Eric Kim: What to consider when buying a new camera for street photography

[all photos: Eric Kim]

On my flight from Dubai back to the states I just finished an excellent book by psychologist Barry Schwartz titled: 'The Paradox of Choice.' In the book, Schwartz addresses the following question in Western society: Why is it that people are getting more miserable when the amount of choices we are given goes up?

I am sure we have all experienced this problem. Whenever we go to the grocery store and want to pick up a box of cereal, we are given hundreds of options. Whenever we go to buy a new car, there are so many different companies, models, and options to choose from. Not only that, but when it comes to buying cameras we are given so many choices in terms of what type of camera/sensor (Full-frame DSLR, ASPC-sensor, Micro 4/3rds, Compact, etc) as well as a choice of lenses.

Schwartz gives solutions in the book in terms of how to deal with the overabundance of choice and stress that it comes with. I have found this advice to be invaluable both in terms of my everyday life and when it comes to photography/buying equipment. I hope these tips help you, as they have very much helped me.

For this post, I have also included some new photos from Istanbul that I shot last year.

Istanbul, 2012

1. Be a 'satisficer', not a 'maximizer'

In the book Schwartz categorizes the two main types of people there are when it comes to making decisions. The first type of person he describes is the "satisficer" someone who makes decisions that are "good enough" that satisfies them. The second type of person is the "maximizer" someone who tries to make the "best" decisions given a certain situation and strives for perfection.

For example, a satisficer might go to a store looking for a camera that suits his or her needs - and once he/she finds the camera that they find to be reasonably good, they will buy it.

The maximizer is the type of person that is looking for the "perfect camera" and spends hours agonizing over reviews, sharpness tests, and specification tables.

Guess who tends to be more regretful/miserable when it comes to making decisions? You guessed it - the maximizer.

The fist concept of "satisficing" came around in the 1950's from Nobel Prize-winning economist and psychologist Herbert Simon. This is how Schwartz describes Simon's position in the book:

"Simon suggested that when all the costs (in time, money, and anguish) involved in getting information about all the options are factored in, satisfying is, in fact, the maximizing strategy."

So how do you know if you are a satisficer or a maximizer? Well take this survey below. Write a number from 1-7 (completely agree to completely disagree) and add up the numbers. If your score is 40 or lower, you are a satisficer. If your score is 65 or higher, you are a maximizer.

Maximization Scale:

  1. Whenever I'm faced with a choice, I try to imagine what all the other possibilities are, even ones that aren't present at the moment. 
  2. No matter how satisfied I am with my job, it's only right for me to be on the lookout for better opportunities. 
  3. When I am in the car listening to the radio, I often check other stations to see if something better is playing, even if I am relatively satisfied with what I'm listening to. 
  4. When I watch TV, I channel surf, often scanning through the available options even while attempting to watch one program. 
  5. I treat relationships like clothing: I expect to try a lot on before finding the perfect fit. 
  6. I often find it is difficult to shop for a gift for a friend. 
  7. Renting videos is really difficult. I'm alway struggling to pick up the best one. 
  8. When shopping, I have a hard time finding clothing that I really love. 
  9. I'm a big fan of lists that attempt to rank things (the best movies, the best singers, the best athletes, the best novels etc). 
  10. I find that writing is very difficult, even if it's just writing a letter to a friend, because it’s so hard to word things just right. I often do several drafts of even simple things. 
  11. No matter what I do, I have the highest standards for myself. 
  12. I never settle for second best. 
  13. I often fantasize about living in ways that are quite different from my actual life. 

(From the American Psychological Association)

When Schwartz studied the differences between satisficers and maximizers, he found the following tendencies:

  1. Maximizers engage in more product comparisons than satisficers, both before and after they make purchasing decisions. 
  2. Maximizers take longer than satisficers to decide on a purchase. 
  3. Maximizers spend more time than satisficers comparing their purchasing decisions to the decisions of others. 
  4. Maximizers are more likely to experience regret after a purchase. 
  5. Maximizers are more likely to spend time thinking about hypothetical alternatives to the purchases they've made. 
  6. Maximizers generally feel less positive about their purchasing decisions. 

Not only that, but there was more negative attributes that Schwartz discovered about maximizers:

  1. Maximizers savor positive events less than satisficers and do not cope as well (by their own admission) with negative events. 
  2. After something bad happens to them, maximizers' sense of well-being takes longer to recover. 
  3. Maximizers tend to brood or ruminate more than satisficers.

Takeaway point:

When it comes to buying cameras for street photography, I think it is far better to be a "satisficer" than a "maximizer."

There is no such thing as the perfect camera for street photography. Every camera has its pros and its cons. Therefore the search for the "perfect camera" is a fruitless one that will lead to dissatisfaction.

