For some time now I could not find a comfortable walking groove with a large camera and lens. I am 64 and hauling a large camera and a bag of lenses is no longer an easy task. I find that the less I carry the more photos I usually take. More important to me is what happens to my “head space” or state of mind when I carry a camera and keep it simple. When I have my camera at my side I feel differently because the camera triggers my visual attention and diverts my attention to all the other issues that roll around in my head. When I am taking photographs of a subject I become totally engrossed.
I recently purchased the Fuji X-E1. It takes great images and has some functions that my Nikon D7000 does not have. To be fair the D7000 has a few functions the X-E1 does not. To me it is very important to imbed in the metadata of my © and contact information. The Nikon does but the Fuji does not. I do like the images and the simplicity of the Fuji. I am comfortable with having it by my side so I tend to carry it more often. The X-E1 has become part of who I am and is part of my walking meditation or dare I say… prayer. I have finally learned the freedom when I keep it as simple as I can. I’ve heard this before from the old pros but never did really understand it. If you carry a camera often you will usually find one camera and lens that fits your needs and that is what you will most often. Many of us have more bodies, lenses, flashes, filters, bags and other “stuff” at home or in the car.
Some photographers say that if you have a 50mm lens you can always walk closer to the subject rather than carry a 70-200 2.8 and “reach out”. No matter how close you get a 50mm looks different than a 70-200 2.8. They are expressing what is “less is more” for them and the photographs they enjoy making. What is less is more for them and less is more for you may be different. With a 50mm there is the issue of getting in close proximity to the subject and perhaps making them self conscious or even rattling their cage in the process. Second is the issue that the moment you are trying to capture may be gone by the time you walk 60 feet. I love my 70-200 2.8 and I like my 50mm but my knees and wrists don’t enjoy the weight of the big lens. If your in the process of picking a camera, you might want to consider renting the cameras and lenses for a few weeks and work with them. You may be able to do both with a small professional photography store that knows the products. If they are selling and renting to the working professionals they have the great advantage of daily feedback from the pros. I have found Jeff Hirsch and the professionals at Fotocare in NYC to be very helpful and that’s who I buy from. I don’t get any commission from Fotocare but I thank Jeff for keeping me on the right track.
Hope this helps. I’m going for a walk.