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Author Topic: No one knows anything article.  (Read 27293 times)

jjj

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No one knows anything article.
« on: February 24, 2014, 07:34:01 pm »

Spot on essay Michael.
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BJL

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Re: No one knows anything article
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2014, 08:48:00 pm »

Nice summary.

I will just make one small defense of Pentax, which is that it shares something with Fujifilm and Olympus: having no larger format to which it wants to steer upgrading customers, Pentax takes its APS-C format model line and lens offerings to a higher level than Canon, Nikon and Sony have been doing lately. That appeals to people like me who seek a good yet small system.  If I were still interested in having a DSLR, Pentax would probably be my choice. (I am not persuaded by yet another round of rumors of Pentax returning to 35mm format; if I were, I would fear for the future development of its DA format offerings.)
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uaiomex

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2014, 09:12:22 pm »

Congratulations Mike. Amazing reading depicting the state of the industry. Your rant posseses pizzaz and "cojones" too. I could not find any fault in the philosophical aspect of the article either. BTW, I always thought that Kodak was another major developer of the original Four-Thirds project.

Muchas felicidades again
Eduardo
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mjrichardson

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2014, 01:42:13 am »

Morning.

I think it's interesting how we all look at things differently, reading your piece it comes across as just unnecessary moaning, a bit like a spoilt child. We live in fantastic times photographically, there are blisteringly fast cameras, high resolution cameras, models to fit every budget from low to high and I honestly feel that if you can't make beautiful images with the technology available today then it's probably necessary to look a little closer to home. The very first thing I thought after reading the piece was "a bad workman blames his tools". I also think that just because something doesn't suit you personally, it doesn't mean it doesn't appeal to lots of other people who will use, enjoy and produce stunning images with it.

When I look at my crappy pictures, they are down to me not the placement of dials or the menu structure or the design ethos or wifi or gps. I am always amazed at what's new, faster, lighter, smaller, I appreciate the effort that goes in to developing new things and I also appreciate that we all like and need different things.

Cheers

Mat



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peterottaway

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2014, 02:02:53 am »

Yes some people will say that Sony has lens mounts, it would be misleading but it all depends on your perspective. There is the A mount and there is the E mount and the E mount cameras can use both families of lenses.

When you look say at Nikon ,they have as well as the 1 series, Ai-s, Ai-P, AF, AF-D and AF-S and in terms of sales most Nikon cameras cannot use quite a few of those families of lenses.

It is true to say that Sony in the first few years post Minolta were wandering around looking for a genuine path of their own to follow. But it is also true to say that some elements of what Sony appears to be doing now were not available to them until the last couple of years. Again it is in the interpretation and where you start from.

A lot of people had a good laugh when Canon came out and said that they don't do retro cameras.You can consider Canon to be in Ground Hog day 1989.
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David Anderson

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 03:28:56 am »

I thought it a good and timely read with the perfect title.

You do have to wonder sometimes if there's a link missing between photographer and camera manufacturer.

Then again, if you let a photographer design a camera you would probably end up with the car built for Homer.. ;)
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David Watson

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 03:47:17 am »

Excellent essay Michael and may I say back at a level one notch above recent articles in LuLa.

If I was a camera manufacturer I would be terrified every day that someone else, someone new, or some company in another sector was going to do something that would move the market (e.g. Apple and Nokia).  You cannot blame these companies for trying new things but, as Michael correctly points out, they can be blamed for not trying.

Well done Michael!
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 04:55:06 am »

Morning.

I think it's interesting how we all look at things differently, reading your piece it comes across as just unnecessary moaning, a bit like a spoilt child. We live in fantastic times photographically, there are blisteringly fast cameras, high resolution cameras, models to fit every budget from low to high and I honestly feel that if you can't make beautiful images with the technology available today then it's probably necessary to look a little closer to home. The very first thing I thought after reading the piece was "a bad workman blames his tools". I also think that just because something doesn't suit you personally, it doesn't mean it doesn't appeal to lots of other people who will use, enjoy and produce stunning images with it.

When I look at my crappy pictures, they are down to me not the placement of dials or the menu structure or the design ethos or wifi or gps. I am always amazed at what's new, faster, lighter, smaller, I appreciate the effort that goes in to developing new things and I also appreciate that we all like and need different things.

