Clarifications

Following the mirrorlesss article, it is sad but necessary to clarify the position I’ve always held:
  1. The images always come first
  2. Images are subjective, and like/dislike is personal. There are no absolutes or right and wrong.
  3. This site is and always has been about images, photography and education
  4. Photography is a technical pursuit that is not fully separable from the equipment, so we must also consider the equipment – but to a much lesser extent. Note that fewer than 5% of the posts here are about hardware
  5. The hardware is always subservient to and nothing more than an enabler for the image
  6. Cameras are tools, not a religion, so there’s no reason to act like it
  7. Lenses matter far more than people give them credit for
  8. A tool is a tool and a skilled photographer can make a decent image with anything – similarly, a tool is limited by the skill of the operator
  9. BUT a skilled operator can do more with better tools
  10. Education and practice make for a better operator. And it gives far better returns than new tools.
  11. The sharper the tools, the more likely you are to cut yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  12. The output must be considered: if you cannot understand why, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it. Instead seek to understand why before criticising something
  13. You’re not going to replace anything else unless it does something better than what you have now – why compromise with cameras?
  14. We can agree to disagree, and readership is 100% voluntary.
  15. Lastly, the internet is virtual. But there are still real people behind it, some of whom give their time for free for your education and entertainment, so be polite. Before you post a comment, consider if you’d say the same thing to somebody’s face.
Thank you. That is all. MT

Comments

  1. pete guaron says:

    I am choking. This is incredible. A person like you, Ming, takes time out – VALUABLE time! – from his highly successful professional photographic business, to share his knowledge, his experience, his thoughts and his wisdom, with other photographers. And then gets slapped in the face for it by some outspoken person. And in the space of about a week, you drown in all these comments?

    Thankfully practically all of them are polite and positive. Not altogether true of the blog on mirrorless. I was raised on the principle that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you should remain quiet. So I am remaining quite on the comments that were made on the blog.

    Instead, I would like to join in and express my thanks to you, for all the material you have made available to the rest of us. There’s no way I can personally experience a vast proportion of the things you discuss in your comments on the net, and I really appreciate being able to share your experience – even if it’s on a “second hand” basis. I guess that eventually we ALL get to share our experience with others, and that’s what makes the world go round.

    Oh – BTW – I agree 110% with your blog on mirrorless cams. Yes I would love to buy one – but I have yet to find one with specs that match up to my concepts or needs, and I think the manufacturers needed a jab with a hatpin to prod them into thinking this out properly. I’ve been scouring the releases, the magazine articles, and so on for over a year now, and CANNOT find anything suitable.

    • Sadly it was necessary to write, because yes – people do slap me in the face, repeatedly, and in groups. And once once person starts, more come out of the woodwork.

      Thank you for the note of support!

      • Dear Ming: Please stop looking for sympathy. You do what you do, but you also act like you have a higher calling: helping people for free. WONDERFUL, but don’t get annoyed, be thankful that you can do what you do and have people who appriciate your work.
        I agree but… You should talk only about cameras Etc, leave yourself and your PR (About Me) and your feelings out of the picture.
        I would look for, “Sharp Photos”, first. A test should be dones with the same lens and with a textured surface, a print pub.and a persons face, at wide open/2 stops down and at F8, then blow it up to a very largest size and see which is best. None of you actually do tests you only talk about what you think and what you like…. Why?

  2. Hi Ming,

    I’m really appalled to read such a post on your website, since your place is the least where I’d expect the immature fanboys, trolls and other frustrated individuals to prosper.

    I hope that despite these, you still find the time and pleasure to maintain your blog.
    But maybe their unproductive comments will take their toll on your mind, and your enlarged family will be quite time-consuming; I realise that. In these events, I still hope you continue to post – even if that means closing the comments and stop responding to non-professional e-mails. It’d be a great waste to lose your online presence.

    I browse your site (and donated back in the day, I should do it again; I never donated to any other photo website) specifically because I like your spirit, your independence of mind, your subjective yet mission-oriented reviews/essays, the wonderful pics that illustrate your articles, and the interaction you maintain with your readers. It’s really rare to find that elsewhere.

  3. I would like to say how much I enjoy reading your site, it is very rare to find such consistently high content on the web. You write very well about concepts I often formulate in my mind but can not get past my tongue fluently. I have been inspired to start new projects since reading through this website and they are already proving really exciting and pushing my photography to a new level. Thanks again. Rob

  4. Martin Fritter says:

    “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into: writing about photography is like writing about the world.” – Susan Sontag

    • Definitely. It’s also very much about understanding human nature – the conscious, the subconscious, and the ugly…

    • I spoke with Susan Sontag, a long time ago. I told her the “problem” was the title: She should have titled the book,
      “My thoughts on Photography or Writings on Photography”. I disagree Photography is a documentation of our lives/ourselves.
      It is by definition a “Point of View” on pourpose or by accident, by luck or skill. The world has changed from, “A picture is worth more than 10,000 words.” to, “A Photograph can be Worth More than $10,000.”

