I'm a bit puzzled by this rant from Michael. Is Michael now accepting the view of Ken Rockwell, who claimed several years ago that 'your camera doesn't matter'?
I remember Michael, at the time, strongly criticising that comment from Ken. Perhaps those were the days when Michael was very impressed with the performance of Phase One MFDBs.
I would agree that any true obsession can be a problem. There are quite a few people who have what is referred to as an OCD (obsessive-complusive disorder), whether it be an obsession to clean the house every day, or an obsession with checking several times that the doors are locked when leaving the house.
An obsession with the technical perfection of cameras might not help one to take photos that are interesting to people who lack such an obsession, or who lack a fascination with sharp texture and detail in a photo. However, for the amateur, surely the best advice is to take photos which one likes, which one finds interesting and meaningful.
For some folks, that means taking a selfie. Their own face in front of every scene is what they like most. For other folks, that means using the sharpest lens with highest resolving sensor so that every grain of sand, or every wrinkle on every old face, is discernible.
For others, that means ignoring issues of sharpness and low noise, and having the goal of producing images that express what they consider to be a 'sharp concept' that they hope can be appreciated by as many people as possible.
Speaking for myself, I admit that I like sharpness and low noise in an image, excluding abstract photography which is another genre.
I don't consider I'm actually obsessed with technical perfection. If I was, I'd probably have bought an MFDB years ago.
However, I admit I just don't like noise and fuzziness in the parts of my compositions which I think are significant or relevant to the general concept.
As Alain Briot once wrote, 'every part of the composition is important'.
I'm also puzzled by Michael's comments on 'Street Kiss'. He claims a case can be made that 'the barred windows, and auto and the driver, are as much the main subject as are the women'. Really? If that's the case, then surely both the background and the women should be equally sharp.
Amolitor in reply #9 writes "The women don't need to be sharp, a little softness is fine, even beneficial if you want to wander into the weeds of emotional response. The background, the context, does need to be sharp, to generate any interest here at all. And the two need to be separated, since tonality and texture are not doing it here."
Really? Is this a case of kidding oneself? Imagine a very large print on the wall. Would one claim, "that background is so lovely and sharp. Stuff those fuzzy women in the foreground"? Also, if one views this small image from an increasingly greater distance from one's monitor, does the image gradually become less appealing as the sharpness of the women and the background become equal?
Supposing the women were attractive models with lovely eyelashes and smooth skin. Would one have the same opinion about their not being in focus?