💡 📷 Off-Screen Hobbies: Photography

In order to not fully keep derailing Lauren’s thread, continuing my post from here: Podcast add-on/status update - Laurens

And dragging this thread completely off topic, more and more I’m thinking about making lists and talking about and getting into with people on interesting hobbies and activities that don’t involve the Internet at all. The mechanics of vision improvement, yea sure whatever. But goalpost of 20/20, what to do with it, that’s where it’s at.

Like now playing with old rangefinder cameras with manual focus, you want great eyesight (and no astigmatism) for sure. Fall into a fun hobby, have a reason to see better.

So the ongoing backdrop to the story is, I’m always on the hunt for things to not tempt me to look at screens.

Internet / screen stuff is an addiction. It’s always present and it’s not going away. My approach to it, rather than fight it, is find other, more useful addictions to tempt one instead.

Kind of why I try to update my Instagram, sort of an occasional catalog of … stuff that’s not on screens. Kitesurfing was one of the big lucky hits as far as eating up a lot of not-screen-time.


I realize though that’s quite niche and also impractical for a lot of people. You need water and wind and gear and plenty of time for that one.

So when lately I fell into the rabbit hole of old timey photography, once again feeling like maybe, just maybe there’s one for more people.

In my younger days it was all film and no auto focus and not really great automatic exposure I even learned to develop film (just black and white). Loved it as a kid, though couldn’t afford a whole lot of film rolls.

When a friend here suggested playing with manual cameras, I went on a research binge, which led me to the very divisive (and of course with all things divisive, interesting) topic of Leica cameras.

A company that makes a manual focus only camera, in 2020. Something not marketed as “tha latest features bomb of the moment, 8k stabilized AI processing thingie-thing”.

Lots of people seem to hate it. Sure, probably because expensive and a lot of snobbery around anything that’s defying standard norms and Chinese manufacturing based price tags. Or whatever, surely humans care about status. :wink:

I bought one, anyway. Second hand. They’re not outrageous second hand. And they don’t really lose much value at all from there.

Haven’t put it down, since. It’s “wearable”. No case. It’s something that causes you to fiddle with, adjust, tweak, it is a bit like gaming in that you have to get BETTER at the thing, to get a better outcome. And not in front of a screen.

It’s vexing. And fun. And a reason to go outside and actually be looking at things.


I do also own just about every other kind of digital camera. Never used any of them to take pictures, just for the Youtube stuff. 70D, M6, Osmo, RX100, EOS R, GoPros, etc etc etc lenses etc.

Seems part of the point is that you CAN’T go to let the thing do the work for you. And something about rangefinder-ness. You see the actual thing, not a through-lens depiction of it.

Also finding that people react very differently to it, vs. having a phone camera shoved in their face. Something about the old-school-ness perhaps, the reactions are super fun and playful, not annoyed - or preening, as per standard reaction to phone cameras.

Glad to share more on what I found in the semi-deep-dive on research on this one. It’s absolutely silly and has no point at all. Other than, the hours we might be not spending then scrolling through Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, binging on Netflix, etc.


Your explanation of what attracts you to this hobby reminds me of a documentary I watched recently:

Who in 2020 needs “instant film photography”? That’s what phones are for, no? Well, not only did a company manage to buy out an old Polaroid factory and recreate their processes (some of the original chemicals became unavailable commercially), but they were also able to go beyond the nostalgic photographers and actually sell to young customers who are attracted to this art form specifically because it’s not digital and you need to pay attention to what you do because you end up with an immutable physical artifact.


Love it. Also discovering the tactile fun of photobooks here, and making some out of various trips and experiences. :slight_smile:

I’d love to see some shots from this camera :wink:

What a coincidence, I also started digging in to photography a few weeks ago. Not on old school cameras but on an “old” DSLR (550D) and I absolutely love it. You tend to wander around differently when you’re outside, always looking for a good photo composition - even when you’re not carrying your camera. So I think it’s not only automatically bringing you to look further away, it also makes it extremely enjoyable and calming :slight_smile: You can get stuck in close-up however if you decide to do some studio-style photography :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’m not a great photographer. Also seems that in many ways the output isn’t all that different from what can be done with an iPhone or any other modern camera. Enjoying the manual process though, having a “thing” just for pictures.

Last few Insta pix are from it: https://www.instagram.com/jakeysteiner/

Lots more but generally I don’t like putting the actually interesting stuff on the Interwebs.

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Photography is interesting, I dont own any physical cameras at this point, just my phone.
But I agree, all this go outside and explore the world around you using ‘active focus’ has got me interested in capturing those moments too. I’ve been making a point of taking photos of most wildlife I come across, and its pretty nice- all the squirrels and rabbits and insects, plants, etc.

And you are a decent photographer Jake, I follow you on IG :joy: Its also cool that you take photos of places in South Asia, gives many of us different perspectives on how other societies operate.

