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Shut Up and Shoot

This blog has been moved to joshliba.com/blog, and you are currently viewing an archived post.  To visit the new blog, click here!

It’s been nice to see the stats for this blog come alive in recent months, even without much promotion and no paid ads!  Thanks everyone!

While checking the different ways that people find this blog, I saw a few links that came from dpreview.com forums.

Thank you, VPanya, for referencing one of my blog posts in response to a member who has exchanged four D7000 bodies with “problems.” Really?  FOUR cameras?

DPReview itself is an EXHAUSTIVE resource of digital camera reviews, previews, and general information.  Longest, most comprehensive reviews online.  I really do mean exhaustive, as reading any single 20+ review makes me mentally tired and a tad nauseous.  They do a great job checking every camera for technical accuracy, beyond what most consumers would -or should- do.  That’s good.  That’s their JOB.

Now, if you’re a photographer, what is your JOB?

To take… photos.  Thus, making you… guess what? A Photographer!

This is where I get a little annoyed about forum-photographers who spend more time posting in an online forum, identifying the imperfections of their cameras and lenses, than actually going out and shooting something meaningful.  To me, photography should be artistic and fun.  Taking photos of stacks of books, charts, and brick walls to demonstrate your ‘SEVERE BACK-FOCUSING’ problem, or comparing and complaining about your 5th exchanged camera body and how you can’t believe Nikon/Canon/Your Manufacturer is not taking this ‘widespread’ fiasco of a problem more seriously… is NOT artistic, and is NOT fun.

OMG

To be fair, here’s what you brick-wall-photographing, book-stack-focusing forum hogs would probably have to say about that last paragraph: “But Mr. Liba, as artists, how can we make art when our tools have clearly identifiable issues that prevent us from capturing our vision?  Don’t define us according to your own personal standards, just because we demand performance for the thousand-dollar cameras and equipment that we’ve invested in.”

Fine.  

But whose photography job demands the level of perfection that you’re asking for?

  • True landscape photographers shoot on tripods at high enough f-stops to ensure EVERYTHING will be in focus. Softness at low f-stops and VR issues will not bother them.
  • Neither will macro enthusiasts have any REAL issues with Auto Focus, as any professional macro photographer would likely focus manually anyway.
  • Chromatic Aberrations will not matter unless your JOB is to shoot chain link fences from an angle, in the summer, at high noon, every day, and you have no post process software.
  • Distortion will not matter unless your JOB is to shoot brick walls for a brick wall company showing off how straight their bricks are AND you have no post processing software to correct it.
  • Corner sharpness will not matter at all to portrait photographers, who will not put their model in the CORNER of the frame, and will likely blur and vignette the edges anyway.
  • 100% crops to show the ‘sharpness issue’ on camera X or lens X are not going to matter when you captured the PERFECT MOMENT, and the image is printed at 4×6 – Not more than twice your LCD screens diagonal measurement.

I don’t expect Joe McNally, David Ziser, Jasmine Star, Jake Garn, or any highly-successful real world photographer to be taking tripod pictures of a stack of books in their fluorescent-lit living rooms to see if they like a new lens.  Jonathan Fleming is an excellent example of a photographer that goes OUT with his new lens or camera and makes ART to review whether a lens is good or not.

If you WANT to have a problem, you WILL have a problem.  Realize that all cameras and lenses are imperfect in one way or another, and that Nikon is simply better than Canon. Period.

Just kidding!  Don’t come looking for me.  Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony… Whatever you shoot, don’t be a fan boy.  Every camera company has shown innovation and quality performance across their models.  There are greater differences in the ergonomics of each brand than there are differences in actual image quality.  The rest, I’ll save for another rant someday.

Back to my subject, forum photographers that spend most of their photographic life highlighting the imperfections of their latest purchase:

A post like this will not change those critical-fault-finding photographers.  And to be fair, sometimes there are actual, serious problems that can be identified by reading through forums where people are complaining about a common issue, such as the Nikon D5000 recall on release.  A camera turning off and not coming back on is a real problem.

BUT

If you’re a photographer who is currently obsessing over what camera or lens to buy next and you’re reading and researching through hundreds of pages of forums about the product you have in mind…. Beware the brick-wall-and-book-shelf photographers.  They will criticize, over-analyze, complain, and do everything and anything to make you second-guess your purchase.

In the time it takes to read thousands of meaningless comments and analyze the white balance of a 100% corner crop of a test chart, you could have captured your son’s first steps.

Shut up and shoot.

“His hands are blurred, and the auto white balance is off.  Tsk, this picture must be worthless trash.  
If you could zoom in 100% on one of the corners, you’d notice how unacceptably bad it is.  
I can’t believe Nikon is not addressing this sharpness issue.”  😉  Nikon D7000 + Tokina 50-135mm

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. neverx #

    feel better? 😉

    March 9, 2011
  2. Whew, I feel better too. =)

    March 9, 2011
  3. boy i love this post.. makes me feel really happy that i am shooting without a care.. haha….

    March 10, 2011
  4. This is as good a piece of advise as it is a wakeup call to all aspiring photographers like myself. Photography was and always will be art.

    Thanx Josh.

    Levi
    Nairobi, Kenya

    January 23, 2012
    • Thanks so much for the comment, Levi. Glad you enjoyed it! Hope shooting goes well out in Kenya!

      January 24, 2012

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