Sunday, August 20, 2006

What's In the Water in the FujiFilm SLR Talk Forum's Well?

WOW! What's in the FujiFilm SLR Talk Forum well's water? Poison? Vitriol? Bile? Crazy Pills? Dog Piss? Man, there have been some thoroughly entertaining debacles on dPreview the past few weeks. Joe W calling internet trolls "sexual predators" in the FujiFilm SLR Talk forum and getting all feisty,continuing with that line about internet trolls being sexual predators in another reply,and acting like a flame warrior by acting as a troll-killer poster, then geting banned. He did make a large,public apology in FujiFilm SLR Talk upon his temporary ban being lifted,and that was that,back into the mix at dPreview. TGP, a former Fuji SLR Talk member (according to his own admission, a former member) is back under the handle TGP...not sure who he is...Joe Lacey or Eathbound_ca, or who???? I have no idea who he is,as a man,as an individual,but I have a pretty good idea of his grasp of photographic principles and practices, ie 'he knows how to shoot',which is in my book the reason for practicing the art and craft of photography--to learn how to "shoot" well. TGP's sig file signs off with "Ciao"....hmm...who is TGP?? The snotty comments exchanged in recent threads between Wolf Cry,Anthony,Artichoke,TGP,and a couple of other FujiFIlm SLR Talk members were,I thought, really uncalled for. Really some ugly,disgusting comments were written by several individuals who all need to take a little chill pill on the personality clashes.

I read a comment not to long ago,from Sooty, a former Fuji SLR D-SLR user. His comments about the FujFilm SLR Talk forum were,from my point of view, spot-on. He said that basically, the regulars in the FujiFilm SLR Talk forum are almost all convinced that nobody is doing any good work with anything,unless it's a Fuji. I'd have to seems as of late that the FujiFilm SLR Talk forum has been populated by people who basically talk smack about all Nikon and all Canon cameras.Since I got banned from dPreview by Dillon James (who snuck back on not too long ago), I've stopped reading Fuji SLR Talk unless somebody sends me an e-mail tip to advise me that there's something worth reading about. And let me tell you, the past three weeks have seen the clowns come to the front of the classroom. No, not really clowns, but people who've gotten involved in the current internet photography forums and their 2006 status as rough and tumble public discussion/argument/pissing match/brand-loyalist/techno-babble/measurebating/pixel-peeping boards; many otherwise respectable people have acted like clowns in recent weeks,on several internet forum sites. I've watched the FujiFilm SLR Talk forum's members,almost all of the regulars, become involved in some pretty heated,sometimes nasty exchanges with one person or another who has dared intrude into the hallowed halls of FujiFilm-land, where the tonality is better, the bit depth is greater,the color is more subtle, and the shifting-and-drifting white balance erraticism of the S3 Pro is mentioned by detractors,but seldom addressed by the camera's supporters.One older wedding shooter, a real gentleman too, and a class act, admits that he gets something like 5-9 percent out of focus shots for most wedding shooters under tougher conditions with the S3 Pro. I can actually understand how that can happen!
The real truth of the matter is that dPreview's various forums have gotten very,very "tough",along with user forums at OTHER web sites as well; there are quite a few people with a lot of emotional involvment,often with their own camera BRAND, and their own camera's tendencies, and they exchange comments with people from warring tribes. There are ample hotheads shouting the merits of Canon,or the merits of Nikon, and to a lesser extent Fuji, and there are digital dilettantes who've hopped from one brand to another since 2002 or 2003. And there are those who have never known ANYTHING but a Nikon digital. Or a Canon digital. Or a FujiFilm digital. There are also software zealots, who rave about one S/W or another,for one particular use or another. There are people who _REALLY_ know their stuff, and there are also people who seem to be genuinely nice,wonderful people who are working hard at learning their craft and about the principles underlying photography,like how lenses draw scenes depending upon focal length,how depth of field works,what hyperfocal distance means, understanding light fall-off and practical shooting methods,like figuring out how flash and ambient light balance or dominate one another,and how to shoot for success, stuff like that. There are people who have broad understanding of the science,the art, the craft,and the history,of photography. I myself can see that the number of people who truly understand photography and photographic principles and practices is pretty limited. BY MY OWN estimation, I'd say that maybe 15 percent of posters on dPreview have what I would call a very a broad understanding of photography and photographic principles and practices,and the rest are less-accomplished students at various places along the learning curve. There are MANY people bunched up,just outside that top 15 percent area, too, and many bunched up at the Newbie or Beginner/Snapshooter stage as well. The number of Digital Rebel clicks, and Nikon D70s clicks show that those cameras are the TOP models on dPreview, and there is a mix of rabble,regular people,and royalty on the dPreview forums.Experts and serious practitioners of the art and craft of PHOTOGRAPHY are few and are the people I call 'royalty' in my air quotes. I just wish the royalty were not so prone to bare-knuckled brawling in public forums. My disillusionment is with the way the forum royalty are behaving these days...they've been engaging in the types of public attacks on character and personality that I'd expect of the rabble. Why? because the royalty have been treated shabbily,and have been annoyed with the frivolous trolls and digital dilettantes who have come to consititute a growing segment of the new internet digital photography community. SSome of the nicest people on the internet forums, the long-time regulars and some really great guys have taken to dissing other people in ways that are,really, unfair and uncalled for.'s sad. There's a huge newcomer influx,and these new people are seeing some of the nicest people, the royalty of the boards, behaving very poorly,and hurtfully. I've even had shit said about ME, in a discussion I never wanted to happen, based on comments I left on a person's pBase site. Amazing. But, I tell you, the posts of the last three weeks in FujiFIlm SLR Talk, and in Open Talk and Nikon SLR Lens Talk forum....oh,seriously. What happened to Uncle Frank in Open Talk and also in Nikon SLR Lens Talk was another horrible example of the state of digital photography today.

