Time for an honest discussion about being a fan of a camera company

Started Jul 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Mikhail Tal
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Time for an honest discussion about being a fan of a camera company
Jul 30, 2013

Let me begin with this: I am a fan of Olympus. They are the team that I root for. Canon and Nikon are Oly's arch nemeses, the villain companies hell-bent on destroying Olympus and their superior products, vanquishing them from the industry. Maybe they secretly want to devour them and steal their technology, I don't know. Either way, I do know who are the good guys and who are the heroes and villains according to the team I have chosen to root for. Sony and Panny are usually Oly's allies while Samsung and Pentax are generally their adversaries, although they pale in comparison to the inexorable threat posed by Canikon.

Me rooting for Olympus is no different than you rooting for a sports team. You buy their apparel, brag to anyone who will listen about how much better than the competition, and especially their rivals. They may win or they may lose, but no matter what you make a substantial emotional investment in the team's short-term and long-term success. My undying allegiance to Olympus parallels your relationship with any sports team you happen to root for. I identify with the ethos of the company's camera division, if not the few shady executives who have since been ousted, and I will relentlessly fight for them and defend their cause.

There is NOTHING WRONG with the way I perceive the camera industry. You may resent it because you are jealous of my boundless enthusiasm or perhaps you just don't understand what it means to align your support with a brand or a team, but may approach is logically impregnable. It epitomizes the way humans comport themselves in any kind of competition, and if you can't understand that then it is YOU whose social paradigm should be called into question, not mine. No, you don't have to pick a side, just as you don't have to pick a team in whatever are your country's major sports leagues. It's totally fair to like all the brands or none of them. But to denigrate anyone who does choose as a fanboy just shows you to be callow and intolerant. A fanboy is nothing more than an inflammatory insult leveled at someone who's a fan of a team that you don't like, a needless and gutless personal attack against someone whose only crime was to establish that a competition does indeed exist between different teams.

I disagree with both Canon and Nikon's approach to designing and selling cameras, and I'm not shy about saying as much. But one thing I will never do is insult someone JUST BECAUSE they are a fan of Canon or Nikon. That's flat out uncalled for and suggests a degree of insecurity in one's self and one's own beliefs. My world view of the photography industry is plenty solid enough that I don't need to validate it by slamming others whose views are different. Now I will admit that I may have tread dangerously close to that line earlier when I claimed that Roger Cicala "lost his mind" because he predicted the possible demise of m4/3 by 2018. I was of course speaking figuratively, but it was probably a little bit over the to, so for that I apologize. Now in return I only ask that you accept my and others' fandom of Olympus or any other brand as reasonable, genuine, and legitimate, and keep the discussion on the brands and their products rather than on the people who support them. Thank you.

Good night and good luck,

International Grandmaster Mikhail Tal

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