Friday, April 14, 2017

A somewhat Emotional Reaction to today's Photography

Today's article will be very different from past AmateurNikon articles. I won't review a lens, I won't offer you tips for better photography, I won't offer you a Photoshop tutorial. Today, I'll basically... well, just rant.

Taken with a D40 and the 18-55.
It involved being outdoors in -25C and chase "the moment".
Photography as art has nothing to do with equipment

I was planning a different article for today - a review for a bit older lens which I happened to come across. This will now have to wait, because I was asked by several people to comment on the new Nikon D7500. Frantic questions included "Is it better than the D7200?" "Is it really so that it doesn't support AI-S lenses?" "Should I buy it?"

First of all, I need to make something absolutely clear: I'm not upset about the questions, keep sending me those - I'll always try my best to respond to them the best I can. What I'm upset about is the way big companies (like Nikon, in this example, but everyone does it) have succeeded in persuading people that their photography isn't worth a dime unless they have the latest and greatest - defining "greatest" here might be a bit problematic, if you realize that some things, like resolution and AI-S lens support, have been taken away in the newest model.

It's a new camera. Yeah, so what?

But it doesn't matter. Megapixels don't matter, ISO doesn't matter, and no, not even AI-S lens support matters. Don't get me started about the non-photographic fluff.

What matters is artistic vision. That's the only thing that matters, if we're talking about photography as art. If we were talking about photography as a profession we wouldn't be having this discussion (you wouldn't pose those questions, and you wouldn't be interested in the D7500). Furthermore, if we were talking about photography as a way to preserve memories, we wouldn't be having this discussion either (you would use your cell camera, share the pics instantly on Facebook, and you'd be happy).

Models such as the D7500 are aimed at people who are, or aspire to be, artists. And it's easy, especially for the latter category, to be fooled into thinking something fundamental and crucial is lacking, and as soon as they purchase it they'll be able to shoot images as awe-inspiring as those they see online.

Taken with the D3200 and the 18-55, in Rome, Italy.
Seeing the moment, experiencing it, being a part of it;
that's where great art is born.

I've been shooting with digital cameras for 15 years, with film cameras for about 35 or so. I have failed at capturing the image I intended many, many times. But I can assure you, I was always the reason for my failure. Mostly this occurred as a result of me being too preoccupied with mundane, prosaic thoughts and thus not having a clear artistic vision. Sometimes I was just too lazy ("nah, I'm tired, I'll go home and won't wait for the twilight") or just sloppy ("it's good enough, even if it's not what I intended"). Never did I miss a "masterpiece shot" because I didn't have the right camera or the right lens with me, or because I was let down by some settings.

And so, please allow me to rant. Allow me to rant when I see people fighting online about whether 7 fps are better than 6fps, whether 24MP are better than 20.9, whether not having 4k ultra HD video is a deal-breaker or not.

To such people, I say: show me the pictures you've taken, and tell me why you're happy with them; tell me why you're unhappy with them. Tell me what you intended and how you think you can get it.
It sure as hell isn't an extra fps that's missing, if you're unhappy.

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