What I learned from trading a DSLR for a phone. By Brandon Labbe

What I learned from trading a DSLR for a phone.

By Brandon Labbe

NOTE: All images in this post are phone images. 

It is expected that a photographer wouldn’t revert to a lesser camera once they’ve used a professional one, however my experience has proven otherwise, and while I did indeed go back to using a professional camera in the end, I learned a lot along the way.

I could go into painstaking detail on the cameras I’ve owned, how they compared with each other and with other brands, but that would take much too long. I’ll at least name what I was planning on upgrading to, the Canon 6D, because for subconscious psychological reasons I don’t have the time or credentials to delve into, I am one who normally practices a sort of brand loyalty that could be described as borderline religious. That being said, in the year 2014 I had not shied away from photography itself, but from dslrs. In the years before, I’d taken a dslr nearly everywhere with me, but I’d noticed something in 2014 about my camera that I hadn’t noticed before. There was dust on it. Without even being aware of it, so much time passed between the few times I used it that a noticeable amount of dust gathered on it like one would expect to find on a book. An even bigger surprise met me at the end of the year: I had only taken the camera out of the house 4 times, as opposed to 40 times in 2013. When I was trying to think of what could explain the dramatic decline in my photography between the two years, it hit me: at the end of 2013, and I mean quite literally the very end of 2013 (it came in the mail late in the afternoon on December 31st), I had bought my first smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy S (not an S5 or S4, just a plain old S).

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I’d owned phones with cameras before, but as anyone who ever used those would know, flip-phone cameras are pathetic. They took pictures that were never really meant to leave the phone, as on a computer they only looked good when viewed at the size of a thumbnail, but I digress. On the night I received the phone, I was heading out to view the New Year fireworks, and even though I hadn’t had the phone for more than 3 hours, and I used the camera on it only once to test the quality, when it came time to leave, I made a last-minute decision to just take my phone and leave my dslr behind. I didn’t know why I did it. I’d never done it before, but it just felt right to leave it. I just knew I wouldn’t miss it. I think you can see where this is going. Throughout the year there were many times I felt comfortable enough with my phone to leave my dslr behind, and after some months there wasn’t even a question about it. I just packed my dslr into its never-used camera bag to keep it from getting dustier, and I practically forgot I even owned it. Sure enough, by the end of the year I’d amassed 1500 photos on my phone. Not nearly as many as I took with my dslr the year before, but still quite a lot.

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Why did I do this? I didn’t think about it at the time, but it was the weight and size of the dslr that I apparently found repulsive compared to the phone. That much was obvious, but the amount of photos was a curious thing. Why did I take much fewer photos with my go-to camera (the phone) in 2014 than with my go-to camera (the dslr) in 2013? Two reasons: first, my phone has a short battery life, limiting the amount of pictures I could take. Second: my phone was pocketable while my dslr was always in my hand. I went rather photo-crazy with my dslr, taking multiple photos a minute, where as with my phone I thought about each picture, sometimes reaching for it, pausing, and putting my hand back down when I realized the image before me wasn’t special enough. I should note that while I can’t pocket the A7II, it’s light enough that it can hang from my neck as opposed to my constantly having to hold the heavier dslr that would give me neck pains if I let go of it. The limited battery of the A7II also keeps me in check, just like the phone. Like countless experts have said, limiting the amount of pictures you can take makes you more selective with taking pictures and that makes you better at thinking about pictures before you take them. This is the argument as to why you should learn photography with film, but a limited battery gives you the same discipline without the anxiety of not knowing if a picture came out well. Also, hanging a camera from your neck as opposed to always holding it in your hand makes you less of a shutter bug. I know these are tips that have been echoed a thousand times before, but what made them so meaningful in this situation is that I learned them without even realizing I was learning them.

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Since it wasn’t till the end of October that I realized it wasn’t photography I was tired of, but dslrs, and the A7II was to be released in just 2 months, I held out on buying a new camera till the A7II came out. It wasn’t until I went lens shopping online that I partially realized another valuable lesson I apparently learned while using my phone as my go-to camera for nearly a year. I was torn between 2 options: the Zeiss 24-70mm 4 and, for reasons I didn’t even know at the time, the 35mm 2.8.

