Go Light!


Why is it that for so many obsessed with photography the obsession goes all the way to the equipment – and for some even only to equipment? Like me, I don’t care about equipment on a rational level – and in a practical shooting situation, but as soon as Canon (and, yes I do like Canon!) comes out with a new version of my camera I crave for it – or a new improved construction of my favourite lens; I feel like I need it. Of course I don’t, because I do know that good photography isn’t about equipment, but about vision and creative flow. And why is it only us – photographers? When did you ever hear about a writer who needed the latest update of a computer before he or she could write the next novel? For one; I have never.

It’s a counterproductive obsession. The more equipment you carry, the less likely you are going to load it up on yourself and get out there and shoot. I think there are two reasons for this fixation. For one it appeals to the geek in (some of) us – and for those only interested in equipment it really complies with their nerdy personality (you need to watch out my friends!). Secondly – and more importantly – it’s a about fear of missing a shot. Any photographer dreads such an experience. So we amass every piece of gear we feel gives us that readiness to elude this to happen. Longer lenses, stronger strobes, cameras with ISO ratings that would astonish us only 5 years ago. We are pulled to this stuff like a magnet.

It’s all very deceptive. I am not talking about sports photographers who need that big 500 mm or wildlife photographers who need that 400 with and f-stop of 1.4 (if it only existed…), but you and me and most other photographers – professional or non-professional – who shoot daily life or people or landscape or architecture (I’ll give that the latter may find a tilt-and-shit lens very useful, though…) We don’t need 36 M-pixels, 15 frames a second, 51,200 ISO or even a 300 mm. Honestly! Of course if you are on an assignment you want to make sure you deliver. But that’s not what I am talking about. I’m talking about that thing in my brain that screams and throws a tantrum each time I set a long lens aside in favour of travelling lighter. It’s yelling at me, telling me how stupid I am when I let go of all my DSLR’s and everything that goes along with them.

But I have learned to ignore that pull. Yes, I will miss some shots, but not more than all the shifting between tons of equipment will do. On the contrary. I have learned that less is more (who said that by the way?). Really. I get more focused on what I can do instead of what I might miss. With loads of equipment I’ll miss moments because I’m wrestling with lens changes or a heavy backpack or the paranoia that my expensive gear is going to get damaged or stolen. With less equipment I will be more ready at any given time; I can concentrate on the life unfolding itself in front of me, I will have more time on the street or wherever I am, because I don’t need to rest so much as a result of carrying too much, and I can ease down and let things develop in a natural pace.

The fact is that art becomes better with more constrains. When you put a constraint on yourself and how you work it forces the creative process to shift into a fierier pace. So less ends up being more, again. Like the photographer David duChemin says: «I think it’s a sign of growth as artists when we begin to embrace, even create constraints, instead of trying so hard to avoid them.»

I mentioned travelling light. Often now when I go to a foreign land doing a travel story, I will only bring my Fujifilm X-10. That’s it and that’s that. And I really get all the shots I want to. Well, no, not those landscapes my 400 mm would have picked up, but I am anyway mostly a wide-angel kind of guy. So what’s the big deal? A little point-and-shoot camera (a little more advanced I admit to that) instead of 45 pounds of equipment? When I travel like this and meet fellow colleagues they mostly give me those big eyes, saying «you must be crazy – or not really a photographer.» Well, I know the difference between expensive camera-equipment and excellent photography, and sometimes I wonder if they do…

I would like to round of with a quote by the excellent photograph Edward Weston: «[A photographer’s] greatest asset is the directness of the process he employs. But this advantage can only be retained if he simplifies his equipment and technique to the minimum necessary, and keeps his approach free from all formula, art-dogma, rules and taboos. Only then can he be free to put his photographic sight to use in discovering and revealing the nature of the world he lives in.»

136 thoughts on “Go Light!

  1. Oh, I so agree Otto. It’s not intuitive, but I do believe that art improves with constraints. It forces the creativity. That said, new equipment/art supplies are like the most delicious desserts:)

    1. You are right, Elena, it’s not intuitive at all, but more and more I understand – not only from myself – that constraints makes creativity blossom. And, yes, we all want and like desserts however much we know it’s not good for us…

  2. Excellent post. Thank you.

    I sometimes go out with just one camera and one lens.

