, , , ,

gear, originally uploaded by Skink74.

Now I appreciate that gear isn’t everything, and that it’s how you use a camera that’s more important than the camera itself, but at heart I am a bit of a gearhead, and this is my primary equipment. As you can see from the “Cameras” set on flickr I have a larger collection of cameras of various vintages, but this pic shows the stuff I use most often.

The workhorse is still the Canon EOS 20D, if I want a quick snapshot, or I’m travelling light, I’ll usually pick that up with the Nikkor 35/1.4 attached. If I need a long telephoto shot then it’s also my goto body for that because of the IS in the 70-300. With the 10-22 it’s also by a slight margin the widest option I have available.

But for black and white I still prefer film so the A-1 gets to come along for wide shots with the 20/2.8, with the 58/1.2 for low light or dreamy background blur.

Then there’s the Bronica. Since I bought it back in April I’ve found more and more that it is my favourite camera to use. Completely mechanical, with no metering, a left-right reversed waist level finder and square format, it’s the sort of camera that really requires time to use. That investment of time means that I get a higher proportion of “keepers” from a roll from the Bronica, than from any shoot with the 20D. I find the slowing down of my actions in taking the photograph to be repeated in a slower consideration of potential subjects.

So the Bronica has to come too, which is no mean feat – mechanical cameras mean gears, and gears weigh more than circuits. This means a quick photo trip turns into an expedition, with me lugging three real cameras, and usually at least one home-made pinhole camera in there too.

If this sounds a bit redundant, well, it is, but I generally have three different types of film loaded in the A-1and the two backs for the Bronica, so I’m not taking the same shots with three different cameras. However, I found that I am sometimes taking very similar shots, so I’m starting to think about travelling lighter, and maybe only taking one camera at a time. Not only would this be better for my back, but I think it would a useful exercise. I’m particularly interested in how it would turn out leaving the 20D behind, and managing without a digital safety net.