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Friday, 03 May 2019


Cameras are okay. Or, you know, photography.

My personal attitude toward TOP has always been that it's your blog and should therefore reflect your interests and passions, regardless of whether I share them or not. If I'm not down with that I'm literally free to go elsewhere; or, at the very least, skip over a few postings until something recaptures my interest. I can't fail to note, however, that your gear-related posts normally generate a lot more comments than some of your more esoteric musings. If you enjoy writing them, then all the more reason to do so whenever you feel so inspired.

"So if it's okay, maybe we'll talk about cameras for a bit? It's fun, doesn't hurt children or animals..." Well I consider myself a "childish" adult and your camera "talk" is injurious both to my emotions and pocketbook....but have at it because that is what YOU were born to do!

Mmmmm. Cameras.

Nothing wrong with a talk about gear. I stopped buying but is nice to read about it.

It's your personal blog, Mike. You can use it to write about whatever you please (as you usually do!). It's also abundantly clear that much, probably most, of your audience is most attuned to camera topics. A typical camera topic here seems to get 3x - 10x the comments that other topics get. So it's hard to argue with success.

Still, there is certainly also a slice of your audience, and perhaps untapped bystanders, who would like to see more topics on photography, i.e. photo books, photo exhibits, photo films, perhaps mini-portfolio presentations and interviews (ala The Eye of Photography). There is yawning void of such sites between the spheres of the art world and the photo hobby sites/blogs. Seems like it might be an opportunity, albeit with a slightly different audience?

But, again, you seem to be doing ok with your slightly gear-slanted eclectic mix of topics. So if you're happy, .....

Everyone seems to talk about photons—but few know anything about generating them. I find light to be eminently intriguing. Light is the language of visual art. You need to be fluent in lighting to be an artist. My favorite dialect is chiaroscuro, while others speak Rembrandt.

Spiff-y's Light Blaster https://spiffygear.com/light-blaster/ is the only gear I'm planing to buy anytime soon. I love hard point-source light. For <$100 the Light Blaster, plus my Canon 580 EX2/50mm f/1.8 will be both portable and hard. How good is that.

Nothing wrong with camera talk on a photography site.

Personally I like the mix of mostly photography with some gear talk thrown in. Mike and his readers usually have something interesting to say about cameras which is more than can be said for most other blogs.

I like cameras.

Mike, please write about cameras. Reading about them in detail seems to suppress my GAS. Somehow other people’s experience with cameras (and other gear) provides almost the same dopamine as buying without the risk of buyer’s remorse.

I treat reading about photography gear like window shopping. It can trigger some intriguing fantasies, it passes a little time in an entertaining way if you like that sort of thing, and it's easy to walk away and forget or dismiss. So there's no real harm in it. But it does remind me that the greatest skill required of an adult striving for contentment in our modern consumerist society is the ability to truly discern need from want.

Cameras, lenses, snooker, diet, tea, cars (especially the sporty types).. its all good! Of course the rule "everything in moderation" should be applied. :-)

Mike, I give my contribution by Patreon because personally, I enjoy the eclectic mix of topics. But I'd second Ken Tanaka's suggestion of wide ranging photography topics too. I'm an inexpert amateur and I enjoy the exposure to your breadth of photography experience.

Have no interest in gear-speak because have no interest in buying more than I have. GAS is a terribly crippling sickness that wastes time, money and relationships if you're not careful - or just very rich.

I spent my life as a working photographer and can't remember anybody in the business suffering from it; strikes me as the universal excuse for one's own photographic limitations. There is a level beyond which money makes no difference if only because your likelihood of ever facing extreme photographic requests is very small. 35mm Kodachrome made some of the best calendars in this world at a time when 120 format film was always available, as was 8 x 10. what does anybody here do that's more demanding than Pirelli and many others are/have been? It's all in the head baby, an illusion.

Much more interesting to chat about the art of this creature we are all supposed to love.

Hey, it's your party, so you should feel free to invite any guests you wish! 8^)

Ever since the days of the Sunday morning photographer, I have enjoyed the special mix of topics that you can bring to our attention. The online photographer is certainly the only blog that I still follow. You have a great way of working through things. It is just interesting to follow along. A privilege to be honest. The audience here is a bunch of good people with a lot of knowledge and interesting stories to tell. Congratulations on joining the community for the future of this planet as well. All the best, from Norway.

Talking about photography gear is akin to talking about sports. It engenders a lot of passion and doesn’t hurt anything. With discussions that cover the what is, the what should’ve (and could’ve) been, the unrealized possibilities, the disappointing realities, the endless comparisons to others, and bittersweet comparison’s to the team’s (err, manufacturer’s) seemingly glorious (if patina-colored) past, the shortcomings of trade-offs that never pay off, and the undying and usually unrequited hope for next year (um..., next model) that will win it all. None of it will bring world peace, cure cancer or even the common cold, but it sure generates a lot of talk.

Have at it, Mike. You’ll be busy moderating all those comments.

Mike, you keep writing 'em, I'll keep reading 'em. Daily habit: TOP and VSL.

Five, ten, 50 years from now, what you wrote about lens X probably won’t matter or be remembered. But the questions you posed and the ideas you planted might have legs. There’s more to the craft and art of photography than gear.

Keep up the strong mix.

