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The Law of Unintended Consequences

 
 
Robert Coe
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      02-03-2012
Last month my boss at work asked me if I needed any new photo equipment. Since
I do a fair amount of indoor event photography, I asked for Canon's latest and
greatest 70-200 f/2.8. It arrived last week, and I used it for the first time
at a photo shoot last night (the opening of an art exhibit for Black History
Month). When I got home and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I could see
that the lens had done a really good job. (So much for the baloney circulating
in this newsgroup that equipment hardly matters.) I showed some of them to my
wife, whose reaction was, "Wow, these make me think that maybe I need a new
$2000 lens too!" <ulp!>

I'm probably off the hook, at least for now, since I can't imagine Martha
actually being willing to use a lens that heavy. (She won't carry a camera
heavier than her T2i.) But it was a close call. ;^)

Bob
 
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nick c
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      02-04-2012
Robert Coe wrote:
> Last month my boss at work asked me if I needed any new photo equipment. Since
> I do a fair amount of indoor event photography, I asked for Canon's latest and
> greatest 70-200 f/2.8. It arrived last week, and I used it for the first time
> at a photo shoot last night (the opening of an art exhibit for Black History
> Month). When I got home and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I could see
> that the lens had done a really good job. (So much for the baloney circulating
> in this newsgroup that equipment hardly matters.) I showed some of them to my
> wife, whose reaction was, "Wow, these make me think that maybe I need a new
> $2000 lens too!" <ulp!>


Baloney! No doubt the lens is a good lens but it didn't do the
composing, didn't chose to take a photograph, didn't set up the camera,
or any number of things that you would do when deciding what to do and
the best way to do it. Good for you, you did well.

Nick

>
> I'm probably off the hook, at least for now, since I can't imagine Martha
> actually being willing to use a lens that heavy. (She won't carry a camera
> heavier than her T2i.) But it was a close call. ;^)
>
> Bob

 
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nick c
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      02-04-2012
Eric Stevens wrote:
> On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 19:06:00 -0800, nick c <(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:
>
>> Robert Coe wrote:
>>> Last month my boss at work asked me if I needed any new photo equipment. Since
>>> I do a fair amount of indoor event photography, I asked for Canon's latest and
>>> greatest 70-200 f/2.8. It arrived last week, and I used it for the first time
>>> at a photo shoot last night (the opening of an art exhibit for Black History
>>> Month). When I got home and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I could see
>>> that the lens had done a really good job. (So much for the baloney circulating
>>> in this newsgroup that equipment hardly matters.) I showed some of them to my
>>> wife, whose reaction was, "Wow, these make me think that maybe I need a new
>>> $2000 lens too!" <ulp!>

>> Baloney! No doubt the lens is a good lens but it didn't do the
>> composing, didn't chose to take a photograph, didn't set up the camera,
>> or any number of things that you would do when deciding what to do and
>> the best way to do it. Good for you, you did well.

>
> Maybe the lens didn't do all those things but it made sure that
> Robert's efforts were not a waste of time.


I can agree with that. However, photography is like many
hobbies/professions. The best equipment may be bought but it's the
product of both the equipment and users capabilities that determines if
the cost of the finest equipment was a worthwhile expenditure. Thoughts
have little to no boundaries but equipment has design limitations.
Ultimately, both are dependent upon each other but the mind rules.



>> Nick
>>
>>> I'm probably off the hook, at least for now, since I can't imagine Martha
>>> actually being willing to use a lens that heavy. (She won't carry a camera
>>> heavier than her T2i.) But it was a close call. ;^)
>>>
>>> Bob

>
> Regards,
>
> Eric Stevens

 
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Robert Coe
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      02-04-2012
On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 20:43:41 -0800, nick c <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: Eric Stevens wrote:
: > On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 19:06:00 -0800, nick c <(E-Mail Removed)>
: > wrote:
: >
: >> Robert Coe wrote:
: >>> Last month my boss at work asked me if I needed any new photo equipment. Since
: >>> I do a fair amount of indoor event photography, I asked for Canon's latest and
: >>> greatest 70-200 f/2.8. It arrived last week, and I used it for the first time
: >>> at a photo shoot last night (the opening of an art exhibit for Black History
: >>> Month). When I got home and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I could see
: >>> that the lens had done a really good job. (So much for the baloney circulating
: >>> in this newsgroup that equipment hardly matters.) I showed some of them to my
: >>> wife, whose reaction was, "Wow, these make me think that maybe I need a new
: >>> $2000 lens too!" <ulp!>
: >> Baloney! No doubt the lens is a good lens but it didn't do the
: >> composing, didn't chose to take a photograph, didn't set up the camera,
: >> or any number of things that you would do when deciding what to do and
: >> the best way to do it. Good for you, you did well.
: >
: > Maybe the lens didn't do all those things but it made sure that
: > Robert's efforts were not a waste of time.
:
: I can agree with that. However, photography is like many
: hobbies/professions. The best equipment may be bought but it's the
: product of both the equipment and users capabilities that determines if
: the cost of the finest equipment was a worthwhile expenditure. Thoughts
: have little to no boundaries but equipment has design limitations.
: Ultimately, both are dependent upon each other but the mind rules.

