A photographer’s relationship with the camera is a very intimate one, almost akin to a spouse or at the very least, a lover. In some cases, the camera will even take precedence over the spouse, but that is a topic for another day. Having said that, when the time comes to part ways with the camera, either to upgrade or change brand for whatever reason, I undergo separation anxiety and mourn the absence of a trusted friend and lover, keeper of secrets, and father confessor of many (photographic) sins.
The camera is a vessel of my thoughts and emotions, capturing what I tell it to, and it in turn gives me a creative freedom as well as a prayerful moment. I suppose because my father always insisted I treat the camera with the utmost respect, greatest care, and made sure I understood the value – not just the monetary one, but the power you hold to freeze time when you take a photograph.
Looking back at the assorted cameras and brands that passed through my hands, I think the one mourned the most was the old Nikon F-801 that I missed the most. I couldn’t bring myself to get a DSLR after that, and became a serial killer of point-and-shoots, some pretty good ones, I might add, especially the Sony ones. Then finally in 2013 I took a leap of faith with the Canon 600D and my world changed rapidly and radically. I had much to learn, a lot of courage, and very little post-processing skills. But we live and learn, and I often wished I could go back and re-shoot the photos with the present skill set. I was completely in love with my camera, dutifully adding lenses as I went along, especially for the street and travel photography, but as most Canon owners will confirm, the Canon peripherals do not a cheap hobby make. Long story short, in March 2016 I switched over to Fujifilm, and passed on my entire Canon set to my daughter, who was on her way to Florence to begin her studies and we knew she was going to need a camera.
I can’t even begin to tell you how I agonised over the change in systems, mechanics, often feeling frustrated and just setting everything to automatic. But eventually I got the hang of it, and as my portfolio shows, don’t have a shabby track record. Deep down, however, the more involved I got into portrait photography, I began to miss my old friend more and more. Lo and behold, COVID-19 waltzed into our lives this year, turning the world upside down and inside out. My daughter found herself writing her friends and landlady in Florence to ship the bare essentials she wanted to keep, and the rest they could dispose. My beloved clunky old Canon has returned home to Mama!
Oh boy, but it arrived smelling like a whorehouse that crashed into a pub at closing hour. The backpack, the camera and all the lenses stuck of cigarette and what not. Ugh. Yuck. I took wiped everything down with disinfectant gel, not caring that things began to smell like an ER now, sans the blood. Then I realised all the spare batteries were missing, and the SD card was only 16 GB. Who in their right mind shoots with only 16GB?
Two days later, I am rekindling an old love, fanning the flames of Canon that were ignited during the workshop two weeks ago (where I used a Canon 6D Mark II). Oh but I am a romantic Cancerian and love my old clunker to bits, and it rather reminds me of my potty old cat Lolita.
My instincts are right though – Fujifilm is bloody good and the best for street (for my shooting style and needs), but for portraits, I will revert to the Canon, once I iron out a few relationship kinks and exorcise the pub smells and whatever other evil spirits tagged along.