Before phone cameras became good enough to rival a mid-entry DSLR camera, I used to carry around my Nikon camera and a lens or two every time I took a trip. A day trip to Amsterdam or a weekend away to Paris or Antwerp. But the more improved phone cameras became, the more bogged down I felt lunging my camera and lenses around.
I’m already tiny, so carrying a camera body, lenses, and other things one usually takes just became too much. My Nikon started gathering dust. I only used my phone and for a brief while, I shot film with an Olympus Trip 35 and a Yashica T5.
The moment I knew I was truly done with my Nikon was when I went to Manhattan and only took my Samsung S8 phone with me. Not good enough to print large prints but decent enough to have great memories of my trip.
Right before the pandemic hit I traveled home to Aruba and Curacao to visit family. Again not even considering taking a camera with me. Just my phone, this time my current one, Oppo Reno2. Again I took great shots, not large print quality but good enough.
And then the pandemic hit, I had to cut short my vacation and took the first flight back to the Netherlands. I never thought I was a super active person, but it took a lockdown to realize how much I actually did move every day. My daily commute from The Hague to Rotterdam. Lunch walks, short grocery runs every other day. It all adds up. The Netherlands never had a strict lockdown, but being a high-risk patient I stayed mostly at home until the infection rates went way down. But during the lockdown, in a small apartment, life became a drag. I had to do my best to be creative. I wasn’t motivated to take walks or anything.
I decided I needed to get serious again about an old hobby again to motivate myself to get out of the house and to be creative. I cleaned out my camera gear cubby and traded everything I had that still had value and decided to buy one premium compact and versatile camera that is easy to take with me when going out.
Research is half the fun
My aim was to get a camera foremostly for street photography and secondary, landscape.
In an ideal world, money would not be a restriction and I would just simply buy a Leica Q2. But alas as I am not a professional photographer and make no money off it, hence a more affordable camera is a must.
I contemplated getting a second-hand Fuji X-T20, but I really wanted a compact camera with no temptations to buy lenses. The Fuji X100V has a 35mm prime lens and I get frustrated with prime lenses above 28mm.
From my search, the Lumix LX100ii came up several times as a good street photography camera with a bonus point: A 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 Leica lens. With rings and dials for the f-stop, aperture, and exposure, each. I also like the fact that it has a viewfinder, something many compact cameras nowadays lack.
I spend hours reading reviews and comparing cameras against each other. In the end, I went for the Lumix LX100ii
Since I own the Lumix LX100ii, I try to take it with me whenever I go out. I force myself to use it for every photo I take, except when I want to put something right away on Instagram. But when I’m on photo walks I do my best to leave my phone in my pocket and only shoot with the Lumix.
I shoot mostly manual. Although I have yet to experiment to the fullest with a wide range ISO.
After months of shooting with the Lumix, the only thing I really miss is that it’s not weather-sealed. Which has made it hard to shoot a lot in this rainy summer. Another thing against it is the fixed back screen. Which requires more work and creativity from me to get certain shots or if I decide to take self-portraits.
They say the best camera is the camera on you. But after owning several types of cameras for the past 20 years, I learned you must love using the camera on you. I owned two Nikons DSLR, while they took good photos I did not love using the camera all the time. The Lumix I love using a lot, how quickly I can adjust the settings and be ready to shoot different settings. And the compactness! It was handy though finding out how to disable the iA button, which I accidentally pressed many times. Even after months, I’m still learning how to take the best photos with it.
Also, one never stops wanting extra gear. I would still love to own a secondhand Fuji X-T20 with a weather-sealed 27mm pancake lens. For rainy days shooting or when I want to challenge myself to be extra creative by shooting with a fixed prime lens. I keep an eye out in case I ever see a good deal on this camera/lens combo.
I hope to keep improving my photography skills, become more creative, and find my go-to Lightroom post-processing signature. I currently still use a combination of free and premium presets. I’m still working on having a minimum of my own default presets to use.
Most of all getting back to photography has helped me deal with the pandemic. Not only do I plan walks to get out of the house, but walking and focussing on taking photos help me get outside my head and stop overthinking. Instead, I’m solely focused on finding small details to photograph and trying to get the best angle and shot.
I’m still restricted in where I can go due to being immune-compromised and the delta variant, even with both vaccine jabs. So hopefully a third jab will be given and I’ll be better protected so I can travel by train for shooting photos in other cities. In the meantime, I’ll keep walking these streets of The Hague and shooting whatever catches my eyes.