewer, might not be great for you.  As a photographer different things are important to you Or not.  Size and weight, image quality, fast focus, focal length, low light performance, a quality viewfinder, response time, review LCD, or one of the many other characteristics of a camera of unique importance to your individual photographic style.

Many ask what’s important to me?  It depends.  As a professional I have DSLR’s of various types that lend themselves well to event coverage, reportage, weddings, wildlife, studio use, well.. you get the picture.  It depends.  I find that sourcing a proper camera for professional reasons is easy.  We have many great choices.  Maybe too many.

Finding a camera that fits my personal needs is a different story.  You see, I really enjoy photography.  Most of my images are never shared on my website or in my column, they're viewed only by myself.  There is no judge, no jury, and no worries if an image is good enough.  They’re all great!  I like it that way.  So when I choose a camera for a certain personal outing, it depends on what type of outing I’m going on and what I hope to accomplish.  I’m reminded of James Bond opening his gun safe and choosing the perfect pistol or revolver for the occasion which matches his tuxedo perfectly.  I’m this way with cameras.  My Holy Grail is different.  My Holy Grail is not to have a safe full of different cameras, but to have as few cameras as possible which still gets the same job done.

I wrote about the Sony NEX-5 here.  Finally a personal sized camera with professional grade image quality.  I really enjoy my Sony, but these days its more often picked up by my wife or one of my house guests as a loaner.  The reason is it sports a mostly point and shoot interface.  What I really want is something in the same size/weight range, but with a “Photographers Interface” and professional image quality.  Since the dawn of the digital era I’ve been asking for too much.  But maybe this has changed.

 

If you’ve followed my site you know I’ve been keeping an eye on the new Fuji X100.  A rangefinder camera with a beautiful optical viewfinder, and with the flick of a switch it turns into an electronic viewfinder.  It has a large APC-S modern sensor which everyone agrees turns out superb image quality.  It’s small and light and fits in a coat pocket.  But best of all, it has a photographers interface.

 

If you’ve followed my site you know I’ve been keeping an eye on the new Fuji X100.  A rangefinder camera with a beautiful optical viewfinder, and with the flick of a switch it turns into an electronic viewfinder.  It has a large APS-C modern sensor which everyone agrees turns out superb image quality.  It’s small and light and fits in a coat pocket.  But best of all, it has a photographers interface.

 

An interface that takes me back to my film SLR days where you can change aperture and shutter speed and control the camera via exterior knobs and dials. No muddling through the menu on the LCD on bright sunny days, no more lost pictures while I try to change a setting. I’ll be able to look through that bright optical viewfinder and compose my frame, changing settings quickly without the camera leaving my eye, and I’ll be rewarded with professional grade image quality.

 

An interface that takes me back to my film SLR days where you can change aperture and shutter speed and control the camera via exterior knobs and dials.  No muddling through the menu on the LCD on bright sunny days, no more lost pictures while I try to change a setting.  I realize I’ll have to spend time growing accustomed to the interface, but then I’ll be able to look through that bright optical viewfinder and compose my frame, changing settings quickly without the camera leaving my eye, and I’ll be rewarded with professional grade image quality.

 

Will it be my ‘perfect camera’? I don’t know.  I won’t know until mine finally arrives later this week and I spend a few months using it.  I’m not listening to the equipment junkies.  I’ll listen to my heart.  On paper the camera is close enough to what I want and need to justify the purchase which puts it ahead of miles of competitors.  But the real evaluation begins when I unwrap the box.

 

Will it be my ‘perfect camera’? I don’t know.  I won’t know until mine finally arrives later this week and I spend a few months using it.  I’m not listening to the equipment junkies.  I’ll listen to my heart.  On paper the camera is close enough to what I want and need to justify the purchase which puts it ahead of miles of competitors.  But the real evaluation begins when I unwrap the box.

 

And let’s not forget this camera is only for my personal use.  I’m still keenly awaiting the new Canon 1ds Mark IV for my professional duties and I’m even eying the GoPro tiny video/still camera that I can strap on my head as I scale Mt. Everest or sky Dave’s Peak at Mammoth.  Photography ultimately is about recording memories and your life might require more than a single “Perfect Camera.”

 

And let’s not forget this camera is only for my personal use.  I’m still keenly awaiting the new Canon 1ds Mark IV for my professional duties and I’m even eying the GoPro tiny video/still camera that I can strap on my head as I scale Mt. Everest or ski Dave’s Peak at Mammoth.  Photography ultimately is about recording memories and your life might require more than a single “Perfect Camera.”

Until next time..

 

Fuji X100 OVF

 

Fuji X100 Hybrid Viewfinder

 

Fuji X100 Sensor