    But today? Three cameras (one digital; one medium format; one 35mm rangefinder), and six interchangeable lenses (80mm and 150mm for the medium format camera; 35mm, 40mm macro, 18-55mm, and 55-300mm for the Nikon digital).

    Hey, I used all three cameras! I used both of the lenses for the medium format camera and two lenses with Nikon D5000 (the 35mm and the 55-300mm).

    I had fun! Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

    1. Of course there is nothing wrong with your way of shooting. I think every photographer needs to find out what works or not for him or her. I still think it’s a good idea for many photographers to limit their equipment to a more manageable amount. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  3. An excellent write up! I do share some of your experiences as well. Most of memorable photos for me personally were taken with a compact camera (S95) than my DSLR. They are not great IQ as what can be produced by the big brother but they captured things that I just came across at different places and time. But, I am still craving for 36 Mpx and 14 stops of dynamic range and sweet f/1.2 lenses. 🙂

    1. Well, that’s the dilemma isn’t it? It’s better to get a picture with a compact camera than no picture at all with a big camera that could produce better quality but we don’t bring along because it’s too big. Or is it a dilemma at all?

  4. Great post (as usual), Otto.

    I’m a relative beginner and even I have started cravings lenses (lenses I don’t need, I might add). I’m happy with my two Canon EOS bodies though. I only bought the 2nd body as I got fed up with changing lenses outdoors. I still use the 18-200mm lens 85% of the time though. It’s so versatile.

    I bought the EOS bodies for the light weight, the way they fit my hand and the relative simplicity of use. If I went travelling again, I don’t know what I’d use though. I can’t carry much weight at all.

    Having seen several professional photographers who take boring shots (outside their work), I know it’s not the lens that makes a good photographer.

    I really do think some people just have that photographer’s eye. Just as some people are good painters, or potters, or sculptors etc.

    And……some photographers are good at portraits, or landscapes, or macros, and not necessarily good at shooting other subjects.

    We all know it’s not about the lens, but that doesn’t stop us imagining we need more (lenses).

    1. It’s amazing what some participants bring of big and expensive equipment to my workshops – and don’t have a clue as to how to make an interesting picture (hopefully my workshops help them on their way). And then I have an “amateur” joining the workshop with a little point-and-shoot camera, and all the time produces amazing photos. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Vicki!

  5. I 100% agree. Any time I take a trip I load the car with several cameras and lenses, etc. and almost always I stick to one camera and one lens. 99% of my shots are a lumix gf2 with 14mm and that is all I need. Most of us don’t print larger than 11×14 so the image quality benefit of a dslr is basically nil. I see so many people out with their heavy crazy amount of gear and I actually think the opposite, are they really a photographer, who in their right mind would carry around all that stuff? When I go out to shoot for a day trip, I only take what will fit in my small over the shoulder bag with my water bottle. If I know I’m going to be doing long exposures I’ll bring the small collapsible tripod but usually I just have one of those little 5-6 inch guys that fits in my pocket. 3 years ago I would have said I’ll never own a compact camera system. And today I cringe when I think I might have to take the 5d and heavy lens. Sure for studio work I will always use dslr or medium but I don’t have to be mobile with it. I find that the easier it is for me to get the camera out and shoot the more free I feel. Changing lenses or bodies is just unacceptable on the go. Batteries and filters are enough of an inconvenience.

    Thank you for this post. However I have a feeling the people that need to read it won’t.

    1. I think you have a very sensible and well thought of approach to handling your equipment. As professional photographers of course we sometimes need to big cannons and all the fancy equipment, but like you say, for 90-something percent a small camera will suffice. Thanks for sharing your experience, Dan.

  6. I am also a beginner. I’ve got an Entry level DSLR (Nikon D3100) with the stock lens only. I feel there is much more to photography than fancy equipment. You still need to have an eye for composing the shot or capturing the right moment. Would I like to have a better quality lens or two, you bet, but I work with what I have and have managed to take some really stunning shots with only basic equipment. I’m forced to keep it simple because simple is all that I have. As a result I really focus when I am shooting to make sure that I capture the best quality shot that I can.

    1. The fact that you are forced to keep your equipment simple I am sure makes you focus more on possibilities than what you can’t have. Thanks for sharing your experience, Shawn.

  7. Your photo is a stunning study in the art of minimalist flow!

    Wonderful words, thank you Otto. My saving grace in preventing acquisition syndrome is a total lack of funds. Also, I suspect that if I did have the money I would be too overcome with all the vast choices and then I would suffer from fear of commitment issues!

