There is a little bit of the gadget freak in all of us

by George Mann

When I say all of us, I am of course referring to all of us photographers. I remember that even as far back as my early teens, I would anxiously await the latest copies of Popular Photography and Modern Photography magazines every month.

When the magazines arrived I would read them from cover to cover, to look for the latest cameras, lenses, light meters (the Gossen Luna Pro, my first light meter, first came out in 1963), general must have accessories, like Nikon exposure button extenders (remember those?), the newest films, and special effects filters (cross star and prism effect filters were big then).

I think I first visited Willoughby-Peerless in New York (then the world's largest camera store) when I was about 9 years old. It was so huge and so over whelming, I will never forget that day.

For a number of years I made do with a twin lens Ricohflex that I was given on my 11th birthday, but at about age 16 I bought a Nikkorex F with a 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens and the acquiring of camera bodies, lenses and other essential gadgets, has never stopped since. There have been an incredible number of Nikon, Bronica, Mamiya, Hasselblad, and even various Sinar camera systems that have passed through my equipment bags over the years.

As I grew older I also became more interested in film developing and photo enlarging so my closets were always filled up with half empty bottles of some very dangerous and awful smelling chemicals. The smell of D76, Rodinal and print fixer was permanently absorbed into all my clothes and probably came out of my pores.

So here we are now in the age of digital cameras and computer based darkrooms. The photo magazines have been replaced by photo websites (and blogs) and the mail order camera and equipment dealers have gone online. Our appetite for photographic gadget (hardware and software) news and acquisition, seems to have increased to an even a higher level than ever before.

For the last ten years or so I have acquired and discarded a large number of digital cameras and accessories from Sony, Canon, Olympus and Nikon, plus the ones from Konica, Panasonic, Samsung and Leica that I just borrowed for "review" purposes.

The darkroom equipment and photo chemicals have also been replaced by an endless succession of new computers and ever more powerful software. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course, technology is allowing us to do things with photography that we never even dreamed of before and the advances are real, not imaginary.

So the big question for this blog posting is, where does Adobe Photoshop (especially Photoshop Lightroom) fit into this never-ending gadget acquisition scenario?

I have personally been using Photoshop since 1988, when I was handed a disk with a pre-release (Beta) version of Photoshop, at a Seybold Desktop Publishing Conference, in Santa Clara, California. So I would have to say that Adobe Photoshop is one of those long term gadgets, that seems to have found a way to either adapt to the changes in the photo industry as they occur, or at times even to make them happen. Photoshop Lightroom is the most cutting edge gadget version of Adobe Photoshop at this time and it is making the changes happen right now.