My friends and family are all kind of shocked at the times when I don’t have a camera with me. It’s an oddity and, indeed a rarity. I often need to train them on the idea that just because I have one with me that I won’t always take photos. Even when I’m not actively testing a camera or a lens, I tend to bring a camera with me for several reasons. But most importantly, it brings me joy. And having an everyday camera for just this type of situation is something that camera manufacturers really need to explore.
Taking a camera along with me everywhere has taught me many things over the years. First off, not every moment needs to be documented just because you have a camera. Specifically, this was a lesson that I learned with film cameras. Our parents and ancestors only used cameras and took pictures during special moments. And I’ve more or less adapted that same mentality to digital photography — even more so to film photography.
But this is a thing that I have to do with a camera. I cannot do it with my phone. That’s part of the big problems that camera manufacturers aren’t understanding — there are aesthetics and sensory experiences to cameras that can only be made with a dedicated device.
Removing the shutter from a Nikon camera removes the joy of the feeling of the shutter and the actual sound.
Making a Sony camera feel like something that doesn’t retain the Minolta heritage makes it feel like something like a Playstation controller.
Trying to make a Fujifilm camera that feels more like a modern Sony camera completely eliminates the reason why I’d want to use it to begin with.
Creating a large Canon camera designed to target too many people doesn’t make me want to bring it around as an everyday camera. Let alone fail to integrate appropriate weather resistance into their cheaper cameras.
Making Sigma lenses that are way too large makes me never want to use them.
The Leica M10-D failed to give us more of the tactile experience of the shutter that can be manually recocked with the advance lever.
Basically, the only things really that qualify for this are the Leica Q3 and the Fujifilm X100V. I truly wish that Sony had made the RX1r weather resistant, but it never happened. The same goes for Panasonic.
You see, the everyday camera has to make you want to use it every day. You have to want to keep it in your hand or slung around you at all times. It doubles as a fashion accessory at times, but it also is a critical piece of enhancing an experience. Photographing my breakfast when the morning sun is hitting it so perfectly feels completely different when I’m using a dedicated camera vs. my phone. Taking selfies with friends and colleagues at get-togethers feels totally different when it’s shot with a camera instead of a phone.
The everyday camera isn’t something that consumers will understand. It’s for a connoisseur, and it’s specifically a device for making photos. That’s not to say that there can’t be one for videos — I often dream of Fujifilm making a Bolex-style camcorder or Sony bringing back the Handycam.
It’s something that the new type of consumer wants — one that will spend more money on a camera just for fun.