I am sorry, but I must rant. Please indulge me. Today’s rant is about the PixelPeepers and the MeasureBeaters. They’re everywhere. They populate the online photo forums and camera clubs like a disease. You know, the folks who can’t take a picture to save their life, but who can cite every worthless detail and sharpness rating of every lens made. They’re the people who have an opinion about every lens and camera whether they’ve used them or not. They’ll argue over terminology, and any other minutia possible in order to prove their superiority.

They will tell you that thus and so piece of gear is no good. They’ll swear that so-and-so’s software is worse than their favorite software.

I could go on but it would be too painful. You get the point.

Here’s my simple plea – ignore them – PLEASE! Whatever their intentions, these people are harmful to photography. They make people feel inferior because theirs is not the sharpest lens of all; Or their camera body is not the fastest; or their memory card not the biggest.

They’ll assure you that your printer is too slow, your monitor too small and your compact flash card potentially flawed. And for some reason, photographers seem genetically pre-disposed to respond to all of this.

By way of illustration let me ask you a question. Do you own a car? Is it a Porsche? If I were a Peeper or a Beater I’d say if it is NOT a Porsche, then you must sell your car and get a Porsche because by all reports, Porches are faster, sexier and better than any car you drive.

Now I know, maybe your car works just fine. It gets you to work and school and home again with no problem. But don’t you think you need a Porsche?

Get it? You DO NOT NEED A PORSCHE! Nor do you need the most expensive camera and lens made to make a good photo. Nor do you need the fastest computer with the most RAM.

Photography is about SEEING! It’s about COMMUNICATION!

I am a big gear head. I admit it. But I don’t put gear over creativity. So buy that third party lens. If it makes sharp images for you and, your images evoke an emotional response in the people who see those images, you’re a winner. Use last year’s computer – nobody has to know.

And don’t get drawn into arguments with these people on the forums. The best way to get rid of them is to ignore them.

_______________

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Join the conversation! 116 Comments

  1. Its the same thing in the IT world – unless you get the new shiny thing you’re a loser. The thing is you dont need a quad core laptop for email, my mother doesnt need the latest GeoForce graphics card to look at picture of her grandkids.

    A little reality is always good to hear – thanks Scott.

    And what on God’s sweet earth is that beast in the picture?

  2. Its the same thing in the IT world – unless you get the new shiny thing you’re a loser. The thing is you dont need a quad core laptop for email, my mother doesnt need the latest GeoForce graphics card to look at picture of her grandkids.

    A little reality is always good to hear – thanks Scott.

    And what on God’s sweet earth is that beast in the picture?

  3. Ferraris are faster, sexier and better than Porsches! (only kidding!)

  4. Ferraris are faster, sexier and better than Porsches! (only kidding!)

  5. Couldn’t agree more. However, don’t you find that sometimes you become one yourself? I find myself staring at reviews of the Nikon D3 and positively salivating! I KNOW I don’t need one. I convince myself that my current camera is perfectly adequate for my needs. But I sure LUST over
    the D3’s spec’s. I’m PixelPeeping myself!

    So as you say, beware the PixelPeepers telling you that you need to upgrade. But also, don’t do it to yourself. Be happy with what you have.

  6. Couldn’t agree more. However, don’t you find that sometimes you become one yourself? I find myself staring at reviews of the Nikon D3 and positively salivating! I KNOW I don’t need one. I convince myself that my current camera is perfectly adequate for my needs. But I sure LUST over
    the D3’s spec’s. I’m PixelPeeping myself!

    So as you say, beware the PixelPeepers telling you that you need to upgrade. But also, don’t do it to yourself. Be happy with what you have.

  7. I agree entirely! I do admit, though, that I too am a gearhead and that it’s kind of fun to pixel peep. I don’t, however, let it interfere with my photos first off. Sure, I’ll pixel peep two similar pictures, and if one is significantly sharper, I’ll choose that one, but I won’t take it if the blurrier one has a better ‘feel’ to it.

    It’s kinda nice to have a Porsche, though, right? ;) But similar to my photography, I can’t afford a Porsche…

  8. I agree entirely! I do admit, though, that I too am a gearhead and that it’s kind of fun to pixel peep. I don’t, however, let it interfere with my photos first off. Sure, I’ll pixel peep two similar pictures, and if one is significantly sharper, I’ll choose that one, but I won’t take it if the blurrier one has a better ‘feel’ to it.

    It’s kinda nice to have a Porsche, though, right? ;) But similar to my photography, I can’t afford a Porsche…

  9. Thank you so much for putting this out there Scott. May I suggest that instead of completely ignoring them we reply with just a link to this post? That would be one way of pointing out that someone is behaving like a jerk without getting drawn into an argument with them.

  10. Thank you so much for putting this out there Scott. May I suggest that instead of completely ignoring them we reply with just a link to this post? That would be one way of pointing out that someone is behaving like a jerk without getting drawn into an argument with them.

  11. Hi Scott, long-time listener, first-time poster here.

    Your rant is totally valid, it is probably the single most frustrating thing for anyone interested on exchanging ideas about photography.

    Here’s my suggestion, I would love if your podcast gave more time to the stuff you’re advocating here, the artistic, emotional side of photography; talk about storytelling, about finding inspiration on “boring” places, about composition, etc etc. There are dozens of podcasts talking about the latest Nikon and Sigmas and very few talking about the stuff I’ve mentioned; the only one I know (and love) is Jeff Curto’s “Camera Position” and “History of photography”. BTW, I believe he would be an awesome guest.

