Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
bastibe Contributing Member • Posts: 913
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

I don't know about you, but I regularly go through a phase of comparisons when I just go some new gear and want to learn its limits.

But once I got that out of my system, I go through months and years of just using it. Of course there always remains a nagging voice saying "what if" in the back of my mind. And there remains a continued evaluation of the various pieces of gear in use, which is part of learning how to wield it most effectively. But to me that's not comparison, but just use.

More dangerous is perhaps the endless news cycle of ever newerer and betterer gear. Knowing about new releases, and thinking about its potential is probably useful consumer behavior. But this could potentially  turn into an obsession with the marginal gains of the latest and greatest, fuelled by the gear review brigade on YouTube and dpreview.

But frankly, I don't know anyone who actually did fall into that trap in reality.

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Rambow Senior Member • Posts: 2,153
It's a marketing thing
2

They know comparing things actually leads to more consumption, since people think that if they "upgrade" they will finally be happy. When they discover they are not happy, they repeat the process, while spending a lot more than they would have otherwise.

Comparisons also give the very wrong impression that you can somehow get more for your buck if you buy product X instead of product Y, when in reality corporations know very well how to bait their customers without being in too much competition with other companies, since that costs money.

It's about consumption, making things cheaper and skimping on quality as much as possible, but without them actually revealing that.

The proof is in the pudding, most reviews and comparisons avoid touching the real bad aspects of a product or list of products, most only say the newer stuff is better because it's newer and a lot more bla bla bla in the process.

In reality, it's mostly about production costs, a company that wants to sell a similar product at the same price point as others will need to make the same decisions regarding what corners to cut as everyone else.

A $100 lens from either manufacturer will usually have roughly  the same overall quality as the others, simply because nobody has a magic recipe to make a $300 lens but somehow sell it for 3X less.

This is exactly why all kit lenses are bad, at least the ones retailing for about the same amount(think nikon-canon).

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BackToNature1 Contributing Member • Posts: 508
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?
1

People making comparison can have literally ZERO to do with whether or not they are happy with their current gear. This is yet another bad example of trying to interpret what others are doing why. And that's the real problem, not folks doing comparisons.

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 60,057
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?
2

Insecurity causes people to constantly need to justify their choice.

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tony field Forum Pro • Posts: 12,524
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

Simply so we can have something to talk about on DP review and by accident that might even be photography related. Is this the covid syndrome?

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gloaming Veteran Member • Posts: 4,538
Social Posturing

As social animals, humans posture to situate themselves within groups and when they feel they're outside a group.

Almost no males think they are 'betas'.  They act like alphas at home, and when there are no other males in proximity.  So, here on the fora, they can chest thump, brow beat, strut, preen, and primp in self-aggrandizement and self-affirmation.  After all, who want's to admit their LOMUX 524-Ultra-Zoom is a flop, and that they're stuck with it?

To answer specifically, it is self-affirmation and not wanting to give any quarter.  Otherwise, they've become betas yet again.

FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 16,974
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?
1

What I find rather amusing are thread like this sort of pretending that something that happens virtualy with everything else it is istead someow limited to photography.

Of course people compare, we do that  for pretty much everything.

(unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 394
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

In my experience, the people who have the most problem with comparisons are the insecure ones. If you think you're coming in last in every race you run, you're going to hate the timekeepers.

Which brings us to an important point: many insecure ones can't handle the truth. One must take pains to hide it from them...or incur their wrath.

That's why the rule here is "be nice" and not "be honest" or "have integrity." Barney is a smart man to have figured this out. My understanding is that vacuous rule is his brainchild.

Bobthearch
Bobthearch Forum Pro • Posts: 10,584
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

In photography, it started with the second person who invented photography.

In the bigger picture, it started when the second person arrived.

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LeicaEye
LeicaEye Veteran Member • Posts: 7,727
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

Marketing  Marketing  Marketing --

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 16,974
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

LeicaEye wrote:

Marketing Marketing Marketing --

not always.

When we buy fruit and veggies we compare. This apple or that one ?

We do that with pretty much everything we do.

New Day Rising
New Day Rising Senior Member • Posts: 6,588
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?
2

This site exists to help sell camera gear and one of the main areas of activity in the forums is people seeking information to helping with their purchasing decisions. In any market where you have competing products that serve the same function in similar ways it is perfectly normal and sensible to make comparisons between the products. How else am I to decide whether my upgrade should be to a Fujifilm XT-3, XT-4, XS-10 or Nikon Z5/6/7 or Sony A7iii or A7iiir or Canon R5 or any number of other options without doing comparisons?

Comparisons are at the heart of what this place is about.

