photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Tribal warfare

Rant mode engaged

in General Rants , Thursday, May 16, 2013

I’ve had an absolute headache from hell today - still got it - so I’m going to make myself feel better with a good mindless rant. Here goes.

The never-ending cycle of new camera releases marches onwards, and fuels the ongoing mindless squabbles in vast swathes of internet fora where self-appointed pundits viciously attack each other for daring to have a positive view on a camera made by another tribe, er, sorry, company. Is there any other object, or topic, which drives such futile passion? This year’s camera is inevitably lauded as being unbelievably superior to last year’s (well, assuming it doesn’t cross tribal boundaries), while last year’s, which was, of course, a revelation over it’s predecessor, cannot even be used to take photographs now, or so it seems. And of course this years’ best-ever-camera will be sneered upon as useless junk in under 9 months. One wonders to what extent camera companies stoke this stuff on forums, after all it all works out pretty well for them. I found out a few minutes ago that my Olympus E-5 is the worst digital camera you can buy, which came as a shock. I have to confess that the several thousand photos I took with it back in January are probably far from excellent - but at the same time, I never once felt they would be any better with a different camera.

Drm 2013 05 11 EP33042

Hopeless photo taken last weekend with useless camera (Olympus E-P3). No shadow detail. Blown highlights. No DOF. Really hopeless. Must ask internet forums which new camera to buy

Very few of these warring snapshooters actually seem to take any photos. Those that do get shown are almost always banal to the point of comedy. Endless shots of nothing in particular at 256,000 ISO, or at f0.95, of cats, kid shots that only a mother (or expensive camera-owning father) could love, or dull closeups of flowers. And more f***ing cats.

And the noise is deafening.

Even on the more hip side of the scale, it seems these days that it cannot have been conceivable to take a decent photo without a Fuji X series camera (although they’re pretty quiet about the XS-1 and XF-1. I wonder why). Even Michael Reichmann has got in on that particular act, which may well dismay some of the hipper of the hippest. But this, I’m sorry to say, takes the absolute biscuit. “Choices need to be made, however heartbreaking” … “Safe travels little one” - Retch! It’s a sodding camera, fercrissakes. I do generally like Patrick LaRoque’s blog, and his stream-of-consciousness albeit rather affected photography, so I’m praying he’s being ironic. There is some vague hope, he’s Canadian, not American, but not much I fear.

The interesting thing is, when you actually see some good photography, and an interview of the artist touches upon gear, as it seems it must, in the vast majority of cases it turns out that they use boring old Canons and Nikons. Canon 5Ds seem particularly popular. And when I ask acquaintances of mine why they use these cameras, rather than some hip new Fuji, pretty Olympus, or tech-overkill Sony, the answer tends to be a bit boring. Basically, the killer feature is that they are ubiquitous, you can get good service and emergency spares pretty much anywhere in the world, you can get just about any lens or accessory you can think of, they “just work”, oh, and they’ve got pretty good image quality. The last point tends, indeed, to come last, because these days it’s pretty much a given. Hell, even my much aligned Olympus E-5 has quite good enough image quality for 99% of cases.

And then they just go out and concentrate on making great photos. And they stay away from nerdy forums. And they’ve never heard of most “new” cameras - they already know what they’ll buy when the current one finally wears out. By which time they’ll be making even better photos.

Time to get off the treadmill I think.