The psychology of marketing photo equipment.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Hamster, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    I was talking to a female acquaintance last week and chance upon the topic of photo equipment. She got quite offended when I mentions the shortcoming of zoom lenses.

    It seems that people are somehow very emotionally invested in their photo equipment. Why do you think that is the case?
     
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    People are social animals, and it's hardwired in us to seek the approbation of others---especially when we've sunk serious cash into something and now have cause to wonder whether the money was well spent.
     
  3. GJA

    GJA Member

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    I think that they are financially invested, and in general don't want to think about it too much because in the back of their mind they regret the purchase to some degree.

    What if you had just gone out and spent your entire paycheck on only Exxon stock, and then I met you and talked about the shortcomings of investing in oil companies?
     
  4. rosey

    rosey Member

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    Lens buyers writing on the Internet typically fall into two camps, in my experiences.

    Photographers in the first group prefer prime lenses, usually quite fast ones, and wax eloquently and rhapsodic about them. I have noticed that this group usually photographs charts and static objects for comparison, then reports on and on ad nauseum about resolving power, contrast and sharpness.

    Those in the second group actually take pictures of people, places and things, admiring their photographs instead of the equipment used to make them.

    Of course, there are some exceptions in the first group whose wallets and raisons d'etre remain there while their hearts are in the second group.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I agree with rosey somewhat. I do have two zoom lenses, but the rest are prime lenses.

    Jeff
     
  6. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I keep reading that zoom lenses have gotten much better of late, so I finally decided to get one (the 28-135mm Canon EOS). I don't have enough experience with it yet to comment on the picture quality (I'm very interested in the anti-shake technology), but I'm missing the brightness of the finder with a faster prime lens.
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I think there's a common perception that if you consider something that other people use and like to have a shortcoming, you must be (gasp) a SNOB. And admittedly, there are some people who live right up to this stereotype, especially on the inet, and they kind of poison the well for the rest of us.

    In my experience, I don't usually cause offence if I frame it as "I grew up shooting with fixed lenses, so even though I get what's so convenient about a zoom, I'm used to doing without it in practice."

    -NT
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    What would you expect? Go up to someone and start talking about the shortcomings of their car, their clothes, their watch, their spouse ... and the response would be the same.

    "All my equipment is the best, in the best of all possible worlds. Yours is inferior."
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Some of us are just old f*rts living in the age of dinosaurs. Time was, when choosing a zoom lens meant sacrificing image quality in exchange for flexibility--the old 43-86 Nikkor comes to mind here. It is my understanding, such as it is, that this trade-off no longer obtains.

    I remember scoffing at the 35-105 Canon zoom (I think that was the lens)on her A1 back in the 1970s and eating crow.

    That being said, I still don't own a zoom. One of these days, perhaps.......
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Many people are also emotionally invested in far cheaper things such as film choice. Speak of how one film renders colours badly and someone will be offended.

    This is commodity fetishism - people link their personal identity with objects - criticise the object, criticise the person.
     
  11. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    A lot of people want the newest and shiniest penny and if you tell them yours is newer or shinier it is going to cause an argument. I think this is a good analogy.
    The best thing to do is make the most of what you have and not get into the "mine is better than yours" thing. I am a bit old fashioned as most of my photography related gear is older than I am but what I have chosen serves me well.
     
  12. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    I couldn't agree more, Wade. The worst example of this scenario is the "Canon -v- Nikon" so-called debate which assumes that (a) there are only two camera manufacturers or (b) if there are more than two, these are "the best" two and (c) one brand can be proven to be inherently better than another.

    IMHO, those who spend inordinate amounts of time analysing relative bokeh performance of the f1.4 version to the f1.8 version - or whether the one made in Canada is as good / worse than / better than the German version (or other such debate) are missing a great opportunity to just get out and enjoy hobby.

    My decisions on which kit to buy has more to do with whether I can afford it and how it feels in my hand than like-pairs per millimetre results.

    I actually blame camera magazines for a lot of the emotional grief as they always quote the make and model of both camera body and lens as well as the exposure details. Wouldn't it be fun is they just said "35mm", "120" or some such and then gave the exposure details?

    Just think, we might then be able to look at the photos properly without the baggage of wondering is another brand might have produced a better result.
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Besides usually better performance from a prime, the lenses tend to be faster. When is the last time you have seen a 28-X/f2 in a zoom? Zooms are more convenient, granted but a 2.8 zoom is also heavier than a prime lens on the camera.
     
  14. Leighgion

    Leighgion Member

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    The entire psychology of criticizing somebody else's gear is already rather in-your-face, so that itself can be (rightly oftentimes) taken as offensive because... well, they didn't ask your opinion.

    You mention that you knew the lady in question, Hamster, but you specifically use the term "acquaintance," so I assume you don't know her well. I would submit that, even if you meant well, pointing out the shortcomings of the lady's gear without being asked may have simply been crossing a social boundary not directly connected to the specific topic.
     
