The internet is chock-a-block full of exhaustive and polemical analyses of "photographic quality," which to me is like arguing about the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin. The end of the Holy Grail Quest for perfect "quality" is like the end of a rainbow. Low noise and perfect color and sharpness in the corners never made a better picture. Bah, sayeth the Curmudgeon.
Similarly fastidious analyses of pictures, though—that I can get into! That's fun. I was delighted by this statistical analysis, written by Christian Rudder, of 522,000 "profile" pictures on the internet dating site OkCupid. The testers collected "millions of judgments" (I'm quoting, not mocking) from respondents as to which pictures they found most attractive, and then collated these judgments against the photos' EXIF information.
I'm sure you'll be interested in the whole article, but the short take is that the results are fascinating. Among the findings:
- The use of more expensive cameras makes you look more attractive, although...
- ....Panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras make you look the best—by a large margin*.
- Use of flash adds seven years to your apparent age.
- The wider the aperture the better! And...
- ...iPhone users get the most sex.
Not sure I get much out of the "time of day" metrics, but your mileage might differ. In any case, a fun and different article.
The major takeaway: turn off the on-camera flash for pictures of people!**
(Thanks to Richard Chomko and several others)
*A fairly mystifying and seemingly arbitrary finding, in my view—the only explanation I can think of is that only people who are relatively "in the know" about photography would care to own Micro 4/3 cameras at this point in history—but there it is in the chart. That explanation also might account for the high showing of the second-place camera type, "Leica point-and-shoots," which scored the highest in the p/s category, also by a large margin.
**Unless you're a Strobist reader and know how to do it right.
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by John Camp: "I love stuff like this. It's so compelling, while at the same time, so meaningless—it's the data equivalent of Cheetos or 'CSI Miami.' Who couldn't love the fact that the 'best' photos are taken with Panasonic 4/3 cameras...and who couldn't think of seventeen reasons why sampling problems didn't corrupt the whole set? Good stuff, I say; the mathematical equivalent of pulp fiction."
Featured Comment by Scott is not pig!: "Hi Mike, I don't think they are asking subjects which picture is better, they are asking them which person they want to date more. So the actual conclusion is that Micro 3/4's users are just a damn good looking bunch. Or maybe people who value aesthetics and photography as a hobby are sublimely attractive. Or maybe Micro 4/3 owners like to take pictures of beautiful people and send them to them and the beautiful people subsequently use them for computer dating. In other words, I suspect some mediating variables!"
Featured Comment by Richard Skoonberg: "I have a Light Scoop for on camera flash and it's pretty cool and fun to use. With it my flash doesn't add seven years to people's age. Check it out."
Mike replies: Hey, the guy who developed the Light Scoop is Ken Kobré, who wrote Photojournalism, The Professionals' Approach. The major how-to text on the subject of the last thirty years. That book would make my top dozen of photo how-to books.