    Thanks for your podcast, it was the greatest incentive for me to get into photography, I am learning so much with you guys.

  12. Hi Scott, long-time listener, first-time poster here.

    Your rant is totally valid, it is probably the single most frustrating thing for anyone interested on exchanging ideas about photography.

    Here’s my suggestion, I would love if your podcast gave more time to the stuff you’re advocating here, the artistic, emotional side of photography; talk about storytelling, about finding inspiration on “boring” places, about composition, etc etc. There are dozens of podcasts talking about the latest Nikon and Sigmas and very few talking about the stuff I’ve mentioned; the only one I know (and love) is Jeff Curto’s “Camera Position” and “History of photography”. BTW, I believe he would be an awesome guest.

    Thanks for your podcast, it was the greatest incentive for me to get into photography, I am learning so much with you guys.

  13. Very true, Scott, great post :)

  14. Very true, Scott, great post :)

  15. Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger
    Mushroom Mushroom
    Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger
    Argh! snake – snake a snake oh it’s a snake

    But on to my point.
    I find at least in the clubs i am in that it’s the exact opposite that plagues photography, the “Your camera doesn’t matter it’s all in the photographer” people. Photography consists of two things a photographer and his tools(camera, lens, filters, computer, etc) and both are equally important.

    it all depends on usage it always depends on usage. if you are taking pictures for the internet, well most of your gear will be fine although you physically won’t be able to take certain pictures if you don’t have a lens with the focal length or aperture to take them. But what if your life is stock photography? if a certain lens is a little soft in the corner or your camera produces some patterned luminance noise then all of a sudden you do have a problem and to you that camera and that lens is a garbage.

    Although I do understand that you seem more frustrated with the spec readers “that garbage lens only produces 1250 LW/PH while if you bought this lens you’d be seeing more like 1850 LW/PH”. But at the same time, some lens and cameras physically can’t do what others can. I mean a zoom that goes to 135mm F/5.6 can not produce the image a 135mm F2.0 can, the difference is not subjective, the difference is not even a matter of “sharpness” the f2.0 will produce a significantly different(most would say better) image.(this all assuming your shooting wide open)

    I think the friction with photography comes from the two distinct sides clashing. There are the “artists” those who drive to create the most interesting images there minds can fathom. And on the other side you have the “technicals” those who drive to create utterly pixel perfect images.

  16. Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger
    Mushroom Mushroom
    Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger
    Argh! snake – snake a snake oh it’s a snake

    But on to my point.
    I find at least in the clubs i am in that it’s the exact opposite that plagues photography, the “Your camera doesn’t matter it’s all in the photographer” people. Photography consists of two things a photographer and his tools(camera, lens, filters, computer, etc) and both are equally important.

    it all depends on usage it always depends on usage. if you are taking pictures for the internet, well most of your gear will be fine although you physically won’t be able to take certain pictures if you don’t have a lens with the focal length or aperture to take them. But what if your life is stock photography? if a certain lens is a little soft in the corner or your camera produces some patterned luminance noise then all of a sudden you do have a problem and to you that camera and that lens is a garbage.

    Although I do understand that you seem more frustrated with the spec readers “that garbage lens only produces 1250 LW/PH while if you bought this lens you’d be seeing more like 1850 LW/PH”. But at the same time, some lens and cameras physically can’t do what others can. I mean a zoom that goes to 135mm F/5.6 can not produce the image a 135mm F2.0 can, the difference is not subjective, the difference is not even a matter of “sharpness” the f2.0 will produce a significantly different(most would say better) image.(this all assuming your shooting wide open)

    I think the friction with photography comes from the two distinct sides clashing. There are the “artists” those who drive to create the most interesting images there minds can fathom. And on the other side you have the “technicals” those who drive to create utterly pixel perfect images.

  17. Amen!
    If I didn’t know any better I’d say you posted this rant just to put my mind at ease. I’m a beginner, and I’m no where near where i want to be as a photographer, but I ‘m having fun, and I try to be creative. However, the more i read the more I start hating my gear… do I have the right lens? It’s not the latest f/2.8 so I guess I don’t.
    Sorry to add a “rant” to your rant. But you hit the nail on the head.

  18. Amen!
    If I didn’t know any better I’d say you posted this rant just to put my mind at ease. I’m a beginner, and I’m no where near where i want to be as a photographer, but I ‘m having fun, and I try to be creative. However, the more i read the more I start hating my gear… do I have the right lens? It’s not the latest f/2.8 so I guess I don’t.
    Sorry to add a “rant” to your rant. But you hit the nail on the head.

  19. I love it! I could not agree more. There is nothing worse than a poser hiding behind his gear.

  20. I love it! I could not agree more. There is nothing worse than a poser hiding behind his gear.

  21. Yep, life is full of competitive people. Responding to their comments is like fueling the fire. Photography, for so many of us, is a rewarding and personally fulfilling passion. Don’t “buy in” to what these guys are selling. It’s not the gear that makes the photographer.
    thanks!

  22. Yep, life is full of competitive people. Responding to their comments is like fueling the fire. Photography, for so many of us, is a rewarding and personally fulfilling passion. Don’t “buy in” to what these guys are selling. It’s not the gear that makes the photographer.
    thanks!