One rule-of-thumb I mentioned in my previous post is the idea of getting a camera that works 80% well for you. Getting a camera that is "good enough" for your needs in the streets is ideal. This will allow you to focus more on the photographing and less worrying about if the gear you have is perfect.

So I recommend not spending so much time on gear review sites and forums which focus on every little difference between all the cameras out there. What I recommend instead is going to a camera store, perhaps borrowing it for a day or two and trying it out on the streets.

Things that people talk about on the internet (ergonomics, feel, handling) is something you have to try out for yourself. Your hands may be too big/too small for a camera, and the weight and balance of a camera is also an important consideration (you cannot get online).

2. Make your purchases non-reversible

Istanbul, 2012.

In today's consumer world, we love refunds and 100% money-back guarantees. It gives us the feeling of security – that if we don't wholly love our purchase we can just return it.

However the reality is that if a purchase we make is refundable, it actually makes us less satisfied.

For example, there was a study in which participants chose one photograph from a set of 8 x 10, black and white prints they made in a photography class. In another case, they chose one small poster from a set of fine art print reproductions. The interesting finding was that although the participants valued being able to reverse their choices, almost nobody actually decided to do so. The participants who had the option to change their minds were less satisfied with their choices than the participants who weren't able to change their choices.

This has to do a lot with the "endowment effect" in which people don't like to part with something once they obtain it. This also happened in another study in which participants were given a coffee mug or a nice pen for participating. The gifts were worth roughly the same value. The participants were then given the opportunity to trade. What also ended up happening was very few trades happened. Once you own something, it feels like it's yours. And to give it away would entail a loss. Because losses feel more painful than gains, to give it away is more painful.

And even more interestingly in another study, participants were given a mug to examine and asked the price they would demand to sell it (if they owned it). A few minutes later, they were actually given the mug, and the opportunity to sell it. Once they owned the mug, they demanded 30% more to sell it than what they said a few minutes earlier. Once again, once you feel that you own something, to part with it is quite painful.

Another theory why non-reversible decisions are better than reversible decisions is that once we make a non-reversible decision, we don't think about "what ifs" and rather focus on psychological coping mechanisms. For example, we will spend more time justifying why we purchased something and seeing the good aspects of it (rather than the negatives).

We can also use the analogy of marriage. Once you choose a life partner, (hopefully) that partner will be with you for life. Of course the "grass is always greener on the other side." There will always be others who will be younger, more attractive, funnier, smarter, understanding, or intelligent than your partner. But once you make that life-long commitment, you learn to see past your partner's flaws, and see their strengths. Knowing that you made a choice in marriage that is non-reversible will allow you to focus your energy on improving the relationship instead of always second-guessing it.

Takeaway point:

When it comes to purchasing your cameras, it may seem counter-intuitive, but purchase it where they don't offer a money-back guarantee.

In my personal experiences, I have bought many cameras and lenses over the years. I started with a point-and-shoot, upgraded to a Canon 350D, got a bunch of prime and zoom lenses, got a full-frame Canon 5D, upgraded to a Leica M9, messed around with a 21mm and a 35mm, then sold it off and got a film Leica MP.

For the lenses that I purchased online which were refundable, I would always think in the back of my head: "what if another lens was better than this?" Then after testing out the lens for a bit, I would be tempted to return it and try out another lens. Whereas when I have bought lenses from people (in person) which were non-refundable, I worried less about the "what ifs" and focused on rather using my lens and getting more comfortable with it (and seeing past its flaws).

Nowadays most online merchants offer returns or money-back guarantees. So perhaps purchase from online retailers which don't offer returns or money-back guarantees, and either buy your cameras or lenses in-person.


Click here to read page 2 of Eric Kim's article 'What to Consider When Buying a New Camera for Street Photography' 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

Comments

Total comments: 136
12
jimjim2111
By jimjim2111 (2 months ago)

I think we're all maximisers here. Some less comfortable with that than others! Terrific article, lots to ponder.

0 upvotes
guytano
By guytano (2 months ago)

This article, and the comments that follow it, illustrate the perils of overgeneralization. For example there are Tall people, and Short people, each falling on opposite sides of an arbitrary, or arithmetic norm. Clearly this kind of analysis does not leave room for the majority of us, falling somewhere between two extremes.

1 upvote
Mk82
By Mk82 (2 months ago)

Just checked the examples and they are terrible if even Street photography at all in level what street photography has been even shown to be by masters.

I would call those as snapshots taken as tourist on street without content.

Sorry that IMHO.

1 upvote
Kaso
By Kaso (7 months ago)

1. I wasted 15 minutes of my time on this useless article that has nothing to do with camera and absolutely nothing to do with street photography. (What's so special about "street photography" anyway? Out-of-focus, badly composed, high-contrast, black-and-white photos of people with their heads cut off?)

2. Average persons get "notority" so easily these days with random postings on the bazaar-like websites. Plus, the likes of them tend to scratch one another's back in order to increase traffic, hence income.