As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the point
in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could see it; my
wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too. It couldn't
have been just my formidable skill. I've been learning event photography over
the past four years or so, but it's a gradual process. I wouldn't have
improved that much from one job to the next.

Yes, a sloppy, undisciplined, uninformed photographer (and I've been all of
those) won't find much benefit in better equipment. But once you start to get
better, removing some of the limitations of your current equipment can make a
significant difference. That's why experienced professionals generally have
the best equipment available for their particular photographic discipline. It
isn't just because they like to spend money and show off. If you're an
experienced professional yourself, you surely know this; if you're not, ask
one what (s)he thinks.

Bob
 
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Bruce
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      02-04-2012
Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 20:43:41 -0800, nick c <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>: Eric Stevens wrote:
>: > On Fri, 03 Feb 2012 19:06:00 -0800, nick c <(E-Mail Removed)>
>: > wrote:
>: >> Robert Coe wrote:
>: >>> Last month my boss at work asked me if I needed any new photo equipment. Since
>: >>> I do a fair amount of indoor event photography, I asked for Canon's latest and
>: >>> greatest 70-200 f/2.8. It arrived last week, and I used it for the first time
>: >>> at a photo shoot last night (the opening of an art exhibit for Black History
>: >>> Month). When I got home and uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I could see
>: >>> that the lens had done a really good job. (So much for the baloney circulating
>: >>> in this newsgroup that equipment hardly matters.) I showed some of them to my
>: >>> wife, whose reaction was, "Wow, these make me think that maybe I need a new
>: >>> $2000 lens too!" <ulp!>
>: >> Baloney! No doubt the lens is a good lens but it didn't do the
>: >> composing, didn't chose to take a photograph, didn't set up the camera,
>: >> or any number of things that you would do when deciding what to do and
>: >> the best way to do it. Good for you, you did well.
>: >
>: > Maybe the lens didn't do all those things but it made sure that
>: > Robert's efforts were not a waste of time.
>:
>: I can agree with that. However, photography is like many
>: hobbies/professions. The best equipment may be bought but it's the
>: product of both the equipment and users capabilities that determines if
>: the cost of the finest equipment was a worthwhile expenditure. Thoughts
>: have little to no boundaries but equipment has design limitations.
>: Ultimately, both are dependent upon each other but the mind rules.
>
>As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the point
>in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could see it; my
>wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too. It couldn't
>have been just my formidable skill. I've been learning event photography over
>the past four years or so, but it's a gradual process. I wouldn't have
>improved that much from one job to the next.
>
>Yes, a sloppy, undisciplined, uninformed photographer (and I've been all of
>those) won't find much benefit in better equipment. But once you start to get
>better, removing some of the limitations of your current equipment can make a
>significant difference. That's why experienced professionals generally have
>the best equipment available for their particular photographic discipline. It
>isn't just because they like to spend money and show off. If you're an
>experienced professional yourself, you surely know this; if you're not, ask
>one what (s)he thinks.



When a competent photographer makes the move from consumer grade zoom
to a professional zoom or fixed focal length lens, the difference can
be startling. Not only is there an improvement in resolution, there
is also a significant improvement in contrast. The two improvements
combine to produce a paradigm shift in terms of apparent sharpness.

Unfortunately, many camera owners will never see this difference.

Perhaps they cannot afford to, so won't ever get the chance. They may
put so much value on the convenience of their 10X superzoom as a "walk
around" lens (one that never comes off the camera) that they simply
can't or won't see any benefit in a "mere 3X zoom". Some might try a
top quality lens but won't be able to recognise the difference in
image quality even though it is staring them in the face.

But to the select few who get the opportunity to use pro quality glass
*and* appreciate the difference, there is no greater satisfaction than
producing top quality results with a fine lens.


[Your wife needn't spend $2000 when the 70-200mm f/4L with comparable
optical quality, but a stop less speed, is available for a mere $599
from B&H.]


 
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PeterN
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      02-04-2012
On 2/4/2012 9:04 AM, Robert Coe wrote:

<snip>

> As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the point
> in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could see it; my
> wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too.


At least you've convinced yourself she was joking.


