Richard Hart

Head of Something @ Somewhere
Kent, UK

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Chasing the digital dragon

Over Christmas I read a post on Wirehead Arts which got me thinking about digital cameras again. I tend not to give the digital realm of photography much thought as I’m deeply in love with film. And while I’ve looked into the Canon 5DmkII and Leica M8 a bit, ask me about the rest of the Canon line, any of the Nikons or about any compact P&S and I’ll be a total blank. But after some thinking and research I thought that perhaps a small digital P&S wouldn’t be a bad addition. To begin with I looked into the Canon G10 and Leica D-LUX 4. With the D-LUX4 being a Leica, I couldn’t help being instantly lured in, but I was very surprised to find it’s basically a re-badged Panasonic Lumix LX3 which is £300 less. What do you get for your extra £300? a custom firmware and a leather strap, no thanks. The G10 is very highly regarded and use as the work horse or plenty of “pro-amateur” photographers, not to mention having the advantage a built in viewfinder. I’ve never been a fan of framing with a screen when I’ve tried it, personally I find it slow and cumbersome, so the G10 was instantly interesting, but the LX3 has a hotshoe onto which an external one can be fitted. In the end it was the combo of the hotshoe, wider and faster lens and HD video recording abilities of the LX3 that won me over. So now I have a digital P&S. I haven’t had a chance to test it outdoors, but immediately I’m highly impressed the breadth of functions and overall tweakability of it. I’ve uploaded a test HD video here.

I recently saw a great video showing Daido Moriyama shooing on the street so I’m going to try shooting without the viewfinder for a bit and see how I get on before deciding if I really want one or not.

One of my biggest flaws is I’m a complete gear head. If I see a great photo, I always have to know what equipment or what film it was shot with. My brain just seems hardwired to do it. There is this belief that somehow, if I had the same equipment I would capture the same beautiful moments, which is of course totally false. As said by Nobuyoshi Araki in the video. It doesn’t matter if you write a romantic love letter with a pencil or a ballpoint, and as Moriyama says himself, any camera is fine, it’s only a means of taking a photograph. Damn, it still hasn’t stopped me watching his video and the immediately checking the price of used Ricoh GR1s.

I also updated my personal photography site over the weekend: