Camera looks and purchase decisions

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DynaSport, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I see lots of comments on this board talking about whether a camera is good looking, ugly, or even sexy. I find that last description totally strange. Regardless, it has gotten me wondering what part a camera's looks has in your camera purchase decisions. Perhaps I'm the odd one out on this board, but outside of something extreme, like strange colors or polka dots, a camera's looks have almost no impact on my camera choice decisions. I want a camera that takes great pictures and handles well. A camera that is easy for me to make settings changes on and has the features I want. I do like it when anything feels well made and is durable, but I have yet to see a camera that brought sex to my mind.

    So, what about you guys? Do the looks of the camera impact your decision to buy it?
  2. RobR

    RobR Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 19, 2013
    Connecticut, USA
    Robert Reinhardt
    For me, absolutely. While I don't characterize many cameras as "sexy", a camera's looks are a big part of my decision. Although features outweigh looks, if the manufacturer wraps a good camera in a beautiful shell, I'd probably go for that one over an ugly camera with the same features. For instance, I'd go for the Oly OM-D than the Panny G5 because although they are comparable, Olympus has made the camera itself a work of art.
  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Industrial design is all about how a device looks. It has a huge influence on many things, not just cameras. Some could care less, but they are the minority.
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    For me I'm all about tactile feel. I own a Nikon D800. I actually would of been fine with the D600, but the D600 has a bit more plastic and feels cheap in comparison. I like my cameras feeling solid all around.
  5. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    Interesting. Is it that the OM-D evokes some sort of nostalgic look that makes it look better to your eyes than the G5 which looks more like a small DSLR, which doesn't evoke the same feeling of nostalgia?

    My other main hobby is motorcycle riding, and I own two motorcycles. A Harley Davidson and a Buell. My Harley gets quite a few comments from people, while my Buell rarely does. However, I find riding the Buell a much more satisfying experience. It is faster and handles better, both of which I enjoy. But the Harley is just better looking I think because it evokes a feeling of that is what a motorcycle is supposed to look like. But when I am riding the bike I am much more in touch with the connection I have to it, which is better with the Buell. So, the Harley rarely gets ridden anymore and the Buell gets ridden quite a bit. But I have friends who wouldn't even consider riding the Buell, just because they don't care for how it looks. Needless to say, they all have Harleys.

    When it comes to cameras, I'm not looking at the camera when I am taking a picture. Perhaps how the camera looks is nice when I am sitting around the house, but when I am actually taking pictures, my connection to the camera is much more important than what it looks like. Besides, I don't mind the way the G5 looks. I never used the old Olympus cameras. My start was with a Canon SLR and then a Canon DSLR, so the G5 looks like how a camera is supposed to look to me.
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    I tried a G6 and G5 side-by-side and I'll probably get the G6 once they get replaced and drop in price. The G6 felt really nice in hand and just felt more refined. I think Panasonic is trying to up their build quality with the newer cameras. I don't mind Panasonic's design decisions, I just want my cameras to feel solid. :wink:
  7. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    No ... U r not the odd man out . Most of us like great image quality and great handling . Most of DSLRs were of same shape with few buttons here and there.Mirrorless cameras brought in design revolution led by Olympus and Panasonic . They started designing bodies which look beautiful and handle nicely as well . OMD is perfect example of a all rounder package . The two part grip is such a beautiful thing .Looks alone don't influence my purchase at all . EP5 looks great and handles great but if there is no faster shutter speed and wi fi , I won't
    buy it over OMD .
  8. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Commenting that some people think that their camera looks 'sexy' and then announcing that you have a 'connection' with your Harley. Seems that you are the one in the throws of anthropomorphism.
  9. uscrx

    uscrx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 26, 2011
    Shasta Cascade
    I'm not sure "sexy" design is supposed to trigger sex in your mind.

    Ferrari is sexy. But I don't think sex when I see one.

    Building design can be sexy.

    There are sexy furniture.

    Chrome Leica is sexy as well as Digital Hasselblad.

    Design plays a major role when I choose a camera body with functionality being equal.
  10. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    Um...I am connected to the motorcycle when I ride it. Through my hands, my feet and my seat. If you took anything else from my post it is my poor writing or your poor reading.
  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Exactly this. Industrial design makes or breaks products all the time, because for most of us, how a thing looks evokes how it is, and what it should do. Slipshod design makes a person totally unconvinced that the product will perform as well as something that screams well-presented attention to detail. Apple sells so many high-priced products that they are the richest in cash-equivalents of any company in America. It's mostly because of design (one could argue with things like smart devices that 'design' encompasses the entire user experience, since that experience is mostly virtual).

    Manufacturing a product is, at its deepest level, still a work of craftsmanship, even art. Nothing that exists (at least in the man-made world - debatable beyond that according to your views on things metaphysical) isn't in a sense a work of someone's artistic vision fused with purpose. Why wouldn't we gravitate toward something that married those two really well?
  12. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I don't feel the need to carry around a work of art. It's a tool, and it needs to be a tool first and foremost however it looks. I don't buy it because it looks cool.

    But I don't want to be embarrassed carrying it around, either. I have my limits. I wouldn't buy a yellow K-01 even if it were/is an amazing camera. Or a pink E-PM1. Or whatever other ridiculous "stylish accessory" camera is being hawked. Ugly or absurd designs can absolutely break a product for me.
  13. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I know a lot of people with mirrorless cameras say that all a camera is, is a 'tool' but I dont really believe them.

    If it was simply a tool and all you were really interested in was IQ, people would probably end up with the sub US$400 Sony a3000 with its fine sensor. While some people actually thought this camera might be bad for mirrorless's image.

