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Wednesday, 24 October 2018


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I understand what you are saying, but are the photos getting better? That may have nothing to do with the camera industry of course...

It works in reverse, too. The new magic bullet comes out. You want to buy it, but it's really pretty pricey, and your old magic bullet is still pretty good, so you figure you'll just wait for the next magic bullet to drive the price down. And here we are with the X-T2 at $1099, the Sony A7II for $1099, etc. Great deals to be had, until you look at those cameras and then see how much more the new silver bullets offer, and suddenly, the camera you really wanted a couple years ago, you don't really want any more - you want the new one (but it's really pricey and your old magic bullet is still pretty good ...)
And that's how, if you're a cheapskate, you end up shooting the RX100 (I) and Nikon D7000 year after year.

That's one nice thing about my Pentax K1, despite many drawbacks. Ricoh is so slow to develop new stuff that I pretty much have to accept it, or switch. There's no new fancy mirrorless Ricoh to tempt me away, for better or worse (other than the GR3).

I find the psychology of consumerism very frustrating. I have a late 2012 IMac with a dead hard drive. It runs okay with an external drive, and I could get the internal one replaced with an SSD for a few hundred, then buy one more external drive for safety, and be set for 500-600$. Or I could buy a new fancy 5k iMac for $2000. Which do you think my brain wants to do? The old one works fine and would continue to, but...

I'm so many "magic bullets" behind you can see the wear and tear on my still current bullet, a trusty X-Pro 1. But I keep delaying buying the new Nikon (or whatever) bullet because I keep discovering the old bullet keeps doing well enough. For the first time in my life, I'm "fighting" to stave off the inevitable.

I hit enter on the previous comment while my brain was still working things out. I think there was a time when technical improvements and additional features DID enable better photographs, or perhaps better or new types of photographs. In the late 60's I acted as an assistant (in my early teens) to my father who was a wedding photographer, working with 6x6. We acquired a new camera called a Pentax S1A, with interchangeable lenses. My job as the candid photographer at weddings was revolutionised. I could take a type of photograph that I couldn't previously. (whether they were any good is another story). Technical advances today all seem to be mainly about image quality (resolution, dynamic range etc) and I don't think that is quite the same thing

The feature where the new camera and sensor ruins all the photographs made by the old camera is quite alarming. Fortunately I keep any new cameras away from my old photos* but my heart goes out to those who have had this happen to them.

*except for the Olympus d-300l photos from 1996 which have suffered badly and have shrunk to 0.8 megapixels. I learned my lesson with those.

Mike: Cameras have become...I hate to say it...disposable.

But lenses have not—or, at the very least, they have a much longer life cycle. Which is why you should give at least as much weight to the lens offerings in a product line when making an initial purchase decision as to the camera body du jour.

I just posted earlier that my "trusty X-Pro 1" keeps doing well enough but that doesn't put into an adequate context why that is. First, I use it exclusively for landscape work atop a tripod shooting at low ISO. Secondly, I normally plan a multiple exposure & multi-camera position sequence where focus, leveling, aperture choice and other necessary parameters are carefully considered. The result is not necessarily a panorama like shot but involves squeezing every last drop of what I can from a 16MP camera. I have no trouble at all making 2 x 3 foot prints that display nicely. I know full well a newer camera could make my life much easier and would improve upon resolution and quality of shadow detail and expand upon the moments of how and where I could photograph. Yet, on almost every outing I go on, I come upon a scene I like and the camera can still handle to my satisfaction.

Whenever I buy anything like a car, motorcycle, or camera my three favorite words are "last years model". I like "old an lousy" when old and lousy was "new and improved" 12 months ago.

I even like the older Miata's. Keep you extra HP. I'll get one used in a few years.

