One Camera, One Lens, One etc. etc.

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Sophist, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    A Kiev with a J-8 or J-12 would be just as good a choice.
     
  2. Dali

    Dali Member

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    I doubt any reply might help you to get the right answer for you. The best is to test by yourself. After time, you might be comfortable shooting with always the same minimalist equipment... or not.
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Take it in a non-vanity way. Yes a CLA is important. Youxin Ye is a good first stop on this journey. He may have an M2 already to go if you reach out.

    Any fitting lens would be good enough.

    Almost every camera I ever used has had quirks that I had to get used to. Some become so annoying that I want to just get rid of the camera.

    A Leica simply has fewer quirks. When some design characteristic of the camera does enter your thoughts, it is usually a good thought, quickly dismissed and you are back to the subject at hand.

    Other cameras will make you think about a flaw for much longer, distracting you from the subject.

    It is important to catch the decisive moment. So the first priority should be an instantaneous shutter release. That’s where a Lomo can be as good as a Leica, but where an average autofocus camera might be worse.
     
  4. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    To the OP do you think if I have the money I can use a brand new Leica MP and the 50mm Summilux f/1.4 would that suit your criteria? If it is what's the different if I use my Yashica Lynx 14 with a 45mm f/1.4 lens? I couldn't find the battery for the Yashica so it would be meterless. Is that OK?
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I used a Canonet QL17 GIII for a while. It would occasionally and inexplicably jam. Then it would work for a while and jam again. I found the lens a bit soft.

    But it was very nearly as good as a Leica.

    Because of the jamming I got rid of it.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Sophist

    Sophist Member

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    I had a QL17 G3 as well, used it for a couple of years before I got the Contax G1. Regrettably I sold all that gear (including 2 Rolleiflexes!) at a price much lower than that obtainable today. I used the proceeds to buy a DSLR which was subsequently stolen...

    I am also a former Rollei 35 owner, and can confirm that scale focusing is a bit of a PITA compared to even the gloomiest rangefinder.
     
  7. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I haven't a year to spare for this type of exercise. Too many other things I want to do while I still can, most of which involve travel.
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I use a Rollei 35S with an accessory RF that mounts in the flash shoe, I don't understand their logic putting a rather nice Sonnar on a scale focussing camera. I use a couple other scale focus cameras, so the RF was worth purchasing.
    I had the QL-17 GIII, now I have a QL-19. The lens on the -19 is better than that on the -17, at least regarding my two examples.
     
  9. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The article begins with first step, buy a Leica. Like the old cookery book joke, first, shoot your tiger. This isn't 1933. Or even 1954. A Leica isn't required to take photographs. It isn't even needed to take film photographs. A Leica isn't even necessary to take rangefinder photographs on film, but that's the condition so everyone's on the same page. It's a pointless hurdle to carry out the brief.

    The second error is to state a Leica is "free". That's not the case unless you're exceedingly lucky. Good condition Leicas aren't cheap. Good condition Leicas with a guaranteed recent overhaul by someone who knows what they're doing, are certainly not cheap. Cheap Leicas that need an overhaul aren't cheap if you want them to work properly. Buying a Leica that'll flawlessly run through up to 6 films a week for a year, won't be free when you come to sell it. In fact I'd go as far as to say that an inexpensive Leica is one of the worst second hand cameras if you want to put 300 films through it to complete the project. If you want your Leica to work with anything except a 50mm, and use your rangefinder to focus, it won't be old or cheap.

    Before anyone claims it's me who's cheap, and I simply don't understand Leicas or rangefinders or both, I really liked my M5. Not enough to keep it forever, but it's still my favourite Leica. I liked the M3 I had use of, but not enough to buy my own. I very much like my Kiev and its lenses, at least as much as my Leicas and perhaps enough to buy a Contax. But I'd probably get a Nikon rangefinder if I bought another. So I'm not Leica-phobic or an SLR fundamentalist, I just don't get why it's necessary to even mention the company in relation to a project like this. If you already own a Leica of known reliability, it's as good as anything to shoot with. If you need to have a camera with you at all times (like, literally as per instructions), there are plenty of cameras I'd use before a Leica. Like my XA3. Or a digital MFT camera. Sticking with one lens is a good idea. The rest is propaganda.
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Member

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    Um, well, I only use "one camera and one lens" at any given "one" time. :cool:

    Seriously, cameras and lenses are tools. I understand the exercise, but I would be hesitant to do it for a year.

