So it finally happened. My camera – my trusted sidekick – has been slowly dying for the past couple of years. Like an old man near the end of his life, struggling with each step but surely getting slower and slower with waning function, my camera has been starting to fail on a regular basis. This is its eulogy: it deserves no less.
For the past several years, I thought it would be nice to upgrade and get something newer and faster with more megapixels and better low-light capabilities. But I could never bring myself to pull the trigger and replace it. After all, this was the camera I had in my hands when I really took the leap and became a professional photographer. It’s been through a lot, seen a lot, photographed a lot: both here in the US and beyond. Very early on, my 7D became an extension of my body. On any given photo shoot, I could simply lift the camera up to my eye and shoot. I didn’t have to think about where buttons were, or the fact that the viewfinder was only 96%. I knew its quirks and I knew what I could do with it. And what I could not.
I bought this camera in late 2005, about a year after it was released. So I’ve had it for almost 6 years and I won’t even try to count the thousands upon thousands of images I’ve shot with it. All but one of the images I consider to by my iconic pictures were shot with this camera. I guess that’s why I consider it so important to give this eulogy.
For people who aren’t photographers, it’s tough to explain the connection we have with a mechanical/electronic device. A bunch of wires, circuitry, chips, glass, plastic, rubber, and metal. Just a bunch of inanimate pieces that, when put together, became a tool with its own ghost in the machine – a certain x-factor – that made each body different. I am not going to suggest that a camera has a soul; it doesn’t. But there is still something present in the tool that we use to connect with our own souls on an artistic level. So, maybe a camera… my camera, is best described as a conduit who mediates the conversation between the rational mind and the artistic soul.
Fast forward through the six years that I’ve owned this camera: the rubber grip on the handle came off three years ago, a spring in the battery compartment fell out two years ago (making the changing of a battery a much more manual process), the contacts on the lens mount would stop working in the middle of a shoot (forcing me to reset the camera), and the wearing out of the LCD panel created heat which, in turn, introduced noise at a low 400 ISO.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not sad or upset. Quite the opposite. With this eulogy, I am celebrating the life of the camera and my work with it, not mourning it. There is a real sense of pride that I actually managed to wear out a camera. Back in the film days, very few photographers wore out a camera. But, today, I have. And that’s pretty damned cool!
On Wednesday, my new camera arrives. I am going from 6 MP to 24.6 MP. From a 96% viewfinder to 100% (WOOT!), 1080i Hi Def
video (a new skill to learn), 10 frames per second burst rate, and a fixed mirror. Yup, getting the Sony A65. With the fixed mirror, the A65 boasts the fastest lag time between pressing the shutter release and taking the picture (0.05 seconds – fastest of any SLR on the market). Without a moving shutter, no vibration from the mirror slap…
I’m looking forward to writing my own review of Sony’s new fixed mirror in the next few weeks. I am really looking forward to shooting with the new found excitement that a new camera brings. It’s been a while; six years to be exact.
So, old friend, farewell and I hope I did a decent job on your eulogy. You were a great camera and you brought me a long way. But, now with a very capable replacement, I wonder where I will go next?
But wait, there’s more!
Not to end this on a down note… head on over to Windy City Boudoir. We’re hosting a Model Search and, if you’ve always want to partake in a boudoir shoot, we’re offering this great deal for just $89!
Rob Domaschuk, a professional photographer and educator, is not only the guy behind ShootHybrid.com but also one of the owners of the Chicagoland Digital Photography Meetup Group (one of the largest Meetup groups in the country) and one of the co-hosts on the semi-weekly podcast, Polarizing Images.
Domaschuk has quickly taken hold of the new hybrid imaging era in photography and, drawing upon almost 15 years of corporate training experience, he is now focusing his photo education efforts on helping both the amateur and professional photographer develop their skills in this new area of photography.