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Tuesday, 29 May 2018


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Mike, I'm with you 100%. I do not get the appeal of vlogs. Most of them badly misuse (or underexploit) the medium. If all I get is 10 minutes of someone's face talking to us guys, how is that better than written text ? (It must be better for the vlogger attempting to make money on youtube). I've clicked on camera reviews that never show the camera. One of the worst was a video that opened with a middle-aged plus guy (i.e. MY age and old enough to not be doing stupid stuff) sipping from a cup of coffee, then saying "ahhhh, let me just put my coffee down and we can begin". That was it for me - no idea what the rest of the video might have contained, but if that's his idea of being, I don't know, clever or cute, no thanks.
As for "you guys" I think it's wishful thinking and intended to mean "all of you loyal followers" as opposed to "random guy who stumbled across my video and probably won't ever watch another one of my videos".
Let me leave you with this (only 4 second) video:

You have opened a proverbial rabbit hole. Article on dinosaur sounds from Popular Science https://www.popsci.com/dinosaurs-might-not-have-roared-after-all

"Familiar" may be more accurate, but "iconic" seems to be used to connote significance. I just can't see people making the switch to "familiar" because their use of "iconic" indicates that they thought something was important.

Awesome, Mike!
You took it to the next level!

(He says, betting this’ll make a featured comment...)

Hit just the right amount of "Hey you kids! Get off my lawn" tone, whether you intended it to or not.

Dude! Life is too short to spend *any* time watching some inarticulate camera fan trying to explain something they don't understand.

I've used "iconic" to describe lenses and wristwatches. The Rolex Submariner is iconic--and familiar. The Casio G-Shock is iconic--and familiar. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is iconic, but not at all familiar to any but watch nuts. (And my response to the sniggering about the price of the latter is just one word: Leica.) The 50mm Summicron: Iconic. Not that familiar any more. The Nikon F: Iconic. And familiar only to we graybeards. The 180mm f/2.8 Zeiss Sonnar (aus Jena): Iconic, and utterly unfamiliar. In all cases, these are the three-dimensional objects that reflect the deity of their design and history.

But cartoon music? I'm not sure how familiar it is to children of the 90's and later, unless they watch The Simpsons, with theme music in the same vein. (And speaking of "in the same vein," why, oh why does it have to be "vain" or "vane" so doggone often?) But cartoon music is really just classical music written to be a bit more...looney. What it lacks is the respect bordering on deification that to me makes "iconic" work.

On the topic of people making videos instead of writing down a few simple declarative sentences, I feel your pain. When doing research on a topic, and I see 15 Google responses on Youtube and nothing actually written down, I'm known to bellow (declarative) epithets that embarrass my wife. (But then, I have to pay for my Internet bandwidth.) The loss of print media, the topic of last week, reflects not so much the hatred of paper as the hatred of static words and images. I'm reminded of the Star Trek episode about the aliens who lived at such a higher speed and frequency that they were invisible to Kirk, et.al. And yet, despite the low frequency of the written word, it conveys so much more meaning in so much less time.

Glorious. I imagine this epic rant was interrupted only because of the need to tell those damned kids to get off your lawn.

you see the "You guys" phrase too much from your individual viewpoint. By the use of the plural the blogger/vlogger expresses his desire of having multiple viewers at a given time. Or, form a more psychological point of view, he hides his fear of being ignored by the www community and having an audience of zero or only one.

Brings to mind the UK TV character Victor Meldrew in ‘One Foot in the Grave’. Our definitive grumpy old man. Worryingly I seem to be in this demographic, “I don't believe it!”.

It's not "super soft." He had a hard time focusing that Nocticlux because he was blinded by so much light was coming through the lens. That's my theory.

Curmudgeon alert!
I'm with you on the lot of it. Thanks for the suggestion to substitute "familiar" whenever "iconic" pops out of the shrubbery.

Mike? Wtff? You don't do negative humour. Remember? It lessens you. And "you guys"... just shorthand for their subscribers. Iconic? Ok. That IS one of the four horsemen.

Re: Leitz lens names, I always thought the Hectors were named after the Troy’s greatest warrior, son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba, but it just turns out to be the name of a dog.

