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The three parts of a GAS-inducing engine -- Pixel viewing, Photo Forums and Rumor Sites

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by WT21, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    The three parts of a GAS-inducing engine -- Pixel viewing, Photo Forums and Rumor Sites

    Up to 2008, I really struggled for quality pictures using various 3 to 8MP point and shoots. Blown highlights, too few pixels, grainy shots with little detail, etc. Our family photo books looked weak. Since 2008, when I began using DSLRs and then CSC cameras, the photo books like fantastic. And you know what? The 2009 books look every bit as good as the most recent ones. So why spend so much time ruminating on, and churning, photo gear?

    After some personal time away from forums, and some reflection, I've come to a personal conclusion. As far as I can tell, there are three external factors that drive my GAS:

    1. Pixel Level Viewing
    2. Photography Forums
    3. Rumor Sites

    1) Pixel Level Viewing -- If I look at images on my 24" color corrected SIPS Dell monitor at full view (where I can see the whole image on screen), with very few exceptions, most all of my images look fantastic (in technical terms. Artistic value aside). From shots from my old Canon ELPH SD800 to my m43 to my FF cameras. Yes, there are differences. The 5D has melty backgrounds, the SD800 can have blown highlights, etc. But they all look great. And, on a 24" screen, that can represent up to an 8X10 at full view! I have rarely ever printed bigger than that. Maybe a total of 6 times, I've printed 11X14. Far more often -- whether a web posting, or a photo book page with multiple photos on it, or just archiving physical prints -- I'm doing the equivalent of 4X6.

    BUT, blow that picture up to 100% view, and WHOA! Look how terrible that EPM1 at ISO1600 is vs. the NEX 5n. Or how little detail my old Canon XTi w/kit lens resolves compared to my OMD w/PL25. I better get a new camera/lens/whatever!

    I was down at my local photo shop recently, and the proprietor had a large print of a dance troupe. It was about 1 meter tall. It looked great, even getting up close to it. I knew he shot Nikon, and asked him if that was shot using a D800 with it’s glorious 36MP. Nope, a lowly little D300 with it’s 1/3 the number of MP (12MP). Hey, my old EPM1 “only” had 12MP!

    It’s been said before by other people smarter than me, but looking at images at 100% is mostly a complete waste of time.

    100% pixel peeping – it’s the engine of global camera commerce!

    2) Photography Forums --- No offense to this wonderful site, full of wonderful people, led by a great site owner, but these forums fuel GAS big time (except maybe DPR, which might scare off as many aspiring photographers as it creates). These sites are GREAT for beginners and for learning, but there is always a slightly-better mousetrap, and most of the time, it won’t matter, but oh, those 100% crops (see Pixel Level Viewing, above). And the herd mentality to try new gear. And if you don't get the latest gear, btw, what do you have to forum-post about? Last years gear? Who cares??.

    3) Rumor Sites – the junk food of those prone to photo gear churn. This is the bad stuff. The stuff that makes you ask “what’s next” and keeps you thinking about what gear to sell, to get the next great thing (whether in your system, or changing systems). And, there’s no end to them! Canon sites (two now), Nikon, Pentax, Photorumors, Fuji, Leica, mirrorless, NEX and m43. That’s at least 10 rumor sites in English that can be endlessly monitored. And then there are European and Asian sites, and then there are endless blog/reviewer sites! It’s the worst kind of junk food, always with something new and fresh. I have to think the camera companies leak enough to keep those sites alive, because they have to know the gear-churn and obsession those sites help stoke.​

    I am not taking issue at all with people's hobby of gear buying/trying/selling. Everyone has hobbies, and this is as legit as any other. But for me, personally, I have spent too much time on this hobby. It's been far more addictive to me than any other hobby I've tried. So this is just a reflection of some thoughts I've had, trying to figure out how to cut back my time on this hobby. I think cutting back on some of the GAS-inducing factors might help me a bit. And yes, I'm aware of the irony of the post, but writing is also a hobby of mine, so there you go! ;) 
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Great commentary, I agree entirely.

    One thing though: I think it's best to be honest about what we enjoy about this hobby. For many people (and I'm guilty as charged), it's not ALL about producing photographs. Some people also enjoy the gear for its own sake; they enjoy discovering and trying different lenses, and seeing how the world of photography has changed through its equipment. It's hard not to hold and examine an old Soviet-era Industar lens and not think about what it was once used for, or what the life of the person using it was like.

    So there's another reason for GAS!
  3. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great point. I think an issue for me is -- with the internet, it becomes so easy to get all-consumed with this hobby. If it was a club that met down the street every Saturday morning, that would be one thing, but it's always on, always there, always right at your finger tips, so it can easily become obsessive, and it has for me. I'm sure others can control themselves a bit more.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    100% agree. Does it mean you are not getting E-PM2:)  lol

    Keep in mind that most forums are created to generate revenues to their owners through links and ads. Mirrorless is extremely consumer oriented market right now, almost like disposable electronics at this point and time. This is in stark contrast to DSLR which has had minimal improvements in the last 5 years. Canon users have no need to upgrade from XSI (I'm only taking about non-pros of course).
    Having said that, E-PM1 images at ISO1600 in low light do not look great to me at all on HDTV.
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Good points Art.

    I still have my m43 lenses (14, 25, 100-300). I'm debating on the new bodies. I have some other cameras to carry me over at the moment. I'm trying not to rush my next gear change/purchase.
  6. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Lot's of truth here. After I bought my E-P1 I enjoyed holding it, savoring the very solid feel that was lacking for me with plastic DSLRs. I love the retro style, for me the mainly functional style of most DSLRs just doesn't work. I also love reviving old lenses that few people value anymore but which produce wonderful photos. I like quirky lenses, like the Pin wide, Lens baby or the new Olympus body cap lens.
    In the end, it is about the photos, but I also have great respect for and love of good tools. :cool: 
    • Like Like x 1
  7. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    One other thought -- and this is personal to me, though it might apply to other people.

    I mainly take pictures of my kids and family and friends, and I'm not comfortable plastering their faces all over the internet. But, I love photography and the results I get, so I end up taking pictures of other things, mostly for the purposes of posting and demonstrating gear, because I don't want to use my friends and family shots. So, rather than talking about the kind of photography I like to take -- people portraits -- I end up talking about the gear.

    Not sure if anyone else has similar issues.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Hi ..
    I agree to what ever u said but if u have some insight then U wont go over the board to buy and try every camera launched. Now GH3 is out there and how many of us have thought of dumping OMD for that? Probably none . There are different types of people using cameras but pixel peepers are novice , immature and not sure what exactly they want from a camera. I held upgrading from my EPL2 to P3 or EPL3 as it didnt provide me any major benefit over EPL2. I bought OMD because of cutting edge teachnonological differences as compared to other MFT cameras . I dont care what GH3 offers , OMD is gonna stay for at least two years . But yes I do suffer gas But I am not someoe who will buy whats available , I would buy what suits my needs.
    These forums are quite addictive and usually work as a double edges weapon . They can inflate ur gas but deflate as well ahhaaah
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