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Author Topic: No one knows anything article.  (Read 27962 times)

Schewe

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #40 on: February 26, 2014, 05:11:55 pm »

Well, to be honest, Michael's piece was a bit "extremista", so it is only fair for people to reply with polarized and exagerated opinions.

Not for nothing, but I can't think of a better person to have a clear view of the camera industry from a photographer's point of view than Mike. Heck, I have a lot of cameras…Canon, Phase One, Panasonic LUMIX and Sony (RX100II). Comparing my paltry number of cameras to the cameras Mike has shot with in just the last few years…other than some "professional reviewers" who do you know that has the range of experience in shooting so many cameras? Certainly, nobody else on LuLa (although Kevin is starting to become a camera junkie).

If anybody has a clear view of the weaknesses and shortcomings of all these cameras (and the companies than make them) it's Mike…the real shame is that in this industry, the camera companies don't talk closely with people like Mike BEFORE they commit to a new camera design…

But hey, you all are entitled to your opinions (regardless of how wrong they may be).

:~)
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2014, 02:28:14 am »

Not for nothing, but I can't think of a better person to have a clear view of the camera industry from a photographer's point of view than Mike. Heck, I have a lot of cameras…Canon, Phase One, Panasonic LUMIX and Sony (RX100II). Comparing my paltry number of cameras to the cameras Mike has shot with in just the last few years…other than some "professional reviewers" who do you know that has the range of experience in shooting so many cameras? Certainly, nobody else on LuLa (although Kevin is starting to become a camera junkie).

If anybody has a clear view of the weaknesses and shortcomings of all these cameras (and the companies than make them) it's Mike…the real shame is that in this industry, the camera companies don't talk closely with people like Mike BEFORE they commit to a new camera design…

But hey, you all are entitled to your opinions (regardless of how wrong they may be).

:~)

Thanks very much for allowing me to have na opinion:) Indeed Michael has used many cameras over the years, from many brands, and of course I always read his pieces with interest. I have also been following his website for over 10 years, so I have a pretty good idea of where is coming from. That said, his article was controversial; my experience is based on shooting Canon EOS for more than 20 years (and other systems, including mirrorless). From my perspective, I am glad that Canon continues to make boring and non-innovative cameras like the EOS 6D, and at a good price too. I am also glad that Canon continues not to innovate with lenses, as I think the existing ones are fine for my requirements.

Hans Kruse

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2014, 04:15:53 am »

Canon was mentioned as less innovative than Nikon. I disagree as I find them rather equal in that respect. Btw. I'm shooting both Canon and Nikon!

And I can't really see the big fuss about mirrorless for full frame as the lenses more or less dictates the weight and size of a camera system covering a reasonable range of focal lengths as e.g. a landscape shooter will need. And both Canon and Nikon has mirrorless on their cameras, it's called live view  ;D

Both DSLR and mirrorless sales is going down and from what I have seen mirrorless even more than DSLR. I think the big reason is that many find their smartphones good enough for casual shooting and they don't bother about the difference in quality for posting on the web. But what do I know?  ;)

jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2014, 07:49:05 am »

And I can't really see the big fuss about mirrorless for full frame as the lenses more or less dictates the weight and size of a camera system covering a reasonable range of focal lengths as e.g. a landscape shooter will need. And both Canon and Nikon has mirrorless on their cameras, it's called live view  ;D
A bit hard to hold up to the eye though, when using live view!
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dreed

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2014, 10:11:51 am »

There's something that I kind of wish Michael had of linked to in this story and that is how startups (especially in Silicon Valley) get funding to do a lot of "things", many of which go nowhere. Is this in any way similar to what we see in the microcosm of the photography industry?

to put it another way, someone would have needed to present a business case to whatever part of Nikon decides to fund new camera development that resulted in the Df. Do they have the same level of rigor in their internal funding or do they accept more risk or...?

Just churning out the next D859 or 5D Mark CXVIII would likely not be subject to the same rigor. Upgrade some parts, tweak the firmware, tweak the body so that it physically different in some way and turn the handle.

I suppose the reason I mentioned startups above is that when you seek funding for a startup, you never really know how well it will or won't take off. Sometimes people just get lucky without a plan, sometimes you can have an excellent plan and idea and it flops. Some amount of it is calculated risk but really, nobody knows what will happen. Just like what Michael is alluding to here.
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fike

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2014, 04:22:47 pm »

This is an interesting discussion, but I think people are losing the broad perspective as they defend their favorite brands. 