When I was a sprout, iconic was used to mean an example of some class of things that was so average as to be useful as a representative of all members of that class.
For example when movie set decorators want chairs that say “institutional seating, pay no attention to that chair” they use emco submarine chairs www.emeco.net/variants/emeco-1006-navy-chair-brushed-us-navy

Now the funny thing is that after decades of use as a symbol of the average chair, the chairs have become iconic in the “familiar thing that I remember specifically” sense.

Really nice chairs by the way, but the kids wanted to know why when someone on tv does something bad they have to sit on our dining room chairs.

I am bothered that informational and tutorial content seems to be delivered by video by default these days. I find watching video of just about anything extremely annoying, because I can't control the pace. I have to watch, listen, and understand at the pace the content is delivered, and it's usually too slow. I often watch at 1.25x or 1.5x, but then it's unnatural.

The vast majority of content I see could be better delivered in writing, perhaps with pictures or diagrams. Video is rarely the best delivery mechanism. Sometimes it is, and that's fine, when you've got something to show and there's a time component involved -- but have it be a brief video embedded in a larger document I can read. Please.

It could get worse. You could be referred to as, "youse guys" . (Is that the correct spelling ?) ;-)

I have wondered for years (decades?) who gave 20-something waiters permission to call me and my wife (both retired) "you guys"!


I think You People must be getting offended too easily... like, you know... like...

Ok, Mike, I'm going to have to disagree with you about the meaning of iconic. Forgive me, I'm not going to reference this but just go off my memory... but as far as I'm aware icons were, of course, religious imagery but what made them 'iconic' as it were was their pictorial style. If you look at religious icons they are often presented in very two-dimensionally, with quite a bit of gold or silver leaf on them. This very flatness and lack of dimension allowed the viewer to read a lot into them. They had a universal quality to them. (It's even possible to suggest that the gold and silver, as reflective surfaces, gave them an absolute 2-dimensionality as they had no surface texture to them). The common use of iconic, although overused, does match that notion of projecting meaning on the object, or song, rather than the song itself carrying the power. So, annoying as it is, those theme tunes aren't familiar but are able to reflect back a large part of a person's youthful emotional life while being quite simple in itself.

C'mon Mike, you're a grown-up (ostensibly); nobody forces you to watch video reviews. If you insist on wasting your time with them, don't come whining to us.

We know better. We read The Online Photographer.

Glad that you asked:


Enjoy! :-)

Watching most vlogs is like watching someone hold-forth in a bar after too many beers.

Whenever I read or hear the phrase "politically correct," I substitute "following the Golden Rule." Works most of the time.

I find the main problem with most YouTube reviews is that they are incredibly boring. “Hey you guys”, the whole point of video is that you need to do something more than talk to camera whilst fondling the piece of hardware you’re ranting about. How about trying to play to the advantages of the format, rather producing something that could be done better in writing?

Despite my previous point, I wonder if these YouTube reviewers are really any worse than the countless number of “prose” websites that exhort the wonders of the latest camera or lens by demonstrating its incredible capabilities to resolve the finest details on the froth of the skinny, non-dairy, fairtrade cappuccino they’ve bought from the cafe, at which they’re using the wifi? ;-)

On the misuse of language front, my two pet hates (both of which are now “officially okay”) are the use of “literally” when the speaker means “metaphorically” and the use of (generally by politicians) “refute” to mean “dispute” instead of “disprove”.

Mike, you are the Guy !!! That's why I always go to your website every morning enjoying my cup of coffee and several times during the day and closing out my evening as well. Always a pleasure and informative for both on topic and off topic, maybe a slight edge towards off topic.

Are you saying you are a "neigh"sayer? :)

But TheSnapChick has boobs for boobs, photographically speaking, possibly without the "you guys" stuff. Don't know for sure. Don't pay attention to any of these folks. Some do. Boobheads I guess. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheSnapChick

I'm with you on this. I sometimes wonder if, in SOME cases, it's just laziness on the part of some vloggers. It's quicker to drop a video and move on than it is to carefully compose a decent blog post.

I prefer the written word - it "sticks" with me for longer and I can link to it, print it or just lob it over to my Evernote account for quick glance later or -better- be able to search for a phrase.

Maybe I'm just getting old...

"Jim Kofron: "Mike, that was an iconic rant...."

