Saturday, August 6, 2016

The silly counter arguments used online

We've all heard it or read it somewhere. The arguments for and against different kinds of cameras are pretty nauseating. The online forums are full not of debates over the merits of different cameras but rather of mud slinging. A typical online argument starts with somebody saying something then the next person trying to tell them they are wrong while rugby tackling them to the ground and grinding their heads into the dirt while repeatedly stomping on their head. It gets nobody anywhere either fast or slow.

The arguments I've heard have been....
Image quality improves with sensor size.
Modern cameras are better.
Format X is better than format Y
Maker X is better than Maker Y
You must have a high ISO
If you can't carry all your gear, you're a wimp.

Really and truly, all those arguments are complete poppycock. They miss the main issue which is that photography is about the photograph, not the equipment. There seems to be a perception that one must be able to cater for every eventuality with lenses that allow photographs of single pinheads to fill the image right the way through to lenses that can see the writing in the dirt left behind by Eugene Cernan on the lunar surface.

The fact is, early photographers took great photos using single fixed focal length lenses. Photography is about the picture, not the tools used to take the picture. As an example, I have a wonderful photograph I took with a 110 film camera. It's probably the best portrait I've ever taken yet 110 was very sniffed at during film days.

It doesn't matter if you use a cellphone, a compact, a mirror less camera or a digital SLR. They are only as good as the photographer and the scene presented. I can go and take a blurry, grainy, unrecognizable image just as easily with a phone as I could with a digital SLR. Equally, I can take a brilliant photo with any of them.

One of the main problems people have is with their perception. What is a photograph being used for? Is it being used to judge the technical capabilities of a camera and a lens or is it going to be used as a social media image? 99% if not more, of today's photographs will be online only. Thus, any camera or cellphone will be able to achieve an excellent image.
Yes. It's a burger. That was my lunch some time ago. The image is quite decent and it was taken with a cellphone. Now, I'll show you a photograph taken with a digital SLR.
Both images are equally good, seen on the screen. Hmm... Maybe it's not really necessary to have a digital SLR? Maybe it's overkill? The fact is nobody really does anything more than glance at a photograph. It doesn't matter how good or bad the image is. Viewers just do not care. The only people that obsess about image "quality" are OCD.

There was a fuss because some newspapers are dumping their dedicated photography staff and giving journalists, iPhones to take photos for news stories. That is a pretty good idea. The days of the specialist photographer are gone. A journalist can take a couple of dozen photos with an iPhone, dictate an article and add some video then send it back to the office before he's even left the scene.

For news people, the standalone camera is a clunky, archaic anachronism from the 19th century. For the hobbyist, it's still not really necessary to have anything more than a cellphone.

I'd say that the only reason to have a standalone camera are

  • Posing value
  • The rare occasions when a longer lens is needed
  • The rare occasions when a feature unavailable on a smartphone is needed

I've sold most of my camera gear. I use my cellphone for almost all my photography these days. It's an elderly Nexus 4 from 2012 and the screen is beginning to delaminate. The battery life is horrible but it still takes pretty good photos.

Do I recommend you selling your cameras? Heck, no. You do what you want. This is my opinion and these are my experiences! I would recommend not throwing a lot of money at photography. It has a tendency to gobble money. As far as making a profit... The only person that makes a profit from photography is the camera maker. I've seen way too many photographers going out of business and living in poverty.

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