  8. amen! I find this so tiring, people only wanting to talk shop. I don’t know anything about the technical side of photography. and I don’t care. it’s often a guys’ thing, no?. mine is bigger than yours. most female photographers I’ve met were different… of course, there were/are exceptions on both sides… 🙂

    1. You might be right about the difference between females and males, but I still find it more related to insecurity and lack of experience. So maybe males feel less comfortable shooting, and hide themselves behind big cameras… Thanks for your thoughts, Petra.

  9. Well put Munchow. I really like what you say about making and using constraints, as an advantage, shifting creativity “to a fierier pace.”

    On your question of who said “less is more”, I learned way back in my schooling days that it was the architect Mies van der Rohe. As so many famous sayings, I think it has been attributed to few folks over the years. Whoever or whenever or wherever, it is good adage indeed.

    1. Thanks for the reference to Mies van der Rohe. It might be interesting for you to know that his phrase was adopted from a poem by Robert Browning – according to Wikipedia (who the blogger Vassilis underneath linked to). Thanks for your comment, Bruce.

  10. Another great post Otto. I used to crave the latest incarnation of whatever was my existing camera until I bought my first Olympus E1 about six years ago, it was love at first hold! It just felt so good in the hand and the excellent lens that accompanied the body, the 14-54mm MK1 completed the perfect package. I have since bought a second body on the used market which generally has an Zuiko 9-18mm lens attached. I have also bought some Carl Zeiss glass which I use via a converter.
    I do find however, that I tend to produce my better photos when I go out with only the one lens. I seem to spend more time looking for the best view point that will complement the photo and of course as you have already stated, I don’t have to haul a lot of heavy gear around. Also, the RAW file size is only 10Mb so I don’t need a lot of memory cards.

  11. Excellent post and timely as I’ve been umming and ahhing about a 18mm-200mm lens for a while now. It would save me carrying two lenses when I travel because it’s so easy to miss the experience and the moment when you’re concentrating on equipment…. decisions….

    1. I would still stick with whatever you have, because such a wide range zoom lens, will have to make compromises when it comes to quality. Thanks for the comment, Suzanna.

  12. What a great post Otto! I really enjoy your writings. This one reminded me of my childhood when we were sort of forced to make toys and games ourselves with my siblings since there was no possibility to buy. We made our own monopoly for example. And how rewarding that was…the process of creating, doing it your own way… and then using it. Instead of getting it ready made with given rules, and no room for any creativity. So yes, I also believe constraints are good.
    What comes to wanting new equipment, I guess it is partially also just plain curiosity to try out something new.

  13. An interesting post Otto. I have one camera, D800 and two lenses. A 24mm prime and an 28-300. Both are light, relatively inexpensive lenses that do exactly what I need them to. I am currently looking at possibly moving up to medium format but a lot of reviews I read suggest that, for the sort of medium format camera I can afford, my D800 holds it’s own in every way that really matters to most people. I could go to large format film, held to be the very best when it comes to landscape photography, very inexpensively but do I need the hassle? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in the age of every improving digital, probably not.
    I think like any artist, be it a musician wanting to play a Steinway or a Violinist wanting to own a Stradivarius, we want the best we can have or afford to create our art.
    I read an article recently comparing this equation to violinists. The article suggested that if you give a beginner a Stradivarius, it’s going to be as excruciating to listen to as if the beginner were using any old violin. Give any old violin to an expert and its going to sound OK but give this same musician a Stradivarius and the music will be divine.
    While I agree, photographs are made by people not cameras and whatever equipment you give a mediocre artist, the art will be mediocre. But the equipment used does make a difference when put into the right hands. We all hope that our hands will be the right hands and we all strive to make the very best music or pictures we can with the very finest there is available.

    1. You certainly have a point, Adrian. At the same time the old masters had camera equipment not close anything even a beginner has today – and they still managed to make lasting image that may compete with anything to day. Thanks for you thoughtful comment!

