The One Minute Rant – Size Should Not Matter


The fourth installment of the One Minute Rant. Each audio is one minute or less and focuses on a very specific topic to engage readers here on the FR to comment and start a dialogue! Just click on the RANT logo to listen.

8 Responses

  1. Someone sold me a Minox 35mm camera back in 1988 and I carried it with me for years and used it to make dozens of beautiful black and white and color (slide) images. A lot of my favorite photos might never have been made had I not had that Minox in my pocket.

    Although for 35mm, I’m primarily Nikon user, I also love the Olympus line for their small size and portability and the fact that I can carry a whole complement of lenses with about half the weight and bulk of the Nikon system.

    I love my small cameras.

  2. warren j

    the sizing up of ones camera happens even if you use a dslr. i use a pentax k20d with a few of the very small pentax prime lenses (35mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, 77mm f1.8) and i get teased by canon and nikon dslr users often.

    i agree with you though, i would rather have a camera that i can take with me all the time.

    in addition to the pentax i have added a nikon em and a olympus xa4. now i have three choices to take with me anywhere.

  3. Finley

    In general, the stigma against using small cameras is not necessarily unfounded. Small ‘point and shoot’ cameras evoke thoughts of poor optical quality, tiny negative formats such as aps and 110, and a complete lack of user control over the image. Also, a lot of photographers prefer a heavier camera, as they feel it is easier to hold steady. The weight also confers a (not entirely misguided) sense of sturdiness and durability.

    The Olympus XA series are the exceptions rather than the rule though, as they give the user more control over the image than pretty much any other ‘point and shoot’ camera. They also have good glass in them. Ninety nine percent of the rest of the point and shoot cameras ever made are essentially no good for creative work. I have no problem carrying my Leica every where I go, but I have been pondering putting together a rather unorthodox ultra compact kit. I am considering the purchase of a Leica CL with a dead meter, and then having the swinging meter stalk removed so I can mount a 50mm f/3.5 collapsible elmar on it. I can’t think of any way to produce a smaller package with a full range of camera controls, especially not with such good glass.

    How does your hit/miss ratio with your xa’s compare with other cameras you have used?

  4. Finley

    I agree wholeheartedly about the size issues with most DSLRs, and even a lot of film slrs.

    My basic point is that it isn’t really a surprise to get sideways looks from other photographers when you are seen using something like an XA as your main kit. Even though many know what great cameras XAs, Rollei 35s, and the others you mentioned are, they are all certainly in the minority as far as ‘point and shoot’ cameras go. As to the level of control over the camera, it is completely a matter of personal taste. I grew up shooting a K1000 pentax, and after a number of years of shooting it, I got a canon eos slr. My photography promptly went downhill (although I wasn’t conscious of it at the time) and I eventually quit shooting all together for a number of years. I don’t know for certain, but I am fairly sure that a large factor in this was the zoom lens and the various non-full manual modes on the camera. The more I became disconnected from the imagemaking process, the more I became disconnected from imagemaking. A couple years ago, I purchased a digital camera, but promptly went back to film. Not too long after that, I got in to holgas, but after a year or so, I found myself running in to the limitations of the holga way too much, so I found myself wanting full manual control on every shot again. I chose the Leica because of the small size, light weight, and spectacular optics (even though I shoot mostly with a voigtlander lens instead of a leica lens). Another bonus for me personally is the fact that I can shoot in lower light without a flash than I have ever been able to before, and it would take thousands upon thousands of dollars to be able to shoot in situations that are any darker. Also, for the first time in my photographic life, I have found myself as concerned about my shutter speed as I am about my aperture, which further rules out Av for me.
    With all of that said, I fully acknowledge that one’s method of making exposures, and the desired level of control over that method is an intensely personal decision, and I am certainly not one of those who thinks that everyone should do the same thing that I do. Your method is obviously working incredibly well for you, as two and a third keepers per roll is a fantastic ratio, especially on color film. If I average one and a half, I am thrilled.

    I think we would agree that the best camera system for any given individual is the one that gets used regularly, whether it is an 8×10 view camera, or a kodak APS camera (although i would probably still laugh to myself at someone seriously shooting APS ;)).

    As a quick aside, how does your Imacon handle scanning prints? One thing I have learned about myself is that I can produce much better darkroom prints than photoshop files, but I don’t necessarily want to always make a lot of darkroom fine prints due to the expense.

    Thanks for the site and the knowledge.

  5. Andy

    I’m right with you on this Stephen. I’m always trying to minimise the bulk of the kit I carry. I still do most of my shooting with a DSLR, and a small body like one of the entry-level Canons with a 24mm or 28mm lens does make a reasonably compact package… but it’s still far from pocketable. Of course you can get some really tiny digital cameras, but I just don’t like the image quality you get out of digital compacts. This is what led me back to 35mm film really. The Olympus 35RC is a personal favourite of mine, nice quality glass in a very compact package.

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