Friday, August 10, 2012

My Photographic Future, Part 1

It's been a week and a day since my Olympus E-1 and E-3 were stolen. My insurance company agreed to replace my equipment with cash. That means that the E-1 was essentially made whole with an E-5, as was the E-3. The Zuiko Digital 12-60mm and 50-200mm zooms are still being sold, and they were valued at what it would take to purchase them from a seller. I'm putting the money in the bank and waiting for Photokina to come and go so I can see what the future holds, at least as far as camera manufacturers go.

Why not replace my older Olympus 4:3rds equipment with contemporary Olympus equipment? Because since 2009 Olympus has been spending all its time and energy on µ4:3rds development, letting 4:3rds development languish. While Olympus was spinning out all those Pen iterations all the 4:3rds bodies were discontinued; in 2010 Olympus kept the line barely alive with the release of the E-5, which essentially consisted of a tweaked Pen sensor in a tweaked E-3 body. Not quite what I was expecting, and not quite what a lot of others were expecting. I invested in µ4:3rds gear because it was relatively inexpensive compared to the major investment of the 4:3rds equipment. I even tried to use the Olympus adapter to use the 4:3rds lenses on the µ4:3rds bodies. But that proved to be a waste of time. In the end I used the 4:3rds camera equipment only rarely, depending primarily on the µ4:3rds cameras and primes lenses I'd been collecting since the purchase of my E-P2 two years ago. While I still feel anger over the theft, the flip side is I have been given a golden opportunity to start all over again. That's why I chose money over hardware.

Last year I wrote several posts on the α77, one of which was self-congratulatory on how I'd managed to avoid buying the camera. I said that in part because I didn't have the funds to purchase it, but more significantly, I didn't want to risk investing in another expensive system that might well wind up as yet another expensive white elephant sitting on the shelf. I've had my concerns about Sony the company, and the SLT series of cameras where still rather new and radical. Twelve months later, the SLT series, especially the α77, are more established, and it looks like the Sony camera division is making money (although Sony overall is still losing gobs of money).

I've had a lot of time to re-think a lot of positions with regards to camera equipment, re-considering the α77 and the whole alpha camera line. I'm no where ready to pull the trigger and re-invest the insurance money in Sony or any other camera brand. It sits in the bank until at least Photokina 2012 ends, and then I'll begin to consider what to do next.

Before I spend one penny I also need to consider a more fundamental question: what do I really want to do with my photography? What are my requirements as they say in engineering? The camera is an answer to a question I can no longer clearly articulate, and until I do know what I want to do, I run the risk of locking the money up again into an equipment dead end.