  14. i must say with all the oodles of cameras out there, it is a task to choose a simple,inexpensive yet useful camera. this is a good post that eases my weary mind on finding a camera. right now the iPhone seems to serve my purpose. maybe one day, after i rob the time bank, the actual camera of my dreams will appear. 🙂 going off the subject, i notice your photos are without watermark. have you written on the subject? just curious about it. thanks, Otto. 🙂

    1. iPhone makes excellent pictures as many artists has prove. Of course it has limitations, but if you learn to live with them, you don’t need anything else. As for watermarks, no, I haven’t written about it – and I don’t use it. I think they destroy a picture. Instead I only post small images that cannot be used in any printing publications. Of course they can still be shared and linked to on internet, but I think that’s just the way it goes.

      1. i really like your outlook on both the iPhone and watermarks. when you say small images, approximately what size do you recommend? maybe you will write on watermarks? your view on it perhaps? like you do not have much work to do so i add more. ha-ha. 🙂 thanks!!

        1. I usually stick to around 500-550 pixels (the long edge). Maybe I will write about watermarks – or why I don’t care about using them. I’ll have to think about it, though, whether I actually have anything coherent or valuable to say about it.

          1. Thanks, good to know both about the size of photos and watermarking. If you do a write up, i’m sure you will have lots of interested readers – at least one for starters. 🙂 have a fab weekend.

  15. When I sent one lens in for repair, I only had one left to work with.That experience gave mea chance to rediscover all the benefits of the one I had. Better for me to keep things simple .

  16. I shed all of my Fancy Equipment a few years ago in favor of my little point-and-shoot and have never looked back. You are spot-on, here, Otto! I couldn’t agree more; it’s far more useful to be present and attentive and have my hands free than any amount of fussy technologically advanced equipment (very little of which I ever understand anyway) can ever be. It’s POV that marks the truly skillful and artful photographer, as your work proves over and over again, not the machinery that enabled the documentation of it. Well said once again! 🙂

    1. The best thing is when you find out what works for you. And then being attentive is indeed very important for any photographer. Thanks for you comment, Kathryn!

  17. An excellent quote to end with, Otto. You are absolutely right in what you write. Mostly these days I take just one lens: Sigma 18-250 zoom. That covers all my options except extreme wide angle. The problems of finding somewhere safe to change lenses without getting a new crop of spots on the sensor is a nightmare. And usually it’s only for one shot, and then I change back. It’s not worth the effort and the inconvenience.

    1. Dust on the sensor is absolutely another argument for keeping it simply. But at least cameras are getting better at cleaning the dust off the sensors. If I need to change a less, though, I won’t think twice about the dust, even though it adds quite a lot of extra work in the post-processing. Thanks for your input, Andy!

  18. Great post that speaks such an honest truth… The newest will always intrigue me (and photography is a money pit). I still love my gear (can’t imagine not taking my tripod), but it really is time to think about what is and is not necessary. One body and one lens, that’s all anyone really needs. Wonderful and insightful post Otto.

  19. Great post, Otto. Yes, it is not so much the equipment, after a certain level of equipment, of course, that matters. It is really, the user, the artist, the scientist, with the eye for expressing multi-dimensional messages on images.

  20. I love what you have to say. As with the purchase of my new camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ 200) those were many of my reasons. For the price I paid I could have gotten a DSLR, as all my photo friends use these cameras. But my life style and photo taking I knew I wanted simplicity, however I did want a camera I could still grow and expand my creative photo abilities without all the extra equipment. I loved my previous point and shoot Olympus FE 370 8 megapixel that I paid $150 5 years ago. It took amazing photos over the years I used it, but it got a fuzzy inside the lens last fall so knew it was finally time to upgrade to something I could learn more about how to use setting and understand the effects and nuisances these changes can make without all the extra requirement. I have seen people buy more and more, but don’t see any improvements on their ability to capture that special moment. You said it all also love your photo.

    1. I am glad you have found a camera that fits your way of shooting. More photographers would benefit from simplicity. Thanks for sharing your experience, Carrie!

  21. I agree, agree, agree. You know that the iPhone is in my hands as much my Nikon DSLR. It was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who said “less is more,” and he applied it to architecture. You’ve applied the concept to photography. Any artist can push deeper into the creative process through a balance between free thinking, being in the moment, building visual acuity, and understanding limitations. For proof to support your commentary we simply return to the masters of black and white of early photography; their work is boundless and inspirational.

    1. The old masters’ work was and is exceptional even with their simple equipment compare to today’s technical wonders. As for van der Rohe, it turns out he adopted the phrase from a poem by Robert Browning according to Wikipedia, as Vassilis pointed out in a comment above.

