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Author Topic: Cognitive Dissonance...  (Read 4980 times)
Dan Sroka
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« on: January 17, 2004, 01:16:49 PM »
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Yes, thank you for a thoughtful article, one that says something I've been trying to put into words myself. The online environment around photography is odd at best. I believe that is you put up an online review of a pinhole camera, you'd get innundated with arguments over the quality of the hole. It's like we are all having an amazing meal, yet some want to only discuss the fork ("my fork's got more tines so it's better"). Sigh.

By the way, Michael thank you for your photos from Africa. They make me nostalgic for my own African trip, which was, oh my, four long years ago now. It is a beautiful world there. I still remember most the scenes that I could not capture with my camera: the elephant mother and child in the shadows of night, or the cheetah moving through the grasses, only visible by his motion. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.
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Quentin
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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2004, 07:20:42 AM »
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I agree with just about everything in Michael's article. It's one of the reasons I find visiting the dpreview site forums so depressing. The Anoraks have taken the place over.

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2004, 09:13:22 PM »
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Exactly, and well put Ray. To each their own. I think all these forums are good whether they are discussing highly technical aspects of camera gear or the creative choices that photographers make. What I find to be one of the most amussing topics regards so-called pro equipment. The discussions usually come down to the fact that a lot of people assume that without the "pro" equipment you cannot create amazing and marketable images. It's amussing to me because while there can be labels and classifications for everything it is acually the users who are either professional or not. And only they can decide what is the best equipment for their needs.

T
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Jay
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2004, 07:16:40 PM »
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My "cognitive dissoance" with Michael's reviews are that he's very uneven when it comes to criticism.  If the Pentax *ist D RAW convertor was as a bad problematic as the Sony's he'd have made a much bigger deal about it than he did with the Sony.   What the reviews on this site me are really only one thing:  how the equipment works for Michael Reichmann.  

A better review style would be much more even handed in pluses and minuses of different equipment and less influenced by how the equipment suit's Michael personal style.

I'm not surprised that the reviews stir up a lot of contreversy since they tend to make blanket statements about equipment which are really based on a personal preference that rigourous evaluation.

It's always easier to blame the site poster than take a hard look in the mirror.
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Philippe Charles
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2004, 02:58:07 AM »
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Hi Mikael,

Thank you very much for this very relevant article about an effect of "cognitive dissonance" applied to camera comparison.

Usability issues and product adaptation to a given user task are definitivelly more important at the end of the day than abstract and sometime theoretical performance figures.

This is by the way valid for most products. I am dealing with industrial products in my job as product manager and this is one of my headacke: specify and validate a product that will indeed match the user task of my customer!

Just move on with you great job done on this web site!

Best regards,
/Philippe.
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willie408
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2004, 01:58:38 PM »
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Some comments on the "I am what I own" phenomena:

1) The price of many items is an integral part of their value - for example a Timex keeps the same time as a Rolex since both are quartz, these days. This is worth remembering if you sell anything related to art, especially - cheaper may be less attractive to your target universe !

2) Many consumer products are basically designed not so much to do a job as to sell to a target audience. Reviews for example of the new Corvette discuss attributes that (though quite real) are totally irrelevant to 99% of the potential purchasers. It's mechanical characteristics are basically intended to sell it, not to be used.

(For any car nuts - imho the C5 and the newest version are among the very best touring cars ever produced; I would love to have one. I held an SCCA national licens for 25 years. But I spent my money on open wheel Lotuses rather than street cars...)

3) As a middle aged person (75) one of the most irritating things about this culture is the increasing tendency to stratify sales targets by age groups. There is an "approved" living style, including homes, cars, exercise, recreation, women, etc - if you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, etc.

4) One last rant - every day, many times a day, you see people who have spent many, many thousands on their cameras (who can't make decent images), on their cars (who cannot even drive safely), and on their homes - who are themselves morbidly obese.

I fear that the culture of "things" has produced a displacement of how people regard their own worth into a concept of "I am valuable if I own a lot of valuable stuff" - what I weigh, how I behave, and what I know and do are not important.

(Again, I love things, have cameras, cars, etc - but try not to confuse what I own with who I am).

best wishes - willie408
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hapm
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2004, 10:43:35 AM »
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Michael's commentary is much needed. I have been a regular on the dpreview forums and often find individuals questing for the generic "best" camera. I have come to realize that this is directly related to a failure to turn back to themselves and ask critical questions about what they want from photography. Reviews that bring out the camera's ability to perform specific tasks are of great value to pros and amateurs who are task oriented, who have accepted the challenge of directing the camera with their mind and heart to achieve their photographic goal. These reviews will be frustrating for aspiring photographers who think that a great pictures are supposed to come from inside the camera.
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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2004, 08:12:26 PM »
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Well, I think I've written this before. My own view is that modern digital cameras are little technological marvels and it's no wonder that people can get excited about them and discuss their merits and failings ad nauseum.

The point made by some in this thread, that buying an expensive, sophisticated, modern camera doesn't ensure that your photos are going to be interesting, hardly needs mentioning. For that matter, buying an 'E' Type Jaguar does not turn one into a racecar champion, but it might help.