1 upvote
Plastek
By Plastek (7 months ago)

Wow... I just wasted 5 seconds reading garbage from some gear-head that obviously have no slightest idea about photography.

2 upvotes
Mark 100
By Mark 100 (7 months ago)

DP Review would do well to find new grades of photographic competence, the integrity of which cannot be imitated. Yes, so I went overseas, took some pics, gave my opinion to someone at a bus stop on a certain camera; now I'm ALSO an international traveler, street photographer and lecturer, and this is backed up by my links on Twitter/ Facebook.

The title of this 'essay' is misleading, and the pics are horrendous. Any integrity of this piece goes to the book he's reviewing, not himself. The subject of choice, purchase, cost and benefit is important, but must it come in this packaging?

I suspect this article will find its way into the same basket as 'Professional advice on Street Photography' because it's been on DPReview, and this is grossly insulting to the damn fine contributions made by other photographers in the field.

0 upvotes
f8andshowup
By f8andshowup (8 months ago)

More useless content on DPR.

What would it take to get a good street photographer to write an article like this?

Let me guess: money?

1 upvote
David Lumsden
By David Lumsden (8 months ago)

If something is satisfactory, then, by definition, it suffices. "Satisficer" is redundant, unnecessary, and downright ugly. We need a behavioral scientist who can explain why behavioral scientists insist on coining useless and idiotic verbiage.

0 upvotes
Peter 111
By Peter 111 (8 months ago)

Street photography or bad vacation photos? I say the latter in the case of Mr Kim.

7 upvotes
camirisk1
By camirisk1 (8 months ago)

I completely agree with the article, being an economist and sort of photographer I really think that one should look at the camera options and look for the smartest one in terms of price and time investigating how well will it do the job. For street photography is clear that the article assumes that everyone favors range finder type design so the discussion about different cameras is almost senseless and I think that the last recommendation, save the money for the trip is clear, I would love to buy a Hasselblad h5, but for sure with the money I can get to a very nice street photography trip and get very good photos, this article makes a total sense for me.

0 upvotes
gotak
By gotak (8 months ago)

People don't seem to like Eric Kim much around here...

Not too surprised. I have wonder why he's even known on the internet for a while now. I mean yeah it might be the infinite monkey effect but I don't see much from him that you can't find on flickr. The exception are where he has stuck a camera in someone's face and they are unhappy and trying to hide or block the camera's view. Great, when do we see him with his teeth knocked out like Ron Galella?

2 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (9 months ago)

http://3.static.img-dpreview.com/files/articles/6815348687/520/Istanbul-22-660x437.jpg?v=2367

hello?

4 upvotes
misscoley
By misscoley (8 months ago)

Honestly talentless and unthoughtful images.

7 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (9 months ago)

Mostly mumbo jumbo and philosophical twaddle. Being English, I can understand, just, how the verb "to maximise" can be turned into the noun "maximiser" but "satisficer" from "to satisfy" beggars belief.

Outwith of this article and being asked what "satisficer" meant, who would know?

1 upvote
GradyPhilpott
By GradyPhilpott (8 months ago)

The term satisficer has quite long history in the behavioral sciences.

The term was introduced in 1956 by Herbert A. Simon. It is a portmanteau of the words satisfy and suffice, according to Wikipedia.

I think the author is trying to find some scientific basis for the old adage, the best camera is the camera you have with you.

People don't need to be so critical. It's one man's point of view and you can read it or not read it, as one is so inclined.

3 upvotes
windriver
By windriver (8 months ago)

These examples and points are discussed in the book "Thinking, Fast And Slow" by Daniel Kahnemann - a Nobel Prize winner.
There is nothing philosophical about it.

0 upvotes
skisagooner
By skisagooner (9 months ago)

I take months to research a product before purchasing it. My phone, camera, computer, etc. So I guess I'd catagorise myself as a 'maximiser'.

However, once I bought the product, I hardly look back. The things that I took months to consider before purchasing, I am incredibly satisfied with it.

It is the things that I bought with instinct and without survey, that I often regret. "Why didn't I do my research? That camera would have suited me more than this! Cost less too! This camera has features that I don't even need! That camera has features I didn't know I need!"

Whereas if I had done my research, I'd know that no matter what I've decided upon, I have thoroughly considered all my other options.

I'm happy that this guy has found his preferred way of purchasing products. But my point is it's definitely not for everyone. He has no right to tell us that his way is the right way.

If you too feel that this article is not right, you're not alone.

0 upvotes
IchiroCameraGuy
By IchiroCameraGuy (9 months ago)

This really was a bad article guys. An article to recommend gear for a certain type of photography should have at least one or two great photos where such gear was utilized. You have to press on through the first page that does not deal with street photography at all just to get a small dose of opinion on page two with nothing to show for on either.