  15. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    A few days ago one of my friends shown me his new cellphone. LG that has a "camera" 5MP, with tactile screen. He thought that I didn't know a heck about technology, "this phone can do more than you think". But loving good classic stuff doesn't mean that I don't know anything about cellphones... My reply left him silent.
    I had the "nice idea" of saying that cellphone cameras are crap, and that those screens get dirty like heck...

    ..We ended arguing for a few minutes. Anyways it's the friend whom I argue more. Comparison of games, comparison of cameras, comparison of computers. Always. It's a strange friendship. He's a good guy, but this end happening somehow.

    Since he bought his cellphone, when he sees his brother's phone, he points it and says to me "look, a crappy phone". But I end saying, "heck, for calls, what do you need?", "Personally, I don't need a phone that is able to tell me when I should go to pee", then he hides his smile.
    :tongue:
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I'd read "The Theory of the Leisure Class".
     
  17. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I believe in finding the strengths of each. My favorite lens is my 70-300 not because it is sharp but because it provides many different perspectives than possible with shorter focal lengths. At the same time most of my color photography (35mm to 11x14) tends to fall to the use of my 50mm prime simply because my 28 to 80 zoom just didn't look sharp on my shots. The same goes for cell phone cameras. I would not trade the portability of my 2mp camera phone for an SLR. It does where others cannot or generally do not and I have taken some awesome pictures with it. I do not see the point of arguing whether or not another camera is "better." I find that that tends to be a topic concerned with photographers who still believe that cameras make pictures in disregard to their compositional elements.
     
  18. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    God bless anyone who feels satisfied and productive with the gear they have. If you encounter such a person, just let them be. If they need a change then they will discover that on their own time.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    "The truly happy man is satisfied with his portion in life."

    Steve
     
  20. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    What is the definition of quality?

    If you find some lens good after testing, who am I to tell you to use a different one...
    You will find out yourself when you compair your photo with one taken with a different lens.

    I do not use zooms, but that is my problem.
    In my opinion a lens can only be optimalized on one distance, moving away from this point will result in quality loss, but the question is, is that amount of loss visible?
     
  21. Simplicius

    Simplicius Member

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    this whole discussion about zooms versus primes and quality of glass kind of reminds me of a programme beloved in this part of the world called Top Gear, a car fanatics show. and a bit like lens and the cost they put a race driver into a standard family car around a circuit and he of course makes it outperform it's design. They then put mr average in a super expensive sports car and he of course hardly get's anywhere.

    For me at the end of the day most bad photographs have way more to do with poor subject & composition, poor focus & exposure than anything to do with the lens. like the old adage " a good workman never blames his tools".

    Criticising others people gear is just fundamentally rude as people invest a lot... Now I must confess I do this on a regular basis whenever I get in conversation on the street with someone who is arrogant and has €2000 or so worth of Digital SLR hanging off their neck. It kinda goes like this.

    ME:"wow how much was all that?"
    Answer: about €2000 in total,
    ME: and what megapixel is it?
    Answer: 12
    ME really- wow (holding up Minolta autocord TLR) This cost me €100 and has a resolution of around 50 or so megapixels give or take 20% variance. And the glass is legendary.
    Answer: (none, usually a sullen silence)

    I am asking for a full pardon from the APUG Moral Police as I only do this to exceptionally arrogant digital users....
     
  22. Hamster

    Hamster Member

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    The full story was I showed up at a social gathering with a beat-up 4 EUR Olympus Trip from the flea market while she had a digi EOS with f3.5-4.5 zoom.

    I am known to be a serious about my photography and she asked why I would use something so old and tatty. So I explained that even single use camera can turn out good photos at f8 and that even the Trip 35 has a f2.8 lens and has light gathering power better than most zooms on the market these days. She doesn't know what an aperture is so I elaborated on it.... well, that didn't go down well.
     
  23. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Well there ya go. Not only does she NOT know, she doesn't WANT to know, yet still wants to fire arrows despite her empty quiver. You persisted in reasoning with her long after the point at which her ignorance was confirmed by her own words.

    Continuing to deal reasonably with the incorrigibly ignorant causes one to feel rage and frustration at the impenetrability of that ignorance. Cocksure ignorance is even more annoying.

    :smile:

    Seriously, life's too short even to talk to her or folks like her.
     
  24. flatulent1

    flatulent1 Subscriber

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    Him, looking at my gear: "Wow, an F1. Why don't you go digital?"
    Me: "I did. I went back."
    Him, holding up his 5D2: "This'll do (natter natter)..."
    Me: "Nice. Mine'll do exactly what I want."

    Pretty much the end of the discussion.
     
  25. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Women are like buses ...

    a new one comes along every five minutes.

    or is it busses?


    Steve