#693. Monday Post (29 Jan 2018)

#693. Monday Post (29 Jan 2018)

 

Incredulous; “You bought another Land Rover? Have you completely taken leave of your senses?”

 

Yes, I did and no I haven’t. Gone bat-shit, that is. I could have had a Land Cruiser, or even a Jeep, but I settled for another Landy.

 

As far as the Discovery is concerned, there’s not much I don’t like about it. Yes, I had more than my fair share of mechanical problems with the last one, which I bought second hand with more than 100,000km on the clock. This one is new and despite the folklore, neither has dropped oil all over my garage floor and I’ve easily managed an average at least 10km/litre in both – on a lengthy road trip the new one ran at around 8 litres/100km (appx. 35 m.p.g.). That’s at least 40% better fuel economy than Toyota’s Land Cruiser, for similar performance, interior space and overall toughness.

 

In comparison to the Jeep – I’ve had two, eventually gave up on the last one and sold it for buttons – it was rusting to pieces and the bits that didn’t corrode either broke, or fell off. Another consideration; the average repair bill wouldn’t shame a small country’s GNP. Buy another one? I think not.

 

 

 

 

So, what has this to do with cameras?

 

It’s the same thing really.

 

I’ve been using Nikon since the ‘70s and more recently, added some Fuji kit. The brickbats continue to fly, but I really don’t give a toss.

 

Back then, the Nikon/Canon decision was an easy one for me. I really didn’t like the pattern of Canon’s rubber lens grips. Still don’t. I’ve never tried using one, I simply preferred Nikon.

 

In short, I bought what my soul wanted and I’m a very content photographer.

 

Performance? Well, maybe Canon has produced any number of cameras since then, some seem to work quite well. But old habits die hard and I still like my Nikons, trust them implicitly actually.

 

So, when an in-house DearSusan debate about XXX (brand name withheld for obvious reasons) got going last week, I found myself re-visiting my motivations for buying A in preference to B.

 

Despite what your grey matter says, the specs hint at, or even the reviewers opine, it will always come down to how you feel about what you’re about to splurge your money on. If the menu system (guess what DSLR we were on-line discussing?) was developed by lemurs wearing goggles full of bees, no amount of tactile good feeling is likely to part you from your dosh.

 

And, if your new toy turns out to be DOA when you unpack it, the chances of you making other purchase from the same brand is already slipping. If the warranty and/or repair doesn’t please you and restore your brand faith, it’s curtains. Gonzo. Kaput.

 

 

 

 

Computers? I’ve been using a Mac since the mid-‘90s and in that time, have had a couple that displayed a personality that was quite hard to like, but in the main, they’ve been benign, easy to use and understand (sorry Pascal), predictable and best of all, driven by a really smart operating system. Back then, I’d switched to a 9” black and white monitor from a full colour 15” VGA CRT so anxious was I to rid myself of Redmond’s crummy products. Twenty years later and I still find it hard to imagine anything that might make me want to swap back.

 

 

Do you buy according the chatter and specs, or because you’d like product A over the others on offer? Is your heart more important than your head in big decisions?

 

Over to you…

 

****************************************************************************

 

BTW, this week’s images all come from Singapore where I’m scrivening at what seems like 03:00.

17 Comments

  1. Avatar
    NMc January 29, 2018

    Hi Paul
    To answer your question price would be the most significant first round short list selection factor. However because we all have different thresholds for assessing value it’s not quite relevant to the discussion even if it is a primary factor in real life.
    I think cameras are quite a bit different compared to other consumer items such as TV, fridge or cars when it comes to influencing factors. Most people know several people who have gut-wrenching stories of woe for the above items, but not for cameras. People reading this site probably look online for reputational issues regarding cameras, and online is where everything is always blown out of proportion, not to mention usually out of context for the warrantee conditions and consumer rights for your country (assuming you did not by it online from an off shore shonky source).
    There are many places in the world where local distributors are less competitive, not consumer focused, or not offering full system support; so local reputations can matter more than actual real or perceived product value or quality.
    And to finally answer your question, it is system support at a retail level that is important to me. I won’t purchase a camera or lens without handling it; purchasing online and unseen, based on reviews is just not suitable. If a real shop purchase costs a little bit more, then that is worth it just on the time savings, and for the side by side comparisons (compared to returning on a no exceptions return policy). For me, wanting a relatively modest ICL, that excludes Canikony APSC because they have the worst lens support, unless you only want to use zooms. The notion of upgrade paths and having full-frame lens support on smaller bodies is a dishonest and corrupt deceit in my opinion. This makes those companies less trustworthy because they do not have any clear direction or unique options amongst their biggest selling products lines other than more grunt as you pay more. I simply cannot make a commitment to these brands because they seem so uninspired, despite advantages in some technical areas.
    Not sure if all that is heart, head or spleen 😉 .
    Regards Noel

