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View Full Version : The Luminous Landscape: "Digital Bridge Cameras and Cognitive Dissonance"

Jason Dunn
04-04-2004, 12:00 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/cognative.shtml' target='_blank'>http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/cognative.shtml</a><br /><br /></div>"I don’t know how to say this politely, so I’ll just put it on the table. Make of it what you will. When the better automotive magazines review a new model, sure — they write about horsepower and the technology of the latest Sat-Nav system. But for the most part they address the issue of how well the car performs its intended role. If it’s a sports model, how quick is it on the track, and how’s the handling? If it’s a new SUV, how does it do in the mud and snow. And, minivans are rated on how many kids and shopping bags can be carried in comfort.<br /><br />Unfortunately the same paradigm is not usually applied to camera reviews, at least not by some of the reviewers currently writing on the Net. They focus their attention on the things that can be readily observed and compared with other models; things like resolution, noise characteristics and the regurgitation of a laundry list of the manufacturer’s specs.<br /><br />But those are not the core issues, are they? What should really matter in a review is the suitability of the product for its intended task based on the reviewer’s experience as a photographer. And this is where the interests of what have been called the pixel peepers and these reviewers go hand-in-glove, but I believe, to the determent of the broader community of photographers."<br /><br />What a fantastic article! This is especially poignant to me after having just finished the <a href="http://www.digitalmediathoughts.com/articles.php?action=expand,4956">Shuttle ST62K</a> review and almost falling into the trap of expecting it to be everything to every one. Evaluating a product more on it's ability to allow you to do what you want rather than technical specifications is a good lesson for all reviewers, and even consumers, to learn.

Neil Enns
04-04-2004, 02:44 AM
Michael's had a rough go of it lately with people really slamming his reviews of the latest crop of 8MP digital cameras. He focuses very carefully on the actual usability of the camera, and not solely on things like noise. The above article is one of three he's written on the subject. The second is all about "pixel peepers" (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/peepers.shtml), and the problems with evaluating cameras simply by blowing up images to 100% and looking at them on screen. The third is Let's Play Another Game (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/another-game.shtml).


Jason Dunn
04-04-2004, 03:05 AM
Jeese Neil, why don't you just go ahead and ruin my upcoming posts... :lol:

04-05-2004, 03:35 AM
Wow, this is great stuff for this site. As someone who often only has a second to frame and snap a shot, I can say that I would easily take a more useable camera over one that was technically higher rated. That was why I bought my current SLR several years ago, a Minolta 600i. At that time, some of the other cameras were very much into push buttons and multilevel LCD screens where you had to remove the camera from your eye to adjust anything. The 600i was a bit retro in that it did almost everything with old-fashioned dials.

I loved it. Once I knew where each thing was, I could shift focus or metering modes in an instant without removing my eye from the viewfinder. It just fit me and what I do, even though I was aware of some higher specs (and prices) from the cameras I didn't buy.

I think I'll feel the same about my first DSLR. I get excited about one model and then another, but in the end, it will be the camera that is most useable that gets the sale. It's nice to find a reviewer who hasn't forgotten what photography is all about. The technical reviews are useful, but you need someone to tell this part of the story too.