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 Post subject: Marketing and Forums
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 10:31 am 
I was just reviewing my planned purchase (mentally) and came to the conclusion that this whole Digital camera thing is nothing but a marketing hype. Obviously we cannot blame the manufacturers for that since they want to make as much money as they can in the shortest possible time.... which is ok by me.
The best marketing tools the manufacturers have are the online forums in which user and future user wind each other up about their equipment as well as planned to be purchased equipment. They find their information on the web, other forums, other review sites, other users..... of course the Nikon 17-55 2.8 is a magnificent lens (supposably) hence it is recommended by anyone who has purchased it, it is so like the leica culture, I pay loads of money to buy the best, therefore anything cheaper is sh**. In essence they are correct but what they tend to forget is will we/they need the best for the images produced ..... in 80% of the cases I don't think so, very few people need 2000 lines per whatever for the shot they make, yet according to the posts on forums they are definitely made to believe they do need it.
Just look at the Flickr or equivelant galleries shot with camera configurations averaging the price of a 2 year old second hand car .... was it worth the money they invested ? .... 43 high resolution pictures of the family cat, 342 assorted sunsets and sunrises, 544 close ups of flowers, bees and other creepy crawleys, and then the other 15,344 flickr users which have posted exactly the same images, all over sharpened in photoshop, all over saturated all looking like unnatural lollies out of the virtual corner sweet shop.

Why .... because everybody winding everybody else up, you cannot photograph well without having the most up to date and most expensive equipment...... I have been following a post here by someone wanting to buy a D200 plus an assortment of lenses and equipment that would make professional National geographic photographers "shutter" and shiver, yet judging by his questions he knows nothing, absolutely nothing about photography.... it will become his foremost hobby, this is fine, but he will be just another addition to the ranks of equipement junkies winding the odd "real" photographer up about his or her camera setup.

I have become a victim of that too, but luckely and just in time I have come to realize that it's all company-, and forum marketing, simply a wind-up nothing else.

Now as a forum as this one, which is definitely a nice forum, I would propose ripping yourselves off from the 1001 other forums supporting equipment freaks and equipment junkies..... go for the "pureness" of good photogrpahy and how to reach optimal images with minimal equipement (as well in price as in number) ..... Tell people, and try to prove that making a good image can be done with low cost equipement, tell them how to do it, tell them about the weak points, but tell them in an enthusiastic manner that it can be done.... support people in buying the basic needs, tell them that a 1600€ lens is better than a 230€ lens but that the difference in quality will not necessarily apply to their style, show them the difference of 1370€ in actual imaging, that this 1370€ actually can only be found in the 34 pixels of the 4 corners and unless one wants to continuously reproduce 46 inch by 60 inch posters it's not all that important ...... A low budget - optimal performance review site would be well accepted.......

Hope you see what I mean ..... this is not a rant, not any form of critique to this forum, nothing more than just a suggestion .....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 11:19 am 
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Hi Cornelius,

and I thought you were one of those "measurbators" as they were called somewhere else. Coming from a Leica and investing in some serious Nikon gear (cam+1lens at least 2500 EUR) :wink:
But I'm off topic.
For me there are two answers: There is this joy that all the men have when they invest in quality gear - and if you can afford to invest more, why not! At least you're sure that bad gear is not what inhibits you from making grand photos :twisted:
On the other hand there are so many other things that can come in the way of a great photo. That's why Gordon has some forum-sections devoted to photography tips, that mostly don't depend on the price-tag of your equipment. We just have to collect more tips to make more people happy with their gear. If you could contribute, Cornelius, that'll be great!

But at the end, a lens that is not sharp, is not sharp. See my sad story of my copy of the Sigma 10-20mm here: www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=182

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 1:14 pm 
Nope I'm not a measurbator as you call them. It just struck me whilst browsing through countless forums how much this happens.
I am probably the very last of collegues moving into the digital era.... and then it would be simple to buy the first available pro-package for 10.000€ plus .... It's tax deductable, I can afford it and it's easy, but it's just not manner in which I tend operate, with or without forums.
I have been using Leicaflex equipment (and some M equipment) for my professional job for the past 25 years, and might I add the same equipment, bought a new lens here and there but that was about it. Now people want Tiffs/raws, they want not 1 tiff per subject, no they want 5 with various monitorings. have you any idea how hard it is nowadys to get a film professionally developed and scanned, and even if there are places which do that the cost will be immense.... so this is what drives me to digital. My main thoughts with in this process was that I'll be buggered before I just go out and follow the crowd..... but having seen and read what I have over the past weeks/months of research I feel sorry for all the poor souls whom fall into this trap. I have never been interested, or cared for digital photography, my wife has one or two, but thats about it, I also didn't read photography forums, not analog and not digital.... but now I have and am lightly disturbed with this whole thing, especially seeing the pictures which are taken with all these "pro-setups" I am not so much a Pro photographer as somebody whom relies on "good quality" images for their work, but as I mentioned I'll be buggered if I fall into this trap .... and you are so right, if a lens is not sharp, it's not sharp..... if that is the case it's probably a manufacturers fault and you send it back, and back, and back until you have a sharp one.
I bought several CV lenses for my Leica M. I know they make good lenses but quality control is not good (hence the price they cost) so one particular lens I sent back 6 times over a period of so many months, I eventually got a very good item for very little money compared to the Leica originals. I think the same applies for Sigma and Tamron, out of 100 lenses they distribute I wonder how many are as good as they can be ? .... at the same time wondering how any company can get away with that sort of thing.... and why. Anyway I can go on and on and on .... but the weather here in "Ober Bayern" is perfect for a little walk ..... so I will find my stretcher and lie in the garden with a good book and forget photography, analog or digital for a while .... :-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 2:54 pm 
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Quote:
perfect for a little walk ..... so I will find my stretcher