  2. Avatar
    pascaljappy January 29, 2018

    Aaah, now here’s a can of juicy worms ! My buying process is terribly unscientific. I usually check out the facts, stretch my brain muscles and then … buy on impulse. Every time I let my left brain decide, it has led to a long term disappointment. It’s taken me a long time to realise it but a seriously flawed product which makes me feel good is always a better choice than a technically excellent product that fails to trigger a positive emotional response.

    In photography, though, I’ve been fortunate to try more or less every brand in existence at just about any price point and I just cannot find the right balance. The Mamiya 7 was just about the most pleasant right-brain experience when there were no digital alternatives but, today, returning to film is simply not a left-brain-acceptable notion. The Nikon D800e was, by a significant margin the most pleasant camera in recent years but, today, the lact of an EVF is simply incompatible with the way I shoot. The Sony has much of the left-brain boxes ticked, so my true boss – my right brain – is slightly unsatisfied.

    Cars, watches, HiFi, sailboats, prints … let’s not go there 😉

    Great abstracts on this page. The light bubble and green leaves are really fab ! Thanks.

  3. Avatar
    Fabrizio Giudici January 29, 2018

    I buy out of rationale, especially when big money is involved. When I decided to switch from Nikon to a mirrorless system, I started by preparing an Excel (actually OpenOffice…) sheet with all the possible combinations of cameras and lenses (those meaningful to me and available at the time, four years ago) for Sony, Fuji and MFT, evaluating weight (the main reason for switching), price, size and lens IQ measurements. I worked on it for longer than a year, keeping it up to date as new data were published. It took a few months to make the first tentative decision towards Sony: then I bought a NEX-6 and a Sigma 30mm ƒ/2.8, to add some practical evaluation to mere theory. Theory was confirmed, and then I proceeded. Had I listened more other considerations, I probably would have gone for Fuji, which I like more for aesthetics and ergonomics. Or, when I tested my copy of the SEL1670Z, a model which has a wild copy variation, and found that my copy was not excellent – surely not worth the price – I could have changed direction. But I stuck with my rationale. In retrospective, did I do the right thing? Well, yes: with Fuji I’d have enjoyed better IQ with some lenses, but I’d have been limited to 400mm of long zoom, without the ability to mount Sigma lenses with Canon mount (as the 150-600mm). So, yes I did the right thing, or better, I’m in the situation that I forecasted with my Excel sheet (the fact that at a certain point Sony would have enjoyed more lens choice thanks to third party manufacturer to me was pretty probably since the beginning).

    For my car, I’m in a similar situation. I own a 13 years old Audi A3 with 270.000 km. It should work for a year longer, and maybe some additional years, anyway it’s clearly at its end of life. I’m not happy to buy a new car (while I was happy to buy new photo gear), but it’s a necessity. I’m again evaluating the alternatives in a rationale way (cost, fuel consumption, size); in this case, aesthetics will play a stronger role.

  4. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron January 29, 2018

    Oh – my wish list, then? Nikon – of course, because what else can I use my lenses for? – and I was told by everyone, on all sides, that you spend all your cash on lenses, and the camera is only an afterthought.

    Then I was assailed from all directions with articles on QA & QC, so I had to buy a dictionary of acronyms, because I never learned to speak “initialese” like young people these days. After finding out WTF the articles were talking about, I shuddered dutifully and hoped to God I’d never find anything like that written about any of my Nikon gear, or my lenses. I’ve had two bad experiences in the past decade with other companies, and don’t want or need any more. 🙂

    So what would I like to buy? Surely there’s something out there? Well – there sort of almost is – certainly it’s “interesting”. But what I really want is a fully articulated screen (so that I can take photos of the ceiling in Sainte Chapelle, like Dallas does). The D850 has, but the D810 SHOULD have had one, so I am not buying the D850 and I am sulking instead. Nikon should have thought of that before.

    Actually, I’d rather like to have a Sigma SD Quattro H, so I can try their Foveon sensor – it’d cost less than upgrading my D810 to a D850, and instead of minor improvements on what my D810 does, it’d open the path to doing some completely new and highly creative stuff. Yes I know it has its limitations – but so does everything else – and it does stuff none of the rest of the cams out there CAN do.

