Why We Do It, and What We Do It With

Sitting in front of me are five compact point and shoot cameras.  One (Fuji F200EXR) is in it’s box new and unopened.  The cameras in order of purchasing are the Olympus C-5050, Fuji F30, Fuji F31, Canon G9, and the new unopened Fuji Finepix F200EXR.  The Olympus and Canon are not “pocket compacts”, but in their day both were/are very capable as a sort of “knapsack” camera.  The Olympus C-5050 was used for years in an Olympus waterproof underwater case with two Ikelite strobes when diving to take great underwater shots.

A few rooms away is my camera room, some would call it an office.  In this room I have several DSLRs and more lenses than any sane person should consider owning.  Also, studio strobes, light stands, many light modifiers, and accessories galore.  These are the tools of my trade.

I make three kinds of images.

  1. Images for professional use
  2. Images of the family/travel/outing variety for personal use
  3. Images of professional quality for my own enjoyment and recreation

When selecting our equipment we need to be very honest with ourselves why we want this equipment.  Professional equipment is very expensive and all DSLR bodies have a working life of only 2-3 years before they’re obsolete and should be replaced by a newer model to stay current and competitive in the field.  DSLR bodies can cost upwards of $8000.00.  Before we purchase one we need to ensure we’ll get a suitable return on our investment whether that would be monetary or just pure enjoyment.

When we pack our bags for a vacation, get in the car to attend a family outing/dinner, or just take a walk through the park.. we need to be very honest with ourselves what type of pictures we expect to take and what equipment is the wisest to bring along

A few years ago I traveled from Bangkok to Illinois to attend and photograph my sons wedding.  All through the checkpoints, security scans, planes, terminals, and so forth.. from Bangkok to O'Hare.. I hand carried, in addition to my luggage (which was packed with lighting equipment and a suit), two military grade hard cases on wheels and my personal knapsack.  The hard cases weighed in excess of 20kg’s each.  Even with wheels, it was a major physical exercise moving these cases through my travels.  Not to mention the security and in one case the extra costs involved.

Was it worth it?  Yes, to photograph my sons wedding it was worth it.  Do I want to do it for a family vacation?  Heck no!  I want to enjoy my family, my time, my vacation.  I don’t want the hassle or worry of bringing along professional gear for personal use on such trips.  I’ve been offered to be a co-instructor on an Antarctica expedition next year.  I’d love to go, and on such a personal/professional expedition then bringing along such gear would be well worth it.

It used to be that if we wanted quality images we had to use larger and heavier gear.  Compact cameras were okay, but the quality suffered.  Not today!  Wisely selected you can make very high quality images with a camera that fits in your pocket!  We live in great times.

So I continue to stare at the unopened box containing the Fuji Finepix F200EXR.  Normally I’d already have tore the box open, charged the battery, read the manual (yes, sometimes men do read manuals), and already been trying it out.  Not tonight.  Tonight I’m working on this column and I won’t think about opening the box until I pen the last word in this blog.

I’m really hoping that next week I can tell you the Fuji Finepix F200EXR meets my expectations.

Until next time...