Strange Things Said XXIV

Strange Things Said is an on-going series of commentary based upon things written on the Internet (bold quotes, below). Too often statements made on the Internet go unchallenged or unexamined, and are just digested as is without any consideration. 

The X-H# line opens up a whole new category and does not affect X-T# sales. — Fujifilm execs in an interview with PhotoTrends

I’m not convinced of that, though I’m sure Fujifilm is judging that based upon initial sales. 

In essence, Fujifilm these days is saying that the X-H2 and X-H2S are hybrid cameras (stills and video), while the X-T5 is mostly stills oriented, even though it still has video. That last clause is the tricky one. But first we have to get past Fujifilm's additional comment that dedicated dials are the best fit for still photography. 

In essence, when you say that you need a still camera to have a dedicated ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation dial, you are also saying that the last three+ decades of Canon/Nikon still camera design is wrong. That’s a little bit like saying that portable computers and tablets used for traditional word processing and other chores absolutely need a wired mouse. Uh, no. A mouse makes you move your hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back, and why do we need the wire? I’m typing this on a system where my thumb can reach the trackpad and make the same cursor moves, and my hand position doesn’t move much from the typing position. That means that I don’t have to completely reorient my fingers to the keys (whatever happened to easy-to-find and distinguish nubs on the F and J keys?). I type faster when using a trackpad than with a mouse. 

Similarly, by not having to take the camera from my eye and my hand away from the shutter release to use a dial, I photograph faster. 

I’m convinced that dial obsession is mostly nostalgia, not true usefulness. Particularly when the dials start lying to you, or you have to set the dial to A to invoke a feature, and it now no longer serves as a dial. 

I’m not discounting that some like and will buy dials. That’s a different story. I’m discounting that dedicated dials are the best solution for still photography. In product management, I’m a strong believer in getting your assumptions straight. Fujifilm cameras with dedicated dials appeal to certain demographics, and it’s not because it makes the camera faster or more reliable to use for still photography. 

Thus, if the X-T5 and X-H2 are both selling well initially, it’s not because they are in “different categories,” it’s because some value a US$300 discount and dials, while others favor and will pay for a modern design. I don’t think that’s long-term sustainable, though.

“The full frame vlogging camera you’ve been waiting for” — Engadget headline

Really? I’ve been waiting for a full frame vlogging camera? Or maybe it’s just you that’s been waiting for one? No? Well, maybe those pesky young “creators” have been demanding one, even though it’s probably out of their price range.

Headlines are tough. In this media-rich and information-free world, everyone tries to get your attention with hyperbole or worse. 

Like some of you, I felt I needed to read that article to find out what it was I was waiting for. 

I’m still waiting. Maybe it was phase detect autofocus? Oh, wait, other similar full frame cameras already had that, and they don’t punt on using phase detect just because you set 10-bit video. No, when we get down to the conclusion of the article, the big positives over other existing cameras was about monitoring tools and superior stabilization. That’s what I was waiting for? 

Oh, wait, I’m not a vlogger ;~)

“Cameras are mens’ jewelry.”comment in reader email

Just like a necklace, it hangs from your neck. 

Like a luxury watch, it’s a bold fashion statement.

Like most jewelry, the owner doesn’t actually interact with it much. It’s primarily for others to see. 

The more expensive it is, the more it will be admired. And stolen.

Of course, if you use the quoted statement with your significant other to justify buying something, they’ll say that they deserve the equivalent in 24K gold and diamonds. ;~)

“You have to buy into a system as it is, not how you think it might be one day.” —forum comment

Basically true, though it’s important to be careful with that thinking during transitions. It generally takes four or more years before a new system has a reasonable base of products established, so if you’re buying into a system early, you have to think about how it might develop

A good example of that right now is Canon RF-S. As I write this, RF-S is all of 10 months old. A toddler. I’d tend to say that you have to make some assumptions about how it might develop if you’re going to consider it. Canon has done better at their APS-C mirrorless transition than Nikon, though, in that we quickly got three camera models across a wide capability spectrum (R50, R10, R7). The logical conclusion from that is that Canon intends to fill out and iterate the line, and line depth and breadth is important to Canon, who always seeks maximal market share. 

Unfortunately, “fill out” is a serious question when it comes to lenses. Canon didn’t really build out a large EF-S or M lens lineup—those were Canon’s previous APS-C sensor systems—so you definitely don’t want to make too many assumptions about future RF-S lenses given Canon’s past. I think it’s safe, however, that given the body lineup that we can expect an RF-S lens lineup at least as deep as M got (which isn’t very deep). Fortunately, full frame RF lenses are proliferating fast, and can be used as is on the RF-S cameras. 

Meanwhile, Nikon is doing themselves a huge disservice in APS-C (DX in their parlance). In three-and-a-half years of mirrorless DX, we've gotten the same camera in three different body styles, and a grand total of three lenses (with two more promised). If you’re not comfortable with what Z DX is today, you have no business buying into it, despite it’s young age.

Once a system gets past its birth by four or five years, though, I’d tend to say that the quote is solid advice. 

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