I sold my once favorite camera on Ebay the other day. It was my Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, a remarkable tool whose technical capabilities were outlined in its techy name comprised of numbers, letters, and even classic Roman numerals.
Camera manufacturers, for some reason, refuse to give their products sexy or ironic names like Shutter Leopard, Exposurenator, or Megapixel Badger. The best they can come up with is usually a combination of numbers and letters that hints at years of refining and reworking technical details to death. In the end, however, the names just sound as random as a game of Pachinko.
I’ve replaced that camera with one far better. It not only has a host of incredible features and improvements over my old 1Ds Mark III but Canon gave it a sexier, simpler name: The Canon 1DX. They correctly surmised that eventually there wouldn’t be enough room on the camera body for all those numbers and letters if they continued with the old naming convention.
I like to think that I’m not so nerdy that I could become attached to something like a camera and I really wasn’t. You can’t refer to something that is capable of taking 10 frames a second as an inanimate object but, still, its just a tool. Besides, I had already moved on to a committed relationship with my shiny new 1DX (14 frames per second!) while my Mark III was gathering dust in the closet.
When that winning bid came through on Ebay for my Mark III I was glad to see it go and stop depreciating. The buyer was a Manhattan based orthopedist so I was able to arrange an in person meeting obviating the need for Fedex, insurance, and all that bubble wrap. As I handed over my old camera, a constant and uncomplaining, reliable companion that had accompanied me on hundreds of shoots all over the world for more than 6 years I was surprised to feel a momentary twinge of regret. That camera had taken a lot of great photographs. It had been between my eye and countless adventures - mostly good, some bad and a few really annoying.
It wasn’t exactly a Sophie’s Choice moment but suddenly I started feeling a little sentimental about a little ergonomic black box. “So what kind of photography do you like to do?”, I asked the doctor, hoping that my camera was moving on to a meaningful or exciting retirement. Maybe he’d be taking incredibly sharp photos of his patients’ injuries for medical research. Perhaps it would help him record his African safari vacation or that trip to the Galapagos that he’d been planning for years. “Oh, I’ll probably just use it to take pictures of my grandkids”, he replied.
My heart sunk just a little. All those hopes for my tireless and dedicated camera that had never once asked for a roll of film, a repair, or even an oil change and this was going to be how it spent its last days? I’m sure his grandchildren are really cute, but... Oh well, I could use that money for something that would help me continue to explore my own love of photography. He might use it to take a few photos of his patients and it would make a great tax deduction. As my buyer pulled away with my camera resting on the leather seat of his Infinity, I knew, at the very least, that he had an appreciation for a supremely well crafted piece of technology.