I like Ken’s suggestion of more topics on exhibits or mini-portfolio presentations. I’m always interested in seeing a talented photographer’s view of the world. I had not seen the Eye of Photography site before. Thanks for that, Ken.

Gear talk is nice too. I think it’s important to stay abreast of the bleeding edge so we know when a real game changer has arrived…but I’m also just plain interested in tools and technology. If it’s a tool and it’s made of metal I’m interested and as a lifelong IT guy, the metamorphosis of the camera into a microcomputercam just sweetened the deal.

The off topic posts are the hot sauce on the burrito. They shake things up and keep it interesting. I’ve found new areas of interest on these off topic jaunts. For example, now when I read a posting or comment that mentions snooker I stop reading, go to Youtube, watch the frame, and only then finish reading the post or comment. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought snooker was related to snipes or was maybe a kitchen utensil used for serving Bubble and Squeak.

Very off topic
Oh, we won't give in, we'll keep living in the past
Oh, we won't give in, let's go living in the past
Oh no, no, we won't give in, let's go living in the past

So sang a prescient Ian Anderson in 1972.

The world is rapidly changing. The ascent of AI and machine learning will change everything. The age of thin clients (iPads) and cloud computing has finally started. iPhones and iPads will replace desktops for many businesses and tech savvy people. Others will be living in the past, hanging-on to what they know. Both ways work—so use whatever floats-your-boat.

Berkshire Hathaway reported that it owned ‘over $40B’ as of the end of 2018, and CEO Warren Buffett said today that it now owned ‘$50B plus’ … As usual Mr Buffett is ahead of the curve.

The fastidious Ming Thein said: Regular readers will have noticed ... an increasing use of SOOC JPEG from the Nikon Z7, ... this is no coincidence. As I find myself with less and less time to spend postprocessing, ... it’s still much faster to not have to do it at all. Time is one thing that is irreplaceable ...I try my best not to waste it.

There is more to life than cameras. It is good that you keep reminding us of that. I think the balance is about right.

I ain't no complainin' about the contents of TOP topics. There is something to learn from each of them.

I just followed your link to "Mike's 7 laws of lenses". Just wonderful. Short, good, true, just up my street. Thanks.

I think there is a clue in the post on camera complexity. At this stage, I want to set the camera to fully manual exposure, with spot focus on a back-button. I certainly don't want bits of the image to suddenly get magnified as I'm composing, nor do I want the camera going to find eyes to focus on (well, 99% of the time).
So the complexity doesn't matter... but then, it isn't useful, either. And suddenly there isn't that much interest in a different camera body, certainly nothing that would motivate me to sell off the lens collection and start again.
Photography remains a much larger and more interesting topic than camera bodies.
That's just a suggestion, of course, it's your blog :-)

Please write about whatever you want, it's all very readable......
I will however take this opportunity to ask for more book reviews, I've bought many you recommended, with a very high satisfaction rating.

You write, I read.

dude, isn't this your gig?

write about whatever is fluttering inside you....

I like camera and photography talk, but you've also got other interests which align with my own. It's all good, Mike.

I read everything you write. If you hadden't told me I wouldn't have noticed.

I'm with Ken Tanaka. The problem with gear talk now is that it tends to be about the margins -- is a 50mp MF camera better than a 47mp FF camera? The answer to that question is entirely individual, involving dozens of different factors. I mean, I spent a long time, most of my life, with Nikon, not because of specific physical factors, but because I liked the way Nikon *thought.*

But the Internet is about clickbait -- that's right, pal, you can't hold your head up without the extra three megapixels and a ten thousand dollar lens.

At one time, not too long ago, gear talk was much more interesting, because there were HUGE differences between cameras. I remember years ago when I bought a D3 and went outside in the early evening and shot a natural light portrait that looked like it had been shot in full sunlight. There was nothing else like it. That doesn't happen anymore.

Gear talk is rarely useful anymore, although it can be entertaining. Nothing wrong with entertainment, I guess, especially when it pays the blogger's bills.

When it's useful, it's usually in response to very specific questions. I asked on Luminous Landscape if I could use a whole batch of D800 batteries in a new Z6. The answer was Yes, but they can't be recharged in-camera. I asked if I was good to go with my AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G on an FTZ adapter. The answer was Yes. Good information. Still, I handled a Z before I placed my order (through TOP) and I wouldn't have ordered if I hadn't found a guy who had one who'd let me handle it.

I'll take a little gear talk -- I enjoyed your post about setting up the G9 -- but I most like to hear about the product coming out of the camera, the art of it, which no longer much depends on what specific camera you use.

I enjoy reading TOP. The minimal writing around gear is refreshing.

It's funny how the camera posts always get the most responses ;-)

I'm cool with a few camera posts, though I personally find them less and less interesting (cameras that is).

I think my favourite are the random excellence posts. I don't often have anything to say (other than wow, that's great) but it's always educational to see how other people see.

And frankly, many random unknown photographers seem far more interesting than most of the trite polemical browbeating or hackneyed stereotypes I see in galleries these days.

I have been reading everything you write since your son was in grade school. And a couple of my favorite photography quotes come from you . I don’t think you understand the power you have with us. My wife has been a vegetarian for years, but not until you mentioned that you were giving it a go, I thought “Maybe I should look into it too”. Whatever you say has more “gravitas” because it comes from you. Anyway, just keep writing!

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