A Year, A Camera

32 thoughts on “A Year, A Camera”

  1. Wow, Josh! I will not expand on how I think you will buy another camera before the year is over., sorry… or are you that steadfast. In that case I applaud you!

    Then again, your decision is certainly right, if difficult. The main reason I use film is because of the feel of the whole process, the handling and feeling of the cameras above all. And of course if you attempt to create YOUR look, it won’t do to change tools a lot.

    Sure the new Leica thingamajig is ideal… on paper, but at that price! Your choice is the only viable alternative, barring the M8.

    Anyways, I enjoyed reading your post and I wish you luck with your endeavour and many more photographs like these.

  2. Funny, about one hour before opening this article, I was exploring the availability of the R-D1. I was looking for a concept camera to add to a manual focus prime, as a fun pastime project. The only recent sale I saw went for US$1,500. Completely insane. Probably the worst overpriced camera on the planet. No argument that it is worth that has any merit. This camera at that price could only be sold to people who are completely addicted to ‘camera ideas’ instead of photographic ideas.

  3. You are right to have defined a certain “look” (whatever kit you use) as visual consistency goes a long way to mitigating different types of subject matter, which is the usual staple of blog posts and photostreams. Personally I break all these rules too, but it goes without saying that whatever is posted (and not posted) can be re-edited and sequenced later in finished works. Until one reaches that point everything is only ever work in progress. A blog really is just a way of building an audience to signpost to something that is or will become finished later.

    I enjoy looking at your pictures and reading what you write. And your observations about the smaller sensors rendering closer-to-film images is interesting. The idea of a Wifi straight to the phone for processing / uploading is slick and convenient, of course. But it’s really not that much effort to process your own film and scan it. I suspect the problem is a “modern” one – for some reason we seem to feel we lack time. I suspect this lies more with self-imposed pressure, perceived “need” to keep posting. Cheers.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I agree in some ways. What I will say is when it comes to developing and scanning I don’t mind the time as much as I just don’t at all enjoy the process haha.

  4. Great post, always enjoy your photos. I’m actually trying to pick up an r-d1s… haha.
    Similar perspective, no other digital camera has a film advance. I hated fly-by-wire on fuji cameras.

      1. Found a good deal and jumped on it. Completely counter intuitive to your post… but I could always sell it if I have too much trouble with it.. haha

  5. It was great to read your Lensculture interview Josh and see photos from your posts here edited into Neverland: My Korea. I was curious about the Epson R-D1 as it still pops up quite often in rangefinder articles. Then The Camera Store did their review a month ago, and I finally got to see one in action. It must be so much fun to use a camera that is designed so coherently to give that mechanical photography experience.

  6. Thanks much for your recents posts and thoughts – and good luck with the new project! jtinseoul is my favourite photoblog – by the way: have you ever thought of a photobook (about Transport in Seoul or so, with some of your texts)…? Kind regards from Germany

  7. I don’t know how many Giovannis follow your blog, Josh, but if that Giovanni is yours truly then, no, I’m not irked by this post, but rather intrigued and perhaps puzzled here an there… !

    I’ll tell you where we would be having a good conversation if I were there in Korea:

    1- If you don’t feel you have a consistent style then let me tell you nobody does, or anyways none of us realized you don’t. A JTW image can be spotted from miles away. That cannot be said of many of us!
    1b. Still perhaps I hear you, and indeed you may well have pinpointed the issue: “style” for us is about the output, “style” for you is the process, and having used very different cameras you have not *felt* consistent. Which I fully understand: the tools dictate the output. I don’t feel I’m shooting the same way and the same subjects with the Ricoh GR than with the Leica M9 or Mono (CCDs both btw).
    1c. It’s perhaps less about getting better than about evolving through projects, having exhausted one chapter and needing to move on. How many more images of commuters can you take? How much further will the next one push your portfolio to the next level? You might replace a few with new material, but will you rebuild the portfolio from scratch? You need a new subject, a new album to fill…

    2- I fully concur, again, that there is an issue with too many cameras. A camera needs to become invisible to your brain, hands, fingers, eyes, totally mastered to make sure you’re not thinking about the act of shooting but are fully absorbed in what you are shooting. You need to know precisely how a scene will look when captured before you capture it. What will be in focus, what will not be, etcetera.
    2b- And yes, changing lenses *radically* changes the images. Nothing worse than a portfolio or slideshow that oscillates between radically different FLs there only.

    3- I think you did the right thing on that bus: going back to the output and figure out the input behind it, patterns have emerged. You have anchored yourself to a scientific method in a way, more reliable than gut feelings…

    4- Your solution was radical. I can’t say much about the Epson, I have never touched let alone used one. It does not matter. Whichever your choice must work for you and nobody else can comment, let alone judge. I’ll just say that the idea of a manual shutter rewind is just cool. I try to use my Mono in the same way. Never look at the screen, wait to dump into LR and edit there only. 6MP or 18 or 24, it does not matter much, so long as you output to screen or smallish prints only, anyways. Imperfection is good. I *add* grain to my images as I feel they’re too clean most of the time!
    4b- Zone focusing is the best autofocus mechanism ever invented by mankind! Alas it does not work well in low-light and large-sensor environments, but hey, if one gets used to it, guessing subject distances is more precise and faster than autofocus…

    In the end: enjoy your Epson. We are looking forward to seeing your work with it and how it evolves. But don’t forget either that whatever camera you have been using in the past, they all had one think in common: @jtinseoul !

