Friday, 14 January 2011
Thursday, 13 January 2011
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
The rationale behind this argument is simple. While changes in forms can bring about some material gain to a product, like the ipad versus a netbook, it is the change in the media that revolutionises a concept. History has seen enough examples to prove this.
A smart phone fitted with a full-frame sensor and a fast high-quality lens will be thrilling. But it will still be a phone which does smart tricks. Bet that will be a very expensive one too. At any rate, it will stand no chance to replace a regular camera soon unless it sports something implying a media-change.
Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Wait a minute. Don't we all know this platitude full well?
So, how about if we say, these expensive top-notch models don't necessarily make for a sensible choice even for seriously experienced photographers?
The other day when going to work, the author was amazed at the sight of a teenager having an expensive Leica M9 digital hanging around his neck on a strap. Whao, what a dazzling flaunting of wealth! Honestly, that wealth-/ skill-level-flaunting mindset is prominent in a great number of photographers when they buy expensive cameras. But whether they are really skillful in the craft is another matter. A true story goes like this: a rich amateur photographer from Mainland China wanted to spend big on a Leica camera and the optical gear on his visit to Hong Kong only to find that, to his surprise and dismay, the M9 is a manual-only camera!
That person doesn't represent the typical photographer to be sure. But when an old-timer photographer goes into a camera shop and heads to the counter selling top-level, or semi-pro models – photographers with some five-year experience under their belt will likely do the same – what is happening in his head? Surely, his savvy choice is a natural result of being more discerning in the optical, colour and ergonomic performances of a camera. But it is very likely that he is hypnotised by the rave reviews for the "state-of-the-art" cameras promised to give the best for the images, and his ego. Probably, he is also compelled to stick with the big brand names or the top models with the largest group of professional photographer-followers to show that he is good too.
Fact is, as said in the postscript to yesterday's post, an increasing number of professional photographers are picking sub-pro level cameras as the regular working gear or back-ups. That speaks volumes for what the entry to mid-range cameras can do for the stunting results previously only possible (or was it really) with the higher-level machines.
Moreover, with the know-how to work with and around a camera's limitations, such old-timers and five-year photographers know more than they wish to believe that a cheaper model fitted with a better lens can actually make a difference. At the end of the day, it is the photographer's skills that count and a top-notch model is not really necessary to that end. Honestly, how many of us will in our shooting use the 1/8000s shutter speed (why not buy a much less costly ND filter if necessary), ISO 12,800 or the nearly 20 megapixel image for a commercial-poster-size print?
When choosing a camera, a more sensible equation may be:
the real worth of a camera (which is the = the benefits the user can reap from
amount of money you should spend) it pragmatically + financially
The more favourably it is titled towards the right side of the equation (i.e. the worth or $ spent < the benefits to be reaped), the smarter the choice you are making. Here, the financial benefit is factored into the equation because we could blindly follow the professionals' choice without seeing the point that their cameras make money, thereby adding weight to the right side of the equation! This factor in the equation can also become an incentive to make the buyers use the camera to make money – by joining competitions or whatever means – which is photography training in disguise.
Monday, 10 January 2011
Let's put the illustration this way: if you can pay 5 pounds or 8 US dollars for a roll of film, will you embrace an upgrade version with a sturdier film case but for a dearer price? Such a cheeky proposition will be a non-starter because what's important about the roll of film is the content, not the case.
Fact is, whether in the film or digital era, this metal-case identity of a camera has not changed. What has been changed is the content from, in short, a roll of film to an imaging sensor. In the film era, SLRs were metal cases independent of the advancement in films. This reason, among others like camera-makers had fewer gimmicks to add to the camera body, facilitated a longer serving period for SLRs. So, a sturdier built and an endurable finishing were the convictions in especially making higher-end SLR cameras. This is not the case for their digital cousins.
Now, with the metal case and the contents integrated, and the rapid development in imaging technologies, a digital camera is retired sooner than later. We are probably retiring our main camera and buying a new one every five years or less. The gain in durability on the strength of a sturdy built therefore becomes less important. We are not saying that a sturdier built is not important for digital cameras. It is important to professional photographers or photo journalists. But for the general users, factoring in convenience of smallness/ lighness and the shorter serving life of cameras, a sturdier built with a heavier weight and a costlier price tag just sounds neither right nor good-value-for-money.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
Wandering a bit away from the COMPACT path of GXG:
With a magnesium body, better EVF, higher-pixel sensor and so on – and the same technology as implemented in the existing two SLTs – the A700 replacement is said to be priced at the area of Canon's 60D.
Pricier, certainly. Bulkier, likely. But are all the upgrades necessary? Just wondering.
What say you?