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Thaaaaanks. :pray:

I do take a ton of pictures, though most of it isn’t suitable for a general public sort of Instagram situation. (more like an evidence brief presented to a jury) :yum:

Ironically I have zero studio style pictures. Every time I do a podcast, the host ask for a headshot - and I end up just sending some small jpg of whatever comes up in a scroll through the ‘endmyopia uploads’ folder.

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Nobody cares, Jake, about your off-topic photo threads.

I know. But since when has that stopped anything?

Been going outside to explore this island. And find super random stuff. To take pictures of. Like this tree-ish house built on a cliff, around rocks, right on the ocean.

Plenty more tempting than laying around watching Youtube. :grimacing:

Taken with the 70 year old manual focus tech that is “flagship” Leica these days. Also a little hilarious. Made of two separate pictures, then stitched together in Lightroom.

Just one example of ways to keep yourself from falling into the default-hole of passively browsing Internet content. Also imagine the actual dude (dudes, dudes and ladies, dudes and ladies and gender non binary creatures), who actually built this thing. How many of them wear glasses?

Get out there and play!


Yes, I would be curious to see what that house is like inside, thats amazing architecture/engineering :joy:

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They’re actually rentals and the whole hillside is scattered with them - all different ones, super cute.

(didn’t peak inside)


Finally got rid of my smartphone. Well, I kept it for traveling because Maps, Uber, Translate and so on are too convenient, but I disconnected it from my WiFi, took out the sim card, and let the battery run out. Best decision of my life.

Anyway, had to replace the functions of my phone. Now I carry around a Nokia, mp3 player, little notebook, and… an actual camera.

Bought a Fuji X100F used. People compare it to Leica sometimes. It has a sensor but it’s not that accurate, so I’m forced to play with and learn the manual controls, which are fun to use.

The X100 series also offers “film simulations” which gets you cool effects without any postprocessing (less screen time!)

This is the perfect hobby for endmyopians. One less screen, motivation to get outside, more awareness of lighting around you, the lens even works similar to your own eye.

I’m not that good yet but having fun, and getting better images than with my iPhone (people say the gap has closed, but to my eyes smartphones don’t even compare).


Yay! :tada:

Marcin got it! I know totally how far I’m out there with the ramblings. And the lacking popularity of my threads on these things points out those obviousness-es.

Indeed, though. Camera. Also notebook. (since I can’t stop myself at a reasonable level ever, I also went for fountain pen and notebook :joy:)

Congrats on the X100. People keep saying how that is the best one of these particular setups. Love the bottle pic!


Well not an old school camera but took a bit of a nature walk with the kiddos and the shutter bug in me couldn’t resist snapping a few. Figured I’d share a couple :slight_smile:


Wow! @Marcin I love that you have a little smart phone replacement collection of items. Which phone to you have now?

I find I need to be weary of the balance - I go for a walk and start appreciating nature, then I want to photograph it, and then I just feel like photographing everything, and I have to remember to put the camera away and look at things again. :woman_facepalming:Sometimes it feels like I can spend half my time looking at my range finder if I am not careful.


Old DSLR are better in this regard, because there through the range finder actually looks into the distance through a mirror, and not just a screen which you see in close-up. If they would be not as large and heavy as they are I may even get one because of this :thinking:


for me its like I learned why photography can be fun after gaining depth perception


@gemilymez have that problem too. I would really really like to stand where you are standing when you took that pic!!

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This is why I use a literal rangefinder! It’s about as silly old school as it can possibly get. Also quite small and all, for a full frame situation. (Leica M10 - though also looked into M9 and M8.2 which get almost justifiable price wise, and won’t depreciate further)

There is also something entirely magical about a camera that has no computer looking over your shoulder. There is no auto focus. There is no fancy metering. Automatic mode is a joke.

You literally have to pick your own ISO and shutter speed and aperture, and focus - and then you push the shutter release and it records using a sensor rather than onto film.

A truly old school camera experience that has a digital sensor. I wasn’t really able to wrap my head around how cool that really is, till I’ve owned the thing for well over a month. I played with the simulated versions of this, from Fuji X100 to a Leica Q2 I also have (looks and feels almost the same, but very much modern with OLED viewfinder and all sorts of fancy stuff telling you what you should be doing).

Nothing comes close to the experience of proper real old school, somehow.

Smartphone maybe takes better pictures. But the experience of you taking your actual own photos, that’s what makes me want to bring it along.

Of course it’s totally silly.

For example, took this random nothing snap this morning, slightly underexposed not quite on purpose. Still getting back into the hang of just knowing the right exposure. :wink:

Something organic and emotional and not-clinical-computer-generated about the human fallibility resulting imperfect but mood filled output:

My phone would not take a picture like this. :man_shrugging:

Plus all time that didn’t end up being spent laying in the hammock reading pointless news on a screen.


Sooo… do you plan to buy this? :rofl:

(just got it as an ad on fb :smiley: )
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That sounds just like those flip phones that can use 4G and Google Maps. Like the most useful features of a smartphone without stealing your focus and mind; a perfect trade-off. (I wouldn’t feel comfortable switching back to the phones from 20 years ago because I feel safer with the internet and maps, but that also must be unnecessary for other people.)