  23. BRAVO. I have been teaching photography, printing (both silver and digital), Photoshop, etc for 30 years and have owned Sinars, Hassys, Nikons, etc.
    My students have had a variety of cameras that run the gamut from “nicer-than-my-stuff” to junk and have produced images from spectacular to dreadful. There is NO correlation between the hardware and the result. Good seeing, innovative seeing and over-the-edge seeing is independent of the hardware. I have students producing wonderful stuff with (gasp) Photoshop 7 (even though we teach CS3.
    Keep hammering at this and maybe these “peepers and beaters” will go away.
    Stan Shire
    Professor, Photographic Imaging
    Community College of Philadelphia

  24. BRAVO. I have been teaching photography, printing (both silver and digital), Photoshop, etc for 30 years and have owned Sinars, Hassys, Nikons, etc.
    My students have had a variety of cameras that run the gamut from “nicer-than-my-stuff” to junk and have produced images from spectacular to dreadful. There is NO correlation between the hardware and the result. Good seeing, innovative seeing and over-the-edge seeing is independent of the hardware. I have students producing wonderful stuff with (gasp) Photoshop 7 (even though we teach CS3.
    Keep hammering at this and maybe these “peepers and beaters” will go away.
    Stan Shire
    Professor, Photographic Imaging
    Community College of Philadelphia

  25. Nice one.
    Hopefully by posting this those wieners will get the point and will tone it down a little when around here.

    I’ve long gotten over my lack of expensive gear. I have a D40 with a Sigma lens. And you know what? They are the best I could afford and I am pretty sure I get pretty decent results from them.

    All that matters (in my amateur opinion) is how hard someone works for a shot, or how much they believe in it.

  26. Nice one.
    Hopefully by posting this those wieners will get the point and will tone it down a little when around here.

    I’ve long gotten over my lack of expensive gear. I have a D40 with a Sigma lens. And you know what? They are the best I could afford and I am pretty sure I get pretty decent results from them.

    All that matters (in my amateur opinion) is how hard someone works for a shot, or how much they believe in it.

  27. Richard it is a photo of my ex-girlfriend – :)

    Okay it’s a photo of a badger and they are downright mean! But if you have a mole or other similar critter on your property – the badger is your best friend.

  28. Richard it is a photo of my ex-girlfriend – :)

    Okay it’s a photo of a badger and they are downright mean! But if you have a mole or other similar critter on your property – the badger is your best friend.

  29. Scott:

    Thank you for this post! I find myself, being a very inexperienced photographer, falling into the trap of, “Well, that guy said this camera/lens/accessory is better…gotta find a way to get it.” This often comes at the expense of learning photography.

    Maybe part of it comes from not shooting with one of the “Big Two,” (I shoot Pentax) but I will find myself editing my images and, while they may look ok to fairly good, I criticize them and wonder if someone with a different camera could have done better.

    This post inspires me to find a way to get better images from what I do have. Then, if I do move into a more “Porsche-like” camera I will have the foundation I need to get the most from it.

    Thanks again!
    Kevin

  30. Scott:

    Thank you for this post! I find myself, being a very inexperienced photographer, falling into the trap of, “Well, that guy said this camera/lens/accessory is better…gotta find a way to get it.” This often comes at the expense of learning photography.

    Maybe part of it comes from not shooting with one of the “Big Two,” (I shoot Pentax) but I will find myself editing my images and, while they may look ok to fairly good, I criticize them and wonder if someone with a different camera could have done better.

    This post inspires me to find a way to get better images from what I do have. Then, if I do move into a more “Porsche-like” camera I will have the foundation I need to get the most from it.

    Thanks again!
    Kevin

  31. His snarl and teeth remind me of my little Peke cross when you try to move him when he is in a deep sleep. So mean, yet so cute and adorable.

    This is one cute badger!

  32. His snarl and teeth remind me of my little Peke cross when you try to move him when he is in a deep sleep. So mean, yet so cute and adorable.

    This is one cute badger!

  33. Kevin don’t think Pentax is anything less than a very nice camera. I am old enough to remember when they were a dominant brand. And I’ve used plenty of Pentax cameras. I used their 6×7 and other medium format models as well as their older K series of SLR film cameras and got tremendous results.

    I am trying hard right now to get my hands on a K20 – which by all accounts looks to be a very serious competitor to the Canon 40D.

    As far as being a gear head – like I said – I am one but, that said – I can make money with nothing but my Canon G9 if I have to!

  34. Kevin don’t think Pentax is anything less than a very nice camera. I am old enough to remember when they were a dominant brand. And I’ve used plenty of Pentax cameras. I used their 6×7 and other medium format models as well as their older K series of SLR film cameras and got tremendous results.

    I am trying hard right now to get my hands on a K20 – which by all accounts looks to be a very serious competitor to the Canon 40D.

    As far as being a gear head – like I said – I am one but, that said – I can make money with nothing but my Canon G9 if I have to!

  35. Thank you!

    It’s nice to have this mentioned again.

  36. Thank you!

    It’s nice to have this mentioned again.

  37. +1

    Now we just need to deliver this post to 99% of the people in the dpreview forums :)

  38. +1

    Now we just need to deliver this post to 99% of the people in the dpreview forums :)

  39. Amen brother!

    I see the same personality traits in all of my hobbies. I must say, though, that it’s usually worse elsewhere than I find it to be on Flickr and other online photography forums, which on a whole I’ve found to be much more helpful and less demeaning to newbies. (Witness the ham radio ThirdOrderInterceptPointPeepers and NarrowSpacedDynamicRangeBeaters on eHam.com, for example…)

    That said, when doing construction work I find that Sears Craftsman hammers work 0.08% better that Stanley hammers. ;-)

    Great blog, great podcast! Thanks!

