So, long time readers might remember that I really haven't shot seriously in about 2 years or so. I really needed to take a long break. I had over done my chosen subject and vocation. So much so that I really didn't even feel like picking up a camera again. Not a good place to be given I love photography. That was a stupid thing to do - not shooting for a couple of years.
I can say that now because having spent time away from the camera in any serious way, not having a "job" that I had to shoot, and quite literally never ever shooting anything more than a few steps from my house. I do understand a lot more about the subject matter I want to point my camera at and more importantly - HOW i want to approach those subjects. When I say that was a stupid thing to do it is only in the hindsight of not shooting anything relevant that I have that feeling, now that I again really really want to.
I don't even own the gear that felt like it was welded to my hands during the period of time that got me into that funk. I sold it because it was still worth a lot of cash at that time and I really never wanted to see it again. It was that bad. I still have way too much gear - a hodgepodge of stuff that make not a lot of sense when you lay it all out. A couple of digital Nikon bodies. A smattering of Nikon glass - a lot of it good to great but not state of the art. A bunch of old film bodies - Nikon, Leica, Hasselblad, Rollei, Large format.
Last week I was sort of forced to a couple of decisions - for planning purposes. The first factor was my growing desire to really start shooting again on a laundry list of projects that I have been developing and reordering. The second was an opportunity to do something way way different - live on a sailboat either this winter or next sailing around the tropics. Don't worry - I will still be on the grid to post here and do my Aperture stuff, and my one on one stuff. The important thing is that those to influences caused me to seriously assess my goals, equipment, and approach to my photography that I have been putting off for a long time.
After thinking long and hard about it - I do need one new piece of digital equipment and possibly one new lens. I decided based on a lot of factors my main camera would be my Leica rangefinders and a small contingent of 35, 50, 90 focal length lenses. These are not M9's nor do I plan on getting an M9 unless the prices drop significantly. I have no real need for fast turn around and I really really like the look of film better. Black and White, super saturated slide film, and creamy subtle color negative - they all have a unique and in most cases fantastic look to them. 90% of the images I choose to live with on a day to day basis were shot on film.
This doesn't mean I don't like digital - I love digital output and reach. Every once in a while I even need that instant turnaround. So I also need a digital capture device. It will not be a DSLR with a couple of zoom lenses. I need a new digital camera to complement my Leica M cameras - something reasonable in price, decent image quality, and of a size that I will not even notice in my Leica kit. The whole kit fits in a Domke F-803 and is smaller than one Nikon pro body and one large aperture zoom. I am leaning toward the Olympus E-PL1. The first one was too expensive - the E-P2 is also too expensive the E-PL1 is just right - price wise Yes I know I cast disparaging remarks on the original E-P1 but a lot of my complaints have been rectified - they have auxiliary viewfinders - optical and electronic now, price is more reasonable, etc.
As for the new lens I "need". I could probably get away with my kit but… I do want to do some low light and I LOVE the 50 Noctilux so I might "need" a really really fast 50 for my Leica M cameras. So there you have it, the really funny thing is even without the sailboat space restrictions I got thinking about it and my choices would be the same for ANY of the subject matter that has got me itching to to some real photographic work. The recipe for me is compact, superlative lenses, film and really compact reasonable quality, low priced digital.
Am I nuts? Maybe but I think it is a very rational set of choices for what I want to shoot, how I want to shoot it, and very importantly how I want the results to look. Yes my D3 can do somethings better but not everything. My D3 will look good by many many measurements but it will not look like film and that is what I want for my projects.
Ps. You think I am the only one thinking like this lately? I really do not think so. If you shoot normal sized things from normal distances this might be the ticket for you as well.