Yeah, when the X- T1 came out it was like you're 30 and in your prime- the world is yours, the X-T2 came out and you automatically turned 40- you're not catching those looks as much; the X-T3 makes ya 50- you rejoice when noticed; the X-T4 is really gonna hurt, no one wants to even admit being 60. Maybe I'll get the 3 then, just to gain ten years... or just black out the X-T1 logo with my Sharpie the way I've done the Fujifilm brand name to make the camera less conspicuous...

And ya can't go down the Jaguar E Series rabbit hole without catching a full fledged XKE in action (or as I used to call it- "Sex on Wheels"):


There are two things going on here , perhaps more, because the enjoyment and appreciation of advancing technology can be a separate thing from the purpose of the technology
Those of us who grew up with film, also have the built in WoW factor for the incredible things digital technology has brought.
Personally, I'm very interested in both the practical advances and the science that brings them.
But that interest hasn't affected my camera buying all that much.
I shot Nikon for 30 years, and still have my original F's and didn't 'upgrade ' until the Nikon F3
When I looked at digital my Nikon rep was saying FF was 'unnecessary', even though Canon already had one.
So, I bought a Canon 40D, with FF lenses to be sure I'd like digital, and in 07 I bought a Canon 1DsIII 21MP a wonderful camera. I used it exclusively until 2016, when I added a 5DMk IV. Both lovely cameras, very similar but the 5D4 being several generations ahead makes certain things easier.
The camera that interests me most is the Fujifilm GFX-50s or the upcoming 100s but I am quite happy with the work that my current cameras produce.
I still feel my "system " is more Photographer limited, than Camera limited.
In fact, I actually don't like buying new cameras, because I get very comfortable using cameras and feel that the 'comfort and facility' trumps 'mo betta' features ----resulting in more keepers.
But I'm still quite interested in the latest and greatest.
......if that makes sense.

I'm loving my little EOS100D body (US Rebel SL1). Tiny, light, and very cheap used now it's discontinued. Introduced 2013.

24mm/2.8 pancake, 50mm/1.8 and 85mm/1.8 and I have a tiny, light kit. Considering getting another two used bodies... Just like the old film days when you put a pens on a body and left it there.

(I've got the 5D4 and 35mmL, 85mmL, 135mmL for serious stuff - but the old cheap stuff is so much fun)

Point taken. However, I have to say that I am still stunned by the images my old Sony A900 continues to deliver in the studio. It might not be great in low light (it never was), but with strobes it makes astonishing files. I use it for light tests before I shoot my 8x10 film portraits. Perfectly functional. Obsolescence be damned.

IMHO, the underlying cause of the "magic" is the quite human desire for something new. The "grass is greener" syndrome is really the belief that something new or different is going to be better. We humans get bored easily, especially when we near the peak of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And we rationalize well.

Thus we desire change. I know - that's why I've owned so many cars. I get bored and want something new every couple of years - or maybe sooner. Very few times were the changes of vehicle rational.

Modern day economics are based on that principle. We want something new, rationalize it, purchase it and help the economy. All this is assuming we can afford it or are willing to put it on a credit card and hope we can deal with it later. Of course, that means we also have to either become a hoarder (er, collector), sell stuff on eBay/Craigslist or rent storage.

Part 2: Engineers and designers overload electronic-based products with features and options because 1)they can and 2)they want to compete with other products when the easiest way is with features. For >90% of the users, >90% of the features are unused.

But there is this human urge to use them, even if the possible results are marginal at best. Haven't we heard from quite a few readers that they prefer their simpler cameras?

Mike, you have suggested several times the 1C/1L/1Y idea. How about a one year trial where you set up your camera how you like it and limit options to zoom, exposure compensation and manual focus. Then look around yourself then through the viewfinder and make photos. I'm willing to bet that not worrying over the correct camera setup would let most focus more on seeing and the picture taking and get better results.*

Scared to try it for a year? Hell, try it for a day or a week first. See what happens.

*Besides you can still mess with stuff in the computer, right?

I am not interested in better and bestest. I only care about 'good enough'. I realised I had sailed well past that point when I bought a D800.

