#288. The Perfect Camera and the Perfect Lens: why I don’t leave home without them.

By philberphoto | Opinion

Oct 19

Once more, DearSusan’s is about to deliver unimaginable value to its esteemed readers: a cross between a revelation and an epiphany. I have identified and acquired the Perfect Camera, and kitted it out with the Perfect Lens!

That, however, cannot be explained without a bit of storytelling, for which I hope you will forgive me.164

This story begins with visits to a large Paris hospital. As parking close by is difficult, I cross a park to get there, and notice some beautiful subjects. The result is the birch picture in my Loxia 50 review.

Reflections on a glass building, searching for the perfect camera

But it is not a one-shot visit. The next one requires my walking past a modern building, with shapes made more interesting by reflexions. I pull out my Perfect Camera, take some quickies (I have yet to get to the hospital, and don’t have my priorities so screwed up that I can spare more time that that). I process them, like them, send them to Pascal, who, kind and understanding though he is, doesn’t exactly wax lyrical.

Reflections on a glass walls of a Paris hospital

Still, I persist. Not that that I have much choice, the large hospital remains close to that same building day in and day out, in good times and in bad ones. The next opportunity is exactly at sunset. Things begin to look real good to my eyes. Except, though I have my Perfect Camera, I did not bring my Ideal Tripod, and I am close to being shut out by the failing light. I swear, and then swear not to come back without my Ideal Tripod.

Symetrical perspective of glass buildings in Paris

Monday evening was one such opportunity. The weather played ball, and because I had it with me, didn’t need to rest my Perfect Camera on my Ideal Tripod.175

So, what is this Perfect Camera, what are the Perfect Lens and Ideal Tripod? Well, le me quote Enzo Ferrari, once again. He said, of his racing cars: “in order to finish a race first, first you need to finish”. The Perfect Camera is simply the one you have with you. The Perfect Lens is the one mounted on the Perfect Camera. How can any camera have any value as long as it remains inside the Perfect Camera Bag, preferably on the Ideal Shelf or in the Ideal Cupboard?177

So, simply put, why is it that so many people decide to take pictures with their camera phones instead of compact cameras? Because they never leave home without their phone. I am that way without my camera. My worry is that, one day, I will witness something truly beautiful, or, even worse, something important, and I won’t be this century’s Abraham Zapruder because this will be the one time when I’ll be lazy, and will have left home without it.178

But, until that day, I will continue to pick evening reflections on improbable buildings, and many such minors scenes of beauty from everyday life. And, as I walk from there to a concert hall, I may even snap a postcard or two. Because, after all, ça c’est Paris!

A barge on the Seine river in Paris, facing the Eiffel Tower and the sunset. Perfect camera and perfect scenery.

To achieve this, high-performance lightweight cameras are a blessing. Interestingly, if you read Paul Perton’s delightful account of our outing in Montmartre, you will see 4 ‘togs, 2 of them with A7s, 1 with a Leica M8, 1 with a NEX7. Meaning 100% high-performance cameras, and 0% DSLRs. So it seems I have company.

The world is getting used to nothing of note being out of reach of a camera and lens. But, at DearSusan’s, a camera and lens aren’t enough unless they are perfect! 🙂 In this context, I am not referring to any elusive technical perfection, but to the fact that, with his/her preferred camera, the ‘tog is in a perfect position to avail himself/herself of whatever he/she may come across, even more so if it is unplanned and unexpected .

And one thing is for sure: without your camera, it doesn’t matter! Don’t leave home without it.


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