  5. As in photography, the same applies in woodworking and furniture-making; one can make beautiful furniture using creativity and a few simple tools, or chase the latest high tech gizmos with all the bells and whistles for no result. I knew a cabinetmaker that could replicate antique, intricate Victorian moldings with a few simple router bits and tools. Nothing fancy, expensive or complicated, just pure skill with good basic tools. Photography since inception has been and remains the same, in many ways–a skilled and talented image maker can craft beautiful images with a few simple tools. The tools are subservient to the maker, and not something to be idolized.

    • I’m pretty sure he was using the same tools as the Victorians themselves – which were probably thought of as unnecessary at the time by some 🙂 tools serve us, not vice versa.

  6. The uncivil behaviour would disappear if you charged for your blog. I and many others would be more than happy to subscribe because we genuinely admire and learn from your talent and insight. You and we would benefit by not having you distracted by internet gutter snipes. Every ATP molecule dedicated to the negative is one less form which we both will benefit. Donations without a subscription model on the other hand perpetuate the self destructive status quo which I fear will one day wear you down to the point that you just quit. The notion that there are masses of impecunious aspiring photographers running around the globe with expensive gear that cannot spare a few dollar for education is ridiculous. Even so you can always post some free articles for beginners to fulfil any charitable obligation you feel. Lloyd Chambers and Sean Reid are both excellent resources to which I am happy to subscribe. I don’t think it is necessary but you could set up a poll and ask if your readers would be willing to subscribe. Of course it is not of great predictive value but would give you some indication of the interest. Do us all a favor and start charging for your excellent professional education services.

    • There is no “Negative” why are you calling opinions of others, “Neagative”. A person said to me, “Wow you really shot a lot of photos in a day. ” I answered, “No I shoot a lot of negatives in a day.

  7. There is the old saying that “no publicity is bad publicity” but I honestly think there is nothing worthwhile to be gained by coverage of your site by DPR. Yours is a photography blog. DPR forums (again, Leica forum excepted) are for gear fetishists and fanboys. If you could ask DPR to refrain from ever mentioning you again that would probably be a net benefit to you.

    Keep up the good work, I like it the way it is.

    • I agree with you. DPR does whatever they want though, they’ve never replied a single message. No intention of changing here, but they also say I’m stubborn…

  8. Ming,

    With respect to 11, “The sharper the tools, the more likely you are to cut yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.” That is not my experience with tools. It is the dull knife, chisel, saw, plane, whatever, that is dangerous, both to the experienced and inexperienced, not the sharp one.

    Cameras may be different. Don’t know actually. All I can say is that whenever I put whatever I’m using on auto or program and hand it to my wife, she does just fine with it. I never handed her a camera with a manual focus lens mounted. I’ll try that some day.

    Ron

  9. Ming, I love your work. Ignore the uneducated/ignorant and of course anonymous keyboard warriors – in a lifetime of learning, they may come to appreciate your vision and experience. In the meantime, there are those of us who tune in regularly to your high quality work.

    All the very best to you and yours.

  10. Hey Ming, I decided to take a look at the comments on DPR and have learned there might be a Ming Thein action figure in the works? LOL.

    I think it comes down to: those who can – do, those who are interested – learn and those who are neither – troll. Since most of these fanboys chase after the latest offering for bragging rights, you are actually doing them a big service if the improvements you identified actually get incorporated into the next camera they were going to buy (for no other reason than its out there). My guess is that they don’t actually use their cameras much, so the improvements are not really well-understood.

    You are very generous with your knowledge – thank you and continued good karma for you! Cheers, Richard P.

    • That’s news to me. People already steal images, now they want my face too? I suppose they’ll tell me I should be flattered.

      • There’s a place in Boston where anyone can be 3D printed! These two guys can scan your body with an array of 30+ cameras in a cylindrical tent in their studio, then print out miniatures of you in lifelike colored plastic, in a variety of sizes. Not something I’d contemplate, but the technology these guys developed is ingenious. The ones they showed on open studio day were static sculptures, but I bet they could do an action figure too. 😉

  11. just an aside (since i missed the entire uproar and have little interest):
    i always find it astounding how up in arms people get about cameras.
    it’s as though a brand of digital camera is somehow part of some internet folks DNA and if you say anything less than positive about some brand people behave as though you are attacking them personally and with murderous intent.
    it’s just a tool….what is there to get so crazy about? is it just about money one has invested in a system and defending your choice so you don’t feel like a sucker or is there something deeper?
    so much capable tech out there….it’s an embarrassment of riches. we are privileged at this point in history to have such easy choices. one astounding piece of technology or another? just choose one and move on. if one is slightly smaller (such as a mirrorless camera vs a dslr) so be it. ALL of these machines do things that would seem insanely powerful only 20 years ago.
    it’s not worth being uncivil over. there are plenty of real issues in the world to get passionate about…but this ain’t one of em.
    instead of pointless attacking…why not create interesting images instead? it can be done with any camera.
    i thought that was the whole point? i guess i missed something….
    thanks again for the site ming.
    keep up the good work.