    I used to work in the service trades, and I knew guys who carried a single screwdriver (usually straight slot) in their back pocket. Inevitably, they were faced with a Phillips screw, and they either had to go out to their truck to get another tool, or muck up the head of the screw in front of them. Most were lazy.

    Don't muck up the shot in front of you - use the right tool.
     
  11. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    The article talked about someone who is young or a beginner. I was once young at the age of 22 and was a beginner. I could buy an M4 back then but I chose to buy the Nikon F2AS and a 50mm f/1.4. I used that combo for a couple of years before I had any additional lenses. So for me it's kind of been there, done that.
     
  12. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Member

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    It's necessary to mention a Leica because they are unique in the sense that they are arguably the top name in 35mm cameras. Can any 645 or larger format make "better" images? Of course, same as almost any SLR is better for anything other than 35mm/50mm lens photographs. But the Leica is a Leica and nothing else is. As for cost, user condition M2 or beater M6+ LTM 35mm lens would suffice for 35mm use and those can be found with lens for sub $1K USD.

    It's like recommending that people drive a Porsche 911 of some kind for a year, daily. Only then would they know what it is like to drive a Porsche 911 daily for a year. With other makes or models, you can come close, or get cars that perform better...but it's not that exact same experience, and after the experience, you have the knowledge you crossed that project off. I once rode my motorcycle to Alaska. People have been to AK and they have no concept of what I went through to get there on a motorcycle by myself. People have driven cars and RVs and trucks up there, but only by taking a motorcycle self-supported can you know what the rider goes through getting up there. What is so hard about this concept?

    You could say the same thing about shooting a Mamiya 7. Arguably the best 120 RF ever made. A year with a Leica would give you no concept of a year with a Mamiya 7.
     
  13. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    I think virtually everyone who posted a comment to that old article made the same point.
     
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  15. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The claim is based on the idea a Leica will teach you about photography. A Leica will teach you a number of things, like how to put film in a bottom loading camera, or how to compose with one viewfinder and focus with another (depending on model). What it won't teach you to do is take a good photograph.
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Interesting. Common sense prevails it would seem.
     
  17. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    The title of the article was "One Camera, One Lens, One Year" not "One Leica, One Lens, One Year." The concept of the article has nothing to do with Leica. It's inclusion was gratuitous. As comments here and there attest, any one camera and lens will be sufficient to derive benefit from the exercise. It's about honing you photographic vision, not learning how to use a particular camera, which takes about an hour if you are slow on the uptake.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2018
  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The article is good advice for its intended audience. Like some here, I fell naturally into that mode -- partly due to expence, but also in an effort to keep things simple. I started with a Rolleiflex, so was 'limited' to one lens from the beginning. But the key is going thru film, studying the proof sheets critically, and making prints. As long as your 'rules' include doing that, you'll be right.

    1977 to 1980...Rolleiflex. Settled down with Panatomic-X in Microdol-X (1:3), Silver Gelatin Printing
    1980 to 1990...4x5, 150mm lens Started with a 210mm, but within a year bought and used the 150mm only. TMax100 with HC-110. Silver Gelatin Printing
    1990 to 1995...5x7, 210mm lens (from above). Began experimenting/using different films with a goal of high DR negs for carbon printing. Camera, etc stolen.
    1995 to present...8x10, 300mm/5.6 lens. After 5 years or so, I started to slow expand lens selection (mostly barrel lenses at first) Still carbon printing, added Platinum printing in late 90s.
    (A small period of SX-70 usuage in 1997)

    I am done with one camera - one lens. Besides the 8x10, I recently added an 11x14 with a bunch of lenses, just spent 3 weeks in Japan with a Brooks Verivide 100 and a Ciro-flex, have an ongoing project along Redwood Creek with the 4x5 (maybe a 5x7 -- but it involves backpacking), and am thinking toned cyanotypes would be a fun to play with in the summer time. After one has been photographing for a few decades, one may not need to return to the simpicity of one camera - one lens for inspiration or improvement, but instead, find the same through exploring new cameras and new ways.
     
