Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Gary Mayo Affair, Part II: The Banishment

Well, I did a blog entry a while back on Gary Mayo's dilemma in deciding between a multi-speedlight setup with multiple Nikon SB 800 flash units OR studio electronic flash units and his decision dilemma between the Fuji S3 Pro and the Nikon D200. Well,on the camera part of the deal,it seems that Gary returned the S3, but continued to post on FujiFilm SLR Talk,putting up some poorly-done D200 images, as well as signature or "sig-file" pictures of tattooed buttocks of nubile young females, and things got very heated in the forum,and now some two weeks and two days later apparently Gary has been banned.
FujiFilm SLR Talk stalwart Artichoke began a post today, which deals with the banning of Gary Mayo from the FujiFIlm SLR Talk forum, and currently it has 45 posts total. You can find the threads beginning here http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1020&thread=18440927&page=1
Anywwayyyyyyyyy....yet another bit of unpleasantness on a dPreview forum.Now that it's the year 2006 and D-SLR sales have finally reached well outside the spectrum of enthusiastic amateur and professional shooters, there's rabble mixing with royalty on the various internet photo forums and this "culture clash" of old guard versus newbies has been the source of MUCH controversy and MUCH consternation over the last year or so. I myself have become very disillusioned by the way some people conduct their businesses on the web. It's similar to the way the landed gentry of Europe must have felt when voting rights were given to the unwashed commoners. The level of public discourse has really hit new lows over the past year or so,I must say. I've got to say it, it's shocking to see what has become of FujiFIlm SLR Talk over the last six or so months since I've been gone.
Suffice it to say, each and every dPreview forum post now carries a new this week " [COMPLAINT] " hyperlink....never before has it been SO,so,sooooo easy to complain about a particular post,or poster. Yup, Phil has had to add the all-caps " [COMPLAINT] " link to the posts. That says a LOT about what's happened there. The degree of intolerance, and intolerance for different opinions on the various dPreview forums has grown to simply unacceptable levels. It's commponplace for newbies who have VERY litttle knowledge of digital photography or d-slrs or workflow concepts,to show up on a forum one day, and to immediately step into ongoing discussions and start taking very serious potshots at people who have spent a lot of time,a lot of effort,and who have done a lot of personal testing and research to get something good out of their tools. AND, it's also become very common for brand zealots to troll other forums trying to stir up trouble. Yup, there's now a " [COMPLAINT] " hyperlink with each and every discussion forum post on dPreview. Sad...
On the good side of things however, the FujiFilm FinePix S3 Pro is now selling for as little as $1,099 US dollars in the United Kingdom, and around $1,199-$1,250 US dollars from the largest New York mail-order giants,the last time I checked. I always said that the S3 was overpriced at $2,499,and although I think the S3's image quality potential is worthy of a price premium,given today's mid-2006 date and the state of the D-SLR business, even $1699 is wayyyy too much money to make S3 Pro camera move out of warehouses and onto dealer shelves and then to consumers' hands. Priced fairly, at $1299 US, the FujiFilm S3 pro is now making its way into the hands of MANY new and happy Fuji customers.LOADS of newbies are buying S3 Pro cameras and getting on-line to see what the deal is. Hooray FujiFilm,finally a fair price for the remaining S3 Pro cameras!
Overall, it is a good time to be involved with digital SLR photography. I make mention of FujiFilm's pricing policies simply because there has been a real sea change since the S3 Pro was on the drawing boards--Nikon,Canon,and Olympus are now practically giving away the farm to gain new digital body customers. Prices have never been as low as they are now, with the Nikon D50 and D70s going for very fair,very low prices, and the Olympus E-series models are priced VERY reasonably with 2-lens (two maker zooms!) outfits advertised in the $799 range! Pretty compelling, I think, the prospect of an Olympus D-SLR with TWO Olympus-branded zoom lenses, for $799. That's the price range of the better prosumer digital cameras of the past! Body prices on the Nikon D50 are very low, but the thing that impresses me the most about the D50 is not its low price, but its in-camera JPEG engine and tuning. Wow! Vivid,colorful pictures. In JPEG mode. Kind of un-Nikon-like JPEGs.
Why the hell can't Nikon tune its professional cameras D2x and D200 to output a snappy JPEG that has the vibrancy of the D50's JPEGS or the Fuji S3's JPEGs? Seriously...I've been doing some research, and it seems to me that in the hands of a reasonably competent photographer, the D50 produces the nicest out-of-camera JPEG in the entire Nikon lineup,D200 and D2x included. The Nikon D50 seems to be the camera aimed at mimicking the heavily-processed,very saturated,punchy,vibrant color look that prosumer camera users have grown accustomed to. It's funny ( in a tragic sense ) how just sixteen or seventeen days have seen the rise and fall of a poster on a dPreview forum. It's just been shocking to see how supercharged emotions have become on the various forums. Perhaps the Nikon D50 would have been the best camera choice for Gary Mayo.

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