    Paul

  40. Amen brother!

    I see the same personality traits in all of my hobbies. I must say, though, that it’s usually worse elsewhere than I find it to be on Flickr and other online photography forums, which on a whole I’ve found to be much more helpful and less demeaning to newbies. (Witness the ham radio ThirdOrderInterceptPointPeepers and NarrowSpacedDynamicRangeBeaters on eHam.com, for example…)

    That said, when doing construction work I find that Sears Craftsman hammers work 0.08% better that Stanley hammers. ;-)

    Great blog, great podcast! Thanks!

    Paul

  41. Scott –
    Very well said! I downloaded TWiP the moment it came out on iTunes and started listening to all of the episodes and visiting this site regularly last week – I used to listen to a “different” photography-related podcast and after listening to the current episode, I somehow always managed to get suckered into listing to the next episode hoping that their would be some actual content other than a plug for upcoming workshops or the host simply reading information that he had gotten off of the internet. I kind of put off listening to TWiP but have since seen the error of my ways and am currently in a state of penance for not having listened to this podcast sooner.

    I think I speak on behalf of all of your listeners when I say that I cannot thank you and the rest of the TWiPpers enough for putting out a podcast with some real content. The interviews, the discussions, and the interaction between all of you is great. Thank you.

    My foray into photography began in the late 1980’s when my dad gave me a couple of Canon AE-1’s to play with. I really wanted one of his F-1’s but my dad told me something that’s been repeated in photography circles the world over – “The best gear that you will ever have is what’s in your camera bag.” Being a kid at the time, I didn’t know what he meant. It wasn’t only until a few years ago when I got my first digital point and shoot that I truly fully understood that statement. My first point and shoot digital camera was a Canon Powershot A60 and because it didn’t have the horsepower of the Rebel or the Nikon D1 at the time, I compensated (and overcompensated at times) for this by relying more on my previous experience in film. To this day, I still walk around with my Nikon D50 instead of my D2x because the D50 forces me to rely more on technique than technology – although technology does wonders, it will never replace good, solid technique.

    Loki B – San Diego, CA

  42. Scott –
    Very well said! I downloaded TWiP the moment it came out on iTunes and started listening to all of the episodes and visiting this site regularly last week – I used to listen to a “different” photography-related podcast and after listening to the current episode, I somehow always managed to get suckered into listing to the next episode hoping that their would be some actual content other than a plug for upcoming workshops or the host simply reading information that he had gotten off of the internet. I kind of put off listening to TWiP but have since seen the error of my ways and am currently in a state of penance for not having listened to this podcast sooner.

    I think I speak on behalf of all of your listeners when I say that I cannot thank you and the rest of the TWiPpers enough for putting out a podcast with some real content. The interviews, the discussions, and the interaction between all of you is great. Thank you.

    My foray into photography began in the late 1980’s when my dad gave me a couple of Canon AE-1’s to play with. I really wanted one of his F-1’s but my dad told me something that’s been repeated in photography circles the world over – “The best gear that you will ever have is what’s in your camera bag.” Being a kid at the time, I didn’t know what he meant. It wasn’t only until a few years ago when I got my first digital point and shoot that I truly fully understood that statement. My first point and shoot digital camera was a Canon Powershot A60 and because it didn’t have the horsepower of the Rebel or the Nikon D1 at the time, I compensated (and overcompensated at times) for this by relying more on my previous experience in film. To this day, I still walk around with my Nikon D50 instead of my D2x because the D50 forces me to rely more on technique than technology – although technology does wonders, it will never replace good, solid technique.

    Loki B – San Diego, CA

  43. I take it we will be hearing less about the low light capability of a certain Nikon camera then ?

  44. I take it we will be hearing less about the low light capability of a certain Nikon camera then ?

  45. Scott
    Have you read this essay from Michael H. Reichmann?

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/cameras-matter.shtml

    It doesn’t contradict your point about the camera version of wine snobs. However the quality of the tool does matter.

  46. Scott
    Have you read this essay from Michael H. Reichmann?

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/cameras-matter.shtml

    It doesn’t contradict your point about the camera version of wine snobs. However the quality of the tool does matter.

  47. As a Point and Shoot camera owner and relative novice in the field. Thanks.

    I constantly are bombarded with people telling me what to buy.
    I am also constantly hearing people who don’t know what I shoot with tell me that my photos look great.

    My “gear” inferiority complex is fading with every episode of TWIP as I get better and better with what I got. So thanks again.

  48. As a Point and Shoot camera owner and relative novice in the field. Thanks.

    I constantly are bombarded with people telling me what to buy.
    I am also constantly hearing people who don’t know what I shoot with tell me that my photos look great.

    My “gear” inferiority complex is fading with every episode of TWIP as I get better and better with what I got. So thanks again.

  49. Great picture for a rant!

  50. Great picture for a rant!

  51. So, my Nikon D50 is good enough. I still want to buy a D80 with my tax rebate. Is that wrong?

  52. So, my Nikon D50 is good enough. I still want to buy a D80 with my tax rebate. Is that wrong?

  53. I agree with you all the way. The people I hate, are the people who tell me that what I do and what we do is not photography and that it is ruining photography. They also tell me that all these tools that we use on the computer are taking away the art of photography. I tell them that it is evolving into itself. And that it is bringing photography to the masses and that is never bad. These are probably the same people you are ranting about. I hate to say this but for some people the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

    Oh yeah that picture of the badger looks great. I think that it illustrates your fury about this subject.

  54. I agree with you all the way. The people I hate, are the people who tell me that what I do and what we do is not photography and that it is ruining photography. They also tell me that all these tools that we use on the computer are taking away the art of photography. I tell them that it is evolving into itself. And that it is bringing photography to the masses and that is never bad. These are probably the same people you are ranting about. I hate to say this but for some people the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

    Oh yeah that picture of the badger looks great. I think that it illustrates your fury about this subject.

