Strange Things Said XX

“Due to COVID 19, customers are no longer able to go out for photo shoots…” —recent interview with Sony executives on Imaging Research

I wonder how much of this is seeing mostly just the local market (Japan), where serious pandemic prevention still applied until recently. What I’ve seen in the US in the last year has been that every venue where I use a camera (landscape to sports) has more people taking photographs than pre-2019 (though many of those are using smartphones).

All of the Japanese camera companies steer by hysteresis, and that's no more accurate than the fly-by-wire focus systems on a lot of their cameras. Adjust. Oops, overadjusted. Readjust. Oops. Overadjusted the other way. Repeat.

While there certainly is a reluctance to resume travel among some, my experience this past year is that things are “fairly normal” through most of the world I travel in (North America, South America, Africa, Europe). China still has big lockdowns, though this has just been lifted. Japan only recently loosened up to accommodate tourism. But probably two-thirds of their camera-buying customers are acting much like there isn’t still a pandemic in progress (in case you haven’t noticed, COVID is still a problem, and while US hospitalizations and deaths are down, they’re still 3x the size of a really bad flu year. So yes, we're still in a pandemic, we're just managing it differently).

“The X Tripod can handle up to 25kg, the Y Tripod is rated for 9.1kg.” —a common assertion in any article or marketing material about tripods

Note the change in words. Note also that “rated” is not a standard that you can look up and verify in practice, it’s a claim from a manufacturer. 

I wrote 30 years ago that the basic rule of thumb calculation you should consider is not to put more than 1.5x the weight of a tripod on top of it. No staggering technology change has occurred since then (I was writing about the early Gitzo carbon fiber tripods). On a 3-pound Gitzo Mountaineer, I tried to limit my weight to 4.5 pounds of camera/lens.

The X tripod in question weighs 1.2kg. So the manufacturer’s claim is that you can put 21x the weight up top. Uh, I’m not sure there’s a real limit to how much weight you can put on a tripod. Whether that will prove a steady, secure support is a different issue. In theory, you’re using a tripod to provide a stable base that doesn’t move during your image taking. Wind, vibration ringing, and much more will conspire to make that base less stable.

"Canon...launched this feature, that basically closes down the shutter curtain when you switch off the camera and change your lenses...Now, I am very likely in the minority in this case, but I tell you why I hope never to see it [on] any of my Fujifilm cameras." -- FujiRumors article

This kind of logic has been pervading the Web lately (and not just about photo products): "because I don't want it, it shouldn't be done." Moreover, there seems to be the sense with this particular feature—covering the image sensor during power off or lens removal—that it is just put into cameras to assuage customers fears, and that it has no real (effective) purpose.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While things getting into the camera while changing lenses isn't (usually) a problem on the sidelines of a football game, it is while on safari and dealing with a major dust storm, or other things like significant pollen in the air. It is when standing near a volcanic eruption. It is when I'm at the seashore and dealing with mist from waves. I'm sure I can come up with a long list of such situations, but they all share the same thing: times exist when I want to protect the image sensor from things that I would almost certainly later have to clean if it were exposed to them. 

The proper implementation of this feature is exactly as Nikon did with the Z9: it's a menu option (Sensor shield behavior at power off). I tend to leave this set to On. Why? Because I can still change lenses without shutting the power down (not the Nikon recommended procedure, but doing so has had zero real implications for decades now), and the sensor shield won't be applied. If I need the protection, I shut the camera's power off and the shield is invoked. 

There's another reason why the shield is useful: a lot of pros will have their camera sitting without a lens for a long period of time. Photojournalists are notorious for grave sins against camera handling. I've even seen some throw a camera body into their trunk without a body cap or lens mounted and drive in a rush to their next location (tip: never buy a camera used that was owned by a news organization and not an independent photographer ;~). 

The real problem here is the "I don't want it so no one should have it" logic that is starting to pervade all opinions on the Web. I thought the 1980's were supposed to be the "Me Me Me" decade, but it turns out that was just a mild preview to the current times. 

Help! I’m a camera hoarder (and I love it)” digitalcameraworld article title, “13 Great Deals on Camera Gear and Sex Tech” Wired article

I have to give credit where credit is due. Click bait headlines are getting more and more compelling [sic]. 

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