    1. “Alas it does not work well in low-light and large-sensor environments”

      Of course it works in large sensor environments. When you are at F16, everything is in focus. Even at F11 most of it is.

  8. Best of luck with your plan Josh, I remember the time, when I used my D90 four years in a row, until I got my (t)rusty E-M5 in 2012. Since then it got worse I think, haha! Keep rotating Olympus Nikon and Fuji.
    What do you think about trading your camera once a year, next summer, you send me your R-D1 and I give you my Nikon V1 πŸ˜€

  9. Good luck Josh ! I would love to do the one camera one lens thing but know I would fail quickly !! Will be really interesting to see if you can last a year without a Ricoh Grd of some kind πŸ˜ƒ

  10. Sometimes a yearning for simplification can only lead to one thing — a new camera! … Still, I don’t think you should get too hung up on being into gear – it’s not that big a deal and I think consistency has so much more to do with the eye than the kit. Your photos may not seem to have a consistent look to them to you, but I think they do to others.

    All that said, the RD1 was such a great camera. Those dials on the top are truly fantastic. And it’s nice to be able to flip the screen round to avoid distractions… I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.

  11. Really enjoyed the post. Four months ago, I got rid of my DSLR, and even a Sony A6000 mirrorless, because I hate the menu stuff. I learned photography on a Mercury II 35mm 1/2 frame film camera. I like adjustment dials accessible while I shoot. For me the Fuji X100T is what feels right to me. I very seldom have to go to menus, and when I do, I go to the Q button, where there are only about 16 choices (that I get to customize).
    I thrive on keeping things simple, that’s why when I left film and went digital, I went with a Canon S90 P&S. I still use it occasionally.
    Anyway keep on with your plan and I’ll be waiting for the next post.

  12. Goo luck on your project. I started #ocoloy (one camera, one lens, one year) on Feb 12th, 2016. I sold all my other cameras and lenses. It has been a wonder experience. Freeing. No decision, just grab my X70 and go. 18mm (27mm FF) is the perfect focal length for me. I’m getting good at predicting where to stand, what angle to hold my camera. YEs, I’m getting to know my camera!

    Yes, I still lust after new gear. I read the reviews. I think that with that new camera I’d take better pictures πŸ™‚ If I had that Leica, people would take me seriously…..

    Today I’m happy with my little camera!


  13. I did exactly what you did. I went through all my images from the last 6 years and selected the best ones. In my case they were all taken with one of two cameras: the Fuji X100 or the Ricoh GR.

    In the last two weeks, I sold everything but those two.

    Incidentally, I’m surprised to see you talk about George Costanza. That’s a weird reference for someone your age. You must have been in diapers when Seinfeld was on TV. Was there a resurgence of the show that I’m not aware of? How did you come up with that one? πŸ™‚

  14. Meh, just shoot, man. I have never understood why so many photographers have to justify their choices on the internet. Just take pictures, and hope they work out. I used to do things like “I will only use 1600 iso” or “I want to just use one lens” until I realized my pictures got a hell of lot better when I stopped with the preconceived notions I had picked up from reading too much about photography and it’s famous practitioners.

  15. Hi Josh,
    Harry again @harryv007.
    I know that you use flash a lot, will you be using it with the Epson and if so what type?
    Thanks as always!

    1. Hi Harry! Usually with the Epson I use my phone torch instead of a flash. I like to use it to trick the meter or look more ambient. Not sure what flash I’ll use with the camera yet, but maybe a small Metz.

  16. Hi Josh, what happened to rule number 7…? Maybe once a week is too rigid and needs to be eased, but now itΒ΄s a month… so looking forward to reading an update, itΒ΄s always inspiring – hope you find the time and this post adds to your motivation to continue this great blog. Kind regards from Germany to Korea

  17. Re-reading this post, I suddenly realize that I know the answer to the question: “why do I shoot?” and why do I shoot “street” (as much as I don’t really think I’m doing “street”).
    Because at the end of the day, the cumulated sum of all of those street photos, just as yours Josh, become a record of what our lives have been: the things that we cared about on the way. It does not matter if we have been shooting torn posters on walls or lonely commuters we never met other than for a fleeting second. It does not necessarily matter if we never shot our own lives directly (even if I think it would end up being the most precious ones), And it does not matter if the apparent intent is to shoot “good street stuff” or whatever.
    The end result is that we shall have built an edit of the impressions that stuck with us during our lives, that struck us strongly enough to make us trigger the camera (if we had one handy, which is why we should always carry one), that defined what we cared about even if ‘just’ in a visual way (some people are less visual, would rather record sounds, and it’s sad that there is no smellographers out there…; we are visual people, and we’re lucky to have cameras to help us).
    I’m not saying that we set out to shoot with that end in mind, but I realize watching your images Josh that they do represent you, not just Korea, and I’m sure that YOU look at them reliving the feelings that led you to shoot in the first place. Your love for your adopted country and your trek towards making it yours is all there.
    Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

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