It is absolutely true that "No one knows anything."  I work for a semiconductor company, and it is not an exaggeration to say that 8 out of 10 chips don't make a profit.  Those other two chips make tons of money.  Why do they have to make so many chips to find a winner?  It is simple, we can't predict what the market will need/want in two to seven years when the chip will be ready to ship in volume.  Camera design cycles aren't six month cycles.  They are probably closer to three of four years for a major new design.  That is some serious divination required by the design and product teams.

Finally, don't presume that when Michael says "no one knows anything" that he means he could do any better.  We are engaged in "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" here, and we all know it.  ...As a matter of fact, the football analogy is probably pretty good.  You know all those betters who set the odds for games and predict outcomes...they achieve only slightly over 50% accuracy (I think it is about 55%), and that is enough to consider them very good.

If sensor-size really becomes irrelevant to image quality, and electronic viewfinders achieve focus-speed parity with optical viewfinders, that will be a truly disruptive innovation that may just sink the big boys--CaNikon.  I tend to believe that in industry the timid will eventually be outflanked and made irrelevant--like Kodak, Polaroid, Xerox, etc....  But until that happens, I know that Canon and Nikon executives will continue to take home big bonuses, so they have that going for them. 
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Pelao

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2014, 04:32:00 pm »

Good essay Michael. Consistent with your previous postings on similar topics.
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Wayne Fox

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2014, 05:14:25 pm »

You know all those betters who set the odds for games and predict outcomes...they achieve only slightly over 50% accuracy (I think it is about 55%), and that is enough to consider them very good.
 
As an aside and irrelevant to this discussion but a curiosity that I just learned recently, Vegas odds are not about predicting winners and losers.  If you eliminate the point spreads and just see how often the favored team wins, their percentage is very high.  But their goal is creating a system that is only slightly favored toward the house (thus most betting is against point spreads) just like all the other games of chance.  So 55% is pretty much what they are after.
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jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #48 on: February 27, 2014, 09:38:28 pm »

It is absolutely true that "No one knows anything."  I work for a semiconductor company, and it is not an exaggeration to say that 8 out of 10 chips don't make a profit.  Those other two chips make tons of money.  Why do they have to make so many chips to find a winner?  It is simple, we can't predict what the market will need/want in two to seven years when the chip will be ready to ship in volume.  Camera design cycles aren't six month cycles.  They are probably closer to three of four years for a major new design.  That is some serious divination required by the design and product teams.
Record companies, publishers and film studios basically release a lot of content, most fails, but a small percentage make enough to pay for everything else and then some. Basically the 'experts' don't have a clue as to what will succeed. This is why the scriptwriter William Goldman was moved to comment that 'no-one knows anything'.
The businesses are best described as throwing shit against the wall and hoping some of it sticks!  :-\
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John Camp

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #49 on: February 28, 2014, 12:16:19 am »

The idea that "nobody knows anything" in regard to building new cameras is not right, IMHO -- I think there is broad agreement across the net about certain things that almost everybody knows. For example, we all know that we need good clear menus. We all know that certain camera functions should be readily available, we all know that buttons, etc., should not be difficult to manipulate, that the viewfinder should show an image of reasonable size, that some system should be available to make LCDs at least somewhat visible in bright light (especially when there is no viewfinder), that a serious camera should have a viewfinder with a diopter adjustment, and so on. These things are not only known, but are reasonable expectations, and have really nothing to do with how much ahead of time designers must be working to produce a camera: the size of human fingers doesn't change much in five years, nor do differences in average visual acuity. So these are known, basic functional elements of design. What is mystifying is that they are so often violated. And they are (everybody can make their own lists, so I won't do it here.) It's not the esoteric stuff that causes me problems, it's like having to remember which way you toggle the tiny little buttons to get to a common function that you need right now, and not two minutes and fifty seconds from now. What's mystifying is not that nobody knows anything, but that they disregard what everybody knows.
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pedro39photo

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #50 on: February 28, 2014, 08:18:22 am »

great article Michael ! a great picture about the industry present point....
Its boring times, i wish that new brands shake the market. like Blackmagic in video.
A Blackmagic DMF camera...a dream ?
Thanks
Pedro
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #51 on: February 28, 2014, 08:44:38 am »

