An open note to camera makers, marketing departments and agencies

Dear Brand,

Please give your prototypes to people who a) are photographers and b) know how to make interesting photographs. This way, all of the operational bugs and issues can be ironed out before bringing to market a flawed product that will backfire and harm your reputation later*. Your eager early adopters are your most loyal customers and are not beta testers. It will cost you more to rectify retroactively, too.

*In the last couple of years alone: D600 oil spots, D800/D800E/D4 left focus, D750 dark band/shading, E-M1 shutter vibration, A7R shutter vibration, A7/7R/7S raw compression, M9/S2 sensor cracking, M9 card corruption, M240 lugs falling off, X-trans and Merrill/Quattro workflow…the list is endless…

Furthermore, you do yourself no favours by publishing mediocre images that do not show what your products can do nor excite any strong feelings of ‘want’ in your potential customers. This will become increasingly important to taking over market share and growing sales in the face of an increasingly saturated market. I would be happy to help out.

Sincerely
Ming Thein

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Take your photography to the next level: 2015 Masterclasses now open for booking in Prague (9-14 Mar 2015) and Lucerne (17-22 Mar 2015)

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Limited edition Ultraprints of these images and others are available from mingthein.gallery

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Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

On the democratization of art

mariuszwatz
Marius Watz, with permission from the Absolut Art Exchange

The current state of the art world – at least what passes as fine art by conventional measures* is almost always determined by a select few – the select few, I should say. There seem to follow two types of people: those who ‘get it’, or at least are willing to submit to the opinions of the few; then there are the other type, who tend to be more open to the artist and creator putting forward their views on what should be art. I’ve always made it very clear which camp I fall in; it can’t be art to you if you don’t ‘get it’ without having to be told.

*At this point I always ask whether anybody claims to have seen or create ‘coarse art'; the answer is inevitably in the negative.

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‘Interstellar’, the movies, and the general creative state of play


Interstellar official trailer #3

I found time to watch a movie the other day. This is an unusual occurrence for me because it takes a huge chunk out of my day; but it was raining and I was on foot without an umbrella. Interstellar was showing, and happened to be something whose trailer did actually show promise. Plus I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan; I have no doubt that history will look back on him as one of the greats – both for his visuals and his storytelling. This post is not so much a review as some observations and musings after three hours in a theatre seat from the point of view of a photographer…

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What camera should I buy?

what camera should I buy infographic
Click here for full resolution

I have the answer for you right here, only partially tongue in cheek… :)

And if you need a more detailed, considered list, try my Recommended Gear List. Education though, we have in plentiful supply on the Teaching Video Store here. MT

On a more serious note, there’s a special offer going on with the Nikon D750 and excellent all-round AFS 24-120/4 VR lens (I have both) at B&H – $600 off to a total just below $3,000; you can get that here. The Pentax 645Z is also back in stock.

Have some stones

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Rocks, hard places, stones…mix and match your own metaphor.

Today, a few tangential thoughts on photography and the overall state of marketing strategy these days. Yes, I’ve done a lot of this kind of work extensively in my previous life as a consultant, but guess what: most of it is really common sense. And sometimes it can be very difficult to see the wood from the trees if you’ve been lost in the forest for too long. I’ll start with two thoughts:
Have some stones and
Social media metrics are not an indicator of fiscal success.
This principles apply equally to both sides of the negotiating table.

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New comment and email policy

Thanks to an unusually large number of rude, profane and personally insulting communications in recent weeks – following reviews, especially – I have decided to implement a new policy regarding comments and emails. I have no problem with friendly and objective disagreements – they spur discussion and knowledge sharing, and this is what the site is about; however, abusiveness and insult will not be tolerated.

Site comments, Facebook, twitter and other public fora:

  • Please use a consistent username when commenting. All current readers with an approved comment should have no problems posting without moderation.
  • Posts from new commenters will be held for moderation.
  • Posts with a lot of links from any user will be held automatically for moderation; this is a WordPress thing to prevent spam (or in case somebody’s account has been hijacked).
  • Abusive, rude or trolling comments towards me or anybody else will be treated as follows: the first one will be left there because it will be obvious to the civilised rest of the community that you are a troll to be ignored, and clearly have social and mental deficiencies. Subsequent comments will be deleted and your username and IP blacklisted. I will no longer waste time replying you or engaging you in discussion.

Email and other private messaging:

  • I will still do my best to reply all emails so long as they’re legitimate.
  • Trolling, spam or rude emails will be ignored and deleted.
  • Repeated ‘what should I buy’ emails will be ignored.

To put it bluntly, I do this for free. I no longer have the time, patience or desire to deal with idiots. Thank you. MT

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A few places left for Making Outstanding Images Chicago (September 2014), Masterclass San Francisco (September 2014). Masterclass Venice (November 2014) now open for booking – click here to book or for more info

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Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop and Photoshop Workflow videos and the customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join the reader Flickr group!

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | mingthein.com 2012 onwards. All rights reserved

Discussions: MT x Lloyd Chambers on the Pentax 645Z and Nikon D810

Today’s post is going to be a little bit of an experiment: the first in I hope a series of discussion-collaborations with Lloyd Chambers of diglloyd.com, respected technical expert and all round good guy. We’re covering the Pentax 645Z and Nikon D810 and a whole bunch of other diversions for the kickoff…I do realise it’s a bit lengthy, but this is probably the closest you’re going to get to being in the conversation. Let us know what you think!

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OT: Of cars and cameras

_DSF1891bw copy
Race girl

In many ways, the two industries are frighteningly similar: technologically complex, requiring huge capital investment for relatively small margins, enormous marketing machines, some semblance of ‘celebrity’ endorsement, and ever shrinking improvements just waiting for whatever technology is just over the bend (hybrids, Foveon sensors, etc.). Perception over substance rules, too. And there’s a lot of crossover between the enthusiasts of both – I have a huge number of students who are also petrolheads. But there are enough differences that one could learn from the other, I think…

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Ricoh Pentax update: confidence restored, resolution and conclusion

Ming Thein Official Letter

Firstly – and a lot of you will probably consider this ironic – I’d like to attempt to retain some objectivity in this matter. Here are the facts:

  • The developer/ agency at the instruction of the locally appointed Indonesian representative, and without any protest from them, used one of my images without permission or licensing.
  • The Indonesian representative – or claimed representative of Ricoh Pentax – was clearly aware of the matter and removed the image together with an unacceptable reply of “The decision to used your picture are my decision to fulfill my target to make my company’s website looks wonderful, therefore please accept my deepest apology.”
  • Ricoh Pentax HQ was informed through every possible channel I have had access to. Though they were not directly responsible, an agent claiming to represent their brand and acting as their brand was. However, it is the responsibility of the principal as any person who sees that representation would assume in good faith that it is affiliated with the principal.

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A little (well, big) celebration: 10 million visitors.

10-7
Visitor count for the geek

Just now, two years and three months since mingthein.com first went live, we’ve received our ten millionth visitor. It’s not a big deal for the likes of DPR etc.; however for a site that deals primarily with the philosophy of image making and images themselves – I think that’s a huge achievement. Especially considering I’ve spent nothing on advertising and promotion though an enormous amount of time and effort has gone into content. Even so, without the active community and comments it would never have happened. I think a little celebration is in order before I get on the plane to Havana*, as well as a huge thank you for your continued support! MT

UPDATE: Flickr just rolled over 20 million this morning, too!

ANOTHER UPDATE: I just noticed this is post #800. It’s a day of milestones!

*I might not be as fast as usual with the replies due to limited internet access.

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