Musings on Photography

Out with the old, in with the new

Posted in equipment by Paul Butzi on January 4, 2010


Well, the website remodel, the blog semi-remodel, and the passing into a new year had me fired up to clear out some old gear trade it in on new gear.

I spent today packing up old gear into the saved boxes. Amazingly, many of the boxes, warranty cards, original receipts, etc. have followed me in the move to the new home and have in many cases evaded being discarded for more than a decade.

In the ‘out’ basket:

  • Canon EF 28-70 f/2.8L – a great zoom which has been supplanted by the EF 24-105 f/4L IS. I like that IS!
  • Canon EF 1.4x converter. Used rarely, not used in the last decade, time to go.
  • Canon EOS 5d – I have the 5d mk II. I don’t need two bodies that use different batteries, sheesh. Still a great camera, but time to let it go. I’m afraid to look and see how many exposures I’ve made with it. Many thousands, I’m guessing.
  • the old, favored, venerable EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro. This puppy is not even the USM version, it’s the old slow arc motor thing. Remember when autofocus lenses made a noise like a small chainsaw when they focused? This is from that era.
  • Two Leica M6 bodies. I’m not going back to film. Time for these to move on.
  • 90mm f/2 Summicron-M – rarely used, not a favorite lens. Out it goes.
  • 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux-M – Even if I had a body to hang this on (say, an M9) I wouldn’t use it enough to justify keeping the investment in it. Without a body to hang it on it’s an expensive paperweight.
  • The remaining 4×5 kit: Linhof Technikardan 45s, 90mm Nikkor, 135mm Apo-Sironar-S, 210mm Sironar-N, 300mm Nikkor-M, and a host of meters, holders, and other ancillary items (want a great LF backpack, anyone?)

And in the hopeful ‘in’ listing:

  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro – I played with my friends, and was smitten.
  • Canon EF TS-E 17mm f/4L – Wide. Rise/fall. Tilt. It calls my name.
  • Canon EF TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II – I love the one I have, but I would not mind an improvement. If I get this, the lens it replaces goes.
  • One of those newfangled Leica M9 thingies. It would give me something to hang all my Leica M lenses on. Maybe.
  • If I don’t buy an M9, then I’m buying one of those Voightlander 40mm pancakes in EF mount. If I do buy one, I’ll probably snap up the Voightlander 40mm pancake in M mount.

Browsing the Canon website, I see that a bunch of lenses have been dropped from their lineup. Gone are the 45 and 90mm TS-E, I presume because they’ll be issuing new versions like the 17 and 24. Gone is the 50mm and 180mm macro. (full list at

Bottom line: clear out the old gear I’m not using. Buy the new gear that will let me tackle things I’m doing now in a better way (100mm f/2.8L Macro IS). Either get some old favorite gear (Leica M lenses) back into action (e.g. Buy an M9) or else sell it all off.

And, of course, this is all thinking out loud. This plan might not go off at all, although clearly some of this kit has got to go.

9 Responses

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  1. Andrew said, on January 4, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I just sold my Zeiss Ikon 35mm rangefinder along with the 35mm Biogon lens. Will miss it. Still have a couple of m-mount lenses to use with my Olympus E-P2. After a few more rolls my Mamiya 7ii may go, but we’ll have to see.

    I guess like you as my style and vision further develops my gear list needs grow shorter and more refined. Simpler is always better.

    That Noctilux alone may buy you an M9.

  2. Tim Parkin said, on January 5, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Might be interested in the meters/holders? What have you got?

  3. Hugh Alison said, on January 5, 2010 at 7:01 am

    I’m down to a small bag (Billingham L2) with a 5D2 and three primes for all my photography.

    Similar dilemma – do I keep the 5D as a backup – but I’ll probably never use it. I have a rule that’s worked well for me – all my gear has to fit in the Billingham bag – so that’s either two bodies with 35mm and 135mm lenses (shot very happily like this for years in film days) or one body with 35/85/135 lenses.

    I’ve also got a Pelicase with a Pentax 67, three lenses, and some tri-x – I think of that as my backup gear, but again I’ll probably hardly ever use it. Hanging on to it partly out of nostalgia I guess.

  4. Sean Galbraith said, on January 5, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I might be interested in the large format lenses. Please send me an email with prices.


  5. Patrick said, on January 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Meanwhile, there’s that lovely dog again.

  6. Alex Brikoff said, on January 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I can relate, Paul! A new year and a newly restocked camera bag! In with the new and out with the old! When I bought my f/1.4 50mm prime a couple of months ago, I traded a Jurassic era 70-200mm f/3.5 zoom for it. Yeah, it too sounded like a 50’s era Harley when the auto focus kicked in. May it RIP! By the way, I’m really happy with that new 50mm lens!

  7. Paul Butzi said, on January 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    Meanwhile, there’s that lovely dog again.

    Yeah. It turns out the dog is as important to the process as the camera is. How people make photographs without a dog, I’ll never understand.

  8. Paul L. said, on January 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Another lovely shot of Kodak!

  9. Paul said, on January 6, 2010 at 7:49 am

    My landscape photography has improved no ends since I bought our lovely Pitbull puppy on our photographic excursions

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