We might tend to analyze things too statically when we're confused by how a company can make seemingly weird decisions, when it seems obvious that they should know better. Companies evolve over time and decisions involve different people, the fact that they happen to work for the same corporation may not mean anything. The people on the design teams probably change a lot, they get promoted, they retire, etc., so it's no surprise that they often get things wrong in new ways. In my working life (software development in my case), I rarely saw a reliable transfer of knowledge from old staff to new staff. In fact, I witnessed just the opposite. I saw mostly ego-gratification, i.e., "I'm new and smart and I know best who cares what those old guys think." So the tendency is for tried and true ideas to be forgotten all the time. (Sometimes old ideas should be discarded, of course.) There may even be a tendency for modern corporations to be too slim and trim, "efficient", which necessarily means turfing out that corporate memory.
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Rob C

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #52 on: February 28, 2014, 09:21:51 am »

We might tend to analyze things too statically when we're confused by how a company can make seemingly weird decisions, when it seems obvious that they should know better. Companies evolve over time and decisions involve different people, the fact that they happen to work for the same corporation may not mean anything. The people on the design teams probably change a lot, they get promoted, they retire, etc., so it's no surprise that they often get things wrong in new ways. In my working life (software development in my case), I rarely saw a reliable transfer of knowledge from old staff to new staff. In fact, I witnessed just the opposite. I saw mostly ego-gratification, i.e., "I'm new and smart and I know best who cares what those old guys think." So the tendency is for tried and true ideas to be forgotten all the time. (Sometimes old ideas should be discarded, of course.) There may even be a tendency for modern corporations to be too slim and trim, "efficient", which necessarily means turfing out that corporate memory.


That's probably the best and most accurate analysis so far.

Rob C

fike

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #53 on: February 28, 2014, 09:51:47 am »

We might tend to analyze things too statically when we're confused by how a company can make seemingly weird decisions, when it seems obvious that they should know better. Companies evolve over time and decisions involve different people, the fact that they happen to work for the same corporation may not mean anything. The people on the design teams probably change a lot, they get promoted, they retire, etc., so it's no surprise that they often get things wrong in new ways. In my working life (software development in my case), I rarely saw a reliable transfer of knowledge from old staff to new staff. In fact, I witnessed just the opposite. I saw mostly ego-gratification, i.e., "I'm new and smart and I know best who cares what those old guys think." So the tendency is for tried and true ideas to be forgotten all the time. (Sometimes old ideas should be discarded, of course.) There may even be a tendency for modern corporations to be too slim and trim, "efficient", which necessarily means turfing out that corporate memory.

Very insightful and thoughtful comment.  The march of time does not always mean progress.  We constantly relearn lessons...sometimes we evolve...sometimes we devolve. 
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jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #54 on: February 28, 2014, 10:35:51 am »

We might tend to analyze things too statically when we're confused by how a company can make seemingly weird decisions, when it seems obvious that they should know better. Companies evolve over time and decisions involve different people, the fact that they happen to work for the same corporation may not mean anything. The people on the design teams probably change a lot, they get promoted, they retire, etc., so it's no surprise that they often get things wrong in new ways. In my working life (software development in my case), I rarely saw a reliable transfer of knowledge from old staff to new staff. In fact, I witnessed just the opposite. I saw mostly ego-gratification, i.e., "I'm new and smart and I know best who cares what those old guys think." So the tendency is for tried and true ideas to be forgotten all the time. (Sometimes old ideas should be discarded, of course.) There may even be a tendency for modern corporations to be too slim and trim, "efficient", which necessarily means turfing out that corporate memory.
A sadly common practice in film studios is when a new head comes in, all the predecessors projects are binned as they must be crap/to protect fragile egos.

The other thing worth bearing in mind is that smart people can also be incredibly stupid and/or insular. I've also seen and heard about really childish behaviour by members of the boards of multinationals, behaviour more suited to kids in the playground.
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E.J. Peiker

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #55 on: February 28, 2014, 10:39:20 am »

One of your best essays ever Michael, it's rare that I agree with you (or others) 100% but in this case I could not agree more.
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jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #56 on: February 28, 2014, 10:42:21 am »