  19. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    How about making a bigger step & going for something like a Fuji GW690? RF, fixed lens, normal-ish focal length, first rate optics - absolutely one of the best cameras I've ever used. It'll definitely teach you as much as any Leica will.
     
  20. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I disagree with the article so I don't want to comment on that. But take the tittle "One camera, One lens, One Year" and I would say that's the rules. That is you can use any one camera including digital. Use just 1 lens and it can be a super zoom of 60X. And use the for 1 year. That would be the rules isn't it?
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Before I decided on my rules, I would closely evaluate what I considered to be my strengths and my challenges.
    In essence, the reason to do this is to control your bad habits and reinforce your strengths.
    So if you frequently find yourself struggling to choose between the 20 filters in your bag, make it a rule to use either no filters or a single filter for the year.
    Whereas if you already make judicious but infrequent use of filters, don't worry about imposing a rule about filters.
    In my case, I don't use filters often - I wouldn't worry about them.
    A "one camera" decision would help deal with my "which camera should I choose" challenges, so that might be helpful.
    I wouldn't choose a camera that was inflexible, if I hoped to take photographs in a wide selection of circumstances.
    I do believe I could accomplish what this exercise is intended for by using a camera with a small number (not just one) lenses.
    One of my Olympus OM bodies with my favourite kit of 24mm, 35mm and 85mm lenses would be a great way to spend a year.
    My only concern with the "one film" rule is that I like working in both colour and black and white. I would want one of each.
     
  22. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Actually the rule that would work for me is "Every camera, Every lens, At least once a year" that is to use at least once of all the camera bodies and lenses I have. I tend to use the same camera and lens all the time so the rule in the article doesn't help.
     
  23. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Any one of us could write a similar article, offering our idea of an exercise which can help a photographer see.

    I personally felt it was important to my journey to try every kind of camera. So I tried them all... TLR, SLR, subminiature, rangefinder, view camera... I went through a lot of difficult to use cameras before I had a chance to try a Leica.

    When I think of what I would have done differently, I could have saved a lot of money by starting with a Leica.
     
  24. blockend

    blockend Member

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    The idea of using a single focal length for an extended period is a good one. It hones your vision around a particular perspective that gives you a viewpoint. This avoids an objective approach - there's a doorway, there's my friend, there's a tea cup, there's a forest - with a close crop on each of them, and provides a subjective one. A fixed viewpoint is a first step to defining your vision of the world, and is one adopted my many (though by no means all) well known non-commercial photographers.

    Prescribing the brand of camera is the silly part of the exercise, casts doubt on the exercise as a whole, and the motives of the person suggesting it. Is it an exercise in visual discipline (useful) or gear ( irrelevant to the photograph)? The guy goes on to say he could give six reasons why it must be a Leica, but fails to do so. I can't think of one reason why it must be a Leica, never mind six.
     
  25. rpavich

    rpavich Subscriber

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    Well, i'm doing this but only because I love my camera! I shoot my Oly Trip 35 with a fixed 40mm lens and use Double-X film 99% of the time. I just like the camera and that film so that's what I do.

    I've spent THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of dollars on cameras and lenses and gear only to realize...I like this dumb little auto-everything-fixed-lens-point-and-shoot.

    I recently bought a bunch of pinhole gear and ended up selling it all because I just like the trip...period. I don't have fun over the long run with anything else.

    So, yes...it can be done, and stick with one camera, one lens, one film. Filters are optional.
     
  26. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Using only one camera, only one lens, and only one film for a year sounds awfully extravagant. Shouldn't we also limit it to only one sheet or frame of film a day (or week, for purists)?