Strange world we live in...

Lately I have been observing one of the greatest demonstration of mass stupidity: people buying Beats by Dre headphones.

Now I am not denying that they are quality headphones, reviews tend to agree so. Also I never tried one. However, they costs up to 400$ and are bought by people as a high fidelity instrument - nothing wrong here either - to listen to MP3s. That is unbelievably illogical.

Since the history of recording, MP3 is the lowest quality signal you can get to listen to music, by far. Vinyls, tapes and CDs were a millions times better, and following a logical evolution path. MP3s ruin the recording, they are originally for 128M USB stick portable players ! I don't even play them in my car, it's silent enough to listen to CDs and notice a huge difference.
So why in hell would you buy Beats headphone for 400$ to listen to MP3s on you Iphone ???? Because LMFAO have them on every shot in their videos I guess. Sad sad world. (If you bought them for you home CD player, you are not concerned^^)

"Ronan..." you might say, "what the hell does this have to do with photography?" Ah ! Well reader, it has a lot to do with photography, because the exact same applies to our field.

Yesterday a fellow shooter on Google + (that I recommend a million times over FB) posted 2 medium format shots and said "Oops, I think I wasted 5 years of my life shooting digital". 

The only things you really need in a camera: large sensor, solid build, spot metering, great lens. Appart from rough conditions shooting (sports, journalism), the art photographer needs none of that digital mess. 

Indeed, digital is in many many ways to photography what MP3s are to audio recording. There are of course some flaws in my comparison: digital can be superior to film for different kinds of use, and used properly, a full frame camera with the right lens can be close enough to film to justify using digital. A journalist for example is much better off with digital. For low light, it is clearly superior too. But the price...

If you are aiming at shooting in ideal light conditions, for best looking image possible (sharp, crisp, well toned, great dynamic range and nice blur) digital is by nature inferior to film due to the size of sensors and the way they work. It is a fact, it cannot be denied.

Why am I mentioning this? Well I believe that many many of us spent a lot of money in expensive digital gear, to later invest in medium format after realizing that this is the real thing. However we keep on using digital for convenience, hoping it will one day match our Hasselblad or Mamiya.

The problem is that as the consumer (us) is poorly educated, manufacturers promote whatever crap feature they feel like promoting, and consumers keep on buying digital cameras that cost twice as much as the best camera you can get on the market, without having a clue.

It is up to us to say out loud "Hey, Nikon, Canon, Pentax and others ! We want 60x70 mm sensors, put it in a DSLR sized body and it will be OK to pay 5000$ for that! Also make corresponding lenses please. Anti vibration? Well if you shoot at the right speed or stop going coke, it should be sharp. Now give us good prime lenses that open wide instead !"

If we don't educate ourselves, they'll keep launching cameras with 789 AF points, 16 frames per second, ISO 500 000 and other things that are useless unless you shoot sports and wildlife (I have never taken better shoots than since I meter myself and focus manually. Fact). We need to ask for what we really need. I won't pay 4000$ for a SLR body that is 35mm format, because I will always go medium format when I want to shoot quality. I won't pay 20 000$  for fake medium format backs that are in fact 40x30mm ! 

 Shot with a Mamiya RZ67 (900$ @ Adorama with lens), Fuji Pro 400H film

 Shot with a Mamiya 645 (246$ on ebay), Kodak Tri X film

                                         Shot with a Mamiya RZ67, VC400 film

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