Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Internet/Youtube Morons

Whenever I'm looking into new camera systems, makes and models, I do what any red-blooded computer savvy shopper does, I go on the internet.

But anyone who has 'researched' cameras this way also knows that there is a lot of 'dross' out there - especially on Youtube. This ranges from the 'unboxing' (who the heck cares) videos, through to the poorly shot, poorly lit, poorly recorded, poorly worded (umm, snort, sniff, er, arr, umm, snort, well, umm....) in-depth camera 'reviews' from teenagers (mostly) who got their first 'bitchin' camera last week and just had to tell the whole world about how amazingly 'rad' this thing is. Like, 'woteva'.

Then there are the 'opinion' reviewers - the guys who have never even handled/used the gear, but know immediately from reading the spec sheet just how crap/brilliant/boring this new camera will be, and why you should/shouldn't get it. Yes, opinions are like noses - everybody's got one. But some noses are bigger than others. And some people should just keep their big noses out of it!

I'm not going to name names, but there is one guy in particular who is very prolific in this 'opinion' type Youtube video 'review' of cameras. I know more than enough to take him with a grain of salt, but one I watched recently on his '6 reasons not to buy the Sony a77' really got my blood boiling.

Sony a77. Trust me... Buy one :-)
Now I'm not being a Sony 'fan-boy' just because I'm moving to Sony and will shoot their gear shortly... I'm really not.

Sony, Canon, Nikon, Pentax - they all make great cameras. Use whatever you want - and I don't mean exclusively. I have a Canon 50D with 10-22mm that I will keep and use, even when I make the switch over to Sony. Who cares?

What really annoyed me about what this guy on Youtube said - offering up to less experienced viewers as 'fact' - was the complete and utter rubbish that almost all (if not all) of his claims actually happen to be. Let me break them down for you...

Reason number 1 for not buying a Sony a77 is that the 24MP sensor won't be as good in low light than the 16MP sensor in the Nikon D7000.  For starters - can anyone tell me how one of these things is not like the other? The 'Sony' made sensor in the D7000 is 16MP, while the one in the A77 is 24MP. We're not comparing apples with apples already. And, according to the camera review website dpreview, the low light performance of the a77 is pretty darn good. They say, and I quote "In Raw mode, we can see what the A77's 24MP sensor is really capable of. Detail capture is very high indeed, even at ISO 800, although at this setting some noise 'speckles' are visible in areas of plain tone. Overall though, the A77 turns in an excellent performance in this test, delivering appreciably more detail than we've ever seen from an APS-C format DSLR before."

Is the sensor in the a77 the best low light sensor in the world? No. Of course it's not. But is that a reason not to buy it? NO - Of course it's NOT. It still amazes me how hung up on 'low' noise, 'high' ISO so many photographers are. Believe me - sensor performance will not be an issue with the Sony a77.

Reason number 2 for not buying a Sony a77 (and almost by inference any Sony camera) - poor lens selection. Now this one really gets my blood pressure rising. So much so that I'm actually going to do a more detailed analysis in a follow-up post to this one. I've heard this so many times from Canon and Nikon users, but it's just nonsense. Nuff said for the time being. But I will follow this up soon. Trust me - lens selection will NOT be an issue if you buy a Sony camera.

Reason 3 for not buying a Sony a77 - no Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) flash control. I guess that rules out buying a Canon camera too then? But actually - once again, the moron on Youtube doesn't have a clue what he's on about. Yes, the Nikon CLS wireless flash control is really nice. I've used it myself, and agree that it is (was) much better than the Canon system. BUT - it was actually Minolta who created wireless flash years ago with their film cameras. And yes, this wireless flash system has carried over to the Sony digital system - like the a77! For some reason (don't ask me why), Minolta never really ever made a big deal about their wireless flash system that they had for years before anyone else. In fact, the advertising and marketing team at Minolta really did drop the ball on many of Minolta's achievements. Sony is a little better in this regard - but it should still be they, and not Nikon, who we think of when we think of a 'creative' lighting system. Nikon - and finally now Canon, have only ever played 'catch-up'.

Reason 4 - poor re-sale value. Really!? Take a quick look at my blog and you'll see that I'm a photographer who regularly buys and sells systems - a lot. I don't think that I'll have poor re-sale value if I buy an A77 as opposed to a Nikon or Canon. And nor do I think that this should even factor into any purchasing decision you make on camera gear. Besides which, as we all know, camera bodies come and go... it's the glass that makes the difference (and holds its value).

Reason 5 for not buying a Sony a77 (and again all Sony's by inference) - no Pros shoot with Sony. Right about now I'm shaking my head in disbelief. Because 'A' - this is blatantly not true, and 'B' who cares even if it was!? Ever heard of Gary Fong? Sony shooter. Check out celebrity portrait photographer Brian Smith - a Sony shooter. Oh, and yeah - just another photographer you 'may' have heard of - Trey Ratcliff. Sony NEX shooter. And I could name plenty more 'professional' photographers I know here in New Zealand who are Sony shooters. Now is that a reason to buy a Sony a77? No, of course it isn't. But is it also a reason not to buy a Sony!? Oh please!!!!

And finally - reason number 6 for not buying a Sony a77... the new phase detection auto focus system will be great for video - but might not be good for photography. Pardon? Again, I must stress that this is a review from a guy who hasn't even handled one of these cameras. Yet he's prepared to tell you that the new autofocus system might not be 'good enough' for stills photography. What? Is 12fps not fast enough for you fella? To be fair, I haven't used the camera either. But I have watched a video showing someone actually using the camera to follow fast moving sports action - and their analysis... it's plenty fast enough.

There's a lot of good information to be found on the internet for someone looking at buying new camera gear. But there's also some complete dross as well. Sony are making (and have already made) some amazing cameras - and lenses - and don't deserve to be written-off the way many Canon/Nikon centric shooters do. I've used them all, and I'm looking forward to my move to Sony. I actually seriously see it as a step 'up'. So be careful what you read/watch on the internet (and yes, that includes this as well). Opinions are like noses, and some people have seriously big noses.

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