I think here we might have another example of the 'sour grape' effect. Those who are expert and proficient photographers but can't afford, say a 1Ds, must be envious of the wealthy who buy them as toys but can't take a decent photo for toffee. One should not forget, such cameras would be even more expensive than they already are, were it not for the wealthy who buy them as status symbols, or because they have to have the latest and best regardless of cost or simply because they're interested in technology rather than photography. Each to his own.
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Ray
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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2004, 07:45:41 AM »
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Quote
All those pho-tarded technosnobs with more money than brains help bring down the price of real cameras to what us starving artists can afford...
Jonathan,
Be careful you don't insult these wealthy people too much or they might become disenchanted with their toys and we'll have to pay more for our equipment.  Huh
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Hank
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2004, 03:14:45 AM »
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Amen!
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arehrlich
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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2004, 07:50:10 PM »
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4) One last rant - every day, many times a day, you see people who have spent many, many thousands on their cameras (who can't make decent images), on their cars (who cannot even drive safely), and on their homes - who are themselves morbidly obese.

Willie,
This takes me back to the '70s when I was teaching photography in the Princeton, NJ area.  On the first day of class everyone brought in their equipment.  I hadn't seen that many Nikons and Hassie's since I visited B&W in NYC.

When I announced that the only camera that we'd be using was an Instamatic - so we could learn to see and not fiddle with dials and knobs - I lost about a third of the class.

For the rest, I think the course worked wonders.  Nothing to play with except the composition in the viewfinder.

Alan
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2004, 01:55:20 PM »
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DPReview has a tremendous amount of traffic and a lot of posts from people with little photographic knowledge. That newcomers would want to buy the 'best' camera is not at all surprising. Don't we all want the 'best' for our money?

It takes a little bit of experience to know that what is best for one person is not best for another. Some more experience lets one know that there is not even a best camera for an individual. Different tasks can call for different tools.

DPR serves a much wider audience, people interested in digital photography, especially the cameras. This site has a much more narrow emphasis. It's screened out the portrait shooters, wedding photographers, street shooters, etc.

I read the occasional 'dump' on dpreview on this site. I wonder if some of it comes from the cognitive dissonance produced by DPR's popularity?
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Quentin
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« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2004, 05:44:46 AM »
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Another point:  Cognitive dissonance is fed by equiment angst, which is in turn created or at least made worse by the rapid product cycle for digital cameras.  Presumably the pace of development will slow down at some point, but at the moment, consumers feel driven to buy the latest, because in some respects, the latest really is the best - or is percieved to be.

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2004, 10:26:33 AM »
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I find this to be an interesting topic in its own right, regardless of how it plays out in terms of photographic equipment. Being a long-time techy I am baffled by marketing terms such as "branding" but more and more I am forced to acknowledge the reality of their (its) existence. When folks argue about equipment, it's as if their own egos are involved. As if, by buying a piece of equipment, they adopt the "values" of the engineers who designed and built it.

I think there may be something in the water. Why should we attach our own self-image to something we buy and use? It's an interesting question. It happens with cars, watches, clothes, you name it. I am certain it serves some purpose and I think it is not accidental, that is, forces are at work to lead us to behave this way because someone benefits from it.

But having said that, some tech reviews are very useful. As someone pointed out in another forum thread, it's good to have someone test/report on battery usage and other objective or semi-objective aspects of a camera. The fact it is that it is not that easy for the average buyer to get access at a camera for testing. Stores don't lend them out to guys like me.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2004, 11:34:50 PM »
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As has been pointed out, the gray matter behind the camera is ultimately the most significant factor in photography. Having good equipment can reduce the limitations imposed on one's work by the tools used to create it, but will not magically enable one to excel in any line of work. Having Snap-On tools will not make you a better mechanic, a Ferrari will not make you a better driver, and a 1Ds will not make you a better photographer. Yes, analyzing and comparing the relative merits of one camera vs. another can be fun and useful up to a point, but if that becomes your primary focus you are missing the point. Get the best gear you can afford, but once you have it, use it! Go take some photos, and always try to improve your skills. A camera is a means to an end, not the end itself.
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2004, 12:41:16 PM »
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OK, then: I'd better not hear that any of you guys have bought any new camera equipment after this.


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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2004, 12:13:20 AM »
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I think here we might have another example of the 'sour grape' effect. Those who are expert and proficient photographers but can't afford, say a 1Ds, must be envious of the wealthy who buy them as toys but can't take a decent photo for toffee. One should not forget, such cameras would be even more expensive than they already are, were it not for the wealthy who buy them as status symbols, or because they have to have the latest and best regardless of cost or simply because they're interested in technology rather than photography. Each to his own.
Excellent point, Ray! All those pho-tarded technosnobs with more money than brains help bring down the price of real cameras to what us starving artists can afford...
 
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2004, 07:26:18 PM »
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What the reviews on this site me are really only one thing: how the equipment works for Michael Reichmann.
Are they meant to be anything else? Why are you surprised?
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