    • I find it astounding too. In the end they do nobody any good, including themselves. Yet somehow this kind of behaviour is encouraged…

      The point IS to create interesting images, but the use of tools to do so is unavoidable – so why not try to understand and have the best tools?

      • it’s all a confused mess. with the advent of digital photography + the internet forums it ushered in an era of every person on the planet is a “photographer”…with an opinion.
        personally i’ve owned 2 non phone cameras in the last 5 years. whenever there’s something lacking (at least in my opinion) in the final image…it’s my fault 99.9% of the time.

    • Eli, I started in 1967…have owned two camera shops…dozens of cameras…I completely agreed with you…it’s about the image…I’ve always prided myself in that I can capture a powerful, thought provoking and eye popping image with any camera.
      I teach now…I often have classes with 10 or more different student camera models…I teach them to work with what they have!! Tom

      • no doubt. i’ve rarely taken a picture and looked at it during editing and thought “it would have been a keeper if i’d shot it with xxxx”. it’s always a matter of light, framing, choice of location, focal length, proximity, time of day, subject, angle, care in shooting, etc. if the mind/eye is focused…the gear will follow it pretty much every time. i think this especially applies now when even a less expensive digital camera and even a phone with a sensor smaller than a pinky nail for pete’s sake can deliver strong results.

        • I have, but only so far as the camera reports false focus confirmation, fails to power on, hangs or does something inexplicable of that nature. Compositionally: definitely not.

          • exactly.
            to be honest i was exaggerating a bit just to make my point. there are low light iphone shots i’ve taken that i do wish i’d had my D700 or D810 around for, mainly to allow for a larger print with good detail/no noise. that said…i stand by the basic point.
            there is actually one application for iphone that my d810 simply cannot do (without an entire additional rig) : holding the iphone against a pane of glass for shooting video off a moving train. the rubber of the iphone case acts as a brilliant stabilizer.

            • Sean Quigley says:

              My criteria for a great camera is not only the one I have with me, but the one I just do not have to think about, it is just part of me, an extension of my hands and eye, it allows one to focus on the purly the picture, not the process.
              The key point I believe Ming has and is still making, to which I agree with is that if and or when the camera interferes with that process.
              more over if the process is interfered with by something that is completely fixable with software updates.
              I blame a lot of the problems today on the demise of the camera retailer’s where you could handle a camera multiple camera’s and make an more informed choice.

    • I only have to say: Passion means suffering. The people who comment/attack, whatever are suffering…They are angrey that they are not getting the same attention. This all comes from when they were babys/children and could only get attention by yelling or getting annoyed or disagree. It is most… Only a bad habit. They have no control over it is automatic with them. Also, the main reason people get so involved with photography is because it is everywhere and accessable to all and we all have a camera or smart phone and see photos on the net and…

  12. It is always difficult to please the whole world- so better do -and write- what you yourself think is right…
    MT, I like your articles and reviews- so keep them coming… 🙂

    • Thanks Pieter.

    • Please the whole world? He only wants to please the DSLR crowd. He needs lessons in respect and humility. I thought the piece posted here a couple months ago from a psychologist would change his abusive ways but see he is back to juvenile bullying. MT is a pompous ass that, like a bully, should be taught a lesson.

      • Who am I abusing and bullying, exactly?

      • Sean Quigley says:

        Very small person, with very big ego’s, very sad to read. Perfect for the delete button.

      • Even if Ming was being abusive, which he isn’t, what was your idea? Fight fire with fire? Because from where I stand, the only person who looks abusive right now is you.

        I’ve said this before, it’s fine to disagree but you need to be civil about it and back it up with facts. If you can’t do either and find yourself with an irrational dislike for this blog then don’t read and don’t comment. Go find another online resource that you do enjoy. We all win that way. You find something you like and more importantly the readers of this site won’t have to put up with vehement trolls like you.

        • I may agree with you but you shouldn’t make rules of what is right or what is the wrong way… It is “Better” to let people say what they want in the way they want. It is a freedom.. or Free and DUMB… Shakspere wrote, “When Cleopatra said, “I was taught to always listen to the insults and bikkering of the woman, in my harem, around me.” Then Ceaser askes; “What do you learn?, her answer: “What they are”.. This line from the movie was always of great help to me.

  13. Bill Prawecki says:

    Ming keep on doing the great work that you do, as it is truly a labour of love. Your blog and photos are truly fantastic and it is evident taht you persue this form of art with a passion.

    Unfortunately social media is what it is and you are perfectly correct in saying that most of these “cruel folks and cyber bullies” would not say the same thing to you in person. They are really cowards hiding behind an anonymous cyber post box.