While I luckily never went through a ‘carry everything’ phase that some photographers go through when they’re starting out, from the time I bought my first dslr I always had a zoom lens, an 18-55mm (28-90 full frame) and I’d heard of prime lenses, but I was convinced that I’d die without a zoom lens. With that same mentality, I told myself, when shopping for lenses, “obviously I’m getting the zoom,” but when I saw the size of the lens, I cringed because it would make the A7II as long and nearly as heavy as one of my older, cheaper dslrs, which was still too big, and then I saw the 35mm, and it was like hearing angels singing, because it was a small lens that was rated very well and it hardly added mass to the body. There was just the little problem of “I’d die without a zoom lens,” but when I thought about it, I realized that for the last year with the phone I’d basically been using a prime lens (because I certainly didn’t use the ghastly digital zoom) and I even remembered in the first month wishing I could zoom with it but by the end of the year I never thought that and I was content with the phone’s fixed focal length (and sure enough, when looking up the phone’s specs, the phone’s lens’ focal length was equal to a 35mm full frame lens). I’d wanted to switch to using a prime lens before, because experts say it makes you a better photographer, making you visualize a picture before you take it, but what always held me back was the thought that It would be too limiting for me and I’d miss all sorts of shots, but in using my phone, I made the change I was scared to make without even realizing I made it!

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I was still nervous when I bought the lens that I’d hate it and think it was too limiting, but in the 2 months I’ve owned the A7II I’ve already taken it out of the house more than I took the dslr out in 2014 and not only did I not feel the need for a zoom lens, but I actually felt better without it. With a zoom lens, I’d always find myself stopping and seeing which focal length would make a certain shot perfect, and that took time, perhaps not a lot of time, but seconds add up, and ultimately it just takes you out of the moment more. Well, that and holding the camera in your hand and taking a hundred photos where a dozen or even fewer would suffice, and what’s the point of capturing a moment when you’re detached from it?

If you make all of the mistakes that I made before quitting dslrs (taking too many pictures, using a zoom lens, using gear that’s too big, etc), I wouldn’t tell you to use a phone, but you can skip that step and learn all of the things I did by getting one of the Sony A7 models (with your best bet being the A7II) and a prime lens that suits you’re style of photography. For example, I like 35mm where some people like Henri Cartier Bresson think anything wider than 50mm is blasphemy. To each their own, Mr. Bresson.

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This isn’t really related, but one thing I found myself doing with the A7II from day 1 is using the fully manual mode. I don’t know about Nikon, but manual mode looked so complicated on Canon dslrs that the very sight of the ‘M’ on the mode dial gave me chills. I always had it in automatic, but that wasn’t always a good thing because while I got most of the shots I wanted, I missed some because they were over or underexposed to a degree that I couldn’t do much for them even in photoshop or lightroom.

One final note. Be warned, though, the following isn’t for the faint of heart. Having used a phone as my go-to camera for nearly a year, I grew so used to looking at the screen to compose pictures, as there was no viewfinder, that I find myself only using the lcd screen of the A7II and even find myself wishing it didn’t have the viewfinder, as I feel it’s just unneeded bulk. I know, I’m probably the only person who’s used an A7II and thought that, but it’s true. I’d buy the RX1, but the tech is older and it doesn’t have a grip. If the RX2 is a fixed prime lens (I’ve heard rumors that it might be a zoom; I hope that’s not true) and it has a grip like the A7II, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Who knows, maybe I’ll warm up to the viewfinder eventually, but right now the live view on the screen is an appealing reminder of a phone where as the viewfinder is like an ugly reminder of my dslr days.

Brandon Labbe

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55 Comments

  1. Hey, i dont think youre dumb. Since i moved from DSLR to an A7R and A7S i almost exclusively use the LCD. Like I forgot how to use the VF!!!

