Okay, let me get one thing out of the way right off the bat: There is absolutely no way for me to write this post without feeling like a jerk. I’ve slotted it into the “greed” category, and that’s exactly where it belongs. I try to keep the I WANT THIS STUFF, DON’T YOU WANT IT TOO posts to a minimum around here (not because I don’t want stuff, but because I find it exhausting and depressing to focus more on what one wants than on what one already has), but I’m human. And sometimes I’m greedy, especially when it comes to beautiful, functional objects. So.
The last time I bought a camera was three years ago (cripes, I was a lot thinner then…), and I got a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5. I always say that I only take photos because I have to rather than as a form of artistic expression (everyone can take photos, but not everyone is a photographer!), and I have no patience for DSLRs and lenses and bodies and parts and math and numbers and thinking. I just want to take a picture and have it look alright and not have to schlep around a bunch of stuff. The Lumix has served me well, but I’ve been feeling like it might be time for an upgrade. I mean, I take a lot of photos of my dogs.
My first thought was that I should move to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. Everybody and their brother knows that the Lumix line is really just repackaged and rebranded Leica cameras sold at way lower prices (as well as with slightly different firmware and a shorter warranty period), right? If I can get a really nice new point & shoot for $399 (or less!), why in the world would I willingly pay DOUBLE that amount for what is essentially the same camera, the Leica D-Lux 5? Because it “LOOKS nicer”?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Well yeah, maybe. Or maybe not. Because maybe good design matters to me. Maybe it matters to me more than it should, but maybe good design also is the reason I have a job. So maybe it’s actually important what stuff looks like.
At some point during our never-ending downstairs bathroom renovation, we decided to buy a $289 trash can (woah, the comments on that post from Robbie are hilarious—where do these people come from?!). Actually, it was $249 then, but you get the point. The trash can for our bathroom cost more than the wall tile. And the sink. And the faucet. Combined. It was in irrational purchase, to be sure, but do we regret it? NO WAY. Look at that thing! I hate the phrase “it’s a work of art”, but believe me, I’m tempted to say that about the trash can. Wait, no, what I mean is: It’s a work of design. GOOD design. Good design and quality manufacturing. I appreciate that trash can every time I throw away a Kleenex (generic, of course—everyone knows Target tissues have the nicest boxes).
Consider the less expensive, more sane option, this Simple Human model. It looks okay. It’s totally fine. I have a Simple Human trash can in my kitchen, and I have no complaints. I’m sure this smaller model works quite well for its intended purpose, and at $26, probably already costs more than the average person would spend on a bathroom trash can. But do I love the design? Nope. And I’d be lying if I said Evan and I don’t have a teensy bit of regret for not buying a Vipp trash can for the kitchen, too. (Remember what I said about this post making me feel like a greedy jerk? Yeah.)
So it comes down to this: Leicas are the Vipp trash cans of cameras. And I want the D-Lux 5. Because not only will it take nice pictures, but it will look awesome hanging around my neck. I will feel happy every time I hold it and admire its neat, straight lines and its perfectly placed red dot. That’s all worth something to me.
(Now I just need to convince myself that it’s okay to even buy a new camera, period. That’s the hard part!)