In Praise of Standalone Digital Cameras

In today’s epic and hyper-connected world with smartphones and the internet– what is the role of a ‘standalone’ digital camera?

1. Focus

Anaheim, 2019 #cindyproject #fujifilmxf10
Anaheim, 2019 #cindyproject #fujifilmxf10

My first thought:

The benefit of a standalone digital camera is the ability to focus.

The problem with smartphone cameras– you will always get distracted by the phone itself. For example, I think I’m going to start to swear off Android– because of the insanely addictive quality of it (the Google Play store knows too much of my preferences, and the Google Photos product is phenomenal– but also resurfaces old memories that I don’t necessarily want it to. I think photography is best as a tool for forgetting, not remembering).

Anaheim, 2019 #cindyproject #fujifilmxf10
Anaheim, 2019 #cindyproject #fujifilmxf10

The same goes with iOS/iPhone– the technology is phenomenal, yet, I always find myself getting lost and distracted in the App Store. It is my personal belief that we must scrutinize and be very very skeptical of the technology itself– whether it ‘triggers’ addictive behavior, or whether it is changing our thought patterns/activities in ways we don’t like.

A new shift

Going from no phone, to living with two phones, my basic takeaway is this:

I think phones might be a ‘net negative’ to me– in terms of subtly changing my thought patterns in ways which I don’t like.

I think moving forward, I will try to focus on just shooting with ‘standalone digital cameras’ (Lumix G9/Ricoh), and with my laptop (MacBook Pro) — in order to obtain more focus, and less distraction from the crack-cocaine device we (currently) call a ‘smart-phone’ (perhaps in the future we should call it a ‘crack-phone’).

The future of focus

My thought:

In the future, we will become bifurcated into a ‘digital elite‘ (individuals who can afford NOT to use algorithms and technology in their lives) and the ‘digital poor’– who are DEPENDENT upon “social media providers” to live their daily lives.

For example, a few weeks ago– I noticed this curious thing with Google Maps:

“Turn right at the WALGREENS”.

Obviously this is a subtle advertisement for Walgreens. But I didn’t want to be ‘nudged’ by Google Maps on thinking about Walgreens. Also, nowadays when I use Google Maps I will randomly see KFC/Equinox advertisements on the map shown predominantly. I personally don’t like to see these things– so I think I will start to “ween myself off” Google Maps whenever possible. Even using the super old-school built-in GPS in the car seems to be a good way to protect myself against random advertising.


Also more and more, I am starting to really think that YouTube is crack cocaine for both adults AND children. The ‘related videos’ sidebar is EXTREMELY ACCURATE (which makes it scary) — because it really is very very effective in knowing which videos will entice us (JAY Z quotes on success), and it is easy for us to go down this ‘rabbit hole’ of distractions.

What is the solution? Opt out. Know that your life will certainly be less convenient/entertaining without these services, but deciding to excise/remove these ‘free social media services’ from your life will probably be a “net positive”.

Experiment for yourself

I ain’t here to tell you what to do, or what to think. What I am trying to do is this:

Encourage you to be more skeptical of the world around you, especially when it comes to technology. And for you to make better decisions which are more “true” to yourself.

Xiaomi 9 se

For example, I prize my focus and attention above everything else. Thus, I am willing to take a negative ‘hit’ to myself, in order to preserve my zen-focus. But this is a personal choice for myself; it isn’t something that you “should” follow.

Discover your own ‘true preferences’ for yourself, and optimize your own life to maximize your strengths, and minimize your weaknesses.