  22. Well, I still think, photography is much more about awareness and seeing than about the technology to capture what asked you to be captured on a picture. Equipment can be a burden for becoming involved with the moment, with the volatile beauty of a situation. I do love some of the lenses I bought and I do spend time learning the craft of photography. But I also spend time to forget everything about photography, technique and compositional rules. It all just eats away from my ability to really get open, so the world has a chance to resonate with me.

    Every now and then, I sit in front of my screens and wish, I would have had a better lens, a full frame, a bigger chip, faster cards and all that stuff. Yet, this only happens, if I wasn’t really spending my time getting in touch with the moment. Isn’t the dream of getting new equipment just an excuse, a expression of an internal wish to make “better” shots? And hoe often better would mean “same subject, better technology” and how often it would mean “better subject, same technology”? 😉

    kind regards

    1. Yes, equipment can get in the way of connecting with the moment. Although I don’t think all technology or technical craftsmanship necessarily eats away from being creative, but it’s certainly a balance that too often we break and fall down on the wrong side of. Is dream of new equipment an excuse? I do think so in many cases. Thanks for your thoughts, Roland!

  23. ever since you wrote about ‘not looking’ at your screen after taking shots, i seem to see photographers doing that most everywhere i travel! they take a shot then peer down at their screen! — and i smile and think how they might benefit from your wisdom!

    this post is another great one.. thanks for opening our eyes so that we see the true light! z

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I had to laugh a little about those photographers being caught by you. I hope your projects are going just fine, Lisa!

  24. Absolutely enjoyable read Otto in that I have too fully agree with you. Your words of wisdom and thoughts for debate always make me learn about my own creative flow and too see others creativity in a new light. Thank you!

  25. Great, great post! I’m packing, puuuuuh so heavy, all this new gear… 🙂 You have inspired me to travel light! Thank you so much!

  26. There’s nothing worse than walking the mountains with a rucksack full of gear that leaves your back hot and sweaty.

    I now use two waist (or bum) bags, one behind for my food and rain gear. The other in front, that holds a Canon 5d Mk II and two prime lenses – a 24mm and a 105mm. (it used to be a 24-105 zoom, but when quality counts there’s little to beat the primes)

    The result is an enjoyable walk; no more sweaty backs; no more heavy bags for these old legs to carry; and photography more enjoyable because the limited equipment challenges my creativity. BTW it’s more than enough to get 99% of the shots that I visualise.

    So my suggestion to gear freaks is to get a SMALL bag. It focusses the mind into taking just what you realistically need. I promise you will rarely regret it.

    1. I think that’s the case for most of, we shoot most of our pictures with the basic equipment. Yes, a small bag forces you to bring less, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your experience, George!

  27. The most important thing is get out, experience the world around you and develop your personal vision and insight. I only have one smallish, fixed lens digital camera (a Lumix) and whilst it’s not ideal I can take it everywhere. I focus on the shots I can get with it and what it allows me to do, not those I can’t and it’s restrictions. I don’t have spare funds to spend on expensive equipment anyway, but I treat that as a liberating experience, one that allows me to develop my thoughts and ideas. I’ve been taking photographs for over 30 years and yet sometimes still feel like a novice. Do you ever master your art? I believe it’s a constant voyage of discovery – a journey you never arrive at the end of. Poets, fine artists, sculptures all use the tools of their trade; be they words, paint or chisels, but they shouldn’t let them inhibit their creative process. A photographer should be no different otherwise we just end up being technicians.

    1. You attitude is an example for all photographers. We should all focus on what we can get instead of bugging our minds down with whatever we can’t get. The same goes with seeing art as a constant voyage. It’s a all about keep developing. Thanks for the insightful comment.

  28. This is an excellent reminder for all of us.All the equipment in the world won’t make a beautiful photo. The result can only be as good as the eye of the artist and his beholder. Your photo made me think of Marcel Duchamp. 😉

  29. I am so thankful for Jackie giving me the link to your blog. Love that shot. Excellent!
    Great post and well said. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  30. Really enjoyed your post. The line that burned the page for me was ‘The fact is that art becomes better with more constraints…’ necessity provoking inventiveness in any given situation?