  2. Excellent point thanks -B Sellmer you have summed it up succinctly -wish I could do that !

  3. There are two kinds of pictures in my opinion, the ones where you capture just emotions to be recorded in future, and the ones you play with. The first ones can be made with any camera, any resolution, the second depends. If you just want to bring emotions, again it doesn’t matter the kind of camera. If tecnics is your toy, then you really need something else. It may occur using HDR or photographing aimals.

  4. You will often find statements made by great artists with which you do not agree. For example I remember reading that HCB maintained that photographic artistic expression cannot be learned. Maybe he is right ?

    Psychological research however has taught us that most things can be learned to some degree and people will improve significantly if engaged correctly by inspiring teachers using scientific teaching methodology.

    You cannot be made into a great talent but you can be improved by being in the right environment -check out the history of the famous “Polgar sisters” all became chess grandmasters because of their psychologist father’s efforts.

    Do your own thing -use a Phone, Dslr, Holga – who cares if you produce meaningful original images !

    A parting comment: we humans are all susceptible to irrational behaviors and slavish adherence to fashion might be considered one of these. At the moment I can sympathize with Michael above as there seems to be an irrational reaction to Dslrs at the moment -sure mirrorless is great and is probably the future or maybe phones -who knows?

    If you have a good Dslr -do what the millions of other photographers do who have one as well -get out there and get some great photos -enjoy.

    Rgds

    • Thanks Fergus – you are getting what I’m at: the devaluation of photography as opposed to next year’s top model which becomes junk the sooner the better for the industry.

      The EVF fan boys shouldn’t forget this on their mission.

      The weight factor doesn’t allow for meaningful inspired images. Besides some fan boys get so carried away that they tend to forget the weight of their spare batteries for their not so little suckers.

      • Of course low weight as such doesn’t allow for better images – I’m not aware of any “fan boy” who ever said the opposite.

        The whole point of low weight and size is about the possibility to take the camera with you most of the time, nothing else.
        I used to shoot with an Hasselblad 500C many years ago, before giving up proper photography for several reasons.
        Since then, I just took some phone camera pics occasionally (and believe it or not, I sold some of them).
        Just recently, I decided that it could be worth bring a decent camera with me again while travelling, but it had to be light and small, though I did want a (small) range of lenses.
        After trying a LOT of stuff, I eventually decided that the Sony a6000 was the best compromise for what I had in mind and bought it.

        Do tell, does that make me an “EVF fan boy”?

        Oh, and by the way, I did not buy any additional battery, and the one that came with the camera normally lasts me 3 or 4 days of shooting.
        You know, for the old farts among us who were used to pay for the films, the idea of shooting hundreds of pics in one day is just crazy… 🙂

  5. So what – sorry to say this: sub avearge slightly hazy images typical of smarthphone clickking. Others may think the same but dare not say so due to fear of censorship or political correctness on this site. The usual slagging off DSRLs is becoming more and more absurd. Try a D40 with a AFS 35, 1.8 and put it round your neck I bet you won’t die neither from weight nor cost.

    • I never said the smart phone was a good camera in itself. I thought it was pretty obvious that these were from a smart phone too. you can imagine my surprise when people asked if these were from the A7ii. it wasn’t the smart phone that was the point, but what I learned from using it, and even if the camera you suggested is good, unless you’re talking moving to medium format, the a7ii is the best camera you can get

      • Brandon, BRILLIANT article! I shared this amongst many of my friends.

        The tone and responses have so far been civil and intelligent, at least until DPR troll ‘Michael’ turned up. I’d suggest ignoring such knuckle-draggers, lest it taint the good work preceding.

        Greg

        • You speak of him as if he’s a known troll, like an account on youtube that goes by the name naruto. is this true of michael, though, as I didn’t gather that impression from him. he seemed to be giving a genuine opinion and attempting to be constructive – yes, in his own condescending way, but constructive nonetheless.

  6. Well, are you sure you are in the minority ?

    I currently read Ming Thein, Ken Rockwell, Steve Huff, Strobist, Thom Hogan, dpreview, and The Luminous Landscape. I also watch Matt Granger and The Art of Photography on YouTube, as well as digitalrev and TheCameraStore, though those later two are more for entertainment than substantial information.

