Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Made to advance?

Photographers love gadgets. In an effort to capitalize on this insatiable appetite, new products are being introduced all the time. Our main stream media is filled with large corporations hawking their wares hosting a gazillion features, even though they're the same concept and just named differently.

When I tune in to the radio station, a 45 second advertisement advocates the use of the Canon S90 compact camera because of its large f2.0 aperture lens to get blur free images. I guess its only half the truth because f2.0 is only applicable at its shortest focal length (28mm equivalent); the long end is a much dimmer f4.9 which wouldn't be much use in low light, unless you don't mind the rabbit in the headlights look with your pop up flash.

I open the Discovery Channel Magazine that our family subscribes to and notice no less than 3 full page colour ads for camera products. The new Nikon D300s claims to 'Move your creativity forward' with 7fps, 12.3 megapixels, dual CF/SD card slots, Live view, 100 % viewfinder coverage and D movie. Unfortunately, I don't really buy D movie, because the video format is not very user friendly, and the mono microphone doesn't capture sound as vividly as the Olympus EP-2, for example. Oh.. its manual focus too, which can be quite jerky if you try to use your fingers to rotate the lens zoom ring like most people would.

On the back cover of the magazine, they utilise Hollywood actor Ken Watanabe to advertise their EOS 7D to 'take your passion to a whole new level'. Frankly, I think he's better suited to movies. Nikon did well by recruiting Ashton Kutcher to bring in the young folks to their side.

It is unfortunate but far too many reduce taking pictures to the quality and quantity of equipment. Although the right tool can solve a myriad of problems, common sense will tell us that having the latest gadgets will not necessarily contribute to making better images.

Generations of photographers have shown us that little else is required for brilliant work. We need to differentiate which tools are needed to succeed and those that are merely toys. For a professional, personal style, budget and job requirements are among the factors that should dictate what kind of equipment photographers need instead of being influenced by brightly coloured advertisements and peer pressure. We don't need the latest gadgets.

Whoops.. now look who's talking :p




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