writingsAndy Hendriksen

Longevity

writingsAndy Hendriksen
Longevity

Last week on Drewtensils I wrote about the new Fujifilm X100T--their latest in a series of cameras that I've loved since the very beginning. Fuji has done an incredible job with their X-series, and I believe that the X100 line shows their dedication to the system better than any other. 

That said, I'm not going to buy one.

This is something that anyone enthusiastic about any kind technology likely runs into on a regular basis. Things move quickly, advance significantly, and leave the rest in the shadows. An iPhone from 3 or 4 years ago is largely incompatible with today's applications, and is likely barely even functional. Cameras are different though, and I think it's important to step back and try to understand why exactly that is, and learn to appreciate your equipment for the very same reasons that you loved it when you plunked down your credit card the first time around.

The difference is often ignored, but it's more straight forward than you might think. An iPhone that may have seemed fast and capable several years ago likely doesn't perform well (or at all) with today's software. While a camera that took beautiful images 5 years ago will still take beautiful images today. Outside of damage or hardware defects, there is nothing about a modern digital camera that will age, degrade, or become any less functional as the years pass. 

Now it's worth mentioning that camera technology is advancing quickly, and today's cameras are all continuing to push the boundaries of low light, size, fast autofocus, and other advanced features that may have seemed impossible just a few years ago. We shouldn't belittle the progress the industry has made.

I shoot primarily with two cameras: the original Fuji X100 from 2011 and a Leica M8.2 from 2008. Neither of them are "new" by any means, and the Leica in particular is long past what most would consider the normal lifespan of a piece of digital equipment. But I love them both. They were both highly praised when they were new, and shouldn't be thought of any differently now than they were back then. They don't have WiFi or mind-blowing ISO ranges, but they do shoot pictures and they do that part just as well as they did when they rolled off the factory floor. 

Cameras have an inherent longevity in ways that a lot of other digital equipment doesn't. Unless you are a professional photographer with specific technical requirements, there's simply no reason to dwell on what is ground-breaking today. I would love if the autofocus on my X100 were faster, or my Leica handled high ISO a little bit better. But I often still find myself picking my jaw up off the floor when I look at the files from either camera. They were brilliant when they were new, and they're just as brilliant today. It's all-too-easy to get caught up in the perpetual "what if's" and constant gear-acquisition-syndrome. Believe me, I love buying new gear as much as the next guy. But if you're a photographer and you're shooting for yourself, try concentrating on your shots and why you fell in love with your camera in the first place, and a little less on what you could be shooting if you bought new gear.

I'm a broadcast engineer, photographer, and writer. 

email me: ah@thedrewbot.com