    In short – theres not THAT many good sources for photography in the first place – so why would I skip over one ?

    And yes, I have a DSLR, and I’m not planning on changing that any time soon.

    And by the way, about the article: my trick to motivate me to taking the camera with me is simply taking it with me at all times. After all, wihtout a camera, one cannot take photographs. Also I never wanted to limit myself to just zooms in the first place, the very moment I found out about prime lenses I loved them for their brightness.

  7. Hi Guys, I tried to output some of my old film scans from Lightroom and this time they were ok and were within spec for the site max 1500 wide and 1 to 1.5 Mg.
    Not sure what happened last time -but if somebody knows a great way of downsizing files and keeping quality -please post.
    Thanks

  8. Funny thing with me and some other photographers is that we cannot do the “always carry a camera with you” kind of photography as we need to be mentally in photography mode -with our rangefinders mirrorless dslrs or camera phones ready in our hands. If I carried a Ricoh GR in my pocket and I encountered an alien being I would never be able to get it out of my pocket and get the shot.Same would probably happen with the camera phone.But if I encountered the alien on my street photography walk -history would be made.

    I love the post and the writer and some of the commentators has given us some interesting points to ponder. I don’t have a smart phone -but maybe I should get one.

    Just a quick question ? What is the optimal method of outputting your images so as to be able to submit them as an “Inspiration post “.on this site? Can someone go through that in detail for me – I use Lightroom 3.3 and would love to know.

    I have tried and did not post because my images looked poor. I have also tried a program called JPEGmini which is good but still not what I want. This whole business of comparing images on the net from cameras of different resolutions has me seriously confused.

    Thanks in advance.

  9. If you look at Apple’s website you’ll see some great pictures that were shot on the iPhone 6. Sony executive said on an interview today that in the near future cameras will go into history and everyone will be using a phone. If you look at cameras like the rx100 – Imagine a new, much better 1 inch sensor in a super fast smartphone, with great sharp, fast, fixed prime lens – This could be the future of mainstream photography. Of course you’ll see cameras in weddings, magazines etc., but enthusiasts will use their phone.

  10. You are definitely not the only photographer preferring to use the rear screen over the viewfinder 🙂 I have the A7II and compose using the rear screen except for situations of intense sunlight.

    Photographer Jason Lanier has the same tendency – so come on – the screens are awesome and makes shooting easier.

  11. My main camera is a Canon 1200 or one of my other point and shoot cameras.I don;t own a cell phone and refuse to pay a monthly rental for a camera..
    I use film, but the P/S cover me everyday.

  12. Henri Cartier Bresson did actually own nd use a 35mm, And not only a 50mm as you write in your article.

    • in an interview he said something like ‘photographers who use wide lenses (and I think he mentioned the 35) aren’t real artists because they try to capture too much.’ I remember it well, because it was such a shockingly closed-minded thing for a photographer to say – that someone isn’t a real artist just because their preferred aesthetics don’t match his.

      • Memory is often wrong. HCB had and used a 35mm, a 90mm and a 135mm. Of course he used the 50mm as his main lens.
        Read this interesting interview http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/cartier-bresson-there-are-no-maybes/?smid=fb-share&_r=1 here’s the part about the 35mm lens : “The 35 is splendid when needed, but extremely difficult to use if you want precision in composition. There are too many elements, and something is always in the wrong place. It is a beautiful lens at times when needed by what you see. But very often it is used by people who want to shout. Because you have a distortion, you have somebody in the foreground and it gives an effect. But I don’t like effects. There is something aggressive, and I don’t like that. Because when you shout, it is usually because you are short of arguments.”

  13. “I’d wanted to switch to using a prime lens before, because experts say it makes you a better photographer”.
    Haha, that’s a good reason for NOT listening to the experts, if I’ve ever heard one.
    There isn’t such thing as a bit of equipment that actually can MAKE anyone a better photographer.
    No lens, no camera, nothing, nada. Forget that.
    What more sophisticated equipment is all about is making you THINK you are a better photographer.

