😳 Crazy Hobbies: $12,000 For A Camera That Doesn't Even Auto Focus?!

Bit of a repost from Facebook

Goal: Filling Your Spare Time With Worthwhile Activities, Limiting Passive Media Consumption :thinking: :camera:

One of the things you’ll hear me always talk about, is finding new hobbies. Things that don’t involve passively consuming content. Things that inspire you to get out there and see things.

20 years ago this sort of talk would have sounded like a crazy person’s thing. Now? People literally forget that there is an actual world out there, beyond their screen-pacifier.

That said, it’s now an actual challenge to convince yourself to go find things to play with. Since really, what can beat endless Youtube and Netflix and Instagram?

I’m ALWAYS hunting for things to do.

Quite recently got back into old school (-ish) photography. Manual focus only cameras, minimal light metering, making a whole process out of looking at the world around, and figuring out ways to capture. Lots of active focus, lots of not being tempted to look at a phone.

A bit of commitment and also finding that friends around me get really into playing with my old school cameras when they’re in their vicinity.

Saying this just as potential inspiration for your own casual research for new and interesting no-screen hobbies. All this stuff is what everybody used to do before we collectively went into hibernating from real life by means of endless screen staring. :smiley:

(Also, title a bit of clickbait. Definitely didn’t spend $12k on cameras - if you know me … it’s all very much second hand, end of product lifecycle / discontinued stuff, largely depreciated and easily resold for much of the principal investment.)



Click bait title or not, many hobbies be expensive! But we largely live like it’s still the 90s in my house, so we are fans of various screen free hobbies :blush:


I used to lust after the Leica cameras, but digital really killed them, at least for a while.

Doing it that way is definitely old skool!


I was really into cameras at a time, wanted to get a DSLR and even was thinking about getting into old school cameras because of price… but honestly the advance of mobile phone cameras totally killed it for me. The phone is always with me, it doesn’t take up much space and it’s lightweight. Anything else is much more complicate. Which usually means I will simply leave them at home or in the bags and just use my phone. Unfortunately I love convenience too much :slight_smile:


Some of us still prefer to be present and fully engaged in perceiving the real thing rather than so concentrating on capturing it, that one does not actually see it. :wink: I suppose one can do both, as long as one does not immediately whip out the camera.

I prefer the souvenirs that are in my head., but as a hobby it beats a good many others. Drawing landscapes would be a good way to hone aspects of one’s vision, and costs a great deal less.


Really? I mean does it really apply to most people you know? In my view it really only applies to the under 30’s maybe under 35’s who grew up with internet and mobile phones. Anybody middle-aged or older already has plenty of non-screen-related hobbies


If I had that cash, I’d totally spend it on a hay equipment set.


The same thing happened to me. I have a shelf full of expensive DSLR lenses, and two expensive cameras that sit unused these days. I’m kicking myself for not offloading them last fall before COVID and before Nikon mirrorless became serious. But the fact is, my iPhone 11 yields pictures that aren’t that much worse than my DSLR’s for the photo situations it does well with.

There are many areas my DSLR’s are superior, but most of the time, I just can’t be bothered to bring out the big camera gear, take pictures, go through the whole post-processing pipeline with Lightroom, etc. The results are still as spectacular as you’d expect, but I find myself no longer caring as much.

I’ll capture the family events, etc with my phone (or more accurately, my wife does), and I find I don’t really miss the shelf of expensive gear anymore.

No regrets, though. It was a really fun hobby for almost a decade, learned a ton about light and photography.

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I’ve dabbled on both ends where good camera is better than the phone. I used to have a 75 gallon aquarium full of little half inch long freshwater shrimp that were translucent. The phone doesn’t refocus for macro shots very well. Then on the other end, when we started doing video for church, we wanted to put the camera in the very back and zoom in on the pastor’s head, also more than the phone camera lens could do.

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I used to really enjoy photography, and phones killed it. Somehow. Just too easy and no longer involving as a process.

I used to develop my own film back in the day for fun (just black and white, though).

Going all manual and having to think about it on your own, definitely seems to have an impact. Part of this experiment is to find out if that’s actually what’s going on - or if the fancy has just passed and new cameras are just the ‘honeymoon’ of playing with a new thing.

We’re dealing a lot with under 35. :wink: But yea also a lot of my older friends are turning into zombie phone addicts.

I was never even mildly curious.

Friend of mine here was musing about old school cameras, that threw me into a rabbit hole of camera research. And that in turn into a lot of pretty heated arguments specifically about Leica.

More than anything was curious what would get people so riled up about camera gear that they’ll get all kinds of hostile on one end, and really defending their stuff on the other. Especially since the arguments themselves weren’t really useful to determine what’s actually going on. (Kind of does seem to be where we’re at with communicating via the Internet with lots of things though, eh?)

Way too early to tell, but … the picture outcomes seem to not be all that different even from a modern iPhone, but 1) the process of taking them is a completely different experience and 2) people react a lot differently to having their picture taken with that vs a phone.

Also have a big Canon here (for podcasts / video), but picking that up does nothing for wanting to take pictures. Too big, too heavy, and way too much electronic gadgetry wanting to take over … “here, let me do this much BETTER, for you”.

I’m suspecting that it’s something related to what my friend here usually summarizes as “Jake likes doing everything the hard way”. :smiley:


There is something to be said for that.

As for religious wars, we do it with operating systems, cars, trucks, food, and actual religions, so why not camera gear (range finder vs SLR, German vs Japanese glass, etc.)?


Sure, cameras are still superior and always will be unless they totally revolutionize how lenses work (I don’t think it will happen, because of physics). And yeah, I would never want to shoot example a wedding with a phone. But for everyday life, for example going for hiking or going sightseeing and so on… cameras is just so much hassle compared to a phone.

Of course if it’s a hobby, that you have a session for "yeah, I’m now going somewhere expressly to shoot photos, then it’s a different beast. But I’ve never really get into that. Could be a good hobby though and good distance practice, especially with manual cameras where you don’t have a small screen to look at for the settings and where the viewfinder is not a screen :slight_smile:


Living with in-laws, one of them is 80+, other 70+. While they have outdoor hobby (gardening) when they are indoor they mostly are on computer or on tablet / phone. I’m pretty sure they have at least 2-3 hours per day of computer / phone close-up time. More on bad weather days.