"Familiar, too...."

OK, go buy the motorcycle...

Mike, you already know this, but just to further cast doubt on the intelligence of random blogger #2 - Summilux does not mean sharpest or best. It means f/1.4. The real horror is going to come if this guy ever writes a book.

Pffttt. Amateur rant. Your tongue-in-cheekedness keeps poking through. A true rant reflects genuine spittle-generating hate, as opposed to mild annoyance. Try to model yourself after me. I came back from a book tour earlier this month, sick, I'm sure from riding in airplanes, and wrote an anti-airplane rant on my Facebook page (now required of authors) that included the phrase, "hocked up a loogie the size of a field mouse." That kind of stomach-churning phraseology is the hallmark of an iconic rant. You ain't there yet.

[That's it. Rub it in. --Mike]

The southern American dialect has a second person plural form "you all" or "y'all" that works well if you don't mind all the baggage that comes with it.

I myself am waiting for the third person singular un-gendered personal pronoun thing to settle out.

It is the one-two punch of "Hey guys! Whazzup?" that curdles my mudgeons.

Someone on the Leica Users Forum asked about a "Summerlux" or "summerchron" the other day, and, with much hilarity, it was answered thusly:

"Actually, It's a seasonal thing.
Summercrons are best in summer. Likewise the Luxes.
Currently, I am just switching over from my WinterLux (I live in the Southern Hemisphere) to my Summercron, which I find has a warmer rendition that the WinterLux.
It's definitely a Leica thing that is formulated in the glass, which is only manufactured in the appropriate season. Hence, the occasional hiccup in the supply of some lenses. Always buy in the season appropriate to your shooting requirements. It's called the Leica glow."

+1 for David Miller I agree.
There is lots of junk out there all competing for clicks,-- you obliged and encouraged them.

Mike, good rant, I'm with you. Now, about that utterance, epic.


While I usually pass on video instructions, I did really enjoy a profanity-laced video explaining honda lawn mower repair that I stumbled across a few years ago. Obscenities used as nouns, verbs, and adjectives, all while explaining drive wheel clutch assembly. I wish I could find it now, to share the enjoyment.

"vloggers intensely annoying sometimes"??? How kind you are. They are annoying all the time. I can't imagine why they have become popular.

"Mike, that was an iconic rant...."

Hey Mikey, he likes it!!

So many vloggers clearly do not understand that presenting information in a video format requires at least as much care and preparation as presenting it in writing or any other format. Perhaps even more. Blabbering at the camera in a stream-of-consciusness sort of way is simply not good enough.

Identify the important points, arrange them in logical order, think carefully about how they can be conveyed to a listener/viewer in the most lucid and concise manner, and write a damn script (unless you have an infallible memory ... not likely). Then when the first draft of the script is done, go back and edit out the unessential fluff, which you might be surprised to find is most of it. Run through the script a few times, and then you are ready stand in front of a camera and make a video.

I'm pretty sure that disqualifies about 90% of the Internet.

Do you know any good youtube tutorials about dinos?

I find that listening to video reviewers blab is a hard task. Much more taxing than reading written words.

And to think I am actually thinking about getting a X-T100 largely because it doesn’t have an X-Trans sensor...

While I am not a big fan of 95% of video content online, it must be said that the kind of misinformation you found in those videos is really nothing new. The DPReview forums, for instance, have long been the home of oft-repeated “facts” and misguided assumptions about what photographers need. Vlogger videos are just the latest extension of that culture, louder and perhaps more obnoxious than ever, but pretty much the same message updated with today’s buzzwords and the latest technology “must haves.”

I do have to say that it’s been interesting watching the development of the online photography community over the past two decades. It does feel like there’s more noise now than ever, likely because there is a lot less gear being released due to the collapse of the market, leaving more dead-air for people to talk (and vlog) more about less.

Actually (not literally - hate shivers), there are many words and phrases used to express something in a hyperbolic way, at least since Seinfeld, probably before. OMG, you guys and gals out there understand, right?

"Seriously", how many times does anyone hear themselves say, "literally", when "actually" would be a more appropriate word choice?

I'm kinda with Mike on this one, having been seen some recent "reviews" by the YouTube "pundits" over the last month or so.