Where the comparisons are not particularly useful - to me at least - is when they are steeped in tribal rivalries and hyperbole. Members can be quick to say lens X is terrible compared to lens Y, or body B is a massive improvement over body A or body C's autofocus is unusable when the differences in reality are much more minor and plenty of people would be perfectly happy with lens X on body C. But of course if you admit to finding lens X quite good someone will be along soon enough to criticise you for your opinion (but that is going off topic into the toxicity thread that is running at the moment).

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 60,057
Re: Coming from wanting the best gear
1

WongRQ wrote:

softmarmotte wrote:

Few people seem happy with what they have. We see comparisons everywhere

Comparing, sensors, lenses, weight, colours, IQ, sharpness, lastest... seems endemic

What are we hoping to do/achieve by constantly comparing one thing with another ?

and yes, like everyone I fall into the trap (sometimes)

So, calling all psychologists, anthropologists...or maybe we'll just end up comapring psyches

Who doesn't want to get the best gear with the budget they have?

Reviewers compare multiple products and conclude which is better/best, so that the buyer may choose the better piece of camera gear.

A buyer may decide to spend another 100USD for a better quality/sharper lens.

A buyer may see a high megapixel camera, but after renting it and comparing it with his current not-so-high-megapixel camera, he then realises that the differences aren't worth the $3000 due to the AA filter, saves the cash.

Many more examples.

You are citing the symptoms not the cause.

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LeicaEye
LeicaEye Veteran Member • Posts: 7,727
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

FrancoD wrote:

LeicaEye wrote:

Marketing Marketing Marketing --

not always.

When we buy fruit and veggies we compare. This apple or that one ?

We do that with pretty much everything we do.

Please don't tell my wife that..     L

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 60,057
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?
1
  1. FrancoD wrote:

LeicaEye wrote:

Marketing Marketing Marketing --

not always.

When we buy fruit and veggies we compare. This apple or that one ?

We do that with pretty much everything we do.

But after we buy the apple we don’t lament and ponder about whether we bought the best one. We just eat it.

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LeicaEye
LeicaEye Veteran Member • Posts: 7,727
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

mamallama wrote:

  1. FrancoD wrote:

LeicaEye wrote:

Marketing Marketing Marketing --

not always.

When we buy fruit and veggies we compare. This apple or that one ?

We do that with pretty much everything we do.

But after we buy the apple we don’t lament and ponder about whether we bought the best one. We just eat it.

You may well, others don't... L

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richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,315
I like comparisons...

... when I do them myself!

With lenses: People comparing this lens against that lens, don't always include examples of the two lenses. Often just quotes from testing sites referring to MFT charts and other technical stuff that I don't pay attention to.

And when examples are included, how can I know what the conditions were? Tripod used? If not, the test test isn't valid, as far as I'm concerned.

Cameras: I purchased a Panasonic GX8 for the DUAL IS to use with my long 100-400mm lens. That was an improvement over the GX7 I was using.

Soon I began seeing posts comparing the two cameras with respect to image quality and color: the newer camera was an improvement in both departments.

Strange, I thought: I had no complaints with the GX7. I didn't see any examples. I decided to compare for myself.

Image quality

Color

(At least one person on the Forum has moved on to the GX9 for better color results.)

I continue to use both cameras: the GX7 with smaller lenses for everyday use, the GX8 with the larger lens.

Regarding your comments,

softmarmotte wrote:

Few people seem happy with what they have.

Count me as one of the few!

We see comparisons everywhere

That's fine: several have pointed out that it is human nature. No sense worrying about it!

- Richard

Photodog2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,680
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

I don't do comparisons. I think a large number of DPR forum participants enjoy testing. It's always been a part of the hobby but the Internet has easily provided a wider audience which encourages the people so inclined. More power to everyone in whatever way they enjoy photography gear and photography. Then there are also the brand enthusiasts and fanatics that just like to feel good about their chosen brand so will look at every opportunity when they think there is a favorable comparison to be made. That part I find annoying and lowers my respect for the poster.

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FrancoD Forum Pro • Posts: 16,974
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

Photodog2 wrote:

I don't do comparisons.

Think about it...you probably do.

When you bought your last camera there were probably a few models that you could have chosen.

How did you choose ?

Photodog2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,680
Re: Where has this obsession with comparison come from ?

I do of course but I don't make it a point to talk about it on Internet forums. I might have done so in just replying to existing threads. I'm not into initiating or promoting such discussions is what I meant with my original sentence. I acknowledge that they can be useful when one is trying to make purchase decisions or just increase knowledge. I didn't think that was the point of the OP though.

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