I don’t use my camera anymore - where to go from here?


Somewhere in Utah with my Fujifilm X-T1, back in 2015

Over Thanksgiving break, I gave my Fujifilm X-T1 and lenses to my sister to borrow indefinitely. I used to carry that camera everywhere, but for some time I haven’t really used or missed it.

How did this happen? I can think of a few reasons:

First, I got busy with other hobbies and work and life. I realized I mainly just wanted a photo record of my life to look back on, without having to spend hours editing and organizing photos. I stopped using Lightroom and migrated to Apple Photos for its better organization and syncing features.

Meanwhile, smartphone cameras got better. A decade ago, the photos from my HTC One were soft and noisy compared to the output from my Canon T1i. Now, my 2020 iPhone SE produces photos that are usually “good enough” with minimal effort. The Fujifilm is capable of making better photos, but it often requires more post-processing.

Finally, I’ve been discovering the joys of traveling light. A dedicated camera doesn’t seem worth the extra bulk and hassle when I’m covering miles and climbing hills on the road bike. It feels nice to be light and unencumbered when pedaling or hiking or even just walking around town.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I do sometimes miss that magic of creating pretty photos, but not enough to carry a camera in my day-to-day life. A few thoughts:

I could get a camera that is a bigger leap over my phone as an artistic tool, so there’s more reason to carry it and use it and invest time into the photos. I already have a film camera that I’m looking forward to putting some time into trying. The idea of picking up a used full-frame camera (like a Canon 5D MKII) also has crossed my mind.

Or I could fully embrace the smartphone as my primary camera. I want to keep my iPhone SE around as long as possible in the name of anticonsumerism, but I’ve also read that the 48-megapixel main sensor in the new iPhone 14 Pro can render images with a certain soulfulness its predecessors couldn’t…

Or maybe I should just accept that my time nowadays is spent on things other than photography, and it’s okay to drift away from interests and hobbies.

More to come later, maybe. I’ll post some film photos here after I shoot a roll, if there are any keepers…