I traded down for an Xpro2 which is still 'good enough'. It makes sublime prints as large as I want to make them, and is enjoyable to use.

The 'improvements' in the XT3 mean very little to me. I don't need eye focus or 30 fps, or 4K video. In fact, I would be very happy to delete several of the camera's existing features.

But the IQ of the XT3 is no better, and possibly slightly worse. In fact, since the appearance of the Sony EXMOR 16MP sensor, IQ on cameras has not really improved all that much. Not as much as my editing skills anyway.

So I feel no draw or attraction to any of these new groundbreaking cameras. They are just increasingly complicated gizmos full of features and modes and compromises that I either don't want or don't need, but the images are no better than those of the previous generation.

I am actually dreading the day when the Xpro2 stops working and I have to find a replacement. I already found my Goldilocks camera, and I've long since given up on the Holy Grail.

I once read a proposal in a broadcasting magazine about the "30db rule" when it comes to replacing gear. It made a lot of sense.
Simply put it suggested that before replacing a piece of kit it should meet one of three criteria.
1. It's worn out
2. It's clearly obsolete. For example standard definition gear in a high def universe.
3. It provides at least 30db of improvement over what your are using now. This sounds like something that can be easily quantified but not really. What the author knew was that engineers reading the piece all knew what 30db of gain felt like and the advantages of an upgrade had to feel at least that powerful.
What triggers your 30db threshold is personal but this is not a bad way to put GAS into perspective.
Long ago on my suggestion a friend went digital with a Nikon D70 after seeing mine and a week later Nikon released the D70S. He wondered if he needed to upgrade. This did not meet the 30db rule and he kept what he had.
Keeping the 30db rule in mind I ended up shooting with my D70 until six months ago when I retired it for a gently used D7100.
This met my conception of a 30db bump and I am utterly stoked with how well the camera meets my needs.

The treadmill is an issue for those times when were are watching the newest tech trends in anticipation of buying a new camera body. Even the more cautious of us need to know where the bleeding edge is if we want to buy an 80% product. But when was the last time you looked at a photo and said, how did they do that? What tech made that possible?

New tech (at this stage of the game) may make things a little easier but it seldom provides a true magic bullet. The question should be, what are you willing to pay for convenience?

If cameras have become disposable, it’s probably due to the rapid advancement of the new tech of digital imaging and the rapid advancement of commercialism which says everything is disposable…buy, buy, buy. The companies who no longer take care of their employees are always desperate to increase dividends and increase the acreage of those golden parachutes.

When a new camera comes out does it diminish the artistic worth of a photo taken with an old camera? Nope. So, what does it matter if your camera is, gulp, a couple of years old?

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to drive an E-type. What a fabulous experience. I had always been led to believe that the Jag was over-rated. Not in my book. It was joyous.

I have no interest in "upgrading" my XT2 to the new XT3. We are already on the shoulder of the APS-C curve.

Man...why Contax cameras were (and are) sooo beautful?

Thanks for the scripture lesson, I loved that! Perspective.

“The Better Angels Of Our Nature” is an interesting book, chronicalling how violence has fallen over decades, centuries, and millennia.

Yep. Cameras are all disposible now, sorta like those cardboard things they sold in the 90s that were good for a single roll of film. Or could be were I rich/crazy enough to buy the latest all the time. The short time between new models I would fill with ranting about capitalism, inequality, and global warming all of which I'd forget or reverse myself on when it came to cameras.

Oddly, even though those old cameras used by those old photographers----Adams, Cartier-Bresson---are horribly obsolete, their photos seem not to be. And I haven't noticed any surge in great, memorable photography or photographers that matches all the better cameras we have.

I suppose though, if I were anxiously awaiting a new camera, I might temporarily think differently.

