Photography: New Camera, Old Lens = Less Friction

Photo above: testing the limits of the Lumix S5 (not very scientifically).


Years ago I read Marie Kondo’s book on decluttering and it instantly resonated. Possessions can be stressful. The wrong ones waste valuable time, space, and/or money so I’m wary of adding to what I already have – books being the only exception. I guess it’s also an age thing. The older you get the more focused and aware you become – less time for frivolous waste as the days and years pass. It’s all about experience. Possessions that add to an experience are fair game but keeping them to a minimum reduces stress and makes life more enjoyable.

I own 4 bikes and 5 cameras so who am I to lecture? But it’s true. Too much gear and choice involved when deciding what to leave home with makes it harder to actually walk out the door. Which camera? Which lens? Got that spare battery? Those YouTubers with all that gear! Does it really make sense to own so many gadgets?

Not for me – too much friction. 

There is some logic behind my bike purchases though. They all serve different purposes – a steel road bike, a titanium gravel-touring bike, a steel mountain bike, as well as my old battered aluminium MTB that I’ve had since 2000 and rarely use now. All future proof and made from long-lasting materials that should still be around somewhere long after I’ve bitten the dust.

A walkabout with the the S5.

The same can almost be said for my cameras – a Leica M6 film camera (the serial number suggests it was made in 1990) with one Zeiss 35mm lens both of which I’ve owned since 2012, a cheap plastic Holga film camera I probably shouldn’t have bought, a Fuji Instax Wide that I love and picked up in 2013, and two one micro four thirds, cameras camera, the Lumix G9 and the Lumix GX8 with a few lenses. The Leica and G9 in particular are superb. I’ve never regretted adding them to my life because as tools they work brilliantly. The Leica is also an object of art. Paired with a roll of Fuji Provia it doesn’t get much better. I’m never going to sell it.

A few weeks ago I was content with my micro four thirds cameras. Put off by the size of full frame lenses and not wanting to sell a kidney to pay for a Leica M10, I’ve stuck with the smaller and lighter micro four thirds system. And for full frame, well, I’ve always had the Leica M6. But Panasonic recently announced the full frame S5 and I wrote here about how I wasn’t going to buy it. But guess what? I failed.

Sucker.

Or am I? The more I thought about it the more it made sense. Why? Because I traded in one body and multiple lenses (Panasonic also has a ¥30,000 cash back offer at the moment) and replaced them with a modern full frame body and now use a mount adapter with the 35mm Zeiss lens. The Zeiss can also be used on the M6 and the G9. And by using that lens the weight of the S5 is comparable to my micro four thirds G9 kit. It reduces my gear significantly while also modernising it and making it relatively future proof.

Less gear, less choice, less friction. That’s the way to go. It makes leaving the house easier.

Cycled since I was a kid, moved to Japan in 2001, bought my first 'serious' camera in 2005. Spent the later half of the 1990s travelling in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Nepal, Japan, and the Philippines and wish I'd photographed a lot more back then.

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