I didn't compile the statistics on all the Comments (200 so far!) to Friday's hypothetical—where's Sarge when we need him?—but the purpose was to see how many people already have their dream cameras. Seems like quite a few do. Meaning that opportunity and direction loom larger as limiting factors to working.
I didn't ask what peoples' projects would be, but quite a few people volunteered the information that they'd go zooming off to various points of the compass. People do realize, right, that travel isn't the same as a project? Serious photographers often have tightly focused projects (see Deborah Luster below for a good example) and amateurs often don't. Touring the world is fun, but you can be just as unfocused elsewhere as you are at home!
In re the cameras, it did seem that Leica was disproportionately mentioned. Same as it ever was: slight in market share, robust in mindshare.
Speaking of that, it does seem like there's a real disconnect where mirrorless is concerned between general popularity and popularity among enthusiasts. Every indication seems to be that mirrorless isn't "doing well" in North America and Europe, and yet—just as strongly—every indication I'm aware of is that serious hobbyists love the things.
Maybe mirrorless is like Leica: small in market share, large in the hearts of diehard photography fanatics.
Seems the E-M1's are shipping from B&H already but every indication is that they're going to be in short supply for a while. I'm really interested to hear real-world impressions, and to read some reviews.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Eolake Stobblehouse: "I'd like to differentiate between unfocused and defocused. Some believe (some, strongly so) that the most important question about photographing is What To Photograph. In my style and photography, I have that reversed. I think the subject is unimportant. I believe the picture is the thing, not the subject. One of my favorite paintings is van Gogh's Sunflowers. I am not very interested in flowers, but that painting, to me, is aesthetically powerful.
"I think one can work as a Defocused 'walk-around' photographer (street photography is a subset of this), and make significant aesthetic work, if inspiration is with you.
"Subject focus of some kind may coalesce out of this, as it did one day for me when photographing in Edinburgh. I noticed that red came up a lot, and followed it. But I think part of the defocused way of working is to let go of the ego control, and slide into a zone of 'cooperation with the Universe.' The pictures will find you. Many of the very best photographers came to make some of their best work outside any projects they were working on, they just suddenly Came Across inspiration somewhere. To actually pursue this can, perversely, require more discipline, because the logical mind objects to it. The logical mind likes limits, order, and predictability."
Gato: "I think the mirrorless lag in the U.S. is more a brand thing than camera type. The question I get from novice photographers usually goes something like: 'I want a camera where I can change lenses. Should I get Nikon or Canon?' They don't care if it's mirrorless or DSLR—they probably don't know the difference—but they do have the idea that Canon and Nikon are the only 'serious' cameras."
Colin Work (partial comment): "Maybe I'm growing up—I found the hypothetical assignment more interesting than the hypothetical toys."