    • you took my words out of context. you make it seem like I said ‘get a prime lens and *poof* like magic you’re a better photographer.’ in reality what I said was ‘it makes you a better photographer because it makes you visualize how a picture will look’ or exactly how to frame it, before you even raise your camera to take the picture

      • Yeah, I did shorten your sentence in my cut and paste, BUT!
        Even accepting that visualizing how a picture will look makes you a better photographer (which is debatable, anyhow), that’s not an attitude you can only develop with prime lenses.
        Any “expert” saying the contrary is as narrow minded as you accused HCB to be.

        • I can’t seem to find it now, though I admit I’m not looking very thoroughly, but on two separate occasions I’ve seen text from an obscure magazine interview or something like that in which he said something like ‘photographers who use wide angle lenses aren’t real artists because they try to capture too much.’ I remember it well, because it was such a shockingly closed-minded thing for a photographer to say – that someone isn’t a real artist just because their preferred aesthetics don’t match his. The beauty of his photography does not match his less than beautiful attitude.

        • And no expert says the contrary. No one ever says some process is the only way to do or learn something in photography, and I think few people are as narrow minded as Bresson. I’ve had some harsh criticisms of art, but I’ve never called someone not an artist. I just mentioned that because I used to really like his work, but the personality of the man behind the camera tainted my view, just a little bit, least of all to mention that he would’ve called many of the people who admire him not real artists. Artists just can’t call other artists not real artists. That might be the one rule in the art world: whether or not you like something, it’s art. Himself being an artist, I think he’s an enormous hypocrite, and I detest hypocrites. I’d excuse what he said in the interview if I found out he was really drunk, but otherwise nothing could change my opinion of him.

          • “No one ever says some process is the only way to do or learn something in photography”

            Mmm…. That’s precisely the opposite of what – as I understood – you said before.

            Regardless, you are obviously free to do (or not) anything based on what the “experts” suggest, as well as you are free to “go into painstaking detail” on cameras, or to call HCB close-minded and hypocrite just because he was an opinionated folk – as many clever folks normally are.

            Each to their own, and happy shooting with your phone, DLSR, or whatever floats your boat! 🙂

          • Just to clear the air, I would never say or accept that there is supposedly only one way to learn anything. Something that always got me in trouble at school was trying to find my own way to do things or learn processes (not just in photography, but in all sorts of subjects) and even when I was successful I was reprimanded for not following instructions. Every action mentioned in this article and any article I’ll ever write are suggestions based on my own experiences, nothing more

          • Hi Brandon. I can empathise with you and your reference to school,but my experience was in the workplace when I was 17yrs of age and had ust come out of Technical High School way back in 1962.
            I had recognised a need for a particular template and was told “when you run this department – which you probably never will,then you can do what you like”
            Well two years later I did – on both counts.

            Back to topic. I have always maintained that learning the skills of the film camera is the best foundation that one can have. It teaches many things including patience,frugality,observation,the feel of the light and all that goes with the making of the image on the film before it even gets into the dark-room for processing and hopefully the final print.
            Yes ,manipulation has always been a possibility BUT not quite so easy as today and with that which modern technology has brought and offers.

            Each way of recording images is unique and individual to the equipment that first was used and in many senses,non are totally correct – just a different approach/slant on an old discipline.

            Each seemingly has a place in the broader spectrum of “Photography”. What I have issues with is the very blurred line between pure photographic skills that encompass the ability to judge light values,and make decisions about aperture and shutter speeds even before the other skills of composition and orientation and digital images that have been manipulated and beyond comprehension and now in the name of an “Art Form”.

            I have recently seen examples of Competition Results that break basic rules about composition and orientation and have scored differently as they have been touted about the various competitions and some have even scored so low that they don’t even warrant recognition but then reappear with marks ranging from Merit to Highly Recommended and even one or two that have been awarded Firsts and Runner-up.

            Photography is faster than ever becoming the ability to cheat by manipulation that which was first captured and turn it into something that is so often very very far removed from reality.

