What Cars & Cameras Have in Common

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Colin Chapman (1928-1982) was the legendary designer behind Lotus motorcars and racing machines. It was his philosophy way before ‘minimalism’ became fashionable that “Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.”

This message seems lost on today’s car makers and it seems on camera manufacturers as well. The legendary Nikon F2 body weighed 1.85 lbs, while the Nikon D5 tips the scales at 3.12 lb. Yet the top of the line Panasonic Lumix GH4 weighs 1.05 pounds and heck, my Olympus EM-10 Mark I, at far right, weighs in at 0.76 lbs. The new Nikon Z6 weighs 8.2 oz less than a D5 but at 1.29 lbs is heavier than my GH5.

And the lens makers seem to be getting into this action too. I recently tested a third-party 85mm f/1.4 lens that was double the size and weight of Canon’s EF 85mm f/1.8 lens, which tips the scales just shy of 15 oz. By comparison, my Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm equivalent field-of-view) lens weighs only 4.09 oz and delivers spectacular results when used under the same kind of lighting conditions as its bigger, heavier competition.

Don’t get me wrong, that larger, more expensive lens has more technology, such as image stabilization and is one hell of a lens sharpness wise. And I’m not naive enough to realize that if you need to shoot billboard-sized images or sell 40×60-inch or larger fine art prints you need the biggest sensor and the most megapixels you can afford (key words) and if that means schlepping around a big camera along with a heavy tripod to get those kinds of results, I understand. But that doesn’t describe most of us.

So the question I’m asking myself (and you too if you’re interested.) Am I a better photographer if I use the camera on the left or does a camera that weighs less is the one that’s more likely to get used. In fact, the EM-10 Mark I was one of the cameras I used on my recent trip to New Mexico for that very reason.



Along with photographer Barry Staver, I’m co-author of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s available from Amazon for $21.88 prices with used copies selling at giveaway prices—less than four bucks, as I write this, which is cheaper than your morning Starbucks coffee.