  31. yes, there is lots of stuff I’d like – have you seen those new lenses that link via bluetooth to your smart phone, how good do they look! But but but, it’s the mind that creates and takes. I read a story about a famous painter who when interviewed about his ‘vision’, he always tapped his head.

    1. Well, the yarning for new and better equipment will always be there, won’t it? And the camera producers count on it and make all kinds of new improvements to lure us into the trap… Thanks for your comment, Karl!

  32. ” I do know that good photography isn’t about equipment, but about vision and creative flow.” So right my friend. Even the most ordinary thing and the least likely subjects becomes a work of Art in the hands and eyes of an artist. The restroom setting in the image here looks so amazingly cool!

  33. I find myself agreeing with you. I used to carry a lot of equipment along with me. Until this summer when I purchased a higher quality “Nikon’ lens (sorry). Now I’m finding myself just using one lens most of the time. By the way, I have to say that you have to be one heck of a photographer to take a photograph of this subject and make it look good as well as interesting.

  34. Excellent post. I too am a Canon girl however I haven’t been using my Canon as often as I usually would. I have a small Canon pocket camera that goes everywhere with me and I love it. It is much easier to carry than lugging lenses and body around. Not that I am taking photos as much as I used to. ;(

  35. Det var hyggelig å se at en av “proffene” sier så klart fra, for det ER et utstyrshysteri i veldig mange fotomiljøer, og jeg har en mistanke om at de såkalte “entusiastene” (inklusive undertegnede) er blant de verste. Man vil ha med seg ALT! Fjorårets modell duger ikke lenger, og fotopressen nører godt oppunder med sine anmeldelser, men de skal jo leve de også. Når det er sagt, så skulle jeg jo selvfølgelig ha byttet min 7D med en 5D III …

    1. Har du sett 1DX – det er virkelig et kamera… Men, ja, det er et utstyrshysteri, selv om det noen ganger er nødvendig med store og tunge objektiver eller kamera. Vi skal all leve… Takk for kommentaren, Rune!

  36. I agree completely. I find that sometimes I can get lazy if I’m using my all-in-one lens. Although it gives me flexibility for pretty much any situation, sometimes it can be a bad thing. If I go out with just one prime lens, it’s easy to see the world in that focal length only, and as such, I become much more creative in my compositions.

  37. This is really an interesting way to think about equipment, Otto. I find myself thinking that “bigger and better” or at least “more” would enhance my ability to capture better shots, but if you, as a professional I admire thinks not, that’s a big help to me. I know that I need to spend more time developing an artistic eye and catching the shot that tells the story best, and I can easily see that a more powerful lens won’t do that for me. You deliver such interesting challenges, Otto!

    1. The best way to develop an artistic eye, is simply to photograph a lot. No lens or equipment will make you learn that. Thanks for comment, Debra!

  38. Like you I often just take my Fuji X10 as it makes nice images and is small and light! But for my other photography, I’ve barely used my zoom lenses in the last year and my 35mm and 50mm primes are what I use most. But I keep the zooms around because I think of al my lenses like the tools in my toolbox – sometimes I need a hammer, sometimes a spanner, other times a screwdriver. Likewise, sometimes I need a telephoto and other times a wide zoom. What I don’t do is take them all with me! When I was out shooting on Friday I used my 35, 50 and 85 and was happy with my choices, and I was not laden down with gear, the two lenses I was using just went in my coat pockets – simples!

    1. There is nothing wrong with a toolbox of equipment. Sometimes we do need that big sledgehammer, but usually we can get away with the most basic tools. Thanks for your input, Andy!

  39. Great post, Otto.
    Too many people get caught up in the trappings of the latest, newest, best of everything. Let’s face it the second we buy any kind of gear whether it is a camera, a lens, or a computer it starts becoming obsolete as we are walking out the door. There is no way to keep up and continue to be creative. The equipment is nice but I say go for the shot.

    1. What you say about a new camera becoming obsolete almost immediately is true for all things we acquire in life. How long was your latest acquisition new to you? Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Michelle!

  40. A very interesting post Otto. Sometimes constraints are imposed upon us by circumstances. In my case the days of hauling around a large,heavy camera bag plus tripod were brought to an abrupt end by heart problems. For several years now I have used only a compact. I may not get the same quality of image technically but I have learned to see the world differently and enjoy my photography more than ever!