  14. Carlos Polk says:

    This is an outstanding post. I enjoyed reading the points that you make, and I believe they can be generalized well beyond photography. As for the trolls….. I remember as a kid the ones whose greatest pleasure was breaking other kids’ toys, preferably the favorites. Despicable kids who no doubt became despicable adults who now have an electronic means to reach and hurt other people. You can see from the responses to this article (one of the shortest) how many people truly appreciate what you do and who you are.
    R/Carlos

  15. Sean Quigley says:

    Most of the problem with photographers is as has been said before, they do not use the camera very often and therefore most shortcomings get lost in, (I don’t use it too often, therefore it is not a problem for me), they also I want to keep the residual value as high as possible, so please don’t knock my camera or find fault with it.
    It’s only when you really test the camera for yourself do you find IT out!
    I cannot remember reading a proper review away from this site, that actually really tested a camera, most reviews are carried out via a few snapshots, not going into the field and giving it a good hammering, ask yourself why is that?
    Without fully independant reviews you are being conned sadly, you can go to some sites and every product they have ever used is for sale through a link and no shortcomings found hmm.
    It has also become a race to see who can get the first you tube review posted to get hits, hmm.
    At the end of the day bad reviews cost the reviewer money and a loss of product to play with etc.
    The reason I will defend Ming, is because we desperatly need proper reviews by somebody that actully earns a living selling pictures not just posting them for a review.
    I through a recommendation on this site, bought a Gitzo tripod, it was the forth carbon Gitzo I have bought, 1st broke original, 2nd produced shocking pictures 3rd was aquired by my wife and I needed to find a replacement when I came across this site, after reading between the lines, checking out the photography quality and the fact that we have by chance extremly similar equipment, I bought the Gitzo 5562 as my everyday portable tripod and bingo stunning sharpness, thanks Ming. What no reveiwer will tell you because they don’t know, is that the more leg joints the better the tripod (Shocker).
    I could gone on.

    Great site Ming thanks.

    • Simple answer: the reviewers’ primary income is through advertising and referrals, which means anything negative risks putting that income at jeopardy either by not selling or having sponsorship pulled. I have no such dependencies.

      Tripods and leg joints: not for obvious reasons. Bad leg joints will flex and impact rigidity/stability. Good leg joints actually aid damping to some degree because of the cushioning between sections. It isn’t so clear cut so I avoided saying anything just in case some got the wrong impression (inevitable 🙂

    • You are right. I read a study many years ago about people and how they decide on products… People are almost scientific and very objective in their choices.. but once they choose/buy a product that resist any chanalge or different opinions. Human Nature 101.

  16. Lorenz Flückiger says:

    Hi ming
    I just returned from a demanding but successfull 3 hour operation. The patient und his relatives (and myself) are very happy now.
    Strangely nobody asked me what skalpell, what kind of raspatorium or what needle-holder I was using…
    I always use what fits my hands and needs best to do the best possible job!
    And at the other end of these hands lies 25 years of intense medical training…
    Ming, you are spot on with your remarks concerning tools and training!
    Don’t let stupid comments pull you down!
    Greeings Lorenz

  17. Don’t let the DPR denizens bother you. If you want a laugh try posting to one of the brand forums (Leica excepted) along the lines of “how about we discuss photography sometime rather than endlessly obsessing about equipment specs”.

    These people are not photographers for themes part they are shoppers who expect to be told that their latest purchase is the finest tool available, saying anything else causes a insecurity driven backlash.

  18. I’ve been reading your blog for around six months now and have never commented before. Just wanted to say that it is great and I really enjoy it. I’m a simple amateur photographer using a m43 digital and a couple of old nikon film cameras. Your writing is detailed and genuinely interesting.

  19. I like your approach on the “photographic/photo subject” .
    I like your photos, and some I LIKE IT A LOT!
    That’s why I begun to read your blog (last month).
    There are very jealous people in the web that can master the keyboard but the index finger just press a shutter once (maybe) in the month 🙂 😛

    So THANK YOU for your photos and sharing your thoughts.
    And: “…carry on old boy… keep up the good work”

  20. Re #2, how about: there is no right (one) way to do make an image, but plenty of bad ways.

    • I’m not sure about that: it’s relative again, and there may be reasons why what we perceive as a ‘bad’ image is not to somebody else…I think that would be arrogant for any of us to say, because we are once again attempting to deal with absolutes in the subjective.

