Toy Fatigue

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Though it's a little old by our standards today, this little snippet from a longer blog by Alec Soth back in 2006 really resonated with me in the wake of SiJ and is certainly pertinent as I contemplate Film February :blush:..well my first rolls of TMax should be here in a few days! :dance:

[Talking about his new iPod]
Of course the era of the podcast is still quite young. So perhaps great artistry will emerge. But this is where I really get frustrated. I don’t think it has time to emerge. Next year the iPod will have a bigger screen. The year after that it will have a web browser. And the year after that it will be obsolete as some new unforeseen technology takes over. The medium only has time to be a toy. It never has time to mature into a tool.

This is the same problem I have with digital photography. The potential is always remarkable. But the medium never settles. Each year there is a better camera to buy and new software to download. The user never has time to become comfortable with the tool. Consequently too much of the work is merely about the technology. The HDR and QTVR fads are good examples. Instead of focusing on the subject, users obsess over RAW conversion, Photoshop plug-ins, and on and on. For good work to develop the technology needs to become as stable and functional as a typewriter.

After hours spent playing with my new iPod, I set it aside to read a book. While I thought the iPod was elegant, nothing beats the book. No downloading. No batteries. No cords. No ads. No links. No distractions. The format is so elegant that it becomes transparent. It is the perfect container for art.
Hmmm, will we ever hit that plateau with our serious compacts? Maybe the Fuji XPro1 or Canon G1X is the answer? :wink:
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
124
bart
lol @ your last line! :biggrin:

In general I think camera makers should focus more on ergonomics. For me, the best camera I've handled so far, ergonomically speaking, was the Samsung NX10. It just fit my hand perfectly, and the weight distribution was also just right. The second I held one, I realised that, for instance, the better sensor performance of the Sony NEXes wouldn't be enough to lure me in, although there're still a few things holding me back from buying a Samsung NX (loud shutter, no weather sealing, no super wide angle, no money :p )
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
I'm hoping to soldier on with my G1 and GF1 as long as they keep going, the incremental "improvements" in the latest models can be happily utilised by others thank you. The SIJ has re-introduced me to the idea of a limited range of lenses, a bit like the pleasure I used to get from my old roll film Bessa 1 (8 on 120) with it's 105mm Tessar lens (about 43mm in 35mm terms).

Barrie
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
Also laughing at your last line, especially since I keep wanting to get new stuff (eg Canon G1X) I think I have often said before that I wish I had not sold my K200D. That was 2008 vintage... gawd... vintage and its only 4 years old. That's just crazy.
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
It's my understanding that some people are using cameras that are entirely mechanical ... they seem to insert a plastic strip into the back, but after that I have no idea how they work ... it'll be interesting to see if this catches on
 

thekeddi

Top Veteran
Aug 15, 2011
68
South Australia
I annoy myself many times, wanting the next best camera to be released. It's funny but I was going through my flickr album and found some photos taken with a Fuji S9500 and they were some of my faves, I am even watching one on Ebay for sale. It's the consumer who moves the speed of the market, if we didn't want things to be updated so quickly then the manufacturers could concentrate on say a 3 year cycle instead of a one year or in some cases sooner cycle. Then we would get the big jumps instead of just a different colour and 2 more megapixels.
 

Isoterica

Hall of Famer
Dec 6, 2011
123
I surprisingly don't have GAS right now. I mean getting my G12 right before release was a bit of a bummer but also half price the new model. I also am missing the GRD IV.. but not enough that I'm doing anything about any of it. I have a lot of film cameras to explore and my DSLR and lenses to further learn. So I will say for now I am sated and perhaps in being so.. I will evolve and not grab for another little toy.
 

retow

All-Pro
Jul 24, 2010
123
Though it's a little old by our standards today, this little snippet from a longer blog by Alec Soth back in 2006 really resonated with me in the wake of SiJ and is certainly pertinent as I contemplate Film February :blush:..well my first rolls of TMax should be here in a few days! :dance:

[Talking about his new iPod]


Hmmm, will we ever hit that plateau with our serious compacts? Maybe the Fuji XPro1 or Canon G1X is the answer? :wink:
Leica MP or M6 is the answer. That's the plateau, as are m-lenses:)
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
I have a lot of gear, combination of photography, collecting, and amateur repair as hobbies. I tend to use software that is familiar to me. Never saw any need to go past Photoshop 7.0. I started with 3.0, still have it loaded on a machine. I used to write all of my own image processing software before there was a Photoshop. In FORTRAN. I still use FORTRAN at work, it is fast and efficient for what I do. It's funny to do a directory and find source code files used in a current build that range from 1986 to 2012. If something works, why reinvent it?