Would be great if instead some of the truly talented and experienced street photographers who visit dpreview - forums did such an article.

7 upvotes
Thatcannonguy
By Thatcannonguy (9 months ago)

Oh my god... The pictures on page 2 are even worse !

6 upvotes
Rage Joe
By Rage Joe (9 months ago)

This Eric-guy would do just fine with some basic cameraphone, no one would see any difference. Crappy quality and even more crappy pictures. Every teen on the street with a smartphone gets better results. Any.

5 upvotes
wilsonlaidlaw
By wilsonlaidlaw (9 months ago)

For a film camera I understand going for an M6. Using an M (I have M4, M8, M9 and M240, all from new) is a great pleasure. However if I were a working street photographer, I might opt instead for a Zeiss Ikon. The viewfinder is just a little better than the M6 and the metal shutter, with its higher speeds allows more flexibility to use fast lenses wide open for shallow DOF in good light. It is still M mount.

However the Voigtlander 35/2.5 I would not even consider. My experience of CV lenses has been very poor with only one decent one out of 4 bought, including a very soft 35/2.5. As a working photographer, you need to be as close to 100% as possible, sure of your equipment. My choice every time therefore, would be the 35/2 ASPH Summicron. I don't have one, as I have a 35/1.4 ASPH Summilux but if I were a street photographer I would change. My chrome/brass 35/1.4 is too heavy for quick shots and the Summicron is easier to use and very compact. Nobody has a bad word for it.

0 upvotes
xentar
By xentar (9 months ago)

Not all countries have refund pussibilities.

0 upvotes
KBarrett
By KBarrett (9 months ago)

I've been taking my photography this way by switching from RAW to JPEG. Not only is it quickening my workflow, but my enjoyment of photography is increasing as it moves the feeling of success and satisfaction closer to the moment of capture. Rather than filling a card with RAW images and slowly losing interest in processing them, I'm shooting a JPEG, evaluating that, and moving on.

3 upvotes
MarshallG
By MarshallG (9 months ago)

Over ten years ago, I bought a Yashica point and shoot, because it had a fixed length Zeiss lens, instead of the 14x mega-zooms that were all the rage. The camera took superb pictures.

If there's one common thread in this article: Use a fixed focal length, not a zoom. They're better in ambient light, and they're a lot sharper.

1 upvote
unknown member
By (unknown member) (9 months ago)

Good points here, but not a lot about street photography. On the other hand, I don't live in a place conducive to street photography, so I liked this article. It really applies to more than photography, and I found it interesting.

0 upvotes
BruceBorowski
By BruceBorowski (9 months ago)

Sniff Sniff............. lotta snobs on this site

3 upvotes
Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (9 months ago)

... One of the longest and most boring and most snobbish advertising about Fuji and Ricoh cameras...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
3 upvotes
Dotes
By Dotes (9 months ago)

Might have something to do with Fuji and Ricoh cameras actually being suited for street shooting.

6 upvotes
Thatcannonguy
By Thatcannonguy (9 months ago)

I still wonder why there still is no S100X review on DPR. Perhaps Fuji refused to hand out a free one to every member and family member of the DPR-team, just like Nikon always does ?

0 upvotes
atlien991
By atlien991 (9 months ago)

Even as I read this I knew this wouldn't play well in this community.

4 upvotes
Dotes
By Dotes (9 months ago)

Wish there was a 35mm eq. Ricoh GR.
*sigh*

0 upvotes
kshitijnagar
By kshitijnagar (9 months ago)

Let me just go ahead and say this, because i think it needs to be said- this article has absolutely nothing to do with photography let alone street photography.we dont need a psychologist's theory to tell us which camera to buy, and in this case, a photographer's version of a psychologist's theory.i would have been much happier if he would have given a detailed account of the specific needs of street photography and what it demands (which,by the way we all know to some extent) and what cameras suit that profile (which again we know to some extent).it is most unfortunate that this trend of being "preachy" and writing unnecessary articles like this as well as having some sort of marketing device ("film is better than digital" "b&w is better than colour" or "mid format better than35mm" for egs.) is required these days to sell yourself and create hype because lets face it, nobody (galleries and magazines included) is buying street/docu work as they used to.period. totally pointless article

11 upvotes
Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (9 months ago)

...we are given so many choices in terms of what type of camera/sensor (Full-frame DSLR, ASPC-sensor, Micro 4/3rds, Compact, etc)...

Naw, I only see one choice here with few sub-choices so I bought a cam from both brands. I quit reading presuming that the article is not meant for me.

0 upvotes
jtan163
By jtan163 (9 months ago)

I think Eric is a maximiser who changed his requirements (fooled himself that film is better for what he does) so that he would not longer be affected by the horror of maximizing.

I only wish I could do the same.
:-)

1 upvote
Frank Neunemann
By Frank Neunemann (9 months ago)

Sorry, but I can't follow the author's advice. Buying something "good enough" is no option at all. Very often it turned out to be a waste of time and money. I prefer making the most out of my resources.