          • Just to give you a little help on this HCB reference, I can leave here the passages from two interviews, the first from 1952 and the later one from 1994 (we should keep in mind that he left is photography job by the end of the 70’s):

            What lenses you carry?
            Always the Leica 50mm, or the Nikon 1.5

            What lens do you take to a job?
            Two 50mm, a 35mm and a 135mm. I almost always work with a normal lenses. For landscapes, we often need a telephoto lens (usually a 135mm). to get rid of all things without interest at the foreground. The depth of field of a 135mm is small for pictures of movement. I don’t work with wide angle often. There are so many elements in the foreground that is difficult to make the composition.

            (Interview 1952)

            And the ideal lens?
            The 50mm. Not the 35mm, which is too big, too wide! With it some photographers think they are Tintoretto. Even with everything sharp there is deformation. With the 50mm, we keep a distance to the subject. I know, I will be said to be a classic. I do not care: for me, the 50mm remains the one that most closely matches the human eye. We can do everything with it, street, landscape, portrait. When we have a painter’s eye and a visual grammar, we work with the 50mm without even remembering that with the 35mm we would gain in depth of field. Painting, drawing, photo, documentary: for me, it’s a whole.

            (Interview 1994)

            These interviews don’t show HCB as considering the 35mm like being a blasphemy or that he used nothing but the 50mm as it seems to be a spreaded myth.

            Besides I agree about some of your points on DSLR systems I suspect that with a7 II Sony started to loose part of the claimed advantages if you go for fast lenses, and we can take Nikon’s D750 as example: this camera weights 194 grs more than the Sony but if you go for the fast glasses you can would buy the F:1.4 ZA weighting 630 hrs (more 74 hrs than the body), reducing the diference to 164 hrs, but Nikon offers a 35mm F:1.8 that weights only 304 grs.

            Therefore, the weight diference is only meaningful if you stay with the 35mm F:2.8 and this seems to be limiting for someone that wants to use just one lens.

            And besides having no problems to leave home with just prime lenses (or just one of them) I can’t be so radical as you when it comes to zooms, and as a matter of fact to avoid the inconveniences of bulk and weight I did take more than once only a mirrorless fixed lens (equivalent to 35mm – Fuji X100) for holidays.

            But don’t take me wrong, I wish you continue to enjoy your camera and wait for you to show us your pictures.

    • And I should add, “more sophisticated equipment”? Mario, I’m crediting a $100 phone for teaching me more about photography than a dslr that cost more than 10x that amount

      And I don’t just think I’m a better photographer after having used this “sophisticated,” albeit cheap and outdated, phone for a year; I know I’m a better photographer for it, not from simply buying the phone – I made no such claim. If you read the article instead of skimmed it and taken words out of context and writing a very robotic “haha” after those misrepresented words, you’d know that it’s not equipment that makes you better, but what you can learn from using it. I agree that no piece of equipment can make you a better photographer on its own, it’s how you use it. You should try it sometime. You might find your photography improving.

  14. Brandon, being one of the few guys who frequents this website who still love DSLRs (I have the 6D you were originally considering upgrading to and I submitted a long term user report to Steve), I just had to comment. I understand what you went through, believe me, I went through the same stages of hating the bulk of DSLRs and discovering the joy of taking photos with my smartphone (iPhone 4S). But I decided to stick with the DSLRs and took a different approach, which was switching to mostly using prime lenses. I especially love the size and weight of the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM. My issue with size and weight was easily taken care of by this lens alone. Sure, there is the argument that the cheaper prime lenses aren’t as “good” as the professional L lenses, but I would personally rather work on improving my eye than spend too much money on lenses that are too good for my skills.

    While I love taking photos with the iPhone 4S, I still like to have the option of an actual camera. To fill that need, I got the Sony RX100, which is the perfect compact camera for me. It has awesome photo quality and fits in my pocket. Between the iPhone 4S, Sony RX100, and Canon 6D, I’ve got all my bases covered.

    • Hey Jonathan,
      Question for you: have you ever tried a micro 4/3 camera? If not, believe me, try a Fuji or Olympus (e.g. OM-D EM-5 II). You’ll sell your DSLR. Not only that it offers the same IQ, good quality build (if not better – the OM-D EM-1 is incredible) but the portability and versatility (there are many functions that are far from just being gadgets – panoramic views, filters, etc.) it adds make it an amazing upgrade. Ultimately, I don’t see how DSLRs will survive this fight. Probably the reason why Canon is bringing its own model soon.
      Happy shooting nonetheless!

