This isn't investment advice but... here's some good collecting advice:
Steer clear of compact cameras. They are the least reliable over time. Cameras like the Nikon 35Ti and GR1 and Contax T3 can go from big money to worthless spontaneously.
I bought mine when they were a couple of hundred each. At today's prices, luxury film compacts don't make much sense.
This isn't investment advice but...
Vintage camera is a relatively good store of value.
Watches and jewellery have a huge retail mark up. I know; I'm in the pawn trade. Expect to lose more than half what you spent if you sell.
You don't rack up management fees holding cameras. Most second hand dealers here work on a 10% margin.
As long as a camera or lens isn't current production or has flakey electronics or badly stored, you'll probably sell it for at least what you should have paid.
This isn't investment advice but... I bought a lot of camera gear over the years and here's why:
I get a kick out of it. I enjoy camera gear, it feels like treating myself. A new lens offers fresh perspective. A new camera invigorated my enthusiasm.
And it doesn't hurt at all that I'm painlessly saving. Heck, I'm scrounging and laying away to effectively put all my spare cash into savings.
"Savings?" Photo gear can be sold. Either by me or my estate.
More likely the latter.
Your challenge as a photographer is to capture the one on the left using only light from the one on the right. https://mastodon.cloud/media/nB-Y5opXeRrOlayV5BM
Photography has parallels with golf. I kid you not.
You can practice, strategize and previsualise, but in that moment between the start of the downswing and contact, your mind should be pure and empty. Everything comes together from muscle memory and instinct. Trust yourself.
Likewise when photographing, don't cloud your mind with minutiae of camera operation. Trust your instinct and settings and get the shot.
Your favourite photograph may simply be valuable to you because it recalls a memory and of little value to others who do not share your connection with that moment.
It doesn't matter.
Take these photos. Make these memories eternal. Produce art for yourself. Slowly, you will learn to also make universal art, but memories are ephemeral, transient, fleeting.
Oh yes, and back up your f**king hard drive. ;-)
Pick an image that has held your interest for a long time; the longer the better. It may be yours, it may be someone else's.
Take time and fully explore why it holds your attention. There are layers and layers of reasons. Hidden depths are revealed as your wisdom grows. See how these lessons can be applied to new works, reflect on your new insights.
You can learn more from one good image than a thousand meaningless repetitions.
Learn how to inwardly appreciate and critique the work of the masters. Start by learning what there is to appreciate and what factors detract from a work of art.
Upon this universal structure you can hang your own work, compare its relative worth and learn in what ways you may improve.
The path is defined not by where you currently stand but the direction in which to proceed.
If I were given one day to teach someone photography, I'd not teach camera operation, technique, or aesthetics. I'd teach Kaizen (改善) the philosophy of continuous improvement, and Wabi-sabi (侘寂), the appreciation of the transient and imperfect.
Artistic development is a journey without conclusion and one must simultaneously critique and improve while appreciating today's flawed work as a milestone on the endless path.
"Switch to film," they said, "it'll slow you down and you'll learn faster."
Like all of my generation, I learned on film. I used a mechanical SLR and developed in a darkroom... However, I learned more with a fully automatic autofocusing Polaroid.
It's neither the medium nor the gear, but mindfulness that teaches. It's the quality of the feedback in the loop.
The role of the photographer is not so much to capture the image, but to elicit a response in the viewer by telling a story, conveying a message or immersing the viewer in the photographer's experience.
An artist photographer can craft this experience to his/her heart's content. Replace the natural light with his own sources, render it through the eye of any lens, and paint it onto any emulsion and the experience may be made to feel natural or surreal.
I still remember assisting a photographer on a swimwear fashion shoot, where he used a 400mm (after all, more is better right?) and was so far away he used a walkie talkie to convey instructions.
The images lacked intimacy and were slightly creepy.
Likewise, getting improbably close with a superwide lens comes out distorted and uncomfortable.
These can be useful effects, but not to be overdone.
The key to perspective when photographing people is to position yourself in a natural position with respect to the subject(s).
Vertical deflection (looking up or down) provides context, as does rotational relative position, but distance is the key to intimacy.
Then just frame the area of interest and shoot.
The viewer will subconsciously perceive the positional relationship between photographer and subject from the perspective cues.
When photographers start out, they use focal length to frame the shot.
The next stage is to understand the effect of perspective compression and these photographers tend to use zoom lenses at the extremes of focal length.
Later they pick a favourite focal length and shot everything at that length.
Ultimately, they learn the key is subject distance, and bearing in mind compression and framing, emphasise neither.
I would rather have a relatively clinical lens than a highly characterful lens as my only lens because a strong character can get tiresome.
However, it makes sense not to often two lenses with exactly the same clinical look (a wardrobe full of grey suits), because sometimes you want to make a flamboyant statement.
Bokeh is most apparent in a shallow depth of field shot with a structured background with complex macrocontrast at different ranges because this is where the artist means most heavily on the characteristics of the lens to dominate and rescue the image.
Bokeh is hard to define and explain, because it is a largely abstract and all inclusive concept.
It doesn't just describe the shape of the out of focus specular highlights. It refers to the entire gestalt of the aesthetic rendering of the lens, in the same way that beauty does not simply describe a symmetry of facial features.
Modern lenses are typically large and heavy, using many elements to correct away all optical aberrations.
The aberrations are a lens' fingerprint, its character, its soul.
Some degrees of aberrations make a lens a weak performer, some kinds make it ugly and harsh. But it the right combination, aberrations create an analog richness and can convey subtle cues of period context, emotion and meaning
This is my blog dedicated to photography and camera gear. I love the old school and collect 35mm cameras.
Generalistic and moderated instance.