I read or heard last week that the Iphone is the number one camera platform of choice in the world. The Chicago Sun Times recently fired all of it’s photography staff and gave the remaining few Iphones and some training in social media. You can see the results of this epic boneheaded move here. Less is not more when it comes to photography (And I’m not maligning Lomography here either, that is its own artform).
My primary camera platform is a Canon 7D. It uses twin DIGIC 4 APS-C processors to gather it’s 18 megapixels of information in the final RAW file. RAW is like a digital negative. I didn’t spend copious bucks on a system that compresses the information into a format I can’t adjust in post. I want to be able to control my processes as opposed to looking at how a chunk of internal software in the camera made my final image look, “Cool,” or as I prefer to call it, generic.
Thanks to crap like Instagram everybody thinks they’re an artist with the lens. I mean who has time in their busy lives to actually learn how a camera works. How to set ISO and F Stop to get the image you want, what filters to use. How to give the image real tooth and grain and all the stuff that makes me look at real photographic art and wonder, “How do they do that?” And then spend half a year figuring it out.
It does make me laugh that we’re taking a step back as far as the general population goes. When digital cameras first hit the scene, 2 Meg seemed to give a pretty good image and for a regular 4 x 6 it wasn’t bad but my 7D can pump out a flawless 36 x 24 inch image and you’d be hard pressed to tell if it was film or digital. Now we’re back to tiny sensors and shitty images with bad focus and lousy depth of field. Good one.
I think it comes down to what it always comes down to. People in suits running things don’t get the cost of doing things well. They look at the bottom line without looking at the actual cost of that bottom line and art is almost always the first casualty. What would National Geographic be without its stunning pictorials to go with the stories? Would you really drag your ass half way around the world to take pictures with a 5 megapixel camera? No you’d rock the 5D Mk3 or a 1D Mk X because the subject matter demands it.
Add to that a good number of people just don’t care as long as it works well enough to get by. Of course the suits see those numbers and figure that’s the real trend and push things that way and it all becomes a spiral of diminishing returns. There are of course those who want to go to the next level but once they buy all the gear, that pesky learning curve thing rears it’s head and that expensive DSLR goes on the closet shelf and eventually on Craigslist or Kijijii. Which is good for guys like me as I pick up all of my camera gear on those two platforms. Of course there is one other type who post on there. The actual enthusiast or professional who bought something tried it out and then moved on to another platform that worked better for them or as was the case of my Lensbaby, discovered it wasn’t what they expected and are passing it on to the next guy. They’re actually my favorite because you get to buy great well maintained gear and make new friends.
But my deepest hope is that people move away from the Iphones and pick up real cameras again and learn to desaturate and muddy their own images in post by themselves, instead of letting an app do it for them.