  21. Ming, I love quote #11. This is why I use a table knife to cut my steak, and not a surgeon’s scalpel!

  22. Thank you. Especially for #13.

  23. I hope you won’t let some of the recent comments on your site get to you, MT. Your site is the result not only of talent and flair but very, very hard work and I am extremely grateful for it. The video tutorials alone are a huge and valuable resource quite apart from the flow of images, essays and thoughtful pieces. Many sites would have a whole team to take the load but here there is just you and that much be pretty tough.
    The aggro – It’s like acid rain which eventually kills off whatever it falls on. I don’t know what the solution is, beyond simply accepting that the internet is full of disturbed and unhappy people. I’ve certainly changed my own attitude in the past year. I’ve exchanged a quite extensive DSLR set-up for a much simpler M43 one and walked away from swathes of the internet and photography websites. I’d rather read a good book. “The image always comes first” and, in my case, “Buy what you love and shoot what you love” are plenty to be getting on with. We can’t bring our camera bag to the Pearly Gates, can we? But with luck, a few very talented people will leave some images behind to inspire the rest of us.

    • I’m trying not to, but occasionally people need a reminder especially when the entitlement and confrontational arrogance is rammed down my throat via every available channel. That isn’t fair, and there is always a choice not to read.

      Yes, it’s just me, and there isn’t even advertising or a paywall (which has been suggested, but I vetoed because it makes no sense for the objective of greater education). I don’t mind the time invested, but I do mind the rudeness in return.

      I’m always chasing the next image. There is a bit of dissatisfaction or perhaps ambition that keeps me going. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, and it extends to all aspects of the photographic process. I’m sharing my experience in the hope that somebody can take it further than me by not making the same mistakes and having better tools – both hardware and compositional – at their disposal. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

  24. …very wise and very apposite comments, Ming – we seem to be caught up in an “arms race” with digital cameras – your observation that lenses are at least as important as the cameras is borne out by my own experience with Leica M glass. One of my favourite lenses is a 50 mm rigid version 2 Summicron, which deals beautifully with the sensors of the M 240 and the M246. That lens is over 50 years old. As far as the onward march of lenses is concerned, I feel that we ought to be a lot more discriminating – “new” is not a guarantee of “better”, as you so rightly say. As for “the latest” in digital cameras, I have found that I am much more comfortable with a camera that fits like an old pair of slippers, provided that I am quite happy that it is capable of giving me the results that please me (although I have upgraded to the two latest Leica M digital cameras admittedly) – I feel that Leica have now caught up with the rest of the field in terms of sensor quality and features, while maintaining that essential essence of simplicity of use, as has been the governing principle of the Leica M rangefinder series.

    I am happy to use the excellent Olympus OMD EM1 also – I might make an exception to my above philosophy should Olympus produce an even more capable (eg 18 or 20 megapixel) sensor but, for now, I will take pictures, rather than accumulate gear.

  25. Knowing your background, style and ideals makes a good understanding of your message. I think you are getting too involved with people who do not accept certain basics and that you are wasting your time with those. Your rational and logic helps to figure out and improve aspects I was not aware of. I do not get what more a honest reader can expect from a website.

    • Doc, you’re probably right. But when you’re bombarded by hundreds of these messages through every channel, I’ll be the first to admit it does get to you.

      • Never let it get to you. Those sorts do it on purpose for their own entertainment which says nothing about you and everything about them. Normally adjusted people recognise this so there’s no need to take a defensive position (never feed the trolls). It’s only photography, not really that important in the scheme of life (for those who don’t make a living from it, which 99.9% of the trolls won’t be anyway).

        Both your recent articles on camera gear did us proud and certainly helped me stop thinking about the next waste of money and start thinking about the next set of images. I’m tired chasing the imaginary dragon. The money’s better off in the kids college fund anyway.

  26. Peter Bowyer says:

    Good grief Ming, it’s like your blog is read by teenagers!

    I haven’t visited for a while, read this post & then the mirrorless comments (no, not the post itself yet 😉 ). They are… special, and I imagine the more “special” ones got deleted rather than published. Hats off to you for keeping going.

    Two thoughts:
    1. Perhaps https://blog.mingthein.com/2015/09/06/ot-guest-contribution-the-pathology-of-fanboyism-and-a-little-advice-to-mt/ needs to be pinned to the top of the home page, and it or this current post included above the comment form along with a checkbox saying “I have read and understand this”?
    2. With One Direction splitting and the audience you’ve got, it’s time for the Ming Thein Worldwide Tour: let them come and pay $75 a ticket to coem and scram at you while you play songs about respect and photography 😉

    • Peter Bowyer says:

      Ugh, apologies for the poor typing!

    • Sometimes, I think it might be…except they often appear to be legitimate business owners and other photographers. One wonders how they survive professionally…

      1. I wanted to do it, except I couldn’t find a way to do this in WordPress plus those who need to read it would never do so, and those who do read it don’t need to 😛
      2. Time to learn how to sing. And to think I took up photography because I sucked at karaoke…

  27. Michiel953 says:

    The problem seems to be that a well designed, well built and well functioning tool usually is a bit boring, and is not easily viewed as revolutionary!, a game changer! and that sort of hyperbole.

  28. Hello Ming,

    Your site is new to me, but I’ve been reading it full time for some days now. It’s a goldmine.
    I’ve been looking for descent information on all things photography for a long time and finally found what I was looking for.
    Another thing that deeply touched me are the comments. They seem to be made by actual human beings that still value humility and gratefulness. And they actually share knowledge and passion for photography!
    It seems you bring out the best in people.

