Two readings, one about gear, one about digital imaging in culture.
...Before I start, a blog note: I read a stat recently which claimed that most Internet readers read only the first half of every article they read. TOP readers, being four times better than average, read all of every article twice. But to get this in the half that those average people will read, I just wanted to mention that I'm Tweeting alerts to new articles now, and will doubtless keep up this practice for the rest of time because I'm so thorough and so consistent. Well, no need to rag on myself. I'll try, is what I'm saying. Follow @TheOnlinePhotog.
The first reading, the gear-related one, is a controversial article on PetaPixel by Sator, an Australian photographer, called "Why Sony’s Full Frame Pro Mirrorless Was a Fatal Mistake." It has caused a furor not only in PetaPixel's Comments section but in dpreview's Comments section as well—741 comments at PetaPixel (and 11,984 shares), and the top thread at dpreview. Whew. I didn't even read the whole article, much less all the comments. (Whoops! Am I saying I'm average?)
I get to post my comment here. Muaahahahaha.
First, note that the author reveals at the very end of the PetaPixel piece (right, most people won't read that far) that he's a Fuji X user. The article originally appeared as a multi-part post at the Fuji X-Forum. So maybe this is really just one of those "here's why my camera system is better than your camera system" timewasters.
Second, I think the whole argument misses the point. Sony A7-series mirrorless is a proliferating platform only because it's popular—people like it and like the results they get. It's a camera. It happens to be mirrorless. This whole idea of "[x] is supposed to be...." just never convinces me. I've said so before about that idea you run into from time to time that because someone bought an ƒ/1.2 lens, say, they think it's logical to shoot only at ƒ/1.2—because why else pay for ƒ/1.2? Which is like saying that because your car has a top speed of 140 mph, you should always drive at 140 mph. Similarly, mirrorless doesn't have to be small. (Neither does Micro 4/3.) Some are, some aren't. The Sony A7 is a little more compact than some systems, and some of the lenses are smallish and some are very large. So what? You make that decision when you decide what to buy. All cameras have tradeoffs. None are perfect. Many have "negatives" that are just matters of choice...like the Panasonic GX8 having a flip-out style viewing screen. Personally, I dislike those. I much prefer the type that just tilts up (and a little down) like the Fuji X-T1 has. But so what if I hate that? Other people prefer it.
So should you buy a Sony A7[x] or a Fuji X? I'll just quote myself from long, long ago: "Should you buy a Nikon or a Canon? Yes. Buy one or the other and get on with it."
My friend John Lehet just bought an A7r II, and he loves his Olympus OM-D E-M5II and he also has a Nikon D-810. If he comments on the PetaPixel piece (say that three times fast), I'll pass it along.
The New Yorker
Meanwhile, the third most popular and shared article yesterday on the New Yorker's website (swamped this morning by articles about Tuesday's primaries) was a nice thought piece by Om Malik called "In the Future, We Will Photograph Everything and Look at Nothing." The author uses Google's abandonment of the Nik software suite to kick off a meditation about how the fundamental uses and meaning of digital imaging is changing rapidly. A nice read, and I think worth your while if you like that kind of thing, or if you want to read a considered opinion about what Google is doing to Nik and why.
(Thanks to many tipsters)
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
David Mantripp: "re the New Yorker article, it may well be the case that 'in society where we are all taking too many photos and spending very little time looking at them,' but that does not necessarily have to impact on each one of us as individuals. For me there is a huge, huge gap between random iPhone snaps and what I think of as photography. I'm sure I have iPhone maps I've barely looked at once, but I look at every single photograph I take—not that many actually—and value that experience as much as before.
"I'm sure I'm not the only. As film can still live alongside digital, I'm really not convinced that (ahem) 'proper photography' cannot live alongside selfies. After all, before all this, I doubt that the proportion of the population seriously interested in photography—i.e. people who print, who buy monographs, who visit galleries—was much different. But yes, the disappearance of 'serious' software is worrying. Not so much Nik, but 'boring' stuff like keyboarding, cataloging, editing, is becoming extinct."
Dennis: "My daughter has been studying argument writing in her 8th grade classes this year. She has to make a claim, provide evidence to support the claim, then list some counterclaims and refute them.
"The author of this article makes the claim that Sony made a fatal mistake. He provides no supporting evidence. He lists five things that are supposed to be great about mirrorless (i.e. 'counterclaims') and then refutes them to varying degrees, but never ends up saying why Sony is supposedly making a 'fatal mistake.'
"From that point of view, it's a terrible article. It boils down to:
Sony's FE system is a fatal mistake.
1. It's not really smaller than a similar DSLR kit.
2. It's not really lighter than a similar DSLR kit.
3. IBIS isn't all that great.
4. Adapting any and all lenses isn't all it's cracked up to be.
5. Yes, live view is great, but Canon might be catching up.
"There's no need to debate the five points, because they don't serve to support his claim, even if you accept them.
"I'm not a huge fan of Common Core standards, but I do appreciate the emphasis on both critical thinking and argument writing. It can't be a bad thing, teaching kids not to accept everything they read."
R. Edelman: "I was a long time Canon user, starting back in the 1970s. I like Canon, and I think its repair service is very good. A few years ago, I tried using a Sony A7, and I loved it. The smaller size was just one attractive feature. I liked the menu system. No more custom functions with labels such as 'C04.' I liked that I could use my EOS and older lenses on it.
"But something initially unforeseen happened. For a variety of reasons, I grew to really appreciate the electronic viewfinder and the focusing accuracy. Of course, some large-aperture lenses are on the large size, but I also have the option of smaller lenses. Although the smaller size and lower weight are still appreciated, these now matter less to me compared to the benefits of mirrorless technology. At this point, an optical viewfinder would be a 'downgrade.'"
Alan Fairley: "Re Sony: Want a 'full frame' camera with an EVF? You can pick the Sony, or...oh wait, there isn't anything else.
"I am missing the 'fail' here."
kirk tuck: "Hello? Hello? The whole reason for existence of mirrorless cameras has nothing to do with size; it's all about live view and EVFs. I think I wrote about that here in 2012!!! And it remains exactly true today."