Also absolutely can't follow the recommendation to combine a Leica M camera with a Voigtländer lens. When I spend that much money on a first class camera body, then I add a Summicron or Elmarit 35mm lens to it. Leica lenses are so much better than Voigtländer's... Even if the camera body will be replaced in a couple of years from now, the lens will stay "forever" and will be used.

All in all an interesting article about a topic that is relevant to me. Sorry about being a maximizer. ;-)

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

I am a great satisficer, but with no maximiser instinct we would all be using some plain old cameras.

True maximisers will never be happy.

True satisficers will be happy with anything that takes pictures.

Great article, I like the twist.

I am a satisficer who learned to maximise and is now happily satisfied. Glad the article at least mentioned a Ricoh, the true maximus of street photography, even if only in passing. The satisficers would be happy with the GRDIV, the maximisers are out with their slide rules comparing the GR with about everything else that contains a shutter.

Someone once said that he who claims never to have made a mistake in purchasing has never bought anything. He who takes many purchases back for a refund has never bought anything either.

3 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (9 months ago)

exactly that

0 upvotes
unknown member
By (unknown member) (9 months ago)

Wow. You just extended the article....and you did it well.

0 upvotes
Lucas_
By Lucas_ (9 months ago)

Well said for the article, but if some think the Fuji and Ricoh are the best for street photo, I say that IMHO Sony offers the best options currently, depending on your budget. Those are the RX1, the NEX 6 and the RX100.

1 upvote
Richard
By Richard (9 months ago)

Utter garbage. I for one find satisfaction in researching and finding the right product to suit my needs. I find satisfaction in knowing I did not get ripped off by paying too much. Even when I make the wrong decision, I have the satisfaction of knowing I researched it and made the best decision at the time.
There is an old saying, no one regrets buying the best, but many regret half stepping. In my decision making I err to the maximizer size, and again am not disappointed. These generalized ideas do not work very well. People are not robots and do not think the same way.

4 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

Well done Richard, spoken like a true maximiser (grin)

1 upvote
Richard
By Richard (9 months ago)

But as you said, a maximizer cannot be happy or satisfied, I am both with my cameras. I have wanted a new FF but have waited since the original 5d but was satisfied with a APS-c until the price and feature set have become what I wanted. I may even buy a 5d4 or D900, or the 5d3/d800 if the price drops low enough.

0 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (9 months ago)

Let me get this straight, he's telling us to purposefully make non-reversible decisions in order to maximize our confirmation bias so that we convince ourselves that we made the right decision (whether or not that is the case) in order to avoid buyer's remorse that could easily be alleviated if the decision had been reversible?

For one, every purchase is reversible if there is the option of reselling the item.
There is only a difference in the cost associated with reversing the purchase.
He is counting purchases of new items with a time-limited(!) refund option as "reversible" but items bought "from people" (used, I presume) are somehow counted as "non-reversible".

(to be continued...)

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (9 months ago)

(...)
That is utter crap! After the short refund period there will be a significant cost associated with reversing the purchase (= selling it as used). On the other Hand, a used item bought at a reasonable price can usually be sold with less financial loss at any point after the purchase.
The best way to lower the cost of reversing a purchase is to try to assess ones own needs or desires as best one can and to wait for good deals on used (or new) gear that fit those needs/desires.
The time and effort spent on research and waiting can of course be counted as costs but those can be weighted against those of reversing a rash purchase.

Here's my strategy:
- Make a list of items (lenses, etc.) that you might find useful or interesting to try out.
- Decide what those items would be worth to you (approximately).
- Do some research to get a realistic range of prices at which the items are usually sold and at which you could resell them (this isn't much work!).
(...)

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (9 months ago)

(...)
- Look out for the items on your list beeing sold at the low end of that price range and wait (or don't, if you really want them).
- Buy what interests you and find out if it really suits you (play with it!).
- If you find that you don't really need some of the items, sell them.
- Rest easily knowing that you can reverse any purchase at little to no cost if you later decide that it was a mistake or that you could/should have bought something else instead.

(- Depending on the deals you find you might actually find yourself making profits when you reverse your purchases.
- This strategy allows you to try a larger selection of items beyond the usually short refund periods. That helps finding out what items really suit your tastes or style of photography.)

Once you have made a purchase that can only be reversed at significant cost, convincing yourself that you made the right decision might bring you some peace of mind.
BUT PURPOSEFULLY PUTTING YOURSELF IN THAT POSITION IS IDIOTIC!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
xtoph
By xtoph (9 months ago)

it is really bad advice to recommend buying from someone who will not take returns/offer refunds, on at least two levels.

first, because the fact that not many people do return items, doesn't mean it isn't very valuable in the rare case when you need to do so.

second, because some of the best places to buy cameras also happen to offer some of the best return policies. (eg, bh).

which makes the advice both impractical and potentially disastrous. all to confer a false sense of 'scienticity' to your advice.

not helpful.

the entirety of the useful advice in this article boils down to 'don't worry too much about it.'