    I was tempted to say a heap more, but I’ve censored it. So that I could spend less time buried at the bottom of this post and more time enjoying Paul’s wonderful selection of photos. BTW Paul – it’s a great selection – I can’t make the connection between these photos and a Land-anything, but I am also impressed by the mileage you’re getting from the whatever-it-is.

  5. Avatar
    The anonymous grunter January 29, 2018

    @Paul
    great pics & a good comparison – cars and cameras both should be test-‘driven’ before purchasing. Intuitive handling in ‘critical’ situations, where you’ll have to act/react quickly, makes the difference. Whether you stay on the road or get your snapshot. I think that this initial intuitive thing is crucial. When I changed my Canon Semi-Pro to a Pro-body DSLR, the keeper rate went DOWN due to the necessity of configuring the camera more than the previous model for certain situations, when I just could keep on firing with the older model, knowing exactly how it behaves and how to get around its quibbles. I still find myself checking mode/configuration more often than I’d wish for. And Canon is known for a reasonable menue system …

    Whether your decision process is left or right brain driven – a camera simply is a lens holder that should not get in between photographer & motive. And if we look back a few decades – was Ansel Adams’ photography ever influenced by specs sheets or intuitive handling qualities of his cameras ?

    @Fabrizio
    A cinquecento convertible might fix the issue. Inexpensive when bought second hand, big enough for furniture parts when you open the roof, quite reliable and so charming that you’ll always find a Landrover or a Jeep Grand Cherokee happily towing you from Milano to Sicily 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Kristian Wannebo January 29, 2018

    My father tried to teach me the importance of being rational…

    But I found out later, that the rational mind is better employed as an assistant to the gut feeling and to the heart – they rely among other things on our experience and knowledge of the kind that can’t be put into words.
    – – –

    When looking for a camera?
    I keep myself informed on the technical side, and collect what I hear an read that seems trustworthy.
    I might fall for a good price new or used if the more important boxes are ticked and the ergonomics work for me.

    When I a few years ago longed for more reach than my Fuji XF1 had, I knew I wanted mirrorless, but nothing looked right, so I temporized with a used Canon M when the price dived – because I knew I would get overexposure zebras and focus peaking with Magic Lantern (and that would otherwise have meant a rather expensive camera then).
    Two things made up for the lack of control dials, the electronic first curtain and the smooth shutter button (and AF was good enough for me after the firmware upgrade).
    Lenses? I didn’t mind using also EF lenses, and there is a good used market.
    Recently I added a used M5 for the better control and ergonomics.

    When the M4/3 20 Mpx sensors plus IBIS – and EVF – migrate to the lower price cameras I might switch system…

    [ Fully articulated screen?
    High on my wish list, a 90° viewfinder is a meager substitute.
    Sigma SD quattro?
    Aye, if it only had had a shorter flange distance… (for adapting lenses).]

  7. Avatar
    Kristian Wannebo January 29, 2018

    I like your flower photos, especially the way you handle DOF!

    Favourite? The green leaves (but not because they are green).

    • Avatar
      paulperton January 30, 2018

      Thanks Kristian. I shot all of those images with my Fuji X-Pro2 and the wonderful Fuji 56mm f1.2 – an expensive lens, but a beautiful performer for these kind of photographs.

  8. Avatar
    John Wilson January 29, 2018

    I spent 10 years in the “camera” business in my 20s and later again in my early 50s. The first couple of years was as an inspection tech. for the Canadian Distributor of Nikon (and other brands). The rest behind the counter selling the stuff. So I have some up-close-and-personal experience with Canikon. When I transitioned from manual to focus (Rolleiflex TLR … remember them) to autofocus, there weren’t many choices. Canon was clearly eating Nikon for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the occasional snack so it was pretty much a nobrainer. When digital came along Canon was still waaaay ahead of the pack and I had Canon glass laying around so again Canon it was and so it stayed for many years – two bodies and a bag full of lenses. Along the way I’d discovered that I really didn’t like the feel of Nikon bodies – they just don’t fit my hand. The Canon bodies weren’t perfect; just less imperfect. My TRUE LOVE was the Contax G2 – a jewel of a camera that just melted into my hand; but. alas, beyond my wallet at the time. Then along came age and an old back injury that said “time to retire for your career a a Canon pack mule” and a cruel friend (who shall remain nameless) thrust his new X-T1 into my hands … Instant LOVE!!! Almost like holding the Contax – everything fit and the controls looked like my film cameras of yore. And it was light, light, light compared to the Canon heavy metal. About a year later my car got broken into and a pile of old film gear I was transporting to the repair shop for cleanup before going on Craigslist got stolen. That cost my insurance company was $15,500 for current replacement. All the Canon gear went on Craigslist and Adorama to be replaced by an X-T1 and a stack of lenses AND strangely a Nikon V3 with 3 lenses (my street camera). I was never “unhappy” with the Canon gear; it served me well and Canon always had good customer service, but I never “loved” it. I LOVE my Fuji gear and the V3 is in my opinion the closest thing to the perfect “street camera” even with it’s foibles and warts.

