Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Morning Musing on the One That Got Away (Willingly)


Last month Rob and I drove out to Best Buy on an idle night to... do something, I can't entirely remember. Probably aiming to preview an item to later be purchased online, as is the case with a majority of peoples' big box store visits these days. Unlike the majority of Best Buy stores, this one had a particularly robust camera department, replete with such relative obscurities as Canon's XC10, EOS M line, and Olympus products. So, naturally, we gravitated into the swelling black hole of things to spend money on like well trained consumers.

At the time, I frequently praised the likes of the Sony RX10 series of cameras for their one-stop-shop value proposition, particularly in a period marked by general disgust with the weight and quantity of items I'd otherwise be required to bring along to even hope to replicate the versatility. Out of curiosity, I name dropped the model to a store rep (who happened to be versed in journalism in his younger years and had a surprisingly mature concept of the value and function of cameras), and sure enough he had an RX10 Mark III. But not only that, it was an open box item, $400 off. And... AND... he offered to drop the price another $200, rendering the camera nearly 50% off. How could I not pick it up?

I probably farted about the store trying to conjure a valid use case for an hour to justify picking the thing up, eventually having a "f*** it" moment and diving in. But I had no immediate use case. I had jobs the next day, and no time to actually put the thing through its paces, so naturally, I let my reflexive buyer's remorse get the better of me and returned the (50% off!!!) RX10 Mark III on my way home from working shoots. I took maybe a dozen shots of pigeons at my apartment with the thing, getting a feel for it in the hands. And it was a joy of a tool to use, but because it didn't immediately fit into a fixed methodology my rejection was decided.

Today, I'm feeling a good bit of regret for returning the thing.

It's possible that, in the end, the camera would not have fit into a sensible or enjoyable workflow, but I never gave it a chance, and I especially never put it through its paces. Smaller sensor, sure, but not that much smaller than the Micro Four Thirds sensors to which I'm otherwise committed. No, it was a weak moment in which I faced a challenge to established practices and instead of embracing the new and reshaping myself to work with the new tool I submitted to an instinctive rejection. I've found myself, on more than one occassion, wishing I still had the camera handy in the car for moments when I witness a great landscape for which its available focal lengths and resolution would work perfectly. Instead, I'm driving past such shots, because I'm habitually committing the cardinal sin of photography these days and not bringing a camera. Cell phone be damned.

My resistence to the RX10 Mark III was largely couched in the idea of it presenting system overlap in the acquisition of the Olympus M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4, which I had initially committed myself to but am now vascillating for... unknown reasons. Maybe size (not that the RX10 Mark III was particularly small or light either). Maybe general disgust with carrying so much sh*t all the time. Or, maybe, that's just not where the muse is roaming in the moment, because it goes wherever it wants, whenever it wants, and I'm not particularly great at anticipating its direction.

So, instead of anything that makes sense to my current brain, I ordered the M. Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 and 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye lenses. The 25mm f/1.2 makes sense from the standpoint of what I like to idly shoot when otherwise uninspired, pictures of beer, mid-range portraits, stuff I'm not interested in shooting right now while it's foggy out and I want to shoot landscapes. The 8mm should be fun for conventions, and January this year should be action packed with trips to Delaware, Boston, and the National Harbor for party and event shooting. I'm calling them my Christmas gift to myself, but right now... I feel like an RX10 Mark III would fit that bill way better. Alas, I already passed up that crazy deal, and now I get to eat regret as a dietary staple.