5 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

Yep, but most places in the world don't let you return a product just because you don't like it - it either has to be broken when bought or not suitable for it's intended purpose and even then it must be returned within a reasonable time after purchase.

Relying on returns of perfectly useful product is neither maximiser nor satisficer but more indecisfiicer. It must add a lot to the cost of wastage and therefore street pricing of goods.

So it is best to be a little maximiser until purchase and then throw the switch to satisficer.

0 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (9 months ago)

I always buy from places with a good return policy, and some even offer an 'I don't like it after all' policy. And since I do my research, I have never had to use that return policy. But I go with stores that do, on the off-chance that something unexpected comes up.

1 upvote
xtoph
By xtoph (9 months ago)

Tom--
B&h will ship most anywhere. I am aware that 'refund just because' is largely an american flavor, but hardly exclusively so. And of course there is a time limit--but the advice in kim's article was to avoid that window of security altogether.
As for "must add to the street pricing of goods", thats the same sort of reasoning in a vacuum kim is indulging in. In actual fact, prices at bh are about as low as they get.
It isnt hard to see why. Lots of people will take the plunge if they know they have a free do-over; but when it comes down to it, relatively few actually do return stuff without good reason.

Kim's advice, essentially to engage in psychological warfare against yourself, is silly. If you are in need of some psychic chill, try yoga, or maybe a hobby you enjoy and find relaxing... Maybe photography?

1 upvote
emtx
By emtx (9 months ago)

I am not sure about the satisficer and maximaser concept. Or you focus on photography (and gear comes around according to your pocket with inevitable amount of try outs) or charts of gear. To be satisficer with Zeiss glass on Leica is not so difficult I guess....even on with Ricoh GRD or GR
I am also not thrilled with pictures I saw here, but some on the FB are impressive.

0 upvotes
RunStrom
By RunStrom (9 months ago)

If the camera you hold is still giving you the "wow" factor every now and again its worth holding onto. If not its because you don't use it enough , not because you need to upgrade.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

The maximiser in me made me do it, the satisficer in me makes me keep my old gear and pull it out from time to time to remember why I first decided to buy it and re-tickle my maximiser buds.

Amazing how well some of this out of date but quite satisfactiory gear still works.

0 upvotes
Old Baldy
By Old Baldy (9 months ago)

Great article....except that the scoring exercise is clearly WRONGLY stated.

The scoring for the "Maximizer" would have HIGH scores to each question, so the article should have said "Write a number from 1-7 (completely DISAGREE to completely AGREE) and add up the numbers," instead of what it currently says "Write a number from 1-7 (completely agree to completely disagree) and add up the numbers."

As it stands, all the "Agrees" would get 1's and all the disagrees would get 7's.

Ya see....as an inherent "Maximizer", I spot these kinds of detailed mistakes. :)

and related to street cameras, there is NOTHING on the market as good as a NEX ...superb image quality, high ISO performance, tiny, the best manual focus functions and customizable buttons to make the use of great quality, tiny Voigtlander/Leica type manual focus lenses so, SO easy to use. Perfection!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Nismo350Z
By Nismo350Z (9 months ago)

The first page is about psychology and the second page tries to be relevant. The title is somewhat misleading but at least he went out and took photos.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

I'm a Maximizer, but I got lucky. I was going to swap my NX20 for the new NX300... and when I learned about the 1/2 sec worth of buffer on the nx300, I made the decision that I was going to stay with the nx20. Since then, I've accepted that it is "good enough" for me. Ever since I made that acceptance, I've liked the camera a lot more. I get more enjoyment from it too. I enjoy being able to take photos in high 8fps speed when my daughter is running with her dog, and then choosing the one in the sequence that is at just the right point - when they both jump over an obstacle together. I like that the IQ is on par with the very best of the mft (omdem5) APSC cameras. I still don't like having a swivel screen instead of a tilt screen, but at least I've stopped hating that.
And once you commit to a camera, it makes the interface all that more enjoyable, because it's becoming one with the photographer. A little like marriage, I guess. ;-)

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
koolbreez
By koolbreez (9 months ago)

One category a lot of people fall under, and not addressed in the article, is "The Dreamer". One significant characteristic of the dreamer is a lack of money that can be used for new camera purchases, so for any upcoming purchase for this individual extensive research and comparison is carried out, and contributes to the dreamer name once a selection is decided on, and before the spouse knows anything about it.

The camera selected becomes an obsession, with the buyer going to great lengths to obtain the money needed for this once-in-a-lifetime purchase, and not always with the wife's full approval. A $1000+ is a lot of money for a toy to a lot of people.

