at what point does it make sense to stop obsessing over gear minutia ?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
sean000 Veteran Member • Posts: 7,532
Re: at what point does it make sense to stop obsessing over gear minutia ?

hotdog321 wrote:


in other words how far down the rabbit hole should you chase small improvements in gear.

will it translate to much better images if you get a lens which score 7% more on a optical test ?

is it worth it to ebay gear because a new model has 60 mp - not 38 ?

these are questions that boggle the mind

For the vast majority of photographers the point of diminishing returns was achieved several years ago. Unless you are a high end pro shooting billboard-sized images or fine art photographer or someone who routinely crops out 90% of your frame, a 16-22 megapixel image is way more than enough.

The high-end lenses are indeed better. I've earned my living with cameras for 35+ years and the modern stuff is so much better than my old film lenses there is no realistic comparison. But I could make a good living with the early lenses just fine--it's just that the modern glass is so freakin' awesome.

Pixel peeping is fun and carrying the latest high-end camera is an ego boost, but in reality most photographers would be better served investing their money in some photo classes and perhaps traveling to somewhere they always wanted to visit.

I still go back and re-process Nikon D70 raw files I took in 2004/2005 and the images and prints look great as long as the ISO was 800 or below. I had only one stabilized lens at the time, so I relied on my tripod more back then (enough that I still remember to use it when I want the best image quality even with a modern camera that has 5 stops of stabilization). I agree that we achieved a point of diminishing returns at around the 16 to 20 MP point. At this point I really don't need more. I suppose the march to 4K video has driven a number of recent upgrades, and it's only a matter of time before retailers are tempting us into 8K TV's, displays, and video cameras. For many it seems like improvements to video resolution/quality and AF-C in video are recent reasons to upgrade. I honestly didn't care much about video in my dedicated camera until I had kids. Now I shoot more video than I used to, and I'm happy to see improvements to video AF. That said I'm a photographer at heart, and have always prioritized lens purchases over having the latest sensor/camera body.

As for the super high resolution sensors: I have no need for them when it comes to my photographic hobbies/pursuits. I know storage is cheap, but I'd rather not deal with files that are larger and require significantly more system resources to manipulate. Another trend that amazes me sometimes is the desire to get good results at insanely high ISO settings. Actually I do get it. There are times when you want to stop movement in low light without a flash... and your lens just isn't bright enough. I guess it's just a changing of expectations. I think my first DSLR topped out at ISO 1600 and it was kind of a mess at that point anyway. My second DSLR was decent at 1600, but not so much beyond that. For years I photographed all kinds of scenes with ISO 1600 being my practical limit for ISO (and quite often I stayed at 800 or below). These days it is nice having a camera that can hold detail at ISO 3200 or 6400, but I have a hard time caring about what happens at ISO's beyond that.  It's pretty rare that I find myself at 6400, rarer still wishing my camera could hold detail beyond that. Having said all that I recognize that there are photographers who want and need higher ISO capability and ginormous sensor resolution.

The good news is that many of us will get many years of service out of our current cameras.

 sean000's gear list:sean000's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 Fisheye Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro +6 more
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