  15. Hi Brandon. What truly stunning images from your Galaxy S. I have a friend in the region of Malaga,Spain that uses an S3 and has the accessory lenses for it.
    He is a retired photographic journalist,photographic artist and writer,he swears by the results that he gets with his.
    I myself have recently bought back into film cameras with the addition of a Nikon F80 and also a Minolta Dynax 505si Super albeit I have had a range of Fuji FinePix for some years.
    My own personal favourite is my bought new in 1988 – a Yashica 230AF with 35-70 & 70-210 outfit.

  16. Inhad a similar experience about 2 years ago: went from a Nikon D700 with f2.8 zooms (heavy!!!) to a Fuji X-Pro1 with 18mm and 35mm. What a difference! I recently started doing more film work with a Mamiya RZ67 ProII (talkin about weight…..).

    One question: i very much like using viewfinders. Is taking images with the screen not a challenge, e.g. in bright sunlight?

    • Only in very specific conditions, i.e. if the sun’s a little above eye-level and you’re directly facing it. I’ve only run into this once and the pic still came out fine

  17. Thanks for a succinctly written tale of gear exploration! Correct punctuation and grammar made it particularly easy to read. I think your journey is one that many photographers go through, without being aware that it’s happening.

  18. Nice write-up Brandon. It’s an interesting time that we live in where so many people have a camera with them almost always (in their phone). It’s definitely a milestone moment in the history of photography!

    Of course DSLRs and MILCs have their place but they’ve had to ‘move-over’ to make room for the new guy (cell phone), which very much has a place as well!

    Again, nice pics and write-up.

  19. I went through almost the exact same experiences. Ended up with a Sony A7 the 35mm and the 55mm. I use the 35mm by far the most. It’s felt good to strip down and have less stuff. I’m also anxiously awaiting the RX2 as I find I use the viewfinder less and less as well. RX1 would be almost perfect, hoping the RX2 has the curved sensor, 35mm f2 lens that is even smaller due to the sensor. No grip for me.. That’s the only camera that would give me GAS again. Otherwise I’ve seen no reason to change. Love the A7!

    • yeah I really should’ve clarified. this was supposed to be an A7Ii article, but I got way off topic

      • No kidding! Lol
        You should have gone for a Ricoh GR. The a7ii is nice but you will eventually leave it at home for the same reasons your dslr is left at home once the honeymoon period is over. But enjoy and happy shooting

        • Not true at all. I have been using the A7s since launch and now the A7Ii. They are NOTHING like a DSLR. NOTHING in size, weight, form, thickness, use, anything.

          • If you put a big honking lens on your A7 it can get as big as a DSLR.
            It’s one of the drawbacks of full frame.

            I can really relate to this article as my evolution has been similar and it’s one of the reasons I’ve gotten so fond of my RX100II which reminds me of my old Minox. For those wanting a superb image in a small cheap package, I’d suggest the A6000 with a small prime.

          • I also have A7S and original A7 too Steve and they are awesome. BUT…. they are still needed to be slung over your shoulder. Sometimes being able to put something into your pocket with good quality will outweigh the extra performance the A7 brings.(Or any over the shoulder cam) Since i have the GR i have a camera with me no matter were i go. Sometimes even the A7 though small as it is…is still in the way of everyday life. A GR can fit in my jeans/jacket pocket and is a super capable cam to boot. I enjoy it as much as my A7’s for different reasons.

          • The Ricoh GR is best when owned in conjunction with an interchangeable lens system. The GR for portability (and amazing quality), and a DSLR or mirrorless system for the versatility.

          • I am about to sell my EM1 or give it as a gift to my niece. I just got an M7 with a cron 50 and a 21, and I am leaning to get the CM1 phone if the phone is worthwhile. Otherwise I will just use my Nokia. I took a brief look at the A7 and I was quiet disappointed with the kit 28-70 zoom lens.

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