The other significant trait about "The Dreamer" is the complete love for what was finally bought. There is no way anything will ever be found, or admitted to, to not be exactly what was wanted, and expected. The choice will be fully defended.

I have met lots of people like this over the years, and I imagine many of you have too.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

we've also met many dreamers... many of which don't ever buy, because they move on to the next model to dream about. there are some on this website, commenting and criticizing cameras they have never even tried out, or even touched. and they have very strong opinions.

0 upvotes
emtx
By emtx (9 months ago)

If they are dreamers they buy eventually. I am not sure they are all criticizing. I was a dreamer - dreamer of great camera with Dyn. range, FF and resolution, portability and M exposure video. I had to compromise cause of money. I gave up FF and M exposure for video. I got Pentax K5. I am proud maximiser satisfier, proud of choosing great camera, finding great lenses, being on less beaten track and shelling out less than in another system, so I can do more with my photography...simply cause I have all I need in lenses and had enough for great filters. I am not perfect, but I am dreamer working on his dream of photography.

0 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (9 months ago)

Congratulations, your coping mechanisms seem to be working well!

Don't get me wrong, I own a K-5 myself because at the time size, IBIS and the Limiteds seemed more attractive than the D7000s better AF-system (they still do), the Nikon was more expensive and I thought I needed WR (I don't).
But let's be "real" here, we bought a piece of consumer electronics. That's nothing feel pride about and neither is "beeing special" (unless "special" is also better, in which case you don't need to count "beeing special" itself as a positive)

If the benefit of switching brands doesn't outweigh the cost, staying with Pentax is the right decision.
If Pentax still comes out on top if you disregard the cost of switching then buying into Pentax actually was the right decision.

In my case Pentax still wins on both counts, I hope that's true for you as well. If that is the case, you shouldn't need anything else to remain happy with your decision.

0 upvotes
emtx
By emtx (9 months ago)

Thank you.

I might overuse word proud. My point was I got very capable camera and big prints as A1 are more limitation of photographic technique than anything else - its possible to get pro quality out of it. K5 has sensor score of 82 on DXO is same like 6D and better than 5D mark II&III, D700 (by margin). While it does not have all the whistles of Canik, picture quality is there - rest is workaround / film SLR. I do not have money for pro Canik gear, but still get quality. That why my enthusiasm.
I hope Pentax wakes up and comes on top, but lets see. I have 7 month old K5 with over 10000 shots only, so I have couple of years ahead with it. I hope I do not have to jump the ship than, but definitely it will be less painful if so.
For now Pentax won.

0 upvotes
WhyNot
By WhyNot (9 months ago)

So I took the survey!! What does it mean f I score between 40 and 65? Stay out of camera stores and stay away from these forums?

1 upvote
Davidfstop
By Davidfstop (9 months ago)

For me too. This is a very rare moment in my life., to be actually sat on the fence!

0 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (9 months ago)

Well, in this case the fence is so thick it really should be called a wall.

1 upvote
Keith
By Keith (9 months ago)

The perfect camera is the one I am holding at the moment.

0 upvotes
Fehrum
By Fehrum (9 months ago)

Quite similar to O. Duongs articles about being gear-addicted. True words, but they would seem more convincing to me, if the images were more convincing.

2 upvotes
Valterj
By Valterj (9 months ago)

I'm a maximizer... I spent a lot of time here in DPR in several foruns: Micro Four Thirds Talks; Sony NEX Talk; Sony Cyber-shot Talk; Fujifilm X System Talk; Nikon 1 System Talk.

Yes, I'm looking for the "perfect camera": Sony RX100 II or Sony NEX-6 + Carl Zeiss 24mm or Fujifilm X-M1 + 23mm or Nikon 1 V2 + 18,5 mm

But all of you who posts messages here are maximizers... you're spending your time reading and posting messages!

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

Interesting, a maximiser who names perfect cameras. What about next month, next year, .... Sounds like you could become a satisficer if you bought all your present "looks" quick. (grin)

0 upvotes
GeorgeD200
By GeorgeD200 (9 months ago)

"So I recommend not spending so much time on gear review sites and forums which focus on every little difference between all the cameras out there." -- Eric Kim

I commend you, DPR, for linking to this article, much to your own detriment. I'm afraid it's totally adverse to your business model. The maximizer is your best customer. He spends hours upon hours reading reviews, then buys, uses, reads more reviews, upgrades, replaces, rinse, repeat, ad infinitum. The more time he spends here, the more pages he looks at, the better it is for you. His indecision is your bread-and-butter.

So why, DPR, would you post an article so contrary to your own well-being? Perhaps you too get tired of the constant bickering that takes place continually on these forums, and have a deep-seated self-loathing over your continued enabling of it.

It sounds like you need a few hundred couch sessions, but then : don't we all.