<snip>
--
Peter
 
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Robert Coe
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      02-04-2012
On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:29:54 -0500, PeterN <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
: On 2/4/2012 9:04 AM, Robert Coe wrote:
:
: <snip>
:
: > As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the
: > point in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could
: > see it; my wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too.
:
: At least you've convinced yourself she was joking.

Pretty much, because I don't think she'd be willing to lug it around. But if
she ever did decide she really wanted a 70-200, I might take Bruce's advice
and get her the f/4. I haven't looked at the specs, but it should be a lot
lighter and easier to handle. And she doesn't do nearly as much indoor
photography as I do. When she does, though, she prefers available light, so
who knows?

Bob
 
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Bruce
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      02-04-2012
Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:29:54 -0500, PeterN <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>: On 2/4/2012 9:04 AM, Robert Coe wrote:
>: <snip>
>: > As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the
>: > point in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could
>: > see it; my wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too.
>:
>: At least you've convinced yourself she was joking.
>
>Pretty much, because I don't think she'd be willing to lug it around. But if
>she ever did decide she really wanted a 70-200, I might take Bruce's advice



.... you're welcome


>and get her the f/4. I haven't looked at the specs, but it should be a lot
>lighter and easier to handle.



It's lighter and more compact, but it has the same build quality and
optical excellence as the f/2.8.

There is an IS version at $1131 (B&H) but the version without IS is
spectacular value at $599 - offer ends today, though. Tomorrow, it
will be $674.


>And she doesn't do nearly as much indoor
>photography as I do. When she does, though, she prefers available light, so
>who knows?



Is the f/2.8 for your use only?

 
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Robert Coe
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      02-04-2012
On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 17:26:28 +0000, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 10:29:54 -0500, PeterN <(E-Mail Removed)>
: >wrote:
: >: On 2/4/2012 9:04 AM, Robert Coe wrote:
: >: <snip>
: >: > As a general statement, there's a lot of truth in what you say. But the
: >: > point in this case is that the new lens made my pictures better. I could
: >: > see it; my wife could see it. That's why she joked about getting one too.
: >:
: >: At least you've convinced yourself she was joking.
: >
: >Pretty much, because I don't think she'd be willing to lug it around. But if
: >she ever did decide she really wanted a 70-200, I might take Bruce's advice
:
:
: ... you're welcome
:
:
: >and get her the f/4. I haven't looked at the specs, but it should be a lot
: >lighter and easier to handle.
:
:
: It's lighter and more compact, but it has the same build quality and
: optical excellence as the f/2.8.
:
: There is an IS version at $1131 (B&H) but the version without IS is
: spectacular value at $599 - offer ends today, though. Tomorrow, it
: will be $674.

I think that's the same offer that allowed us to get the f/2.8 for $2000
instead of $2300.

: >And she doesn't do nearly as much indoor photography as I do. When
: >she does, though, she prefers available light, so who knows?
:
:
: Is the f/2.8 for your use only?

Effectively, yes. The f/2.8 belongs to my employer, a city government; and
there are laws dealing with personal use of government property. I'd probably
get away with letting Martha use the lens occasionally, as long as I was
discreet about it. But if it got lost or damaged while she was using it, I'd
be personally responsible. On the whole, it's not a risk worth taking.

Bob
 
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Bruce
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      02-04-2012
Robert Coe <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>On Sat, 04 Feb 2012 17:26:28 +0000, Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>: It's lighter and more compact, but it has the same build quality and
>: optical excellence as the f/2.8.
>: There is an IS version at $1131 (B&H) but the version without IS is
>: spectacular value at $599 - offer ends today, though. Tomorrow, it
>: will be $674.
>
>I think that's the same offer that allowed us to get the f/2.8 for $2000
>instead of $2300.



It's a great offer. I wish that Canon Europe (and other distributors)
had the same freedom to offer incentives. The photo market is very
subdued here and would benefit from some encouragement to buy.


>: Is the f/2.8 for your use only?
>
>Effectively, yes. The f/2.8 belongs to my employer, a city government; and
>there are laws dealing with personal use of government property. I'd probably
>get away with letting Martha use the lens occasionally, as long as I was
>discreet about it. But if it got lost or damaged while she was using it, I'd
>be personally responsible. On the whole, it's not a risk worth taking.



I agree, it would not be a good idea. The city government must think
a lot of you; I have no doubt that they value your dependability above
all. The photographer who reliably turns up on time and does the job
the way the client wants it done is the one who gets the repeat
business.

As clients often tell me, there are many highly qualified pro
photographers who are capable of delivering beautiful images but are
unreliable. They either don't turn up on time, are difficult to work
with or don't deliver what the client wanted. Most clients won't
tolerate that; what they want is someone they can depend on.

 
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