How you take a walk with a stretcher is beyond my imagination :wink:
But it's fine weather in Nuremberg too.
And I go now watering the garden, so as to have new subjects to hold my lenses at: My flowers...

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Thomas (beware: Nikon-fanboy and moderator!) My Lens Reviews, My Pictures, My Photography Blog
D800+assorted lenses


Last edited by Thomas on Wed May 02, 2007 8:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 10:35 pm 
What is Cornelius going on about, surely the manufactors of cameras etc if they do use these forums even if just to lurk maybe just maybe they might take on board some of the criticisms that posters make ie. Gordons review on the Canon 17-85mm lens about the lack of a Lens Hood, it might just do some good.

I stumbled across this site about 3 months ago whilst doing research on DSLR cameras as to which would be the best for me and the budget that I had, I read all of the reviews and watched all of the video tours and that for me narrowed it down to 2 makes and models (Canon 400D vs Nikon D80) but was still not swayed just by reading and watching alone, my next step was to actually go out to a retailer and handle both products which led me to purchasing the Canon 400D for me it felt much better in my hands than the Nikon others on here would probably disagree... but hey it's a personal thing, and as for people winding other people up about the equipment that they have I for one have not seen any of that on here but if you are refering to posters listing their equipment in their signature at the bottom of their posts.. what of it, I do and I think I am one that has the least amount of equipment, am I wound up about the others with more I don't think so, I am more than happy with what I have got.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 11:14 pm 
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Interesting thread Cornelius and I agree with some of what you're saying.

I've seen plenty of poor photos taken with pro equipment and many fantastic ones taken with basic or budget equipment. I think we all know it's the photographer who makes the pictures, and their skill, patience or artistic inspiration is worth 100 times more than just snapping with the latest camera.

I also agree the differences between many of the products available today can be very slim and unlikely to be noticed by many people under typical circumstances. This is why along with the usual test charts, I always include outdoor, real life examples taken at the same time to illustrate the difference people can expect in practice.

It's a hassle sourcing a rival model for every new review to do these comparisons, but I believe they're essential. And as you'll see in many of our outdoor results pages, the differences can be incredibly subtle. So I'm certainly not hiding this fact!

BUT there are differences, even subtle, and for many people it can be very reassuring to know they've got the best model in some respect even if they're not necessarily going to notice it in the vast majority of their shots.

I know I often make purchasing decisions based on reviews and subtle differences for products on which either I'm not an expert or don't have the time to personally research and test. After all, if 9 out of 10 publications say the XXX is the best, there's got to be something in it.

As for the suitability of higher-end products for beginners, I've given this one a lot of thought. Beginner DSLRs like the Nikon D40 are capable of delivering great quality shots with little or no user intervention, but does that mean beginners shouldn't aspire or desire the higher-end model?

Perhaps the person has inherited some money, won the lottery, or worked hard and saved for years. Maybe they just want to make a statement. Either way, I don't believe it's for us to say to a beginner 'you shouldn't buy this because you're not an expert'.

If the product in question is actually hard to use for a beginner, then yes I'd steer them away from it. I've said this about the K10D for example - great camera, but not for you if you want great quality output in Auto without tweaking. BUT if the camera, however professional or expensive, can perform great in Auto, then why shouldn't the beginner buy it if they want to?

I'm no race car driver, but it doesn't stop me wanting an Aston Martin. Similarly I'm not a wine professional, but I do sure remember the Christmas I was treated to a 1982 Bordeaux Premier Cru. It's nice to treat yourself!

Ultimately though the digital camera industry, like the PC (and almost any other technology) industry is based on trying to get you to regularly upgrade to new products which are probably unnecessary.

If we have 6 Megapixel cameras and 1GHz PCs, do we really need to upgrade to 10Mpixel cameras and 2GHz PCs? Probably not, but if it makes you feel good and you can afford it, then why not? That's consumer society for you!

But as Thomas says, that's why we have forums at Cameralabs dedicated to helping people get more out of their photographic equipment, so if you have any tips, please share them with the less experienced members.

And if it makes you feel any better, from what I know of camera marketing people, they don't have time to lurk in forums encouraging people to feel inadequate and upgrade. The actual owners are good enough at doing that themselves!

Anyway, I've rambled on enough, but it's an interesting thread. If I were to say just one thing it would be not to get too caught up in the technicalities or worrying whether you have equipment that's good enough. Just get out there and enjoy taking photos - and once you get back, tell us all about it!

Gordon


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