  55. I didn’t know that this issue even existed.

  56. I didn’t know that this issue even existed.

  57. Argyle:
    You mean that people look at your point and shoot and say: “You should get a dslr, that point and shoot is not good enough, you will get better images with a dslr”?

  58. Argyle:
    You mean that people look at your point and shoot and say: “You should get a dslr, that point and shoot is not good enough, you will get better images with a dslr”?

  59. After hearing about this i in some weird way look forward to meet a person that will tell me that my camera is either too old or not as good as model x or maybe even tell me that a analog camera sucks and digital is a must have technology.

  60. After hearing about this i in some weird way look forward to meet a person that will tell me that my camera is either too old or not as good as model x or maybe even tell me that a analog camera sucks and digital is a must have technology.

  61. Well said. I finally figured out what that blinking red light in the viewfinder of my new D300 is: a retina-scanning idiot detector. My pictures are no better with my D300 than my D70s and that puzzled me until I finally realized what that little red light was telling me. The camera doesn’t take the picture, the photographer does. Who do you know that can look at ANY photograph and tell you what camera was used???

  62. Well said. I finally figured out what that blinking red light in the viewfinder of my new D300 is: a retina-scanning idiot detector. My pictures are no better with my D300 than my D70s and that puzzled me until I finally realized what that little red light was telling me. The camera doesn’t take the picture, the photographer does. Who do you know that can look at ANY photograph and tell you what camera was used???

  63. Thanks for the post, it is excellent advice. PPs are the main reason I don’t hang around in forums and other similar sites. However, they are not new, the existed back in the days of film and chemistry too. That’s why I stopped going to camera clubs as well.

    If I posted a 800 x 600 JPG image of about 140 KB on my website (and I do, often), could any pixel peeper tell what camera it had been made with, yet alone what lens?

  64. Thanks for the post, it is excellent advice. PPs are the main reason I don’t hang around in forums and other similar sites. However, they are not new, the existed back in the days of film and chemistry too. That’s why I stopped going to camera clubs as well.

    If I posted a 800 x 600 JPG image of about 140 KB on my website (and I do, often), could any pixel peeper tell what camera it had been made with, yet alone what lens?

  65. In the end all that counts is the image and what it says to the viewer.
    How or with what equipment it was made does not matter.
    Buy and use what you can comfortably afford.
    The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
    Right Scott?

  66. In the end all that counts is the image and what it says to the viewer.
    How or with what equipment it was made does not matter.
    Buy and use what you can comfortably afford.
    The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
    Right Scott?

  67. I agree and disagree.

    Yes, people that just quote off stats, complaints, and just focus on the tools rather than the trade bring little value to a community by themselves. Sure, they can be annoying but the fact is, they are still VERY passionate about photography… just in a different way. They don’t research all of that because they hate it.

    I’d hardly expect that somebody that knows so much about the technical side of the gear would have nothing to offer to a community. If you pay attention to what they’re saying, but only take away what you value, I think everybody would actually learn something.

    If they lean on you to buy a specific lens because of the MTF and several technical studies and analysis… hey, that’s good info. Should we all drink the kool aid and buy it? No. Understanding all of those limitations and benefits can only help us understand our own tools better and put everything into context.

    As mentioned, I think there are 2 main focuses; your craft and your gear. There are people with natural talent to see, and convey, what others can’t regardless of a specific tool… and there are those that attempt to improve skills by squeezing every inch out of the tools they can get.

    At the same time, I don’t believe that tools are irrelevant. Even though you can get results with any tool… having the right tool will always give you the best results. You can build a house with a hammer and a box of nails… but give me a compressor and a pneumatic gun please.

    I think ignoring something is the wrong approach. After all, we’re talking about 2 worlds that would really benefit if they combined and understood each other… and that’s really what a community is about.

    The exception… those who preach and push technical specs without also trying to take things in.
    I think we can all get along… we just have to attempt to understand motivation. Chances are, everybody is just trying to help with the parts that they know.

  68. I agree and disagree.

    Yes, people that just quote off stats, complaints, and just focus on the tools rather than the trade bring little value to a community by themselves. Sure, they can be annoying but the fact is, they are still VERY passionate about photography… just in a different way. They don’t research all of that because they hate it.

    I’d hardly expect that somebody that knows so much about the technical side of the gear would have nothing to offer to a community. If you pay attention to what they’re saying, but only take away what you value, I think everybody would actually learn something.

    If they lean on you to buy a specific lens because of the MTF and several technical studies and analysis… hey, that’s good info. Should we all drink the kool aid and buy it? No. Understanding all of those limitations and benefits can only help us understand our own tools better and put everything into context.

    As mentioned, I think there are 2 main focuses; your craft and your gear. There are people with natural talent to see, and convey, what others can’t regardless of a specific tool… and there are those that attempt to improve skills by squeezing every inch out of the tools they can get.

    At the same time, I don’t believe that tools are irrelevant. Even though you can get results with any tool… having the right tool will always give you the best results. You can build a house with a hammer and a box of nails… but give me a compressor and a pneumatic gun please.

    I think ignoring something is the wrong approach. After all, we’re talking about 2 worlds that would really benefit if they combined and understood each other… and that’s really what a community is about.

    The exception… those who preach and push technical specs without also trying to take things in.
    I think we can all get along… we just have to attempt to understand motivation. Chances are, everybody is just trying to help with the parts that they know.

