Throw her Away?

In my dim and now distant past youth I had an album or two by a group known as "Sparks". Formed in Los Angeles by Ron and Russel Mael, they were strange and decidedly quirky guys who wrote and performed some equally odd songs.  Right up there at say quirk factor number 8 or so was a little ditty titled “Throw Her Away” (and get a new one).

The concept being of course that your girlfriend will soon lose the gloss and appeal, she will become your old girlfriend and the best thing you can do is trade up before the decline sets in.  If she’s not perfect, she goes!  And there is always a better girl out there!

Some people, actually quite a few, see their cameras in the same way.

No camera is perfect, not even at the start of the relationship, all have a few warts, perhaps an idiosyncrasy or two, maybe they look all hot on the outside but get bad tempered under certain conditions.  Guess what you and I are not are not perfect photographers either.

We have all heard the saying, a bad tradesman blames his tools. I reckon there is a fair degree of truth in that, I can remember as a teenager I marvelled as I watched my dad, (a carpenter) do magic with a simple bench plane.   Me?  All I could do was make divots in an otherwise pristine piece of fine timber....must of been the plane!.

Somehow Dad had a feel for the action of that plane, he knew how to set it just so, when to adjust those little brass levers and the big knob and how to gently coax that fine old blade to a razor edge.  He could feel the plane protest at the grain before it even happened and accommodate it in his stroke.  Could he have bought a new and better plane, maybe, but in reality he had an affinity with that plane, as he did with a great many of his tools.

I reckon once you buy a new camera you should stop reading camera reviews, they will make it harder for you to accept and bond with your new camera. Consider the parallel of finding a new girlfriend, commencing dating, but still haunting the dating sites.  You just know it's not going to end well!

And lets call a spade a spade here, not all camera reviews can be fully trusted anyway, advertising can revenue can and does purchase certain favors and of those that can be trusted, the minutiae of what gets criticized is of little import in the scheme of actually taking photographs. 

Sometimes biases exist, sometimes reviewers are seeing things through a different prism to consumers.

It happens in all market areas, in OZ for example a certain brand of car, ("Ve vill mention no names, I know nuzing"), has won a wide array of awards from all sorts of magazines.  Now don't get me wrong, these cars drive like a dream of the showroom floor, they have it all, which is probably why many reviewers love them.  Except.......these cars are notoriously unreliable across the range of models they build and any mechanic can tell you tales of expensive horror and woe.   Does this seem to have any effect upon the gushing of motoring writers with regard to ze brand? 

Reviewers don't actually have to pay for the vehicle and all its future faults or live with it for 5 years, so no, the reliability issues don't count, Not a bit.  I also suspect the many advertorial dollars in play has some impact, you know the old saying, "he who pays the piper plays the tune."

So back to cameras.... sometimes the media can take a set against a camera or brand or range, you've no doubt read the following.

Oh this new Canikon Son D6-800 A7s takes 5 milliseconds longer to lock focus and the start up time is .01 seconds longer than its nearest rival.  And horror of horrors we had 5 frames not properly focused out of the 500 test shot we took!  5 Frames!  Imagine the front these manufacturers releasing such a piece of half cooked junk.  And then there is menu problem, it's terrible, the compression setting is on the third tab instead of where we all know it should be, on tab 2!

Heres some real advice for you, don’t throw her away and get a new one, adapt!

If the focus is slightly slow, learn to pre-empt better or even more importantly adjust the focus menu items if possible to make it faster.  If the fastest shutter speed is a mere 1/4000 and you need to use the f1.4 lens wide open buy an ND filter, its cheaper than a new camera.

So the camera consistently underexposes by half a stop!  Well try this, adjust your exposure compensation up half as stop as your default position.

Whats that you say, don’t like the colour rendition out of the camera.  Well roll your own, go find the parameter settings or even better try fine tuning your white balance.

So you get the occasional blurry shot from camera movement, learn to press the shutter more smoothly or hold the camera better, raise the ISO, use a faster lens, open the aperture a bit and watch where you focus a bit more carefully.

The interesting thing about adapting to your camera is all those annoying little quirks become irrelevant, and in the end that will equate to you being free to shoot more fluidly and perhaps more creatively.

No camera is perfect, but almost any camera can give better results if you really know how to use it and take the time get to know one another, build a relationship so to speak and work around its deficiencies, small as they usually are. 

And how long will that take.....oh I find about 10,000 frames.  

Whats that you say, you trade up a 5000 frames or the next model, whichever comes first!

Oh you really are a marketers dream!

I understand the temptation, really I do, lately I have been tempted by miss A7r and that sweet little firecracker RX1 looks sooo nice and lets not mention the smooth new A6000 Nex impostor.  But I find the best way to kill the temptation is go and take a few pics with the old gals.  Works every time

Hard fact, most people I come across in classes saying they need a new camera, actually need to read the instructions manual for their old one first, take a few shots and adapt.

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