    Thank you very much for all the time, effort and love that you are putting in to this!

  29. Wow… I could not imagine that people visiting your blog would need these instructions and clarifications.. That’s really shameful, to them.
    I’ve always seen the “troll” like a teenager hidden behind a screen, with a boring life, trying to ruin the passion of people that are living a happier life, but it seems that it’s really a bigger problem showing some inner disturb.
    I bet these people would not even look you in the eyes, if you had to meet them.
    That speaks a lot about their person.

    Ignoring trolls is the worst thing you can do to them, leaving them in their negative loneliness.
    Trying to explain your well written articles is of no use, since these people simply don’t want to understand.
    Therefore, keep up the great work as usual, Ming!

    • It’s a bigger problem. Some of these people also post their email addresses or websites…and disappointingly, they’re not teenagers unless they’re hiding behind businesses (why?). Many probably see me as competition, which rather than improving one’s own offering – why not take the easier route and undermine instead? Except it is only revealing of the weaknesses of yourself…

      We all get lost in GAS sometimes. It can be useful to have a reminder, I suppose.

  30. Your sign off had me laughing aloud, so Mr. Tinkles from “cats and dogs”, more humour is the antidote to those low lives!

  31. Dear Ming,
    It makes me sad to see the insults you have to endure. It also makes me angry to see how rude and plain stupid people can be, totally not seeing who you are and what immeasurable valuable contribution you make to the photograpic society.
    Thank you for you passionate effort and keep up your good work! I for one have personally experienced how proper education (from you) has made me a better photographer!
    Ray

  32. Would have liked to comment on the mirrorless article, except that I have only owned a DSLR and didn’t feel qualified enough to do so. Funny thing is how many of the trolls and fanboys clearly love the mirrorless technology for its advantages over DSLR, but any suggestions on how to improve them such that they can truly compete with DSLRs on all fronts rather than just size are taken as personal insults, even though they’d be the ones to benefit the most if camera manufacturers actually took those suggestions into consideration. Heck, as a DSLR user myself I ought to be the one flaming you instead, for trying to even fantasize that all those tweaks can ever make up for a good OVF and a great big hulking body that shouts “Photographer!” and oozes machismo. It is almost as though they derive more satisfaction in trying to deal with the compromises than actually taking pictures (all the while insisting that for the price no one ought to complain) and if it was simple enough to use such that it would take them less than twenty steps to take a single noteworthy shot, they probably wouldn’t think of it as a camera worth using.

    But on a more serious note, thank you for trying to improve the state of photography, and showing us that it is possible to make great images rather than mere pictures of interesting subjects. I tend to lean to the latter myself, since I prefer taking wildlife shots and have a hard enough time trying to capture the subject, let alone worry about composition, but then I see your blog and remind myself that it shouldn’t really be an excuse not to aim higher. And speaking of great images, this should probably be mentioned on the recent Venice post itself, but #1 was simply magical. Most of your images make me wish that I could have been at those places in person, but Venice #1 was one of the few that made me wish I could have taken that exact shot myself as well.

    • Hah! Well, as a person who’s used a lot of both – and sees the advantages and disadvantages of both under a wide range of situations – I though I was well placed to comment, but apparently I know nothing. I will gladly abandon the equipment commentary and go back to making photographs; it’s just that sometimes you see things that are so obviously crying out to be fixed after a short period of field usage you cannot help yourself.

      Venice: thank you.

  33. Didn’t know there was such a big hoo-hah over that post, though I did notice an abnormally high number of comments. Eh, DPRers. *shrugs*

    Keep up the good work Ming! We know how much effort you put into the site despite your busy schedule, so please rest assured we greatly appreciate it 🙂

    • 600+ comments here, 700+ on DPR – the amount of support was good; sadly cancelled out by the number of challengers (most of whom had no logic, reasoning or facts behind them at all). So, I doubt anything will change…

  34. Very well stated (As per usual)❗️

  35. Mike McGrath says:

    Hi Ming,

    Thank you for dedication and time. I fully admit to having a gear fetish but your dose of reason does me well from time to time which improves my decisions.

    Thanks and keep up the great work!

  36. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on photography, your images, and the occasional gear-talk.

  37. Perhaps every time you post a possibly inflammatory article there should be an accompanying link to Roger Cicala’s Hammerforum blog post, to remind people what they sound like.

  38. Let’s Begin at the Begining.
    Photography is part visual design and part technology.
    When discussing visual design, please show us that you have any domain knowledge of the subject. I haven’t seen any evidence of a grasp of the visual lexicon at all.
    You have made egregious errors with respect to portrayal of some rules of the technology so I’m afraid you are likely just a talker.
    Neither a visual designer, nor a technologist- merely a picture taker. An amateur.
    Sorry to be so harsh but you may wish to consider a career as a politician rather than one as a reviewer of cameras.