I see a lot of new people have jumped on the Fuji bandwagon since Fuji started blowing out the last of its inventory at firesale prices some $1400 under the introductory price of the camera. Yup....$1299 and $1199 and $1099 firesale prices have almost, but not quite yet, cleared the channel of remaining S3 inventory. However, the camera's a slow seller,and so there are still ample S3's available for anybody who wants one. Right now, 6MP entry-level D-SLR's are available from Nikon,Pentax,Samsung for $599 or a little bit more. $1100 for an older 6MP probably seems like too much money in today's 2006 marketplace,what with all the newrr, higher-MP Cameras out for hundreds of dollars less money,and with built-in anti-vibration,and so on.

But seriously....those in the FujiFilm SLR Talk forum who seem to think that TGP needs to produce a portfolio to show that he's competent and capable? C'mon....I can tell by reading his comments that he knows his way around a camera,and far better than many people do. He knows how to shoot. I'd bet my reputation on it, just from reading his comments. And seriously, FujiFilm SLR Talk regulars--maybe you could lay off on the sanctimonious crap, and start showing a little bit more respect to people whose opinions you happen to disagree with. I've seen some real shit-talking from some of the long time FujiFilm SLR Talk regulars, and that shit-talking has reached new lows as of late. There are some FujiFilm SLR Talk forum regulars there who need to lay off their web board high horse and start looking around at all these misguided Canon and Nikon shooters who, for some ineplicable reason,are able to produce great results without the FinePix moniker on their camera's top deck. Ease off,people. Whatever happened to that "Friendly Forum" spirit? Some of the regulars are acting like total cranks there,and are really acting disrespectfully to people who are,actually, their photographic superiors in terms of experience and ability. If you have ever made your SOLE LIVING shooting pictures, and I have, then in my book,you're a real photographer. If you shoot frequently and consistently for money, then you're a real photographer. It doesn't matter what you shoot. If you understand photographic principles,and practices pretty danged well, but don't shoot for a living, in my book you're still a real photographer. If all you do is breathe one brand,and live or the newest gear,and the next model up,you're a Digital Adam, a prosumer consumer, or a techno-geek,or a gearhead,or something like that. But to me, you're not a real photographer. You see, the internet digital photography community is a mix of regular people, photographic royalty (most from the now-deposed Film Dynasty (1889-1999),and also quite a bit of digital rabble. The digital rabble are the people who really,really,really seem to identify with the BRAND,and who have almost no real understandig,or love, for the art and the craft of photography. The mixing of these three groups, rabble,regulars,and royalty, is why the biggest digital internet forum,dPreview, is in such a state these days. It's a huge,huge,huge crush of people,and the field is simply burgeoning. Feelings get hurt. Brands get insulted. Brand feuding skirmishes erupt all over. Frequent posters develop little Fan Clubs of people who defend their Frequent Poster,right or wrong. It's amazing the fallout at Nikon Cafe the last few weeks as well over the issue of censoring nude,topless,bikini,and glamour photos. We're seeing a huge,vibrant,conflict-filled mob mentality, with warring factions,innocent regular people, and digital rabble. "Be safe out there, people." The old Hill Street Blues saying needs to be revived; its meaning was basically, hey people, we're all in this together--let's watch one anothers back--let's take care of our brothers and sisters in this thing...let's be safe, be cool,act right,treat people right and don't be such an ass and show a little respect to people.

Real photographers aren't loyal to JUST ONE BRAND of camera. C'mon, that attitude is for gearhead idiots and brand warriors. Use what works best,and get over the idea that one brand is "best". And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but a Fuji can take good pictures, get your head examined. And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but a Canon can take good pictures, get your head examined.And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but a Nikon can take good pictures, get your head examined.And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but a Sigma can take good pictures, get your head examined,and a coffee to go.And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but a Kodak can take good pictures, get your head examined and buy a nice bottle of cognac to go with that sirloin.And, when you adopt the idea that nothing but an Oly can take good pictures, get your head examined and buy some of those sweet,sweet high-speed Oly 4/3 optics.

1 comment:

stringcheese said...

for some photography is no longer magical, it is technical. for those the digital format is a curse.