Cheers

Mat

Eh?  Did we read the same article?  I don't see any moaning.  Michael was giving his opinion on the current directions the major players in the camera industry are going.  And I really don't think the analogy with "bad workmen blaming their tools" comes into it.  Quite the reverse, Michael - if you have bothered to read many of his previous reviews and essays - is of the opinion that image quality is pretty much a given these days.  But it is the design and ease of use that defines the choice and success of gear.  Michael used whatever he pleases to suit the task in hand, and is in the possibly fortunate position of being able to play with most of the worthwhile cameras in current production.  In fact it is precisely because such "fantastic times photographically" are here that it is worth seeing perhaps where certain manufacturers may be going wrong in their implementation of technology.
We don't want Canon or Nikon to stop making cameras because they missed the boat in looking at new formats.  Michael doesn't want Hasselblad going down the pan because they wasted money on ridiculous niche jewellery.

Yes, we all like different things, I don't think Michael is denying that.  But he's wondering why manufacturers, despite their huge resources, go down a cul-de-sac in design terms.  Did Sony really mean to end up with four lens mounts?  They have obviously made a mistake in planning/foresight somewhere, but it is not being argued they don't make superb cameras.

I'm not sure why you have such a negative take on the article when everything stated is probably fairly accurate and in any case just MR's opinion.  Write your own piece, or instead of being so negative write a reply that states specifically why you think say Sony or Nikon has got it exactly right, and provide some evidence to counter Michael's point of view.

Lastly, I hope you are a very talented photographer because to accuse MR of being a 'Bad Workman' shows that you do not believe in getting or showing evidence before making strong statements.  Michael is the founder of this site and he is perfectly entitled to write an opinion piece about the current state of the industry as he sees it.

Jim
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Rob C

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 05:15:53 am »

Yes, I enjoyed reading the article too.

I guess that a problem, when making an overview, is that it sort of removes the myopia that living within a single company forces one to have. It's easy enough to figure out where different people go wrong, but not so simple to understand the reasons why the specific and damaging decisions get made.

There's also the belief that everyone concerned with each company has that company's best interests at heart: it isn't always so. In my own experience, a very expensive one for me, it's also true that new brooms come in and want to make their mark. In my case, a new guy was put in charge of a calendar production (I'd already produced about six of them for this company) and his first act was to preclude my hiring the best models for the shoot from London agencies. Instead, he insisted on dredging what he could from the tiny, inexperienced local Scottish pool, saying that I could work harder and do just as well... it doesn't work like that (and this wasn't a finance-driven decision: it was about local politics and personal ego). Trouble is, when it doesn't work out, the guilt refuses to stick where it should. I'd be surprised to learn that such in-fighting is confined to the northern parts of the British Isles.

A similar problem to cameras exists to some extent in the car business, where a plethora of models makes little sense when they are all based on the same body. American cars did that for decades and so did some Brits. The Rootes Group did that with what I think was called the Arrow range, where the Hillman Minx, the Hunter and also the Humber Sceptre were all the same basic car with different luxury fittings (or lack of them). I worked my way through all of them, and the incremental advantages were daft: all that was needed was the bottom line Minx and the top of the marque Sceptre. I can't believe that a huge range doesn't just create added manufacturing problems.

Okay, photography is different, but it shouldn't be forgotten that for many years we had all the camera options that we ever needed in order to tackle all manner of images that we were ever likely to want to make. If anything, I suspect that the current offerings don't stretch the boundaries very far, if at all. The mistake, in my view, has been in not concentrating in making sensors the new film, instead of trying to make the whole established camera thing obsolete too in order to sell new formats and body shapes. That appears to be the problem with the 'retro' cameras: they are not, they are just stylistic shape-tokens and the same modern ideas of what's necessary are continued apace. Give me an F or F2 with a sensor and the same manual controls in the same body and why need to ask for more? That somebody might have to learn something about photography to be a photographer was never a bad thing; if anything, it was a mark of individual learning and progression, rewarding per se.

But hell, what's the point? The roller coaster continues until it stops and we all have to get off.

Rob C

jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2014, 06:39:12 am »

You do have to wonder sometimes if there's a link missing between photographer and camera manufacturer.

Then again, if you let a photographer design a camera you would probably end up with the car built for Homer.. ;)
I always thought Olympus's OM camera were particularly well designed and  Yoshihisa Maitani the gifted designer behind Olympus very ergonomic cameras was also a keen  photographer. And it showed.
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kaelaria

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2014, 07:45:15 am »

Dude...AWESOME article, way to say what needs to be said!
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mjrichardson

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2014, 08:11:28 am »

Eh?  Did we read the same article?  I don't see any moaning.  Michael was giving his opinion on the current directions the major players in the camera industry are going.  And I really don't think the analogy with "bad workmen blaming their tools" comes into it.  Quite the reverse, Michael - if you have bothered to read many of his previous reviews and essays - is of the opinion that image quality is pretty much a given these days.  But it is the design and ease of use that defines the choice and success of gear.  Michael used whatever he pleases to suit the task in hand, and is in the possibly fortunate position of being able to play with most of the worthwhile cameras in current production.  In fact it is precisely because such "fantastic times photographically" are here that it is worth seeing perhaps where certain manufacturers may be going wrong in their implementation of technology.
We don't want Canon or Nikon to stop making cameras because they missed the boat in looking at new formats.  Michael doesn't want Hasselblad going down the pan because they wasted money on ridiculous niche jewellery.

