Tuesday, August 09, 2011

How much is camera gear supposed to cost? (Part 2)

IMAG0201-1Here's another datapoint via the Fujifilm Quicksnap and Walmart. For $8.67 in a local Orlando Walmart you can purchase a 35mm film camera with the following features:
  • Pre-loaded with Fuji Superia X-TRA ASA 800 color film, 27 exposures
  • Waterproof down to 35 feet
  • No batteries
  • Rangefinder-style optical viewfinder (framing only, fixed focus)
  • Single use - use, drop off at your local developer, pick up prints
  • No chimping, no instant gratification
Outside of ego-stroking and the ability to take photographs in dark areas where even the human eye can't register light, what have we really achieved with our multi-hundred to multi-thousand dollar digital cameras?

Really? You say your fancy digital camera provides more?

If the camera really doesn't matter, if it's the photographer, then isn't the Quicksnap all the camera any of us need?


  1. Bill, I like your blog and have been following it for a while but I do have to disagree with your political views. Yes, I am a conservative but not quite in the Tea Party realm. You seem to blame S&P and the Tea Party for the current problems while I blame Washington in general and the 'spending beyond their means' in specific for our terrible current situation.
    The downgrade of our credit rating was not unexpected in financial circles. The Tea Party has been doing nothing but to say that this neverending increase of our Federal debt has to stop and that cuts have to be made to bring spending in line. This wall that we are hitting has been visible for years yet we have careened towards it as a spend, spend, spend nation, living beyond our means as individuals and as a country.
    Take care and keep up the great blogging. I am getting ready to head to WalMart to pick up a new 8 dollar camera:-)

  2. Having just read Kirk Tuck's blog about his decision to go back to medium format FILM, I was struck by this statement: "My epiphany today was, that for some people, the tool is inseparable from the artist, from the process, from the outcome. I can shoot competently with just about anything. I can only shoot passionately with a square format."

    Well, for those of you who don't know, the kind of camera that Kirk is talking about in regards to "square format" is a precision piece of Swedish engineering that starts at $3,500 for a very, very basic kit, and quickly zooms off to the stratosphere from there.

    While cameras, cars, computers, etc., are just mere intimate objects that have no soul, no emotions, they are all, as far as I know, engineered and manufactured by human beings, and those engineers who are wise find a way to make their intimate objects "human" in a way that the device you are holding becomes an extension of oneself.

    I'm not sure the little Fuji's you reference are quite "there" in that regard, as adequate as they may be. Hence, even at their very low and reasonable price, they are not capable of imparting the kind of passion and creativity that Kirk is talking about.

    As far as I'm concerned, the old quip "it's not the camera, but the photographer" is a bunch of crap. The photographer and the camera become one in the creation of their images; and there are simply some cameras that are easier to get along with than others, all else being equal.

    Ron Z.


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