Yep. Cameras are all disposible now, sorta like those cardboard things they sold in the 90s that were good for a single roll of film. Or could be were I rich/crazy enough to buy the latest all the time. The short time between new models I would fill with ranting about capitalism, inequality, and global warming all of which I'd forget or reverse myself on when it came to cameras.

Oddly, even though those old cameras used by those old photographers----Adams, Cartier-Bresson---are horribly obsolete, their photos seem not to be. And I haven't noticed any surge in great, memorable photography or photographers that matches all the better cameras we have.

I suppose though, if I were anxiously awaiting a new camera, I might temporarily think differently.

The "latest and greatest" camera is about 0.1% better than its predecessor. When the new one goes on sale, I can buy the discontinued and obsolete model for half the price. I love it.

I'm shooting a wedding tomorrow - my first in many years. My main camera will be my trusty 10 year-old Nikon D3. I was offered the loan of a D5 but do not want to learn a new (if similar) camera on the job (or risk damaging a friend's pride and joy). I expect the D3 will do just fine. However, in response to your post, I have also dug out my student days' Nikkormat ftn and will try to shoot some film if (a) I find time to buy a few rolls today and (b) I can focus the damn thing. How did I ever see well enough to shoot anything through that dim, dark tunnel of a viewfinder, let alone focus with the micro-prism/rangerfinder? It used to be so bright, and just snap into focus! The glass must have darkened with age. Yup, that's it.

When the weather is nice there is no camera I enjoy as much as my 2006 Pentax K10D with its CCD sensor. Now in the fall it combines really well with the SMC Pentax-M 28mm f3.5 (from the 70s). Those older slower primes have such rich beautiful colors and are sharp and well corrected. With the unique CCD rendering, foliages look almost magical.
Latest and greatest is a bit of an overrated concept concept, I think.

I don't lust after new; I pine more over memories of things I let go away.

The simple reason that I am immune to GAS is this: for me, photography works best handled at first principles level. The camera gets set to as manual as one can a digital machine, the single exception being auto ISO, which saves a lot of bother with Nikon's amazing Matrix system. Af, sadly, has become a need, and I have it on two of my lenses...

Having no interest in video helps too.

The idea that one camera should be both stills machine as well as ciné producer strikes me as just silly. Especially as the latter adds to the cost and offers me nothing at all. I firmly believe that one gets more worthwhile shots when one has fewer lens options upon which to draw at any given moment. That doesn't mean depriving oneself of a set of lenses, but certainly does mean that for the amateur, it makes more sense to go out with a single body with a pre-selected lens already in place, the rest left safely at home. When you travel light you see more that fits your rig because if you are sensible enough, you don't waste your time thinking of alternative treatments. Also, you gradually come to the conclusion that your first impression probably does offer the best idea of what any shot should be, and that impression is usually predicated upon the thing you have to hand. If it demands other gear, move on and think about a return visit. No snap really matters that much.

Equipment easily becomes mistaken for photography.

"They" don't have us on a treadmill, going faster and faster. "We" have us on a treadmill, and we are running slower and slower, but spending more and more to catch up to that mirage floating just in front of that treadmill.

All we have to do is hit the OFF button and step off.

Can anyone in the real world (even photographers) tell the difference in actual prints or fully adjusted online displays of images made in the latest and no-so-latest cameras? Example: I saw a comparison recently between a Pentax 645z (now four years old) and a something else. The images from the Pentax had far better color and much more richness, even at low resolution. But the "reviewer" skipped all that bit and showed 100% blowups from his latest-and-greatest. When he actually makes a print six feet wide, he can come talk to me about 100% comparisons. Otherwise, he's buying capability using counterfeit money. For making big prints, there is little that works better than that big Pentax, even though it is no longer the latest-and-greatest.

And it sure seems to me that familiarity and skill with the camera trumps the subtleties of sensor improvement by a large margin, for at least several major generations of sensor improvement.

I think I just spotted the FedEx truck you were chasing...Inside this trailer is an addiction for which there is no cure...

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