Yes, we all like different things, I don't think Michael is denying that.  But he's wondering why manufacturers, despite their huge resources, go down a cul-de-sac in design terms.  Did Sony really mean to end up with four lens mounts?  They have obviously made a mistake in planning/foresight somewhere, but it is not being argued they don't make superb cameras.

I'm not sure why you have such a negative take on the article when everything stated is probably fairly accurate and in any case just MR's opinion.  Write your own piece, or instead of being so negative write a reply that states specifically why you think say Sony or Nikon has got it exactly right, and provide some evidence to counter Michael's point of view.

Lastly, I hope you are a very talented photographer because to accuse MR of being a 'Bad Workman' shows that you do not believe in getting or showing evidence before making strong statements.  Michael is the founder of this site and he is perfectly entitled to write an opinion piece about the current state of the industry as he sees it.

Jim

Hi Jim

Yes, I believe we read the same article, well at least I think we did! I didn't read anything positive at all in the piece, it was just a pointless rant.

As technology develops then things change, are you or Michael suggesting that Sony or Nikon or whoever should stick with the plan they made x number of years ago and regardless of what happens not deviate? New lens mounts for example must reflect new technological advancements, to say it is a negative that Sony have 4 lens mounts is absurd, if they just dropped anything other than the latest then there'd be an outcry from people who have invested in those earlier mounts. Should we complain because they are keeping all these different mounts? It would seem logical to applaud the fact that they are making advances but not forgetting those who have already invested. Who cares anyway, if they build another 10 mounts buy what suits you and that's that, Sony having loads of options won't change the images you produce with the option you choose.

The Hasselblad thing is ridiculous in my opinion, they are a business with share holders and bank balances, if there was a sufficient market for MF then there wouldn't be a need to diversify, so these new models are just overpriced, rebadged Sony's, who cares, if they sell a load to rich Chinese amateurs what does that matter to the owners or users of V or H bodies, none. The H5 is a superb camera but it would be daft to suggest it's any more perfect than any other camera, to some it will be excellent, to others it will be rubbish, it always was and always will be. I could certainly understand if they dropped MF all together but they haven't, they are still making lenses, still making cameras and pros are still using them to make incredible images.

My point about bad workmen blaming his tools is simple, the additions demanded by the consumer, better this, more that, it's all just fluff, superb and inspiring images can be made on anything, inversely, so can a load of rubbish. I don't believe my level of photography has anything to do with it, as an enthusiastic photographer I look for and see lots of inspiring images, incredible scenery, fantastic light, I have no interest in what camera was used because I don't think that I could produce the same just by owning the same equipment. I appreciate Michael is the founder of the site but on stunning inspirational images, I don't class Michael as a top photographer, I also don't class myself as one either! Running a successful site doesn't automatically translate in to being an inspirational photographer but that's my opinion, to some he could be the best ever. For me personally, I am more interested in where a shot was taken, what efforts were made to get it. I have sold images and never once had someone say, ah, I'd have bought that if only you'd have taken it with this camera or that camera, it's the shot that counts.

And so back to the article, it doesn't mean anything, doesn't push things forward, doesn't celebrate the technology we have, it's just a pointless rant. In fact I think it's funny that in the article the DF after all the negatives is saved by the great sensor, surely the images it produces are far more important than difficulty with locking and unlocking dials? Do you think that the bosses of Nikon, Canon and Sony are all sitting with their heads in their hands after reading it and saying guys, we've got it wrong, delete everything and lets start again? No of course not, it's Michaels opinion and he is in a privileged position in that he can write it and get a lot of coverage, it's a shame that he's not using that position to push things forward rather than simply rant about what's wrong. Obviously this is all my opinion, as valid as Michaels certainly and i won't even mind if you don't agree with me!

Let's celebrate the great images being produced with all these flawed cameras from out of touch manufacturers and have lots of interesting articles on getting the shots.