  69. Oh. Forgot to agree with something Bradley said. This IS a 2-way street. Somewhere, a measurebater is posting a thread about how annoying die hard photographers are.

    I go back to a discussion I had with a 75 year old photographer that just bought a dSLR. I got into a discussion with him about dynamic range and how I was doing some HDR images (ones that actually looked realistic, not the typical HDR crap).

    All he could tell me was that that techie stuff didn’t matter and that he had some fancy light meter that always gave him the perfect exposure.
    Even though I was showing him some scenes where there were blown out areas and trapped shadows, he was convinced that his light meter would give him his answer.
    He also started mumbling about the dynamic range of light that a spider can see compared to humans… still trying to figure out how that fit in.

    I wasn’t sure that he understood that the range between film and digital was different so I tried to offer that explanation. He wouldn’t listen or absorb anything I was trying to share because he relied only on his skill.
    So, by not understanding his tools… all of those skills that he has aren’t being put to the best use.

    Everybody’s input is valuable. Everybody has something to share and learn. Everybody can get along.

    Good rant.

  70. Oh. Forgot to agree with something Bradley said. This IS a 2-way street. Somewhere, a measurebater is posting a thread about how annoying die hard photographers are.

    I go back to a discussion I had with a 75 year old photographer that just bought a dSLR. I got into a discussion with him about dynamic range and how I was doing some HDR images (ones that actually looked realistic, not the typical HDR crap).

    All he could tell me was that that techie stuff didn’t matter and that he had some fancy light meter that always gave him the perfect exposure.
    Even though I was showing him some scenes where there were blown out areas and trapped shadows, he was convinced that his light meter would give him his answer.
    He also started mumbling about the dynamic range of light that a spider can see compared to humans… still trying to figure out how that fit in.

    I wasn’t sure that he understood that the range between film and digital was different so I tried to offer that explanation. He wouldn’t listen or absorb anything I was trying to share because he relied only on his skill.
    So, by not understanding his tools… all of those skills that he has aren’t being put to the best use.

    Everybody’s input is valuable. Everybody has something to share and learn. Everybody can get along.

    Good rant.

  71. Martin, your D300 should let you take better lower light pictures at the very least! There are some advancements in camera technology that probably will enable you to take better photographs in certain situations. But, I do agree with the majority and Scott. It’s the photographer that makes the photo, not the camera.

  72. Martin, your D300 should let you take better lower light pictures at the very least! There are some advancements in camera technology that probably will enable you to take better photographs in certain situations. But, I do agree with the majority and Scott. It’s the photographer that makes the photo, not the camera.

  73. Argyle.. Just remember that Leicas are point and shoot, and the TWIP boys were lusting over them a couple shows ago. You can get great results from any tool really. There is a photographer on Flickr that is taking great, and I mean GREAT shots with a 1.3 megapixel camera. The reason is that they know how to work around and exploit the limitations of the camera.

    Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cariou/sets/72157604106710508/

  74. Argyle.. Just remember that Leicas are point and shoot, and the TWIP boys were lusting over them a couple shows ago. You can get great results from any tool really. There is a photographer on Flickr that is taking great, and I mean GREAT shots with a 1.3 megapixel camera. The reason is that they know how to work around and exploit the limitations of the camera.

    Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cariou/sets/72157604106710508/

  75. Richard H – I am not sure you got the overall drift of the post. I am not complaining about the group that will worry only about gear and not about craft. I am talking about the people who will try to shame you into buying something else – other than what you have to work with – as if you couldn’t make good images with any camera.

    I am also talking about the people who – simply like to find something to argue about in every post – or in every comment – as if they think this proves they have superior photographic knowledge. It doesn’t. It proves they’re jerks.

    And lastly – and this is the worst one – the people who say gear x is better than gear y – even though they’ve probably never used either piece.

    So no – not everybody’s input is valuable – if you’re telling me my camera isn’t good enough then your input is crap. If you’re telling me that you think I should switch to this or that lens because you heard about a guy, who knew a girl, who had a cousin, who walked by a photography store that had a magazine inside with a negative review of one of the lenses – then your input is crap. If you’re writing on forums with the intent of promoting your point of view for no purpose other than self aggrandizement – then your input is anything other than valuable.

    I think your comment would be more on topic, and much more accurate if it were in our discussion the other day about the scientific v. artistic photographers.

  76. Richard H – I am not sure you got the overall drift of the post. I am not complaining about the group that will worry only about gear and not about craft. I am talking about the people who will try to shame you into buying something else – other than what you have to work with – as if you couldn’t make good images with any camera.

    I am also talking about the people who – simply like to find something to argue about in every post – or in every comment – as if they think this proves they have superior photographic knowledge. It doesn’t. It proves they’re jerks.

    And lastly – and this is the worst one – the people who say gear x is better than gear y – even though they’ve probably never used either piece.

    So no – not everybody’s input is valuable – if you’re telling me my camera isn’t good enough then your input is crap. If you’re telling me that you think I should switch to this or that lens because you heard about a guy, who knew a girl, who had a cousin, who walked by a photography store that had a magazine inside with a negative review of one of the lenses – then your input is crap. If you’re writing on forums with the intent of promoting your point of view for no purpose other than self aggrandizement – then your input is anything other than valuable.

    I think your comment would be more on topic, and much more accurate if it were in our discussion the other day about the scientific v. artistic photographers.

