Oren got me to thinking the other day. I wonder if you could construct a matrix of all the technical properties of a photograph alongside a general estimation of how much each of those properties matter to people. Because if you could, I think you'd have to record that people are much given to grand arguments about ever more detail from their cameras (lenses, sensors) but would also register as being seriously lacking in concern about accurate color.
If online galleries in general are any indication, then we must live in a neon, day-glo world. I've just visited some galleries chock-full of colors that I'm reasonably certain never existed in nature. Golf courses where the grass looks like tempera poster-paint, a fishing boat so turquoise it would have to have been translucent and lit up from inside in real life to look like it did in the picture, sunsets that "improve" on what the Good Lord intended. It makes me wonder how many people ever bother to really look at the world—with their eyes, I mean—and then make some sort of honest attempt to make their pictures match what they see.
Let a lens or a sensor offer even slightly less than state-of-the-art resolution and detail, and people are all over that like the avenging angels. But then those same people, apparently without a thought, will jack the color ten yards north of realism and shrug—wondering if maybe they shouldn't jack it a little more.
So why do people care so much about technical "accuracy" in some areas and not at all in others? Isn't the look of the world itself a useful reference? Why is inaccuracy in color rendering simply a given, while a little blurring of fine detail resolution or a touch of noise in the shadows are so adamantly not tolerated?
People are funny.
P.S. Sorry, but Velvia never looked like this.