... But this is simply a matter of carrying just a camera with a single prime lens, regardless of whether that lens is permanently attached to the body or not.
My disagreement is with the separate claim that it is somehow superior for it to be impossible to ever change that lens on any occasion.
The advantage of limited choice (including none) are one of those things in life that some
intuitively grasp, while others remain eternally perplexed as to why. One of those things that you either "see the light" or you do not. Explaining it to someone who does not get it is rather futile, hence my reluctance to enter the fray earlier. And I do not mean it in a disrespectful way.
However, it has been a subject of numerous serious research papers, books, PhD dissertations, etc, in the fields of economics, psychology, philosophy, behavioral economics, including works (in part) of some Nobel Prize winners for economics (Kahneman). For instance, these books:The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is LessNudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
(by two professors from my Alma Mater)
Some excerpts from The Paradox reviews (emphasis mine):
We normally assume in America that more options ... will make us happier, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that having all these choices actually goes so far as to erode our psychological well-being.
We are, the author suggests, overwhelmed by choice, and that's not such a good thing. Schwartz tells us that constantly being asked to make choices, even about the simplest things, forces us to "invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, and dread." There comes a point, he contends, at which choice becomes debilitating rather than liberating. Did I make the right choice? Can I ever make the right choice?
Similar thing happened with the introduction of Leica Monochrom. Hordes of Internet know-it-alls ridiculed the concept with the simple "Ha! With my
camera, I can always convert back to b&w in post and so much better" line of reasoning.
But forget psychology and economics for a moment. Let's go back to photography. Mike Johnston, over at The Online Photographer, argued "since forever" for a monochrome sensor, even before Leica came up with one. Basically arguing that the very absence of choice is a good thing, and yes, superior to conversion in post. His eloquent reasoning can be found here:Why Would a Digital Camera Have a B&W-Only Sensor?
Well worth a read, but here is one excerpt that seems pertinent to this discussion, given the aggressiveness with which the opposing views are met (emphasis mine):
Not everybody needs such a thing for their work. Only a small minority of people do. A small minority of those people are artists whose work might enrich the world. (And please, do me a favor hereóif you're not amongst that small minority, have the flexibility of mind to acknowledge that that small minority exists, which is to say that other people might actually want choices you don't happen to want. I've acknowledged you; it's not too much to ask you to acknowledge me.)
Mike has also addressed a frequent argument mentioned here (emphasis mine):
Working with a camera that can convert color to B&W is not the same as working with a camera that cannot record color. The latter affects the way you see things when you're out photographing. When you know that B&W is all the camera will do, then you start to ignore colors and see luminances, tonal relationships, surface, and structure. It's a different way of seeing.
Now, let's address directly the line of reasoning that it "is simply a matter of carrying just a camera with a single prime lens, regardless of whether that lens is permanently attached to the body or not."
The question, in case it is a system with interchangeable lenses, immediately becomes a plethora of choices. Ok, which single prime lens? 28, 35, 50? Let's say you firmly know that it should be 35mm. But which 35? In case of Canon, shall that be 35/2 or 35/1.4?? Or perhaps 35mm with IS? How about Mark II version of the same lens? How about versions from third parties: Sigma, Zeiss, etc. And if Zeiss with C/Y mount, which adapter works best with my camera?
But lets say we've overcome all those hurdles and settled on one lens and we happily go around for years or months snapping with it. How could this be worse than just non-interchangable system. Here is why: the very possibility that you can
change that lens will slowly eat you from within. Say you acquired Canon 35/2... but then Canon comes with its IS version, which, at the same time, has oh, so much better MTF reading than your lens. Or the new Sigma 35/1.4 which has oh, so cool bokeh. Choices, choices... and temptations.