    Cars are a slightly different story. A faulty camera won’t kill you. A faulty car can. My current ride is a 2014 Honda Civic bought used after I wrote off my ever faithful 2007 Hyundai six months ago. Why the 2014 Civic? I don’t like the new version – it looks overcooked. The 2014 has the highest customer satisfaction and lowest trouble record of the last five model years and it had less than 40,000km on the dial … barely broken in … and it was the right colour. It’s got everything I need and I’m really happy with it.

  9. Avatar
    John Wilson January 29, 2018

    And BTW Paul – Love the light bubbles and the banana leaves. Hmmmm … what if you layered the two and used a blend mode … hmmmm.

    • Avatar
      John Wilson January 30, 2018

      Paul – if you send me an email address I’ll send you aDropbox link with some samples.

  10. Avatar
    jean pierre {pete} guaron January 30, 2018

    FYI – the third photo is my favourite, Paul – I had it up on the screen for a long while, earlier in the day, on its own. There’s something quite magic and serene about the picture.
    On the subject of cars – i can’t remember them all, I’ve had altogether far too many. The buttercup yellow Morgan with the big leather strap over the bonnet was high on the list. But those toys are for younger men – at 75, I want “transport”, reliability, safety, and above all else, a low carbon impact.
    My next car is going to be an EV – like Apple, I won’t debate climate change – I’ll just do what I can about it.
    The big oil and dirty coal lobbies aren’t even being subtle about their opposition to electric vehicles, but they’re way too lot to stop the change that’s underway and in any case, they don’t have the power to stop it. I read an article in a “respectable” paper about this stuff over the weekend, and the blatant lie it tried to cover up couldn’t have been more obvious if they’d strung it up in Times Square, in neon lights – they omitted the carbon footprint of fueling cars with gasoline or diesel – which is one of the main issues, for heaven’s sake – so they’re just as bad as the tobacco lobby, lying for 50 years about the dangers of smoking.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy January 30, 2018

      Pete, my rage about this could fuel a small star … I drive a diesel. It’s noisy, sluggish and unpleasant. But, at the time I bought it, not that long ago, our dear politicians swore it was the clean way to go … Diesel has always been cheaper in France because … it’s better for the environment. Now that, magically, it’s become the worse, I realize I’ve been taring the countryside for years. Next up is either a Mazda (new petrol tech) or a full electic (my Model 3 has been on order since 2016. So if Elon ever gets the factories to run as he wants, this will be my ride for the foreseeable future.

      But a Morgan? Come on, surely you miss that. Please tell me you miss it. For someone who’s only ever driver French cars, it’s … the other side of the fence. Much greener grass, you know.

      • Avatar
        jean pierre {pete} guaron January 30, 2018

        Of course I miss it – but it’s scarcely the car to take a fully grown Dobermann for a ride, is it?20 years ago, the man over the road (ghastly person – married a chinese lady in the delusional belief he’d have a domestic slave to fetch & carry for him – she was highly intelligent, he was a fair-average university lecturer, and they used to have regular screaming matches whenever he was at home) – anyway, the guy decided in his late 50s to buy a bright yellow Porsche Boxter. Couldn’t drive it for nuts – used to do gear shifts with a sort of crunch-grind movement, and it was a great tribute to Porsche that he didn’t strip all the gears – go down the hill in first, with the engine over-revving to buggery (Aus. expression 🙂 ). Anyone my age driving a car like that just looks pathetic. Yes of course I miss the Moggie – I had it tuned up to Cosworth specifications – if I planted my foot, it sounded like a machine gun going off – did that once, taking off at the traffic lights in the centre of the city and a copy on point duty in the middle of the intersection nearly crapped his pants! It stuck the road like a rubber patch, went like the clappers, and was the most fun car I’ve ever driven. Paul, mine was the Ford Cortina 1600 engine – I think from memory it was cross flow too, and I had twin down-draft Webers fitted to it. It must run in the family – one of my aunts was Mother Superior at a monastery in the south east of England, and in her old age she had a very sporty “gopher” (motorised thing for an old person to ride around on) – bright shiny metallic finish deep red colour – headlights, fitted low – a windscreen over the top of the handle bars – and it also apparently went like the clappers, with her “saio” (habit?) following in the wind behind her, as she shot around the grounds of the monastery. Didn’t die till she was about 94. I could never quite understand how come she was a nun, she was no better behaved than I am! 🙂