The idea that "nobody knows anything" in regard to building new cameras is not right, IMHO -- I think there is broad agreement across the net about certain things that almost everybody knows. For example, we all know that we need good clear menus. We all know that certain camera functions should be readily available, we all know that buttons, etc., should not be difficult to manipulate, that the viewfinder should show an image of reasonable size, that some system should be available to make LCDs at least somewhat visible in bright light (especially when there is no viewfinder), that a serious camera should have a viewfinder with a diopter adjustment, and so on. These things are not only known, but are reasonable expectations, and have really nothing to do with how much ahead of time designers must be working to produce a camera: the size of human fingers doesn't change much in five years, nor do differences in average visual acuity. So these are known, basic functional elements of design. What is mystifying is that they are so often violated. And they are (everybody can make their own lists, so I won't do it here.) It's not the esoteric stuff that causes me problems, it's like having to remember which way you toggle the tiny little buttons to get to a common function that you need right now, and not two minutes and fifty seconds from now. What's mystifying is not that nobody knows anything, but that they disregard what everybody knows.
I think you have missed the point John. Even if everyone knows that good films make more money, clear camera menus make more sense and so on, the problem is deciding how to go about doing those tasks and that is where people know nothing. Not to mention the fact that people have very different tastes or expectations of what is important/necessary.
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Isaac

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #57 on: February 28, 2014, 12:08:05 pm »

The idea that "nobody knows anything" in regard to building new cameras is not right

It's just hyperbole (and presumably intentional).

the size of human fingers doesn't change much in five years, nor do differences in average visual acuity.

Averages don't buy and use cameras - individuals do, and broader demographic groups trend.

Would you guess that women and men have similar hand-size and dexterity?

It's not the esoteric stuff that causes me problems, it's like having to remember which way you toggle the tiny little buttons to get to a common function that you need right now, and not two minutes and fifty seconds from now.

We've been through this before -- the stuff that causes you problems probably isn't the stuff that causes other people problems, and the common function you can't remember how to access probably isn't that common for someone else. For that level of "personal fit" use a camera with configurable buttons and menus.
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Telecaster

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #58 on: February 28, 2014, 02:49:53 pm »

In my working life (software development in my case), I rarely saw a reliable transfer of knowledge from old staff to new staff. In fact, I witnessed just the opposite. I saw mostly ego-gratification, i.e., "I'm new and smart and I know best who cares what those old guys think." So the tendency is for tried and true ideas to be forgotten all the time.

Absolutely. Yet also: I once worked for a creative & successful company which then ran off the rails—and into bankruptcy—with breathtaking speed after those of us who'd been part of that success moved on to new things. It wasn't that we were so brilliant (we weren't) and the newer folks incompetent (they weren't) but rather that our particular frictional and yet highly productive way of working together was discarded. We were a brief bright flash rather than a long slow burn.

-Dave-
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Dave Millier

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #59 on: February 28, 2014, 06:19:07 pm »

I can add one more wrinkle to his chain of stories of corporate un-knowledge.  I've worked for the same organisation for 29 years in various capacities (all of them fairly junior positions, not the high flying type).  For most of that time I've been in IT in one role or another, mostly related to internal systems. 

In those years I've seen a fair churn of staff, particularly in decision making positions. One the insights I've gained from all this management-watching is that energetic, ambitious managers always want to do something new that demonstrates their worth. Nothing particularly wrong with that. However, I've also noted that the organisation as a whole is very, very poor at remembering its own history.  So I repeatedly see major projects being launched in a blaze of propaganda (with everyone expected to sign up to them in blood) that management believe will save the world but that I remember having been tried before and failing.

One example that springs to mind is something called the "staff allocation system".  This in-house system (much maligned by staff who have to use it) has been repeatedly upgraded without a great deal of improvement. Management believe this is a new and vital system that must be made to work. Bizarrely, not one of them has any idea that over the last 20 years, the organisation has created and abandoned 5 similar systems. No one from the previous efforts remains in an influential position, all the senior staff are more recent. But ought to be no excuse.  We keep good records, a simple literature search would reveal the truth but they don't even look. The organisation as a whole seems utterly incapable of learning from the past mistakes it has made or even remembering that it made them. 

Those few of us who've been around a while live in constant amazement at this combination of attitudes amongst senior, highly intelligent and successful managers. Overconfidence, over exuberance, lack of scepticism, hubris, all these seem endemic in our leaders.

Absolutely. Yet also: I once worked for a creative & successful company which then ran off the rails—and into bankruptcy—with breathtaking speed after those of us who'd been part of that success moved on to new things. It wasn't that we were so brilliant (we weren't) and the newer folks incompetent (they weren't) but rather that our particular frictional and yet highly productive way of working together was discarded. We were a brief bright flash rather than a long slow burn.

-Dave-
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