My Camera and Me; A Love triangle or Why Apple Needs to Step up Its Game

Today I want to talk about a relationship, my relationship with my DSLR camera, which lasted for 7 years.
We split in 2019 after seven years of being together. Years of happiness, and love.

But how did it come to this? Bear with me.

I have — or had — a Canon EOS 7D. A tough magnesium alloy-bodied camera that was made for camera lovers. She wasn’t only about the hot body. She had brains and class. I mean those double sensors with a burst rate of 8 frames per second. Knocked me out of shoes every time I worked that shutter. Those raw files. I could never get to the bottom of thems, no matter how much I cranked up the brightness in Lightroom or dug up the details in Photoshop.
That’s how deep she was, brother. She had character.

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Japanese woman wearing modern kimono and accessories in Tokyo. 2018. Ali Noorani

To this day, I take our memories to Photoshop or Lightroom and I am blown by the great images that we captured together.

Romantic scene of cherry blossoms in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. 2019. Photo by Ali Noorani
Romantic scene of cherry blossoms in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. 2019. Photo by Ali Noorani
Romantic scene of cherry blossoms in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. 2019. Photo by Ali Noorani

But it was too good to be true.
That hot body and her super charming wits came with a price. Call me selfish but she was heavy.
I did try to bear with her but I just couldn’t lie to myself. She felt like a brick in my backpack.

And things weren’t easy.
It’s not like she came with wifi and an app that could send the photos right out to my phone like these young mirrorless chicks can do. Smart and serious, she was. But not bendy.

She was fine, almost perfect. It was me. With my always-looking-for-the-best attitude!
So, we had to end it.

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My Canon EOS 7D with EF-S 15–85mm. Ali Noorani

It’s not like it happened overnight.
When I rescued her from a bad relationship, she felt completely untouched and new and the shopkeeper was even so nice to give me a fresh one-year warranty. Yes, we started properly.

We were passionate. I just couldn’t put her down. A year into our relationship my hard disk broke down. I recovered 12,000 images. In one year! So many goofy images in the first years, but those are the ones you cherish for the rest of your life. You know what I mean.
By the time we were about to split, we had produced less than a fifth of that, and who are we kidding? Most of them in “bursts”.

So, it was time for the talk.
“You are a great camera. Photography material,” I said. “Believe me, it’s just me…. I’m not ready for a heavy-duty companion like you.”
Of course, she wouldn’t have it.

I asked my brother to arrange it. To find her a new match who would deserve a camera like that. I was depressed. My friends were happily married to their DSLRs or at least they knew where they were heading. Some of them have their second or third backups and baby cameras!
I looked at those with their mirrorless loves in their pockets at the parties. They looked happy.
In fact, they partly encouraged me to take the leap. Bastards.

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Naghshe Jahan sq. in Isfahan, Iran. 2013. Ali Noorani.

We did try to make things work. You know where and when we started, dating was — and remains— illegal. We met in Iran.

Whatever direction I turned the camera, there was some father or husband or brother shouting “Yo! Who do you think you’re photographing! Don’t you have a sister yourself?!” You know, I always say that whatever beautiful landscape you find to photograph in my country, a Revolutionary Guard pops out of the corner and asks for your ID. “This is a confidential military site,” they’ll say. “No photography!”

Joking aside, the situation didn’t help. Kudos to those who are making it work under tough conditions!

When we decided to move to Japan, we thought that it will be a dream-come-true. I dreamed about all the photoshoots that I would book and how long it would take for me to quit my job and open my own business. The reality? Japan is so clean and dreamy that the fire hydrants look more polished than my utensils. But you think for a country that has given us Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic, the Japanese people and businesses would be a bit more comfortable around cameras!
At least the Revolutionary Guards don’t stop you from photographing a convenience store for your travel guide project.

Still, we made good images in Japan too. Cheerful and joyful moments.

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Smiling young woman in Yokohama, Japan. 2018. Ali Noorani

This dog walker, or rather sleepwalker or whatever.

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Sleeping dog walker. 2018. By Ali Noorani.

So, it’s not like we didn’t try.

I was lost and angry.

I don’t want to talk about the one time that I opened my 7D’s eBay page — which we all know is an online dating site for products.
I remember her racy profile photos in that provocative cover I bought for her. I wish I hadn’t seen that.

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I knew I had to move on. I looked at so many mirrorless cameras. Except that I always found myself holding another DSLR in the camera shop. I felt guilty and confused. My shrink says it’s me, always going for the wrong cameras.
But it’s not my fault. I’m not a student anymore. I am 35. Some of the makers indeed try to replicate things for us old folks with their retro designs. But holding these new cameras just doesn’t feel right, you know. With their pancake lenses and electronic viewfinders and crazy-ass minuscule flashes.

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Here I am, over a year later, not back with the 7D, not with my old analog, not with a mirrorless and certainly not with another DSLR. But with an iPhone in my pocket.

I feel paralyzed.

Shouldn’t the camera makers find a solution for people like us? People, who hate to open up photos on the computer to find muddy noise and overcooked saturation and distortions? It seems not. Millions of people nowadays seem to be happy with these low standards, compared to the beauties that were images produced by pro DSLRs.

I guess we are a minority now — if not ever, never able to forget the sweet taste of photography but too old, too busy, or too tired for the old gear.
Here I stand in a love triangle. Me, my camera and my iPhone. Wondering out of all things in the world, why can’t my iPhone shoot RAW?
I know that’s a ridiculous thing to ask a sensor the size of a water drop but hey, we’re letting our imaginations wild here, aren’t we?

Between Apple and Adobe, one should better start working.
We know that Apple is a self-obsessed baby. Research shows that each Apple product spends 1 hour and 47 minutes each day, pondering how superb it is and checking the photos of late Steve Jobs. That’s clinical-level depression.
It’s probably on Adobe to find a solution to work with HEIC files, so we can just work these semi-wide photos a notch.

At least, until we find our new loves.

Multimedia journalist based in Tokyo, Japan who obsesses over photography and video editing in his free time. Read more from Ali at www.en.alinoorani.ir

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