Live in the Present

Every photograph you've ever admired was taken with past equipment, not the thing you're waiting for someone to announce.

INT Japan 2010 D3s 04265-as-Smart-Object-1

With a zillion "rumor" sites bounding about these days trying to find something worth mentioning so that people wont forget them, it never ceases to amaze me how much some photographers live in the future. They're so afraid that some pixel count or feature or image quality improvement is going to get announced next week, right after they bought their latest and greatest camera.

Let me bring all those folk back to reality: did you ever admire a photograph? Any photograph? If so, you were looking at something taken with past equipment (probably not even present equipment), not future equipment. Every photograph you've probably ever seen was taken with equipment already made and available, and much of it was probably taken with something you can pick up in the used bin at your local camera dealer or on eBay. Heck, I can't remember the last time that I saw a manufacturer-produced sample image at a new product announcement that blew my socks off like some images taken from older, existing cameras by photographers with no company affiliation. Think about this paragraph real carefully before you lust after the next big camera launch.

Fortunately, you'll have a little time to actually do that contemplation.  

That's because we're in that downtime that precedes the "big up." Come August and September there will be so many new cameras and lenses announced, pre-announced, and pre-pre-announced it's pitiful. Why? Because it's Photokina year (every even numbered year). Most companies will avoid launching during the Olympics, but Photokina is the biggest gathering of photographers, distributors, dealers, and companies on the planet and comes not too long after. Every camera company wants to look like they're a leader come Photokina. It's a giant show, and it has a long history of "big" announcements (and pre-announcements, development announcements, mock prototypes, and in-a-glass-case-only possibilities). The Japanese camera company executives will be trotted out for the press, and we'll see plenty of new gear launched just previous to the show, more announced at the show, and there will be plenty of press conferences and behind-the-scenes meetings where road maps, development plans, and more is discussed.

Yes, I'll be there. Already have my press credentials in hand, as a matter of fact. Haven't quite yet figured out how I want to cover such a huge event (I'm just one person and can't be everywhere, after all). But I'm sure you'll see a plethora of posts from me. (Photokina is September 18th to 23rd this year. Most product announcements are made in the three or four weeks running up to the show.)  

That said, as I look around at the gear sitting on my desk I've either just reviewed or am about to, I have to wonder what it is we really want to see at Photokina in terms of cameras. The early part of this year was incredible in terms of the gear stream: Nikon D4, D800, D800E; Canon 1Dx, 5DIII, G1x; Olympus OM-D EM-5; Fujifilm X-Pro1; actual delivery of Sony NEX-7s and A77s. Heck, we even got new Leicas. Well, as new a Leica as Leica ever tends to make, which is to say interesting updates and variants. I really have to ask people: what is it that you can't find in that grab bag of new goodies that you're still seeking? Every one of those cameras is capable of stunning photos on a the biggest desktop inkjet printer you can buy. In fact, in a few years, you'll almost certainly have admired a photograph taken with every one of those products I just mentioned ;~). Will it really take wall-sized prints that you can put your nose against and not see pixels to make you happy?

My point is simple: Great cameras exist today. They'll happily take astounding images, assuming of course, you're capable of recognizing and taking an astounding image. Some of us are trying to do just that every day, and as I look around at my peers, I see them all succeeding (I'm not going to try to serve judgment on my own work—if I even hint that I think I can take a good photograph people start posting that I'm arrogant on other Internet sites ;~). 

So while we all wait for our new gear lust to be stroked again, maybe it's worth just spending just a few minutes in the present. Go admire a photograph somewhere. Then go out and try to create something others will admire. Using your existing equipment and the lens you have rather than the one you hope someone will make. 

Just a thought.    

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