Some of the comments, like the one that ... claimed that the Sony A7III is the "greatest value in the history of time" are so infuriatingly inaccurate and oftentimes, just stupid, that there's a tiny part of me that...just wants to put a fist through a wall.

Fortunately, rationality and logic prevail when you realize some basic things: 1) all of these reviews are intended to reinforce the "confirmation bias" that drives so much male behavior in social media these days 2) 99% of these YouTube photography pundits/talking heads and their viewers are male, and 99% of their videos are about....product features and specs. Whenever a new product debuts, the rave reviews spring like mushrooms in the forest after a rainstorm; all the great features and specs are pontificated upon endlessly, but the problem areas are either not discussed at all or, are glossed over, because the real motivation is to drive sales of whatever is currently "hot" through their affiliate links.

And of, course, we all know that the No. 1, most important thing in making compelling and engaging photographs are....specs. Gosh, if only my camera had "eye focus."

After some reflection, its clear that at the end of the day, MONEY is is what is primarily driving YouTube reviewers, feeding upon GAS.

Betatted friend-posse...
Absolute classic, thank you

You can do even worse than watching reviews, you can watch Top Tens and all that crap. I sometimes get stuck in it when it is late. It’s awful.

I agree that youtoooobers can be highly irritating. Take “pewdipie” for example, a total moron who is a multi-millionaire on youtube.
And many of them can’t talk. Really, I don’t even know if it’s dialects or what the heck, they just sound weird.

Join the cranky dinosaur club. Hoping for a meteor strike.


Speaking of brainless prattle, I see a lot of written verbiage about Holy Trinity Zoom Lenses on photo blogs. Are there really that many apostates who are into photography?

Maybe I'm getting old, but haven't I seen this post several times this year?

Everyone in Oz knows that the singular of 'you' is 'youse'; as in, youse guys, Mike.

A bunch of people who turn photography into a mystery that you and I aren't capable of understanding without their help.

I'm so over it!

I agree with you 100%. This is one of the many reasons why I visit your site at least once a day, often more times. There are rarely videos here, and if there is a video or two, they're safely and easily ignored.

I hate internet video so much! By the time the stupid introduction is done, I could have read everything I needed to know, had the 'vlogger' presented the material in written form.

Internet videos just makes me so angry! I think I'll go watch some Netflix to calm myself down.

There was a good programme on BBC television a few days ago - Jonathan Meades doing a demolition job on meaningless, jargonistic BS from the media and art world, as well as business. He nails many of my peeves. I made some notes as raw material for future rants. Among those he identified were:

Downsize, platforms, matrix hubbing, innovate, viables, solutionise, motivationalise, stunner, love rat, sex romp, murder bid, quips, vivacious [I would add ‘bubbly’], bemoan, boasts, de minimis non curat rex, post facto, caveat emptor, corpus delecti, per quod, sui generis [I would add ‘per se’], bandwidth, value-add, USP, best of breed, core competency, alignment, outsource, granular, engage, synergy, cloud, framework, streamline, face-time, holistic, benchmarking, visibility, rightsizing, scalable, mindshare, virtualisation, energise, leverage, space, proactive, paradigm, identity, hybridisation, discourse [death to Foucault!], conceptualisation, manifest, ontology, construction, phenomenologuy, vibrant [YES!!!!], diverse, world-class, content.

I would add 'reach out', a particularly irritating piece of US corporate dross.

He quotes ‘… exploring notions of compromised narrativity and consequent hybridisation in multicultural handshake sheds …’ and ‘… the evocation of surveillance provokes the construction of a narrative and a questioning of the intentions of the voyeur …’ and ‘… subtle appropriations of literary and cinematic reference … migrations of restricted discourse … philosophic not forms … questions of culture and identity …’

Lucy Kellaway has done several annual roundups of corporate BS in the Financial Times. They are brilliant.

Random vlogger 2 needs to read your article,
"The 50mm Lens and Metaphysical Doubt"
Still current, still true.

I literally love this epic rant.

I'm with you on so many levels here Mike — I mean you guys.

I grew up on the internet, love the internet, work in the internet, and I loathe video reviews and (many of) the people who make them.

You know, the familiar magic of your writer's voice is really beginning to grab me. You are the Summilux of bloggers -- sharp as a tack (most of the time).

