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The power of Marketing


The power of marketing :)

Who can actually avoid the influence of marketing nowadays? At least I do not. Every time, when I watch TV or look at an ad of a magazine, I suddenly crave that really yummy looking 1 minute-soup in the ad. As a "good consumer" I brush my teeth with the latest developed toothpaste, convinced that my teeth will live longer than I do. And tears well up in my eyes when I see this TV-ad of a car that is much more powerful and has thousand features more than my modest means of transport.

Nevertheless I think I am a normal human being. And I am getting relaxed again, when I realize that almost everybody is doing the same. If that would not be the case the cool marketing guys would be unemployed and many photo magazines would be a lot thinner.

Marketing in the photo-industry is not at all different to cars/computers etc.. If I look at all the nice ads in the journals or so called sophisticated tests-reviews of photo magazines, I am suddenly "convinced" to have used the wrong camera/lens for ages. Worse, I would do everything even take a loan on my farm to be soon the proud owner of the new "wonder".

The big disappointment after using it: I realize that this "wonder" does not really take better pictures than I do. I came across of a very good summary of all the never ending lens-testing questions in the internet.

"Most lenses are better than most photographers"

The same counts in my opinion for camera bodies.

Nowadays it is easy to believe. "You push the button and we do the rest“. An old Kodak marketing phrase for their new beginner model years ago - is with digital cameras even more attractive to the potential buyer.

Some people seem to believe, that as long as the autofocus is 50 milliseconds faster, the matrix-metering has more sensors or the shutter is more silent, they could take better pictures.

Everybody knows that there have been so many famous pictures taken with cameras and lenses, which would not win the newest test of magazines and which even have not slightly the features of a modern camera. So why everybody is bothering so much about this. Why not instead using your time in improving your technique of taking pictures? Or why not just take pictures instead of hunting for the newest models?

Please do not misunderstand me. I think improvements are good. And I appreciate every effort of camera and lens-makers to make good products even better. But as a consumer I should think also whether I need this or that feature/improvement really for my own kind of photography. Everybody has different needs. What is important for my neighbour for his kind of shooting style must not be important for me.

Of course I also look for tests, read MTF-charts (for more information about MTF look in the specific folder) and compare camera models. But this should be just an indication for the beginning of a buying decision. You can read a lot good postings in the internet, which is also very good at the beginning to be aware of eventual difficulties of a specific camera model/lens. But be careful, not every posting should be taken to seriously. Everybody has a different benchmark for testing.

At the end of the day you have to make up your own mind by using it yourself. Or would you buy a car without test driving it, just because someone wrote in a test that he likes it?

Always keep in mind:

"The virtue of the camera is not the power it has to transform the photographer into an artist, but the impulse it gives him to keep on looking." - Brooks Anderson

Best wishes



Amen, I agree. Technology has blinded us to the artistry of a solid composition in the photograph. Of course, I like to balance both. Having some technology is important in the camera (look at the R8's brilliant matrix metering system as well ;)...) Cool beans. The N1 is very exceptional for its price point and I disagree. It's just as, if not more, professional than any Nikon F5 or Canon EOS-3 camera



The decision as to which camera technologies are significantly beneficial and which are not is certainly a personal one. For me, thru-the-lens metering is almost a necessity, and aperture-priority is very desirable. Autofocus, however, is not a benefit for me; I have owned a G-2 and tried out a 645, and found that the delay between pushing the shutter release and the actual picture taking, although seemingly small, is very disconcerting. I have "retreated" to the manual-focus Contax SLR and the Leica M-6, and will stay there.

Ben Crabtree


To each his own. The photographer counts much, much more than the equipement. Dirk hit the nail of the head with many comments that concur with this basic thought.

At the end of Walker Evans carrer he worked almost exclusively with a Polaroid Land Camera. Why? he loved the instant and final nature of it. Also he said repeatedly only photographers of great experience should consider such a medium. They must be ready for it. I'd say he was 'qualified'! I wonder what he'd say about digital?

Robert Frank uses G-2 and T-3s now. Not his fabled Ms. And so what? He use the cameras that work for him. I mean how old is now? Eye sight does not improve with age without Laser correction:). My thinking is if you give him a Polarid Joy Cam his 'sticker' pics would be great. He is that talented.

As for AF slrs:try them all-rent. You will see why the real pros (journalists) that you shoot film swear by Canon.

Their jobs are on the line. They don't get to fetishize brochures. Their focus had better track and be accurate in a split second. Nikon AFS and Contax (knock-off of USM) are all attempts to get to the level of AF speed, silence and accuracy of Canon's USM.

Contax will be the first of the two to catch up. Why. They are starting with a much wider mount than the retro F mount. Look at the similarities of the width of the Contax and Canon mounts vs. the narrow Nikon. This narrow mount will forever leave Nikon at a disadvantage. Wider mounts also aid in stronger mounts and flatter more accurate mounting.

Contax is still building their N lenses as if they are manual focus (too much metal, overbuilt). This is an abvious hurdle to AF speed.

If Canon's L lenses fell apart journalist would not use them. They are strong and light. I'd prefer more metal like Contax but it is not feasible. I prefer superior speed. Afterall what else are these AF monsters for?

The L lenses hold their own against both competitors. The next generation of N lenses may get it all right.

Like Ben I love my m-6s. I may go with a fully manual slr but for now I am sticking with 1V I used for some press work in past and event coverage. If do go manual I will follow Ben and probably get a MF Contax slr.

Any technology is only useful if you have a use for it. James Nachtwey (the best journalist in the world in my opinon) use Canons to compose and focus images that would not be photographable otherwise. So AF is very valuble to his working style.

So to close where I began to each his own.


Just to follow through on this. I wanted to note this about Zeiss (not Contax/Kyocera). I made an inquiry via the web site about some products. They followed up with detailed reply very politely the next day. My question might have been a bit unusual about one of their spotting scopes in conjunction with their new SLR adapter. I asked if there were any images to be seen made with this combination. To my surprise, although they didn't have any on-hand - they have offered to make some and send them to me! How is that for backing up your product and taking care of your customers? All the way from Germany right to the US. Add to that, I have called their US office, Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc. in Chester, Virginia and received royal treatment. Real people on the phone answering me politely and in as much detail as I needed. They even made suggestions I hadn't thought about as far as searching for some of this gear locally. As I have said in the past, Zeiss will have my loyalty always. I love their stuff and I love they way they make even a tiny customer like me feel very important. I don't have this same love of Kyocera/Contax. I wish they would take a lesson from Zeiss. -Lynn


Well-Known Member

Thanks for the report. Too bad about Contax USA - is Contax this negligent on all continents? I believe that quality service adds to the bottom line, and it sounds like Zeiss has a clue. I just researched two CZ products with intention to buy: full-size Zeiss Victory 8x40 binoculars, and prescription optics. is full of useful info beyond camera lens specifications. Their writeup on glasswear, defects of human vision, and optical solutions is very helpful. My current glasses are uncoated, and the reflections drive me crazy.


Cc> >Too bad about Contax USA - is Contax this negligent on all continents? Cc> Maybe in Japan?