The Camera on My Back

When I leave my house these days, I have a camera on my back.

It’s big, heavy, “serious” DSLR, usually with a big, serious, heavy lens on it. I like the heft. I like identifying with something that size for a number of reasons, but basically:

  1. It helps me feel important and professional, and
  2. It tends to startle strangers into making real expressions.

A “serious” DSLR, with a serious lens on it is problematic, too. If I see something cool, I have to take my backpack off and haul this big, “serious,” heavy contraption out. Granted, this contraption is a bazillion times more powerful than the most exciting dream-contraption in the young Eastman-Kodak engineer’s eye, in 1/10th the size.

And I do love my contraption. With weather-sealing and an autofocus system that didn’t over-promise, I’d call it perfect. The 6D is the lightest full-frame DSLR in the world. It’s a very compelling camera on my back. And there are packs with side-access. Even so, it doesn’t lend itself to spontaneity.

And the game is changing.

Just as we lived through a shift from SLR to digital SLR, we may be watching the end of the SLR era. While Sony and Fuji are cranking out “mirrorless” cameras at an alarming clip, and veteran photographers are crowing about them, Nikon and Canon are singing the cameras’ swan song.

And in addition to all their technical marvels, these mirrorless contraptions are much, much smaller. So were I to jump ship from Canon, I’d still haul the same big lens, and an adapter for it, but a mirrorless camera of comparable ability shaves almost half the weight, in ⅔ the footprint. Compelling.

Of course, there’d be no post if there weren’t moments I did stop, pull the camera out, compose, and shoot. So onward, ever onward.

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