Forget technology updates, larger sensor capacity, and more dynamic range. If you could only choose one camera to shoot with for the rest of your photographic life, what would it be?
What camera have you owned or do you still own that just puts the excitement back into your photography. I don’t mean the camera that captures the best images by that statement, that’s simply down to the photographer. I mean what camera just feels right? The one that makes you think, “what will I capture today?” The one that excites you to use, even if the motivation for taking photographs for that day is non-existent. We all have a camera like this and whether it’s a distant memory like them good old days, or whether you still have the camera in your collection, there must be one that resonates with you, shall we say, at a higher level.
It feels like these days with all the new megapixel sensors and the next big thing in camera technology we are constantly bombarded with a must-have scenario to improve our photography. And of course, we all know this to be untrue; the camera captures the image, the photographer first sees the image. How the resulting image turns out is down to the photographer’s knowledge and skill of their craft and subject matter, and no amount of megapixels is going to improve their photography; quite the opposite in fact as the mistakes will only be amplified.
Technological advances in photography are increasing at hell for leather pace, which is not a bad thing at all, and welcomed in my books. But when is enough, enough? Only yesterday when you finally sorted out the menus of your system and got to know your camera do the manufacturers bring out the next best thing. Yes, it’s an upgrade, and yes it can simply do more than the $4k camera that you purchased only 3 months prior.
Now honestly, this is a great thing, and as mentioned I welcome it, as progress can surely do only one thing: provide the photographer with enough technology in their camera to be able to advance their craft.
Choose your Camera
So, going back to the title of this article, this is the best camera I have ever owned: the one above, the Fujifilm XT-3. If you have ever owned one or currently use one you may know what I mean. If you have never and don’t in fact like Fuji, that is entirely your prerogative, and below in the poll, you will be able to indicate your preferred brand. I’m going to keep it to brands as there are so many cameras out there, the poll would be endlessly scrollable, but I’ll get to that later.
The Fuji XT-3 for me was the camera I didn’t know I needed, and it’s as simple as that. I’m not going to harp on about sensor size, ISO capabilities, or anything to do with the technology contained within this camera. I am simply going to wax lyrical about the buzz I felt when using the camera. What it was capable of in terms of technology is insignificant compared to how it made me feel when using it.
This is Just Right
This camera excited me to use it. The aesthetics, the ergonomics, everything about it just felt right, including the menu, and I would look for things to shoot. Subjects that I didn’t normally shoot or didn’t normally interest me, suddenly had a new air of photographic interest and I would look for ways to capture them so that I could just study the resulting image.
Now by no means are these images in this article anything worth giving a second glance to, but I do remember capturing them all and that’s because of the buzz I felt when using the XT-3. This for me is what photography is all about; the buzz, the excitement, the whole experience. The camera just felt right in my hands, it created excitement around photography again. Not that I had lost it or perhaps I should say not that I had noticed I had lost some of the excitement. This camera however made me notice that I had.
To be honest, I didn’t feel good when I discovered this as I thought I was progressing and challenging myself at every opportunity. But that hadn’t been the case. I mainly photographed landscapes, except when in the studio obviously, so I would seek out the light and the composition thinking every time that this was an opportunity to experience and learn something new. But this wasn’t the case as I had become unknowingly stagnant in my approach to my photography; photograph, edit, repeat, no buzz, no experience gained. Even in the studio: light shoot, edit, repeat. Don’t get me wrong I still loved what I was doing and enjoyed every minute of it but I was missing something more and I never noticed it, until I shot with the Fujifilm XT-3.
Skin tones were just right, details seemed to pop more in the landscapes, everything was the same but different; in a better way. I felt excitement when shooting with the camera, the same excitement I remembered when getting my first camera. Now you could say that it’s because a change is as good as a rest and yes, it could be that, but for me, I’ll stick with the fact that the Fujifilm XT-3 is the camera that I didn’t know I needed. It’s the camera that brought back the buzz of photography I didn’t know I was missing.
Like most of us, we have the brands that we stick with or we move across them until we find the camera and system that just clicks. In my constant learning cycle, I’ve had the pleasure of using Sony, Fuji, Nikon, and even way back in 1997 my parents owned the Kodak DC210 which I honestly wish I still had. More from a nostalgia point of view, as we lovingly remember it as the Kodak brick, due to the awkward ergonomics of it.
My current setup of the Nikon Z7 II is for me due to the long-standing relationship I’ve had with Nikon cameras. I do like them and am confident that by using them I’ll get the results that I am after. Not always the case, however, but the chase is definitely worth it.
Regrettably, to purchase the Nikon I had to sell the Fuji along with my drone, lenses, kidneys, and other items, and to be honest I use the word regrettably lightly as the Nikon Z7 II is an exciting camera to use and produces the results I am after for my images. I will one day own another one. Not just for nostalgia but to get shooting with one again. Perhaps in their next incarnation, the Fuji XT-5 will be something else, we can only wait and see. One thing I’d like to request though if anyone from Fuji is reading this, make sure you release a silver and black model. Yes, I know it’s only aesthetics, but oh my, did the XT-3 look good like this.
What’s Your Camera?
So what camera do you still own or do you wish you still had? I’ve waxed lyrical about the non-technology reasons why I loved the Fuji camera so much, the buzz, the excitement. What’s your camera of choice and why?
There’s a poll below with manufacturers but not the models as there would be too many. I’d also love to hear in the comments the model and why?