    • Avatar
      paulperton January 30, 2018

      Hmmm. I think my 1988 911 Carrera Cabriolet stands so far ahead of everything else, it’s hard to be objective. It got sold during a business cash crunch and replaced a while later with a canary yellow Lotus 7 (Ford 1600 Crossflow engine, dry sump and twin 40 DCOE Webers) that I absolutely loved, but soon sold lest I kill myself in it. A Series 4 Disco is now the carriage of choice, comfortable, fuel efficient for its class and very solid in case I hit something I shouldn’t.

      We’ve gotten off photography here, but given what we’re conversing about, who cares?

  11. Avatar
    Fabrizio Giudici January 31, 2018

    Oh well, AGW for me is just a bunch of fake news (and, yes, I keep myself informed on the scientific side). Big oil companies aren’t worse than any other kind of big companies: everybody lies when it can to make as many money as possible. It’s just to have the opportunity. Now the opportunity is with “alternative” energy companies and such. My car is a diesel, and my next car will be diesel. Electric cars will be nice when technology will be mature, so they are reliable (capable to live up to 300.000km, with at least 800km of autonomy) and not uselessly expensive – not before 15 years, more or less. Perhaps my last car will be electric.

  12. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron January 31, 2018

    In an effort to be sensible – thinking about “gonzo” and “kaput”, Paul.
    There’s one brand out there that I wouldn’t touch with disinfected rubber gloves. Other people seem to be happy with it (they must be, or the company would have folded years ago). But I’ve had three bad experiences with that company, and to cap it all off, their idea of “customer service” would make Count Dracula jealous. So much for Brand A.
    Then there’s Brand B – makes heaps of cams – very popular – but then I started finding dark mutterings on the web page for a chat group that focuses solely on their cameras. It turns out that the camera I was looking into is made in China, to cut costs – and the QC is bloody awful. One guy has bout 5 of this particular model, and they’ve ALL been defective. While that might be exceptional, and I’ve seen some of you guys praising the same brand, it’s completely put me off. So much for Brand B. I did however learn one thing from this example – don’t just go buy reviews and what the shop says – get onto the internet, track down a chat group specialised in the particular brand or camera that you are considering, and dig through it, for info relevant to the purchase you are contemplating. Any comments you find will be from users – not just from people who’ve had a good look for a fortnight and sent the product back, after they’ve drafted their review. And those users will bring to the table what it’s like to own one – use it consistently, in a variety of situations, over a period of time – they’re far better placed to tell you what it’s like – wiet details of the good, the bad and the ugly.
    And more recently, something similar. If I were to ask you all what camera you would like to buy, right now, practically all of your would answer “a7RIII” or “D850”. Yet there’s already been a report of one very unhappy buyer of one of those cams, and I keep seeing vague comments about quality control relating to the other one. This might be acceptable if – if what? – if we weren’t discussing seriously expensive junk – if we weren’t discussing “precision instruments” – if we weren’t discussing something that’s based on YEARS of hard slog, experience and research. It might be tolerable even so, if customer service was triple-A plus. Sadly, I can’t say that I can see any of those excuses. And these days, my budget doesn’t allow me to chance it with that kind of money.
    On a brighter note – just to be annoying 🙂 – tonight and the next two nights we are being favoured with a once in 150 years visit of a blue moon/full moon/lunar eclipse. And just to be SERIOUSLY irritating, not only is “the west coast” (ie, where I live in Aus.) the best place to see it, but my balcony upstairs is one of the best viewing platforms. I can sit at the table on the balcony, enjoy a meal and a few nice drinks, and from time to time stand up to see how it’s progressing. This is one of those times when Zeiss’s made to order 1800 mm lens (price on application only) would come in handy – not being heavily into high end bird photography, my longest tele lens these days is only 150mm. Maybe I should try one of those time lapse shots – half a dozen shots of it as it moves across the sky? Never mind – if I start saving right now, in another 150 years I’ll have enough to get a really decent long tele, ready for the next pass of this unusual spectacle in the sky. 🙂

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