    • Good, because I’m not a career reviewer of cameras – did you even read this post? – and my clients do think I know what I’m doing. I don’t hide behind jargon, I show results based on the logic I explain (if you’d bothered to read any of what I’ve written at all).

      • What?! This blog is not the holy scriptures about how to buy technology every 6 month to distract oneself from the fact one has too little talent to attract any viewer to one’s web photos other than family and friends (really close ones at that)? Damned, I’m disappointed! Well I should have guessed, judging by the content of the articles of Ming’s BLOG. Not an official site, just the personal views of someone who actually days something interesting and different. Someone who’s pedigree immediately appears in his photos. You dont even need to read the text if it’s too long, or too different from your views. I like to be comforted in my truths most of the time. And sometimes I need them to be challenged by someone who knows what he’s talking about and who doesn’t try to please me. That’s when I visit Ming’s blog…

    • Let’s Begin Right Here
      Commenting is part intelligence and part savoir faire.
      When commenting on a post, please show us that you have any intelligence by understanding Ming’s profession and background. I haven’t seen any evidence of any such intelligence at all.
      You have made egregious errors with respect to portrayal of yourself as a person so I’m afraid you are likely just a discourteous fellow.
      Neither an intelligent one nor a graceful one. Merely a prattler. A troll.

      Sorry to say I am not sorry at all.

    • Don’t think you are the least bit sorry, otherwise you wouldn’t have commented. As an old saying goes, opinions are like a__holes, most stink, and everyone has at least one. That reminds me of a lesson most people learn before becoming an adult, try not to be an a__hole in everyday life. Also, your “Qualification” link on your (?) website has a 404 error.

      • Gordon: Buddhist proverb: “That which does not exist cannot go missing” 🙂

      • Yes, what a professional website Mr. Imago has made! It’s almost all 404 errors, no real content, and not a single image. What chutzpah he has to denigrate someone who maintains a fantastic website with real content, when he has not shown any such capability himself. And clearly Mr. Imago did not read #2: “Images are subjective, and like/dislike is personal. There are no absolutes or right and wrong.” He’s free to dislike Ming’s photography, but dislike doesn’t mean anything objectively. It’s his opinion, and one I don’t share.

        I like that proverb, Ming. I suspect Mr. Imago’s a fan of the darker Zen Buddhist koan: “if you meet the Buddha in the road, kill him.”

    • David Meyers says:

      Hmm. Here’s one definition of “imago”. Coincidence? I think perhaps not.

      imago: the final and fully developed adult stage of an insect, typically winged.

      The only thing I’d quibble with is “adult” in this case. Also, as others have pointed out, nearly every link on the home page generates a page-not-found error. Makes me wonder if the whole thing is an elaborate joke.

      Ming, I’m a huge fan of your site. Don’t let the a__holes get you down.

  39. Ding Choo Haw says:

    Rational and down to earth! Keep up the good work Meng. I enjoyed your articles very much.

  40. Thank you for providing these valuables points. And I appreciate your time and passion to help your followers.

  41. Your images, essays and lessons shared here are inspiring educational and most of all I love the fact that the equipment is not the focus. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.

  42. Point 14 – “be polite” is key. It’s called social media for a reason. Keep up the good work.

  43. Ned Bunnell says:

    I took four years of Latin and all I can remember is “Illegitimi non carborundum”, which I hope you’ll heed considering the lack of civility some folks have on the Internet.

  44. Len Harrison says:

    I so look forward to your essays and photography. First class.
    Thank you.
    Len

  45. Kevin Smith says:

    I learn more from reading your comments and viewing your photographs than from any other source. Your exposures and compositions are magnificent and they help me to improve my picture taking; for that I am very grateful. I also enjoy your technical analysis. Keep up the great work and please don’t let the naysayers discourage you. I am not finished learning yet.
    Best regards,
    Kevin

  46. Well “spoken,” Ming.

  47. Let’s see if DPreview links to this 😉 The psychology has been discussed here to a much greater degree (and by much greater experts) but I still find the following quite a useful simplification.

    There are three kinds of people: 1) those who define themselves by who they associate with (asset ownership, club membership, skin colour…), 2) those who define themselves by what they do (profession, sports, hobby…), 3) those who define themselves by who they really are.

    It is easy to see whose self identity is the weakest and most easily threatened by the mere existence of different viewpoints. It is also clear who are the people worth listening to. It may well be a useful service to the world to try and educate the readers who come here for the reviews (I’m under the impression that many regulars found the site that way, being one myself), but not worth taking any offensive comments personally. I hope that the calm tone of this post means you’re sparing stress and focus to more important matters in life.

    On a somewhat related note, I still think your level of engagement with the readers through these comments is admirable and adds a lot to the content. So thank you for that.

    • Haha, doubtful. Their purpose IS gear, not photography.

