It’s better to have a piece of tool handy and ready for those moments you want to snap something significant to you.
When it comes to second-hand analog equipment, I’m always conscious of the overall condition of a camera, preferably the cosmetic condition. This gives some insight into how well used or maintained a camera was in its past, no different than a classic car. Mileage may vary but the cosmetic maintenance of something can be a telling tale of how it originally cared. Though, this past year or so I’ve ventured into this whole notion of owning a piece of well-used equipment, for those occasions that I felt like not bringing out a clean camera (especially the beachy salty weather conditions in South Florida) or worrying about something too expensive. All in all, it’s all about taking photos or documenting a moment and any tool that’s holding you back because of its value is devaluing your personal growth.
Revisiting why your camera doesn’t matter (in the grand scheme of things)
What it really comes down to is understanding that your camera is merely a tool that helps you capture what you want to perceive. In this day and age, a portion of the analog film community has developed a trend of obsessing cameras that can enhance your picture-taking experience with great ease or higher quality. In all honesty, it has held us back from what’s important, but rather focus on gear acquisition and obsessing over the next “best” camera to invest in. Taking photos for the sake of taking photos is something that needs to be developed more as a creative because it has the potential to point out your own flaws and techniques which can be worked on and developed over time. I’ll admit, it’s easy to fall into this vicious cycle of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and not on the art of photography. G.A.S. is described as a “condition” that some people have which causes them to want to purchase new camera gear, even when their current camera setup is perfectly good. It must be noted that this is NOT a legitimate medical condition, of course, It’s nonsense talk, but definitely is spoken about often….more than usual as it has developed over time within the community. Photographers up to a point will feel perfectly happy with their current camera setup and the photos that it was taken with, but now all of a sudden it seems unsuitable when they see something “newer” or “better” to them. I’ve explored and bought many different types of cameras, lenses, and camera accessories in the past, thinking it may help me with something specific. In some cases it has but the idea of having more cameras for overlapping needs has had cameras sit overtime, which in turn has left me wondering “which camera shall I take out today”. Having all these options and questions in the beginning has led more sidetrack to what’s important…so at times too many options were hindering.
AN OLD beater liberates when all else seems to fail with your photographic routine and understanding
What I’ve been realizing year by year are photo companies pushing their marketing stigma of technological improvements in cameras such as lens sharpness, corner to corner sharpness, chroma aberration, etc. etc. etc.. For decades, these marketing terms shifted our ways of perceiving an image and can(and has) confuse many creatives by asking whether needing this new feature or tech can enhance or reach the next level of imagery or success. We’ve been caught up on what seems best for our imagery (and in some cases, it does matter) by the buzz words being thrown at us, but there are things that are discarded from marketing spiels that shouldn’t be discarded from our artistic vision and vocabulary! From analyzing published books to online searches of known photographers/artists of our past, some images that are technically incorrect have been iconic. This acceptance from past artists and photographers has led me to understand that it’s perfectly okay to have images that aren’t in focus or tack sharp from edge to edge to our frame. Accepting these things from my understanding, it’s perfectly okay to explore these imperfections, as it can lead us to something very unique and liberating for our creative souls. During mid-2018 I’ve written down a goal to pursue the art of capturing, which defines my need to capture what feels right at the moment and be completely okay with how the image comes out, and not discard the image because it’s technically inferior to what I’ve to accept from social media. With this goal in mind has led me to explore other camera options that aren’t perfect in their own merits but function enough to capture an image onto a frame. This has led me towards finding my Fuji Tiara pocket camera…for $30 mind you! This camera has served my purpose of taking photos wherever I take it! And if didn’t set this new goal and idea, I probably wouldn’t have taken as many more photos; as well as, having a camera on-hand at all times!
why this little fuji beater
It took me a while to realize that I just wanted a small form-factor camera, something pocketable and simple. I was looking for a camera that had a decent wide-angle lens with a decent aperture for those moments where I feel like I may need it. My challenge was finding a camera that hasn’t been sought-after through social media and youtube and is within a reasonable budget, a sub $100 price-point. After doing extensive research and reviews of alternatives to cameras that I used to own and love (Leica CM & Rollei AFM35) I stumbled upon the Fuji DL Super Mini Tiara Camera. This camera seems to have everything I was looking for, coming from a ‘luxury’ compact camera, and being somewhat a budget camera (roughly $200 on eBay in 2018). I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the current price of the camera so I’ve kept an eye out for one that was fully functioning for a better price. Luckily enough, I’ve stumbled upon this Fuji Tiara from Japan through an eBay listing. I’ve negotiated for a lower price upon seeing what it was listed for and after a few back-n- forth with offers/messages, I’ve won this little gem. I took a risk buying this camera as the seller mentioned that it couldn’t test it (due to silly excuses and super low price ‘to sell’ reasoning) but was really happy and amazed after reviewing the first roll that I’ve developed. After that hump, I can surely say I’ve felt more comfortable carrying this camera anywhere in my pocket instead of carrying a $600 or even a $1500 pocket camera with me! As you may or may not know, these point-and-shoot cameras can just fail at any given time and can not be repaired (Mind you that these rare pocket cameras are getting harder and harder to repair due to lack of resources and materials). Even though this Fuji Tiara has no front cover, no battery door, broken back piece, dents, scratches, and imperfections, it works as it should! To give it an aesthetic flair, I’ve wrapped a carbon fiber vinyl around the side so the battery can stay in place during use and travel. Beyond that, I just make sure I have a small enough pin or pen to move the door hinge from the opening slot so the camera turns on and off; the rest is a matter of composing and taking snaps.
Encouraging you to explore
Find your one camera that you don’t care about losing if something ends up lost, stolen, or fails unexpectedly. Challenge yourself to find a camera that may be limiting compared to what you’re used to shooting. As a creative, a simple tool like this Fuji Tiara kept my mind focused, finding images to capture, even when I know it may not be technically perfect. The moment counts most and recording a frame that personally fulfills you during a moment is needed, especially afterward as you can critique your own work and self-reflect to see what you decided to shoot what you’ve shot. This gives you more opportunity to understand the way that you shoot certain things or subjects.. or the environment. Having a visual representation of a moment recorded in a frame is nice to refer back to when you want to recall something. This way the more images you capture, the more your mind will open to the possibilities of what you’re drawn to as a creative and how it can influence you personally and professionally. Some restrictions can help explore new boundaries and adventures so I definitely encourage you to step out of your own comfort and find something that works for you!. Here are a couple of personal captures that are drawn to me from using this camera. A separate review of this camera will follow soon!