Things You Should Know

IF IT AIN’T BROKE ….

travel_photography_gear

Have you ever learned from those prophetic words, albeit after the fact?  Meaning, sometimes things really aren’t broke and thus do not need fixing, as the rest of the saying goes.  This valuable lesson was abundantly clear after investing a good bit of time, only to discard the entire quest.

What am I talking about?  Buying a new camera.  After years of taking what I consider very good photos  — integral to sharing my travel stories — I wondered if I needed something more.  Given this year’s November trip to Antartica, the thought of not capturing everything at the highest level concerned me.  I consulted others who have been to that remarkable region to query what they brought.  The answer typically was a mix of both smartphone and traditional camera.

But since maximum consideration is always given to the camera quality — and screen size! — when acquiring my smartphone, I have relied solely on that device for quite a few years now.  That includes 2021’s trip to Africa (photos below from Uganda and Tanzania).

BWINDI FOREST, UGANDA

My trip to one of LA’s best camera stores was insightful.  My last comment to the salesperson:  “You know, you’re talking yourself out of a sale here.”  Why?  Because he shared that cameras are becoming relics.  That the quality of built-in cameras in smartphones is so good that people are opting for those only.  And if companies cannot sell enough units to make it economically feasible to manufacture them, they will discontinue making the cameras.  It was disappointing to say the least as the lack of enthusiasm made me wonder why he was in his chosen profession at all.

Nevertheless, I pursued my quest.  I looked up every online review I could find for a “point and shoot” camera.  Meaning, the camera can function fully automatically via the “AI” setting. But it can also be operated manually to satisfy a photographer’s desire to compose unique pictures.  Plus the camera offers wifi and bluetooth capabilities.

I finally pulled the trigger on a Panasonic Lumix with many bells and whistles.

And guess what?  I’m returning the entire thing.  Why?  The features have gotten so complicated, the technology so daunting, that even transfering photos became a matter of needing new software, etc., etc. Biggest issue? The screen size.  I couldn’t see if the photo was in focus and it drove me nuts!  Are these challenges because of my 70-year-old brain and/or eyes?  Maybe.  But I have zero problem syncing up a new smartphone and making it fully functional.  So I think I’m pretty capable.  (My smartphone is OnePlus with a huge gorgeous screen!)

What’s the takeaway here, besides “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?  Sometimes what we have is quite good “as is.”  Maybe the cruise ship will have camera equipment to use (many safari camps do with incredible lenses).  And there’s that $800 in “mystery savings” from returning the camera that I can use for something else.  Someone help me convince the hubby of those savings, though …