    To me there is a large element of a mirrorless camera being a sort of male fashion accessory along with the camera bag that goes with it. Everyone loves the classic good looks, the gorgeous lcd, the fabulous EVF and the shutter sound that equates to angels whispering in the wind.

    I am sure there is a girls handbag forum somewhere on the internet whereby someone claims that their handbag is first and foremost a 'tool'.
  14. darosk

    darosk Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 17, 2013
    Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
    I don't mind people saying that they don't care what a camera looks like (ie "It's just a tool"), but I've found that in general, both on forums and in real life, these sorts of people have a somewhat snobbish attitude to those of us who maybe put a higher priority on aesthetic pleasures than they do. Like we're somehow beneath those to whom photography is "all about the photo". I'd like to extend both middle fingers to all those fine folk :)  I care just as much about how my 'tools' look and work - and believe it or not, I care about my images a whole lot too!

    Who'da thunk?

    Having said that, I think using the term 'sexy' for cameras is simply a bit of hyperbole - same as you might say you "hate" lettuce, or, you "love" single-malt scotch. The English language is, and has always been, quite fluid and finicky.
  15. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Well DynaSport I think you may have partly answered your own question.

    You started photography with Canon SLR and DSLR's and so your perception is the Panasonic's seem to be the right feel/shape.

    I spent 35 years using OM1's and OM3's so the OMD looks and feels right to me.

    I am sure there are others that are used to rangefinders and for them the GX1 is the right look and feel to them.

    So which 2/3rds of us is "wrong"?

    I suspect none of us and perhaps it does go back to when we first started or what we were using when we "fell in love", "liked", "became interested", "took up" photography (please use whichever description you feel best suits).

    In 20 years time perhaps NEX and EPM style cameras will invoke the same response from people just taking up photography now.

    Whichever style if, when placed in your hand, it makes you want to go out and take photographs then it's probably right for you.

    However whichever style you choose I suspect we all want it to feel well engineered and worth what we paid for it.

    To people earning their living from photography yes the camera is a tool - but I suspect at that point they may have more than one "tool" to use i.e. to suit the assignment they will use the best tool they can for it.
  16. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I would have thought that 'pros' are just about as much concerned with form over function as anyone else. Whenever M43 is mentioned amongst 'pros' they tend to say something along the lines that they wouldnt choose to use them because 'they dont look professional' and this 'image' could well prevent them from getting a job.
  17. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    The Panasonic G series definitely have their own look and feel and are hardly devoid of design character. I did like the "feel in the hand" of my G3 but I liked the functionality and IQ of the E-PL5 better, and the E-M5 even more. Personally, I would like E-M5 innards in a G series body. This is just my opinion, of course, but that's all that matters when I buy a camera.

    The real trade off is often between ergonomics and aesthetics. I do like the G series ergs a bit better but I never found the Pens that problematic. I know some folks for whom little niggles in ergonomics are maddening, but not me. OTOH, I have an HD Road King. Not the fastest through the corners but nice and smooth and a very comfy ride. Sport bike ergs like the Buell Firebolt were so uncomfortable for me that it negated any advantage in handling, despite the fact that I also think they are really cool looking.. So, are my motorcycle preferences and my camera preferences consistent? Probably not, but as they say, there is no arguing in matters of taste.
  18. cdmicha

    cdmicha Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    This is an interesting comparison. I bet you could also compare this to a whole host of things- vehicles, power tools, computers, phones, cookware, etc...

    I think what it comes down to for me (and I suspect others) is that the more I like the camera, the more I'll shoot with it. If there's something about a camera that really bugs me, chances are I won't be using it every chance I get. On the flip side, the more things about the camera I like, the more I'll use it.

    I love taking great photos- but I also love the process of taking great photos. And if I really enjoy the tool (the looks/feel/sounds), that makes the process that much more enjoyable, and the whole experience is that much better.
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 5, 2013
    I'm too old and fat to ride a Firebolt too. I have a Ulysses, and it's comfortable enough that I have done three Iron Butt rides on it, in addition to riding from Florida to places like Wisconsin, North Carolina (lots of times) and Texas just for fun.

    <a href="" title="IMG_1690 by dynasportfxdx, on Flickr"> 6224279175_223f63c89c_b. "1024" height="683" alt="IMG_1690"></a>

    And just for the record, I didn't mean to offend anyone with my question or the way I asked it. Sorry if I did. I like the looks of certain cameras over others myself, but when it comes to actually spending my money, features, handling and price weigh more into my decision than the looks of the camera. And of course picture quality is also more important to me, but honestly most of these cameras produce better pictures than my skills seem to consistently produce and the lens is usually more important than the camera anyway.
  20. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    I am a mathematical person; a researcher, in fact. I model consumers and their behavior with equations. So, to me, I view every consumer's value as a function of numerous inputs. Here, there's IQ, performance (e.g., AF speed), features, ergonomics, lens availability, cost, and - yes - aesthetics. Acroos consumer, their rating of these many factors will have differing effects on their overall values.

    Most of us would put a greater weight on the characteristics that I listed first than on aesthetics. However, since for many of these cameras their values for those are only marginally different, aesthetic differences, which can still be substantial (compare G6/GH3 to E-M5/M1), will actually seem to play a more significant role than they actually do. In other words, if two cameras are largely the same for the most important 90%, then the more noticeable differences in the remaining 10% will end up making the decision.

    There is nothing wrong with valuing aesthetics; it's human nature. Nobody here is buying a P&S with a teeny-tiny sensor, slow performance and minimal controls simply because it is pretty. But, if there are lots of choices that have what we need, then why not buy something that looks good, too.
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