A ‘Beater’ Beats A Bare Hand

It’s better to have a piece of tool handy and ready for those moments you want to snap something significant to you.

Personal Note

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 shows its original care. 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 happening to a pricey tool. All in all its all about taking photos or documenting a moment and any tool that’s holding you back because of its value is devaluing your creative freedom.

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. With this day and age, a portion of the analog photography community has become a trend of obsessing or buying cameras which have been thought after as something amazing or enhancing your picture-taking experience with great ease or higher quality. In all honesty, it has held us back focusing on gear acquisition and less on taking photos or storytelling. 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 as I have explored and bought many different types of camera, thinking it may help me with something specific, which in turn has left me wondering which camera shall I take out today. Too many options can be a hindrance.

A beater liberates when all else seems to fail with your photographic routine and understanding

What I’ve been realizing year by year is photography companies are pushing their marketing stigma of technological improvements in cameras, lens sharpness, corner to corner sharpness, chroma aberration, etc. etc. etc. for decades 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 heavy technical terms 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 are tack sharp edge to edge or perfectly exposed. To explore these imperfections can lead us to something very unique and liberating for our creative souls. Mid 2018 I’ve written down that my goal is to pursue the art of capturing, which feels right in the moment of my assignment and be completely okay with how the image comes out, and not discard the image because it’s technically inferior to our social media standards. This has led me to explore the camera that isn’t perfect in its own merits but is functioning enough to capture an image onto a frame. This led me towards finding my Fuji Tiara pocket beater camera. For a $30 working pocket camera, it has served my purpose of taking photos, where if I didn’t have this camera, I probably wouldn’t have a camera on-hand.


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.  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 (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) but was scared to take out for daily use or even professional assignments, I stumbled upon the Fuji DL Super Mini Tiara Camera. Seem 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’ve kept an eye out online finding one that was fully functioning yet heavily used and luckily I’ve stumbled upon this Fuji Tiara from Japan. 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 (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 having a $600 or even a $1500 pocket camera that can just fail beyond repair (Mind you that these rare pocket cameras are getting harder and harder to repair (even if it’s repairable)).  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 travels. 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 focus, 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 during your self artistic critiques. Anyways having a visual representation of a moment in a frame 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 your personal and professional work. Some restrictions can help explore new boundaries and adventures. A couple of personal captures that are drawn to me from using this camera. A separate review of this camera will follow soon!


To be continued…

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