Mat



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jjj

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2014, 08:32:30 am »

Who cares anyway, if they build another 10 mounts buy what suits you and that's that, Sony having loads of options won't change the images you produce with the option you choose.
No but customers may well avoid a company that keeps changing lens mount. Good lens are very expensive and if they need to replaced to fit a new camera, then the camera will end up staying on dealer's shelf.


Quote
My point about bad workmen blaming his tools is simple, the additions demanded by the consumer, better this, more that, it's all just fluff, superb and inspiring images can be made on anything, inversely, so can a load of rubbish.
Although good images can be made on anything, try doing conventional sports press photography for the newspapers with a Linhof or an iPhone. The right tool for the job is always germane and a well designed tool is incredibly important. Also what you may dismiss as fluff, I may regard as essential to getting the job done.

Quote
And so back to the article, it doesn't mean anything, doesn't push things forward, doesn't celebrate the technology we have, it's just a pointless rant. In fact I think it's funny that in the article the DF after all the negatives is saved by the great sensor, surely the images it produces are far more important than difficulty with locking and unlocking dials?
Well if you miss the shot because camera was poorly designed, it is not in the slightest bit relevant how good a sensor is. That was the point you have completely missed with regard to the camera's design flaws.


Quote
Do you think that the bosses of Nikon, Canon and Sony are all sitting with their heads in their hands after reading it and saying guys, we've got it wrong, delete everything and lets start again? No of course not, it's Michaels opinion and he is in a privileged position in that he can write it and get a lot of coverage, it's a shame that he's not using that position to push things forward rather than simply rant about what's wrong.
Only you seem to think it was a rant, myself and others seem to think it was more of an musing about the state of things.
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Robert-Peter Westphal

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2014, 08:46:36 am »

Congrats Michael,

This article is what makes it worth following your site !

Written in a objective, but very critical way ( and still being politely and at a distance ) it was fun and most interesting at the same time reading this prosa.

I hope that many more articles of this kind will follow !

Robert
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michael

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2014, 08:49:52 am »

Jim,

I'd like to return to the movie analogy that the article began with.

It's the job of a movie reviewer to let you know what they think of a particular film. Movie reviewers get their legs and reputations by having opinions and insights that more often match reality that others. Anyone can have an opinion. But someone writing for a major paper gets to keep their job because enough readers find what he or she has to say valid than not.

My opinion on the state of various manufacturers is somewhat similar to that given by a movie reviewer. Some films are like Ashtar, some are like Casablanca, and just as a reviewer of a film will tell you what they think of it, in this case I tell you what I think of a camera or camera maker.

No one asks that a movie reviewer be a film director themselves. The two jobs require different skill sets, so don't conflate my skills as a photographer with my skills as a reviewer. (Actually, I think I'm a better photographer but then that's just one man's opinion).

But as someone who, over the years, has been asked to consult on camera design by more than a few Asian and European companies, I can tell you with confidence that no one knows anything often including myself.

It's the wild west out there.

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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2014, 09:00:02 am »

And because it is the wild west, there is no wonder that Canon are being conservative...

Rob C

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2014, 09:10:28 am »

It's somewhat surprising to learn that I'm a "wealthy aficionado".

 ;)


Not really; to own two digital Leicas of very recent vintage has to demonstrate either a certain degree of fiscal comfort or, even better still, an inside track to a rosy future!

The aficionado bit I take for granted as far as you are concerned; you don't need much wherewithal for that - it comes naturally.

Both ways, I'm happy for you!

;-)

Rob C

BJL

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Sony's ILCs need four different lens systems: which will keep developing?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2014, 10:26:52 am »

Yes some people will say that Sony has lens mounts, it would be misleading but it all depends on your perspective. There is the A mount and there is the E mount and the E mount cameras can use both families of lenses.
But there are definitely four system of lenses, since lens systems need to be adapted to format size as well as lens mount. Most people buying a camera with full 35mm format sensor have little interest in buying lenses for that camera which are designed for "APS-C" sized sensor and so which must be used with a crop. Canon and Nikon have stopped developing EF-S and DX ("APS-C") lenses at any level beyond f/5.6 zooms; their recent high quality lenses are exclusively EF and FX, designed for 36x24mm format SLRs. With Sony's share of the ILC market smaller than either Canon's or Nikon's, I doubt that Sony will be able to sustain development of a full range of lens quality in more than one of its current four combinations of format size and lens mount. Most likely, Sony's Alpha mount SLR lens system and its "NEX" format E-mount lens systems will see few or no further high quality lenses developed, with adaptors supporting use of the existing alpha-mount lenses on E-mount bodies.
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Jim Pascoe

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 11:03:11 am »