  41. Simplifying in our complex world is a good thing and that includes photography. I watch my fellow photographers competing with each other with their equipment. I can not help but think that sometimes their new camera or lens purchases put a real strain in their budgets. Tripods get heavier as the lens gets bigger and longer. I am not a big fan of tripods, because I like flexibility and spontaneity. So I always end up using my 18-135 mm lens that came with my Canon camera and seldom change lenses. The only bad thing is that it looks like my autofocus is starting to malfunction.

    1. Tripod is one thing I have never yarned for. The way I shoot it’s just a big burden. So I leave it behind. A malfunctioning autofocus is not so fun, though, so you might have to look into what you can do with the problem – or start making interesting out-of-focus images!

  42. I completely agree with your points. With better equipment you can make better shots, yet there’s more to it. I don’t have a DSLR for this reason: it’s more expensive, heavier… I’m quite happy with my photo camera which gives me good enough shots. They might be better if I used another camera, but they’re good enough for me. I’m not a professional, and I’m sure I wouldn’t use many of the tweaks DSLR provides.

  43. Awesome post! My sin would probably be erring in the opposite direction (i.e. I simplify way too much), but your post also helped me see that 🙂

  44. Great Post. I am of the mindset that if my camera cant fit inside of my purse, allowing me to grab and snap, then I likely would never use it. I love my little Sony Nex-5R

  45. Great photo that you used to illustrate this post! As has been said before, the best camera is the one you have with you. Having lots of equipment options often leads to indecision which can be a real drag on creativity. I use a 7D with 24-105 lens 95% of the time and still haven’t explored all the options it gives me. Still, I’ve thought it would be nice to have an updated p/s to put in my purse since I don’t carry a camera phone. Try to find a new one with a viewfinder…not many out there it seems. Guess I’ll just have to get a bigger purse! Thanks again for the reassurance that fancy equipment isn’t everything.

    1. I use the Fuji X10 which now exists as an updated version X20 as my point and shoot camera. It has a view finder and the quality is great. But it might still be too big for a purse… Thanks for your comment and input, Karen Ann!

  46. I’ve heard it so often: “It’s not the equipment, it’s the photographer,” but oh, what I’d give for a good camera. I’ve used a point & shoot for years now, and gotten to know its capabilities as well as learning a little about manual settings. Still, I yearn for a DSLR. Any DSLR at this point in life, but they are priced out of my means. I really related to what you wrote about meeting fellow photographers when you travel light:

    “«you must be crazy – or not really a photographer.»”

    I get that all the time. But maybe that’s because I am a little crazy. 😉 Great photo, Otto, and another thought-provoking post.

    1. I do understand your yearning, but I also see that you do very well your point and shoot. So just keep up with the good work, and hopefully you will get your DSLR. Thank you sharing your experience and thoughts, Robin!

  47. Wonderfully sensible post. I’m no photographer, but I think my equipment is satisfactory to what I want to achieve. When I retire, I will hopefully find the time to learn more about my camera. Thank you for interesting post as always.

    1. The best camera is the one you have – if you only use it. It’s good you are content with what you have. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ann-Christine!

  48. I agree. I just bought myself a smartphone and brought it along with my fuji x100 for my recent trip to japan

    and yes there are a few things that my s4 cant do but it forces me to concentrate on what I can do rather than the infinite number of possibilities that all those lenses can achieve that could blindside us

    I’ve been using it for almost a month now and I feel the effect it had on me. I began to notice the smallest thing and notice things that I might have missed had I been using my old dslr

    For the time being( at least) I intend to use it as my main camera to brush up my skills as a photographer plus I will have it with me all the time!

    Someone did say “the best camera is the one you have with you”

    Btw Otto I enjoy reading your blog and your photos are really great!

    1. I think when you get to a stage where camera is not important, you start to focus more on the content and on what you are photographing. I am not saying that dslr’s aren’t useful and sometimes necessary (think covering sport’s event for instance), but if you focus exactly on what you point out; what you can do instead of what you can’t do, there is a whole different dynamic to the shooting process. And I do believe the quote, whoever it is who said it. Thanks for sharing your experience and for the nice words, Dalia!

      1. Oh of course dslr are useful, it i were to be commissioned to shoot a wedding or an event,I will be using dslr as well (well…maybe as a 2nd shooter i can work with my x100)

        Thanks for replying and the feedback, i’m still struggling to find my voice as an artist, thus even the littlest thing helps 🙂

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