Last weekend I was visiting some lavender fields in the Cotswolds. It's a big tourist attraction at this time of year. The place was full of people from all over the world and I've never seen so many people taking pictures in a location like this. People who weren't snapping away were the exception. I saw this woman approach, with DSLR + zoom lens, a bag of lenses over her shoulder and she was also carrying a tripod. Now she managed this with a sprightly step and didn't require oxygen, a physiotherapist or a sit down. And she wasn't alone. And yet someone tried to convince me a couple of days ago that the upcoming Panasonic GX8 is too heavy and too big!!! Now that's something I've read elsewhere and it made me wonder, are some photographers complete and total wimps?
The notion that the GX8 is a heavy / large camera is clearly ridiculous and made me wonder just who are these people who complain about the size of cameras. Plus of course the lack of IBIS and other features that mean they actually have to think about how to get their picture. Are these people who want 'Zoolander phone' size cameras so unfit / weak / fat / lazy to be able to carry around 3/4 of a kilo of camera gear? Now I have a recurring back problem and have scaled down what I carry. The days of hauling a medium-format camera + lenses and tripod up mountains are gone. However, with a few changes to how I do things I'm still perfectly capable of carrying a DSLR + Battery Grip + lenses around for an afternoon and walk a few miles as well.
There is also all this stuff about how cameras are missing this and that and how someone won't buy one because of the omission. Sure, some of this is bought and paid for company stooges pretending to be members of forums and enthusiast photographers. Unfortunately I seem to attract them and have to get rid of them from the comments sections of my posts. For example returning to the GX8, it seems that IBIS is disabled for 4K video. SHOCK! HORROR! this has obviously been picked up by the other manufacturers worried that the GX8 is actually a pretty attractive camera for many.
Now I managed to take the above image hand held in an art gallery yesterday. Panasonic G7 + Nikon 18-35mm zoom fitted via adapter. No AF, No IBIS, No OIS. Here's the exif data.
So was this luck? Well no, I can pretty much do this at will, because I actually taught myself how to hold a camera steadily. I also taught myself how to focus accurately and estimate distance, how to anticipate what will happen next, where to stand to get the shot i want and what lens to choose and if my exposure meter breaks I can also estimate what aperture / shutter speed I need to within 1-2 stops. And again this is what I find hard to understand. The recreational photographer doesn't seem bothered with this stuff anymore, if the camera doesn't do it, then it doesn't get done. Why on earth these people don't just stick to a smartphone is beyond me. If you are going to take photography seriously, then surely you have some interest in how images are made. But then the recreational photographer doesn't really care about making images, just the gear that enables that.
And all of this really is symptomatic of a lazy / wimpy / ignorant / wuss like attitude that permeates the photographic internet. And it doesn't come from DSLR owners, it doesn't come from smartphone users (they just get on with taking and posting images) and from what I see and read it doesn't come from the female half of the population either. In fact in the tourist areas I visit, I see just as many women carrying DSLR outfits around as men these days. And of all ages.
So it's time to 'man up' (and that's not sexist because all the 'wimps' seem to be men) stop complaining about the fact that cameras weigh 450g instead of 200g and take more consideration about what a camera can do than some cosmetic imperfection or the fact that it doesn't go out and take the picture for you. But then this is the photographic internet, populated by whingers, moaners and complainers.
And yes this article is tongue in cheek.