  77. Mason most of the TWIP hosts use $450 Canon G9s so please use facts to make your points – not hyperbole.

  78. Mason most of the TWIP hosts use $450 Canon G9s so please use facts to make your points – not hyperbole.

  79. Bless you Scott! I totally agree with you. I am always stressing to my photography buddies that the absolute most important aspect of photography is to just have FUN! If you’re enjoying yourself, capturing some images that are meaningful to you and you’re happy with your results then you are a successful photographer. Success isn’t defined by how much you spent for your equipment.

  80. Bless you Scott! I totally agree with you. I am always stressing to my photography buddies that the absolute most important aspect of photography is to just have FUN! If you’re enjoying yourself, capturing some images that are meaningful to you and you’re happy with your results then you are a successful photographer. Success isn’t defined by how much you spent for your equipment.

  81. Thank you SO MUCH for this! People who look down on other people’s equipment, especially beginners, really push newbies out of the hobby. By berating the equipment some people have, you are more than likely going to shoo them off from photography which in the end hurts all of us. More people interested means more money and push in development, which means things that were expensive become affordable due to competition. Help out newbies and those who can’t afford the best stuff… in the end, keeping them in the photography fold helps us all.

  82. Thank you SO MUCH for this! People who look down on other people’s equipment, especially beginners, really push newbies out of the hobby. By berating the equipment some people have, you are more than likely going to shoo them off from photography which in the end hurts all of us. More people interested means more money and push in development, which means things that were expensive become affordable due to competition. Help out newbies and those who can’t afford the best stuff… in the end, keeping them in the photography fold helps us all.

  83. Sorry Nikon, no disrespect on the d300. I love it; and I can shoot higher ISO in low light with much less noise than the d70. My point is that as I browse my shots, I can’t really tell which ones were d70,coolpix,or d300. But it’s easy to tell which ones are good and which ones are not. It’s me, not the camera. And that’s all that matters.
    Of course, I still love the following quote I get at least once a day:’That’s a great picture. What kind of camera do you have?”

  84. Sorry Nikon, no disrespect on the d300. I love it; and I can shoot higher ISO in low light with much less noise than the d70. My point is that as I browse my shots, I can’t really tell which ones were d70,coolpix,or d300. But it’s easy to tell which ones are good and which ones are not. It’s me, not the camera. And that’s all that matters.
    Of course, I still love the following quote I get at least once a day:’That’s a great picture. What kind of camera do you have?”

  85. Well said Scott, your right there is nothing worse than this.

  86. Well said Scott, your right there is nothing worse than this.

  87. Three of the best photos that we own were shot by myself and my wife with an old Olympus D-360 1.3 mega pixel camera. We still look at them and can’t believe the camera took them. The subject, perspective and lighting were just right.

    Thanks for the rant and TWIP!

  88. Three of the best photos that we own were shot by myself and my wife with an old Olympus D-360 1.3 mega pixel camera. We still look at them and can’t believe the camera took them. The subject, perspective and lighting were just right.

    Thanks for the rant and TWIP!

  89. @Scott
    For sure. If you’re just talking about the people that say your gear sucks just to stir the pot… then ya, that’s not value added and pretty annoying.
    Looking at it in that context, I see your point about ignoring them… but in the terms of not trying to extend the argument, and not rushing out to buy whatever they’re pimping rather than flat out ignoring what they have to say.

    It’s like that saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. You may not agree with what these guys are saying, but understanding the information and where it’s coming from can still be valuable.
    Other than that minor point, I completely agree with what you’re saying.

    I still think everybody’s input is valuable. Just like everything else, you have to consider the source. If somebody tells me my camera isn’t good enough, I don’t consider that input crap, I’d just want to understand more about that opinion. Perhaps there’s something I don’t know about yet or perhaps they have been in shooting situations that I haven’t been in yet.
    Does that mean I go out and buy whatever they say is better? Probably not… but understanding my tool’s strengths and weaknesses makes me better prepared and that makes me a better photographer.
    If there’s nothing behind the opinion… you have to take it for what it is (an opinion).
    The best thing is to take it all in and arrive at your own opinion based on how it impacts you.

    I guess my first post showed I was blind to the fact that some people out there are intending to tick people off without any intent to help. That’s really a shame.

    I personally know a couple measurebaters and usually consult them whenever I’m considering a purchase or sale. They can give me the executive summary in about five minutes because they’ve already sifted through billions of forum posts and comparison reviews. Plus they always know exactly how much I can get for any used gear and where I can get the best prices for new/used stuff. (and I love those research nuts for it – time is precious!)
    Do I take what they have to say as gospel? No way! I treat it as one input to my decision process.

    That’s just my inaccurate and off topic opinion though… sorry I missed that other discussion.

  90. @Scott
    For sure. If you’re just talking about the people that say your gear sucks just to stir the pot… then ya, that’s not value added and pretty annoying.
    Looking at it in that context, I see your point about ignoring them… but in the terms of not trying to extend the argument, and not rushing out to buy whatever they’re pimping rather than flat out ignoring what they have to say.

    It’s like that saying about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer. You may not agree with what these guys are saying, but understanding the information and where it’s coming from can still be valuable.
    Other than that minor point, I completely agree with what you’re saying.

    I still think everybody’s input is valuable. Just like everything else, you have to consider the source. If somebody tells me my camera isn’t good enough, I don’t consider that input crap, I’d just want to understand more about that opinion. Perhaps there’s something I don’t know about yet or perhaps they have been in shooting situations that I haven’t been in yet.
    Does that mean I go out and buy whatever they say is better? Probably not… but understanding my tool’s strengths and weaknesses makes me better prepared and that makes me a better photographer.
    If there’s nothing behind the opinion… you have to take it for what it is (an opinion).
    The best thing is to take it all in and arrive at your own opinion based on how it impacts you.

