My Boring Update

Last week I wrote about whether photography on the Internet had gotten boring. Apparently not boring enough that people stopped reading what I wrote, because I got a lot of responses. A lot. 

The consensus was generally, yes, it's no longer exciting to browse the Internet. So I guess we're now on the lookout for Last Internet Syndrome to go along with Last Camera Syndrome ;~).

Buried in a lot of comments I received was a bit of a compliment: many said that mine were one of the last sites that they still came to regularly and looked forward to. Several even questioned how that was even possible that I could be still writing interesting and new content 25 years later. 

Which leads me to another lecture. (Oh oh, time to click away...)

I've been involved with (and often running) media, a lot of it major, for all of my adult life, which is to say 50+ years now. I've watched outlet after outlet violate the first premise of quality content production, which is that you're not only a creative originator of useful (and perhaps entertaining) new content, but you're also a careful and reliable curator (see Who is Your Curator? on, guess where; yes, this site ;~).

Media consumption tends to be done one of two ways these days: (1) pointed and specific checking a reliable source to see if there's anything you need to know or should know that you don't; and (2) mindless casual absorption of anything because you think it's what you should do to be entertained. Scrolling through TikTok videos when you have nothing else to do—or worse, are procrastinating what you should do—is almost classic #2. You're not even aware that what you're seeing is an algorithm that is directing you specifically to more of the same (wait until AI takes that over ;~). This creates almost classic addiction habits. 

Moreover, consider this: "The nearly 20-year-old tech publication Engadget is laying off staff and restructuring editorial teams today with a new focus around traffic and revenue growth. The changes are designed to give the outlet a stronger emphasis on commerce revenue, while removing key editorial leaders from its newsroom, including its editor-in-chief." That's The Verge reporting about what's happening at Engadget. This type of story keeps appearing as new media sites keep scrambling for the right formula. 

When I was in charge of the editorial at Backpacker's magazine, TV program, and Web site, we were all about #1, 100% of the time. I actually increased the editorial budget significantly, which produced better sales results in almost every metric. Moreover, we encouraged reader/viewer participation via mail, email, fora, and even public interactions. You kind of get the sense of what a group of like-minded people want/need to see or hear when you do that, which makes it easier to curate well. 

The problem these days is that it is so easy to scrape, copy, and paraphrase that the same information keeps coming at you, without any real curation, and often in watered down or inaccurate form. Indeed, in some cases I can point to, this "content creation" is 100% algorithmic, and the algorithms actually suck. 


Meanwhile, we just had one of the bigger camera shows in the world happen (CP+), and it was interesting to me that, despite the fact that there were a few products people should know about and get a solid understanding of why they might be important, the actual coverage from the announcements and show didn't generate a lot of useful clear information or even carefully considered opinions. 

We're failing in the photography media—yes, even to some degree myself—and I don't like that or what it portends. So as I noted in the earlier piece, I'm pondering what I might do in the future to change that. At the age of 72, I'm wondering whether I have the energy to do it right once I figure it out, but that's a problem I don't have until I know what it is that I should be doing ;~).


So what were the things you should be paying attention to that revolved around the CP+ show?

  1. The Fujifilm X100VI. A couple of things here. First, the pre-orders are insane, which just goes to show that there is absolutely demand for a quality compact camera, something I've been writing for a long time. But there are some things that aren't being discussed about the details of that camera (and other possibilities) in ways they should. For instance, was 40mp and the current lens the right choice? That gives you something like 40mp at 35mm (equivalent), ~20mp at a 50mm in-camera crop, and ~10mp at a 70mm in-camera crop. That's a very old school approach to focal length that I believe keeps the use of the camera in what I call the boring perspective zone, as we've been there (35, 50, 70) for almost 100 years. Would it not have been more interesting to give the camera a 24mm or 28mm lens? Or if you want to be hipster to all those smartphone users, 26mm?  I'm not sure imposing the old school standards gets us anywhere anymore. And do I really need 40mp for that? (I do know why Fujifilm kept the lens, by the way: so they didn't have to redesign the viewfinder. Stop taking the easy way out, guys.) Second: why is there only one X100 model if it's so popular? Why isn't there an X50 (say 26mp sensor, no IBIS, the current lens) and an X100 (40mp sensor, IBIS, a wider lens)? Old school thinking produces old school results. Even two models as I just outlined is still pretty old school. So maybe there's room for something different. The never-released Nikon DL18-50 would have been a huge hit once people understood what it could do. You still hear demand for that camera. Why hasn't someone produced something along those lines? Instead, we're stuck at 35mm (equivalent), or 28mm in the case of Ricoh.
  2. The Sigma 500mm f/5.6. Sigma learned something from all the Nikon "light" telephotos (300mm and 500mm PF, 400mm f/4.5). It would have been easy for Sigma to take the old 500mm f/4.5 and just put it in a mirrorless mount, but that's not what they did, and we should applaud them for that. Getting the result in the right price range to encourage telephoto adoption is another bonus here. No wonder Canon doesn't want Sigma making RF lenses. It's interesting though, that it took a bit before people realized that you can only get 15 fps using that new 500mm f5.6 on the "fastest camera ever" (A9 Mark III). One reader made a comment I'm going to steal: Sony should really be named Sony*, because all the details you need to know end up in footnotes.
  3. The Nikon Z8 C2.00 firmware update. This appears to be Nikon's CP+ news. And it's really good news, as it shows that Nikon isn't going to sit pat with one of the best all-around cameras you can buy. It just got a lot better. Everyone's going to think I mean the additional of Pixel shift shooting and Auto capture. Sure, those were nice adds, but have you actually looked at the customization changes? Nikon's still missing a couple—e.g. AF subject detection as a direct customization)—but they gave us many more buttons to program, consolidated things down to fewer lists of differences, and even found a couple of new things to add. The Z8 just became a much more usable and controllable camera, and it was already a remarkably great camera in that respect. This is the aggressive Nikon we all wanted to see. Now if I can only break through their Faraday Cage and get more ideas into Nikon HQ. 

No, the Sony 24-50mm f/2.8, OM-1 II, Panasonic 28-200mm f/4-7.1, Laowa 10mm f/2.8, even the Sigma 15mm f/1.4, and all the other things announced or promoted don't make it to the level of the above three, in my opinion, though the Sigma fisheye comes close. They're expected things that don't really open up new territory or need to be given adulation level attention. 

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