Film February. dropped off two rolls today. Nikon SP and canonet Ql17l.
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
I think I have to disagree with the main point here, if you see the toys as tools and make your decisions based on what is the best tool for the job and you can afford them, I see nothing wrong with changing cameras until you find what you are looking for. One can many times find comfort in nostalgia but in reality some things work well in the past and many did not. New technology used thoughtfully can be liberating, while the single book may seem like a great vehicle for communication it can be completely impractical l at the same time, in the space I can carry one book I can have hundreds in my kndle.
In the past I would shoot 10 + rolls of film a day on vacation, that meant for a two week trip I had to bring 150 or 160 rolls with me, now what 3 or 4 SD cards and a computer or IPad, I am more than covered. Even though I will still shoot some film here and there, I like my new tools
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
124
SoCal
Bob
one other point about nostalgia, back in the day instead of photoshop and a set of processing filters, we had multiple types of developers, processing techniques, toners, papers, films, enlarger heads, filters and other assorted tools in the darkroom, what is the difference in the end. A good image is a good image
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
There is a difference in "Toy" and "Tool". I suspect that buying a camera just because it is the latest, greatest, newest, "snazziest" is the issue of fatigue in the digital world. Last year it was the X-100, this year the Fuji X. Next year might be the X2 and X200. Some feel required to own the newest.

My problem "used to be" wanting to own all of the milestone cameras. 60 Nikons alone, 15 of them RF's. Not as many Leica, Canons, Kodak Retinas, etc, etc, etc. Somewhere around 200 cameras and even more lenses. Sold off "copies" to buy the M9 and a pair of Noktons and did not create a dent. If I want a Fuji-X, it means selling off a couple of Sonnars or Nikkors. 8 Sonnar 5cm f1.5 in Leica mount alone. Even more in Contax and S-mount. I had 24 Nikkor 50/1.4's in S-Mount and F-Mount, evenly split. Good thing I had the disease when they were cheap.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
I think I have to disagree with the main point here, if you see the toys as tools and make your decisions based on what is the best tool for the job and you can afford them, I see nothing wrong with changing cameras until you find what you are looking for.
Can't agree with you more Bob. Wouldn't dream of using my GF1 to capture the close-up action of play at the Superbowl, just like I wouldn't use a 8"x10" for birds in flight. But hitting on your point which I bolded, I fear that the toy obsession sometimes obscures this 'end state' and you find yourself in perpetual pursuit of 'what you are looking for'. If you love the look of gritty street you might have the GRD, or GRDII or GRDIII or GRDIV - so the incremental improvement in AF speed makes you buy the next version. Yet folks with the GR or GR21 seem to be just as happy as they were 10 years ago....and many are still using Tri-X to achieve their ends. Why can we not say the same of most folks with a GRDI now four years down the track?

Hey you're right if you can afford it then by all means, buy, buy, buy. But I like Alec's point that when the tools are being 'improved' so quick it's far too easy to be distracted by the next shiny thang rather than focusing on what it can actually do. In general the turnover with digital is phenomenal! I like the idea of getting very familiar with a piece of kit rather than flitting about to the next (OK I'm like a born-again talking here). I always thought photography was about vision and that the tool should aid in capturing that vision. This can best be done when the camera becomes an extension of your vision, so you are focused on the subject and CLICK - rather than trying to recall where Fuji hides the ISO adjust compared to Ricoh or Olympus.

What resonated with me was Alec's point on questioning the focus of the pursuit....is it on making the best image or having the best image maker?

Leica MP or M6 is the answer. That's the plateau, as are m-lenses:)
Mate, this is precisely why I won't get too holier than though here...as either - or any M for that matter (except maybe an M5 :blush:) has been my life's greatest temptation. And I'd just need the one with a couple of lenses and I think I'd be set. Funny that I've sunk so much money in approximating - e.g. an M2 - when I could have bought one three times over as well as a couple of lenses....well maybe not the Noctilux, but you get me drift. :blush: And I could have spent the last few years really getting tuned to capture what I see. A very compelling thought, seeing as the controls are so basic, with just the M2 and two lenses, what would I be concentrating on today with it 4 years in my custody?

Again guys please don't misinterpret my reply - or even the original post - as my being holier than though about GAS...man I've been (and may still be) there. But I suppose I'm thinking out loud with this and read Alec's thoughts as I was forming and contending with similar ideas in the wake of SIJ.
 

retow

All-Pro
Jul 24, 2010
123
....is it on making the best image or having the best image maker?
A wonderful sentence.
There is so much less correlation between a good photography and the greatest camera than between a good picture and a good photographer.
 

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