    I guess my first post showed I was blind to the fact that some people out there are intending to tick people off without any intent to help. That’s really a shame.

    I personally know a couple measurebaters and usually consult them whenever I’m considering a purchase or sale. They can give me the executive summary in about five minutes because they’ve already sifted through billions of forum posts and comparison reviews. Plus they always know exactly how much I can get for any used gear and where I can get the best prices for new/used stuff. (and I love those research nuts for it – time is precious!)
    Do I take what they have to say as gospel? No way! I treat it as one input to my decision process.

    That’s just my inaccurate and off topic opinion though… sorry I missed that other discussion.

  91. Scott, I do remember you guys use G9s, but wasn’t there also comments about Leicas? I remember at least one of you saying that you were envying the images that came from them.

  92. Scott, I do remember you guys use G9s, but wasn’t there also comments about Leicas? I remember at least one of you saying that you were envying the images that came from them.

  93. Thanks a bunch.

    Here’s a TWIP photo challenge for ‘ya. What if we could all work from the same level playing field for a challenge – same equipment, etc.? Not that it’s possible but it certainly would be fun to see the results.

  94. Thanks a bunch.

    Here’s a TWIP photo challenge for ‘ya. What if we could all work from the same level playing field for a challenge – same equipment, etc.? Not that it’s possible but it certainly would be fun to see the results.

  95. If the latest and greatest equipment is needed to take a good picture, then we can toss all the photographs not taken in the past few years (months?). They can’t be any good because they were taken with inferior equipment. While it is great to have really good tools, a true artist can work with what he has and create great art.

  96. If the latest and greatest equipment is needed to take a good picture, then we can toss all the photographs not taken in the past few years (months?). They can’t be any good because they were taken with inferior equipment. While it is great to have really good tools, a true artist can work with what he has and create great art.

  97. Scott: Great rant (PixelPeepers…)! This seems to be a problem with just about every online tech community I’ve ever been a part of.

  98. Scott: Great rant (PixelPeepers…)! This seems to be a problem with just about every online tech community I’ve ever been a part of.

  99. Scott usually annoys me, however, I keep listen to the podcast and I absolutely agree with his post.

  100. Scott usually annoys me, however, I keep listen to the podcast and I absolutely agree with his post.

  101. That’s okay Ian – if I am not annoying to someone – I am not doing my job. Thanks for listening.

  102. That’s okay Ian – if I am not annoying to someone – I am not doing my job. Thanks for listening.

  103. Scott I’d ignore people like Ian. It seems that most people posting here appreciate your work. Those who do not – should go to some other podcast.

    As someone who’s taken classes from you – I understand the point you’re making here. It’s not the gear that makes the shot – it’s the photographer. And the anonymous Internet seems to make otherwise weak people brave enough to slam folks who just want to have fun.

  104. Scott I’d ignore people like Ian. It seems that most people posting here appreciate your work. Those who do not – should go to some other podcast.

    As someone who’s taken classes from you – I understand the point you’re making here. It’s not the gear that makes the shot – it’s the photographer. And the anonymous Internet seems to make otherwise weak people brave enough to slam folks who just want to have fun.

  105. We don’t take pictures so that we can buy gears. We buy gears so that we can take pictures. I was looking at flickr and realized that some excellent pictures was taken with point-and-shoot cameras! Amazing arts can be created with limited resources. Ansel Adams did not have the technologies we have now, but I will never be as good as him even with the best gears today. It about knowing the limits of your gears and try to get the best results with them. I love the podcast, but I hope it talks more about the art, instead the tools.

  106. We don’t take pictures so that we can buy gears. We buy gears so that we can take pictures. I was looking at flickr and realized that some excellent pictures was taken with point-and-shoot cameras! Amazing arts can be created with limited resources. Ansel Adams did not have the technologies we have now, but I will never be as good as him even with the best gears today. It about knowing the limits of your gears and try to get the best results with them. I love the podcast, but I hope it talks more about the art, instead the tools.

  107. Important point Scott.

    I’d just like to remind people that David Burnett’s prize winning shot of Al Gore in 2001 in the annual Eyes of History Exhibition of the White House News Photographers Association was shot with a Holga, cost circa 2001, ~US$30.95.

    ‘Nuff said.

  108. Important point Scott.

    I’d just like to remind people that David Burnett’s prize winning shot of Al Gore in 2001 in the annual Eyes of History Exhibition of the White House News Photographers Association was shot with a Holga, cost circa 2001, ~US$30.95.

    ‘Nuff said.

  109. I think the worst part is that they’re constantly goading you into buying more and more expensive gear. I’m sick of hearing about that 70-200 f/4L. I can’t afford it. Let it go.

  110. I think the worst part is that they’re constantly goading you into buying more and more expensive gear. I’m sick of hearing about that 70-200 f/4L. I can’t afford it. Let it go.

  111. Very true… PixelPeepers are everywhere! …and generally quite harmless.

    But what about those that find their way into the stock photography inspector teams? Or even judges in contests?

  112. Very true… PixelPeepers are everywhere! …and generally quite harmless.

    But what about those that find their way into the stock photography inspector teams? Or even judges in contests?

  113. Thanks for this post! Drooling over Porsches and bigger better cameras can be fun. But I don’t have the cash – will save then buy what I can. The car comparison is great – will help in my camera club (for me and several others). ;)

  114. Thanks for this post! Drooling over Porsches and bigger better cameras can be fun. But I don’t have the cash – will save then buy what I can. The car comparison is great – will help in my camera club (for me and several others). ;)

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