Hi Jim

My point about bad workmen blaming his tools is simple, the additions demanded by the consumer, better this, more that, it's all just fluff, superb and inspiring images can be made on anything, inversely, so can a load of rubbish. I don't believe my level of photography has anything to do with it, as an enthusiastic photographer I look for and see lots of inspiring images, incredible scenery, fantastic light, I have no interest in what camera was used because I don't think that I could produce the same just by owning the same equipment. I appreciate Michael is the founder of the site but on stunning inspirational images, I don't class Michael as a top photographer, I also don't class myself as one either! Running a successful site doesn't automatically translate in to being an inspirational photographer but that's my opinion, to some he could be the best ever. For me personally, I am more interested in where a shot was taken, what efforts were made to get it. I have sold images and never once had someone say, ah, I'd have bought that if only you'd have taken it with this camera or that camera, it's the shot that counts.

And so back to the article, it doesn't mean anything, doesn't push things forward, doesn't celebrate the technology we have, it's just a pointless rant. In fact I think it's funny that in the article the DF after all the negatives is saved by the great sensor, surely the images it produces are far more important than difficulty with locking and unlocking dials? Do you think that the bosses of Nikon, Canon and Sony are all sitting with their heads in their hands after reading it and saying guys, we've got it wrong, delete everything and lets start again? No of course not, it's Michaels opinion and he is in a privileged position in that he can write it and get a lot of coverage, it's a shame that he's not using that position to push things forward rather than simply rant about what's wrong. Obviously this is all my opinion, as valid as Michaels certainly and i won't even mind if you don't agree with me!

Let's celebrate the great images being produced with all these flawed cameras from out of touch manufacturers and have lots of interesting articles on getting the shots.

Mat


Mat

Thank you for clarifying, but I do suspect it is you who are now having the rant.  I think probably Michael, certainly me and possibly all the others who have posted above are in exact agreement with you over the picture being far more than about what equipment made it.  I couldn't agree more.  Picture quality in its broadest sense is hardly dependant anymore (was it ever except for perhaps sport and wildlife) on the gear. You appear to be assuming that because the article is critical of some of the manufacturing decisions made by some companies that the writer is suggesting that we cannot make good pictures with their products.  We can, it's just that making something that is awkward to use makes no sense.

Just to take the Sony lens mount issue though.  Many photographers invest a lot of money in lenses and wish to use them for many years.  However camera technology moves at a very fast pace.  We want our lenses to be usable on several generations of camera body as the technology improves.  Lenses evolve much more slowly.  Photographers are using 20 year old lenses on new digital bodies, but almost nobody is using ten year old digital bodies.  I bought two very expensive Canon lenses (24-70 and 70-200) in 2003 to go with my then state of the art 1Ds.  The camera is long ago obsolete - still perfectly usable but slow and clunky to use.  I can buy the latest Canon bodies and still use those lenses.  Who would invest thousands of pounds on Sony lenses if they perceived that Sony may change mounts in 2-3 years?  Everything has a lifespan, but Sony is still finding it's way on this issue.  To mention this is not being critical - but it is commenting on a very real problem.  Despite their own problems, both Canon and Nikon at least have kept the faith with their lens mounts, perhaps this being the reason they are still keeping up with the new comers.

Regarding the Df - after many years with FM2's the Df was the Nikon DSLR I had been waiting for.  Despite being a Canon man for 12 years it could even have persuaded me to go back to Nikon.  But the first time a few months ago I picked up a friends Df I immediately thought no! It just looked like an FM2, but also threw away many of the advantages of a modern DSLR like a 5D or 1Ds/Dx.  It is miles too big to start with.
Then a few weeks later I picked up an Olympus EM-1 and wow!  That is the successor to the FM2 and perhaps will be my next camera - especially as I already have a pile of Micro 4/3 lenses.  It will need learning I know.

Just to summarise my feelings, I want a camera to become invisible when I use it.  My old 1Ds3 is like part of my body - it's intuitive to me.  New technology, like video, comes along and quickly becomes desirable or necessary to my way of working.  It needs to be implemented in a way that with familiarity, can again become invisible.  I believe MR and most experienced photographers feel the same and that is why MR's reviews and articles concentrate on the usability of cameras - he is not talking about technical image quality anymore.

This site has always been quite heavily into the 'gear' and you have to come to it with that in mind.

Jim
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dennbel

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Re: No one knows anything article.
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 12:19:51 pm »

Eventually, in the near future I imagine, Google Glass will take as good an image as any camera and lens combo. You'll just have to say what you want exposure, crop, focal length, and voila!, you'll get the perfect image! :D :D ;D
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