The funny thing about video is that neither its maker nor its viewer need be literate. There may not be an iota of reading skills between them, and yet the video will still be there, monetized and in queue and happily oblivious to its ignorance. Rather like some voters, when you think about it. That works for the president of the United States, too, albeit implausibly, so why shouldn't it work for video?

I was a Zeiss Ikon in a store window yesterday. The name was familiar, the camera was not.

I agree with Hugh Crawford about the third person singular un-gendered personal pronoun.
British English has had nothing to fill that awkward role and I for one have occasionally been happy to borrow the non-gendered 'guys'. But I couldn't stretch as far as "y'all".
From a middle class old Brit like me it would sound richly comic, at best. Maybe worse.

Before badly made blogs, we had well-made documentary TV programmes that told a story 3 times, taking 60 mins to explain something that needed 3 paragraphs of text and maybe 10 photos or a 3 minute video to illustrate it. We still do.

Not only is the contents of most of the videos we talk about here of little value, even worse is the way the vloggers present themselves; the way they look, the way they dress and the way they speak.

And yes, there are exceptions.

One of the problems, you know, seems to be that many, you know, photographers, seem not to have had much, you know, experience at, you know, public speaking. OK? I mean, you know, I watch some photographers make, you know, even some relatively well-known photographers, like you know, presentations you know, and they seem to have been absent from speech classes back in school? OK? So, you know, when folks can't you know, properly prepare for a, you know, public presentation, you can't, you know, like expect them to sorta of, you know, write out even a rough script for a, you know, a video. OK? You know, we like communicate visually, not verbally anyway. You know? OK?

Ha Ha! I thought about starting a web-site for years that has accurate information about stuff like how to load a dust free sheet film back, and how to load a Hasselblad back, as well as other film photography "lore" precisely because I've read so many horrible inaccuracies from the millennial class!I don't know what it is, but they get their little piggies on a film camera and then they just make stuff up about it from a trial run-through!

I finally decided that there was SO MUCH bad photographica on the web, it wasn't worth the effort! I cede it to the moronennial generation.

They don't want to listen to their elders, and prefer to make it up and reinvent it incorrectly as they go along.I just went through three years of managing sub-30's in an e-comm department, so I know from whence I speak...

What's a vlog?


There's a show on British television called Room 101 (Orwell reference), where guests compete to persuade the host to put their favourite hate into oblivion. My favourite was "literally", as for example "oh my dear I literally dies of embarrassment" and many other examples!

The flood gates are open. This may turn out to be one of your most commented posts. We will see.

I used to watch a lot of youtube videos but after I stopped watching any vlogger that primarily talks about hardware I'm down to maybe a half-dozen.

Ibarionex Perello is at the top followed by Sean Tucker.

Landscape photographers are followed for the entertainment value. Same with Tony & Chelsea Northrup. Though with Tony & Chelsea I spend most of the time laughing.

I'm just wear of "camera reviews" featuring nothing more than a person (usually a white male) sitting at a desk with a camera and/or microphone on it.

In 4K.

(Sound of me struggling to tear out what's left of my hair.)

Pots and kettles, Mike. You rightly praise Mani Sitaraman for “Video reviews and vlogging are a form of sequential access data storage ... “ but your comments section follows the same model with no markers showing where batches of new comments are added. Yes, I know we can mark the last read by “touching” the date/time but there is no way to search for that (that I know of) and so one must scroll through the list hoping to spot the marker. I have no knowledge of the mechanics of Typepad but would it not be possible to insert a unique symbol indicating where a change has been made?

When I sold Fuji in a shop environment, I personally purchased an XA series camera because it gave the same visual quality (color, sharpness, noise) without any of the issues the X Trans sensor produced. The XT 100 is tempting, even to an entrenched Olympus user, while "the magic" of Fuji (mostly found in jpegs) is less tempting if it comes with X Trans.

I hate it when the vlogger talks so loud, that i can't hear the music.

Maybe the best response to the camera review vlogging craze is in the Big Lebowski: "Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man." White Russian cradled in his genial hand, the Dude saw it all coming.

I’m not sure if this:
counts as a vlog. It’s a video walkthrough of Nick Turpin’s ‘On the Night Bus”. I think it works well for this but maybe not for most photo books.

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