Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase.
~ Percy W. Harris
I saw that quote this morning and of course that age old conversation debating it’s not the gear, it is the gear popped into my mind. And then my thoughts moved on…
The Desert Island Camera
I quickly moved to thinking about the desert island question. You know, if you were on a desert island and could only have one camera (and also, miraculously, you would have all the gear necessary to process your film or edit your files, and apparently an endless supply of electricity, film, SD cards, batteries, etc.), what would it be?
Which Camera Would Be Your Desert Island Pick?
For me, that’s an easy choice; it would be my Leica M6 with a Summicron 50mm. I’d miss my 35, but the 50 is just magic for me.
But then I thought of an interesting twist…
What if You Lost Everything… Had Very Little Money to Start Over… What Camera Would You Buy to Start Again?
For me, again, it would be an easy choice. It would be my Olympus OM-1 with the 50mm f1.8 Zuiko glass I’ve got on mine.
You can get into medium format film shooting easily for around $500 these days and that’s pretty affordable, so I thought about that. But man, for a couple hundred bucks you can pick up an OM-1 with a 50mm lens and you’re ready to go. And for everyday shooting, 35mm film just is a better fit for me.
The OM-1 really gives me everything I need in a camera, which is really very little; shutter speed and aperture. It does have a built in lightmeter, but really, most of the time I’m shooting that camera without a meter; sunny16, what have you. And man, the image quality from that lens is amazing. I’ll post some photos below. I love what that setup can help me produce.
Anyway, of course the gear/not gear conversation will probably always come up from time to time. Of course you need gear or else you couldn’t even make a photograph. But when I saw what I could get from that Olympus combination I was able to pickup for $180 US, it reinforced in me that spending a lot of money on gear is not necessary. (but it can be fun 😉 )
How About You?
Just kind of a fun game, but I’m curious; what would be your choice in that scenario? Let me know in the comments!
All images shot on Fuji ACROS, pushed to 400 with my Olympus OM-1 and the 50mm f1.8.