A Humble Suggestion

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,974
A Humble Suggestion

It's a universal truth that you can't find the right solution to a problem if you aren't sure what the right solution is.

A regular type of post on this (and all the other) forums is asking for advice on what camera/system to buy into. That seems innocuous enough, but I have a different view on the matter. It may be counterproductive.

First of all, the fanboy types are going to unequivocally support their brand. That means having to wade through a lot of bunk to find sound feedback.

Second, a lot of of people around here don't know as much about photography as they let on. Sure, they know their gear well, but when it comes to some basic concepts of photography, both technical and aesthetic, they aren't as knowledgeable as would be hoped for for someone offering advice.

Third, and most importantly, is your own knowledge level when asking for advice. Often, when I read the posts asking for advice, I think that if the person would take a little time to learn some basics about photography, and gain some specific knowledge about what they want to photograph, they could make their own decisions. Which in my opinion is preferred to being bounced about like a ping pong ball by the various opinions forums present.

Sadly, photography has for many years been subjected to marketing hype that sells the idea that the gear can make up for lack of knowledge and experience. What really happens in most cases is the gear simply makes it easier for many people to take photos that they think are better than they really are. Or they will get frustrated because their results don't live up to the expectations the sales hype gave them.

You might be surprised at how much easier it is to make a confident decision about gear, the more you know about photographic principles that extend beyond the specific details of a given camera or system.

For example: the only time I've asked any sort of "buying advice" here was when I was moving from E series dslrs to OMD. I had 4/3 lenses I planned on keeping (for various reasons) so I asked for purely technical feedback regarding the AF performance of the EM5 vs EM1. I knew what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do so, rather than asking for possible solutions to problems I may not even have to deal with.

Really, take it from anyone (not just myself) who has been into photography long enough to have learned "the hard way" with film, manual focus, manual exposure etc. Learning the basics makes choosing gear a lot easier. Or at least it should.

Once you learn some basics, and if necessary genre specific knowledge, it's easier to ask for gear advice because you pare down what you are asking to questions that really make a difference. Saying "I want a camera that's good for lot's of stuff" is harder to answer than "I plan on shooting a lot of indoor sports, so I know I need good AF with a decent burst rate, but I'm not too concerned about high ISO noise".

Give it a try.

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Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed. Quote by Garry Winogrand

Olympus E-M1
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