1 upvote
cjhwang
By cjhwang (9 months ago)

I think most Maximizers who frequent DPR will look at this article, then look at the photos Eric Kim took and say "those are horrible shots, motion blur on the second one, bad composition on the first one, look at all that head room above the people" and they'll just ignore the premise of the article.

3 upvotes
RaWeiss
By RaWeiss (9 months ago)

Are you saying that the photos in the article are poor photographs? Or that they won't appeal to "maximizers" who only look at the hard numbers and follow the rules of composition/exposure?

I look at Eric's photos and say "Wow, those are interesting. Why does that guy on or off the bus have an eye patch? What caught the other guy's attention in the shrubs?" And "I wonder what's going on in the blond woman's mind; why is she scowling like that?"

Would I hang them on my wall? No. But they do catch my interest and affect me in some way.

0 upvotes
SeanU
By SeanU (9 months ago)

I'd add another mantra to this article. Buy last years camera when it goes on closeout. The GX1 is an extreme example of how low you can go when it dropped to around $200 for the body. While other cameras may not drop as drastically, 40-50% reductions are pretty common. The X100 is a great deal now... and the X100S will be a great deal next year.

1 upvote
JaFO
By JaFO (9 months ago)

Except most people will universally hate you for doing so ...

Ever tried to tell a woman to only ever buy last years clothing ?
Us geeks love getting the latest gear just like fashion fans love the latest trends.

Besides ... if you really were that consistent with your gear then you most likely wouldn't even be reading sites like this one.

If the tech is mature then buying last years model is a very effective and cheap way to upgrade.
New technology doesn't have that advantage until it's done a few iterations and the basic issues have been resolved.

0 upvotes
Tom Caldwell
By Tom Caldwell (9 months ago)

Hey what was a GX1? My maximiser instincts are failing me ...

0 upvotes
Archiver
By Archiver (9 months ago)

Thinking about my gear shows me that I only buy cameras that are current. I cannot think of one digital camera (not counting classic film cameras) that I would have bought out of its product cycle. For me, it's about having the benefits that the latest technology offers, because otherwise I feel that I'm not fully taking advantage of what is there. My desires change as technology advances; not because I'm only after the newest thing, but because new tech lets me do things that the older tech couldn't.

Having said that, I still shoot 'antiquated' cams like the Sigma DP1 and DP2, and until recently, the GRD III from 2009. 5D Mark II from 2008 for work, because it does what I want. But I wouldn't buy a 5D II now.

0 upvotes
stevez
By stevez (9 months ago)

Although an interesting article, it doesn't adequately address the article's title. I do tend to agree with most of his philosophy though which is why I abandoned my full frame in favor of micro 4/3. In other words I've switched from being a "Maximizer" to a "Satisficer" and as a result I'm enjoying photography more than ever.

2 upvotes
Expat Nomad
By Expat Nomad (9 months ago)

"Save your money and rather use the money on a nice street photography vacation/trip or buy some street photography books." +1.

3 upvotes
tompabes2
By tompabes2 (9 months ago)

+2!
Many people are more insterested in the tools (cameras) rather than in photography itself. Having the latest brand new camera is nice, being on a trip to an exotic place where you can take brand new pictures with your old camera is priceless.

2 upvotes
udris
By udris (9 months ago)

In five years he will re read this article and cringe

0 upvotes
Artistico
By Artistico (9 months ago)

Not so much about street photography as about the psychology of camera acquisition in general - which is a more interesting subject. Some of the pointers here are good for anyone choosing a camera for anything.

1 upvote
Anirban Banerjee
By Anirban Banerjee (9 months ago)

"Those that can, do. Those that can't, teach."

Maybe, this should be modified to: Those that can (take photos), take photos. Those that can't, write blogs.

8 upvotes
Sessility
By Sessility (9 months ago)

This doesn't make any sense to me
1. I'm a maximiser, do my research, and pretty much always very happy with my purchases for years. I happily held on to my previous camera for 10(!) years. A year ago, after a lot of research again, I bought an X-Pro1, which was/is perfect for my requirements/needs - I couldn't be more happy with it (and that's even before applying the latest firmware updates! ;-)

There will be better cameras in the future, no doubt, but I bought the best for me *at the time*, and that's enough to make me happy with it for years to come (like with my last camera).

2. Most of these photos don't look like "street photography" to me, but perhaps I have a different understanding of the genre?

PS: The only thing that does make sense is the recommendation of the X100S.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
JaFO
By JaFO (9 months ago)

There is a big difference between doing research for a reasonable target and a perfect one.

A maximizer goes above and beyond whatever is reasonable.

Besides, most of us have a little of both.
I doubt anyone is at the extreme end of the scale.

0 upvotes
eivissa1
By eivissa1 (9 months ago)

"28 mm is too wide for most people". Funny that he recommends the GR IV that has a 28mm lens.....

4 upvotes
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