      The philosophy has been discussed ad nauseam. But I had to publish this to insert as a readme before the mirrorless article in after some of the comments and emails I received. I also had to close comments for my own sanity (which has never happened before).

      The site is for #2 and mainly #3. The rest…yes, they’re noisy and annoying, but so are pigeons.

  48. It’s sad that you need to do this. But when I saw the DPR news about your article and read a few of the comments this seemed inevitable. What disgust me the most was the whining from people that clearly didn’t even bother to read the article. Take notice, I hardly ever comment but I read everyone of your articles. I think your blog does a service like none other and I believe there are many who think and act like me. For all of this silent majority, keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Felipe. I had to close the other thread when the comments stopped being constructive and defeated the point (open forum) of the article. I think this was also unfortunately a necessary post to remind people why we are doing this at all…

  49. Mr. Thein, you published your article the day after I decided I may as well install a darkroom in my house! I laughed for a good half hour. Thank you.

    I am a relative newcomer to digital. I used to shoot snapshots and process film, make little prints, for fun, then stopped for about 15 years. Now I’m taking the whole thing seriously (never would have guessed I’d be studying art!) as a hobbyist and want to make a real ($3-6k) investment in a modern system, something with the benefits of modern technology, that will fill my relatively narrow and un-demanding shooting envelope well, be somewhat flexible, and not break my back.

    I want to shoot stills, often times in shadow, open shade, at night, or generally high-contrast situations. I’m fine with cranking up the ISO if it means the tripod is left at home. Print target size around 16×24 max, I guess.

    Why would I want 1kg of vignetting, feature-tier-starved OVF…. the real headaches I’ve had with AF fine-tune and back-body LV focusing just take all the fun out of it, for me.

    You hit the nail on the head. Different systems get different things right. Little things, big things. But, always, FOR THE PRICE, and for the intended use, that one substantial flaw in a body/system wipes out living with the other compromises. I’m trying to see it as an investment. Pricing/feature tiers, rushed products, hardware hacks, firmware kludges…. Clearly it is totally POSSIBLE to engineer a camera that gets it all right, especially when “getting it right” is currently done, just across three different bodies / marketing tiers.

    It really is frustrating. Won’t pay big bucks for broken / feature crippled stuff, and shooting with old gear, for me, may as well buy a pocket P/S and be done with it. Or install a darkroom!

    It’s hard to do. Santa’s coming this year and who knows when he’ll visit again. Just going to have patience and try to nab old glass before it’s too late (I like small primes, and Contax glass has shot up in price.) Gonna learn to live with the limitations of point and shoot just like I would with anything else I’d buy right now. But it could be so much better.

    Please stay vocal. Fare thee well with the trolls and emotionally over-invested. Keep campaigning for a more sensible photographic world. Thank you.

  50. That’s one unusually short sad article. 😦 Some people wish they could speak from experience, I guess.

  51. Ming, you rock! I saw you at the Chicago show a few weeks ago and I admire all that you do to further interest in the great art of photography!

  52. I read your article and already imagined that the reaction would be like that – blind fanboyism for brands is an interesting (and sad) behaviour nowadays. Even in the m4/3 world (which are the cameras that I have, I’m far from professional) there are two camps – I have cameras both from Olympus and Panasonic and can praise and criticize points from both brands. Realized a long ago that they are just tools, the weak point in my image chain is…me. 🙂

    Entered today in your site to comment in that post, but comments are already close (understandably). In short, I agree with all of your points, have some ideas for some of them (especially about grips), there are some that already exists in some form, and have some to add (like spot metering only in the center of the frame, infuriating). But mostly agree with you.

    And about this post – nothing to add. “Cameras are tools, not a religion, so there’s no reason to act like it” sums it all.

    Keep going – me and a lot of people will always stay around here. 🙂

    • Sorry Márcio, I had to close it because there was nothing constructive being said and the responses were starting to make me unhappy and at risk of falling into keyboard revenge, so I think this is the best for all concerned 🙂

  53. Very well said, I could not agree more. Not only is photography (the art of..) a learning experience, I believe equipment is also. In order for a photographer to make to most rational choice for his/her equipment, they must fully understand what it is they want to convey in their art. I believe equipment can help accomplish this, if it understood and employed properly.

  54. I don’t know how much my relatively anonymous opinion matters to you, Ming, but I check your site often and enjoy your photos and articles. You can be relied upon to have an independent, critical, and well-thought out perspective, and that is valuable and refreshing. Thanks.

  55. Some great people on DPR and also unfortunately a lot of keyboard warriors. For some gear seems to be an end in itself, a religion, a passion, so any critique however constructive is seen as a personal affront or threat. I’ve always thought a key issue is that the accumulation of gear is fairly simple – you trade money for it. The accumulation of skills, technique and art as a photographer is extremely difficult, and is a combination of natural ability and hard, hard work. So there really are those for whom gear collection and critique is their niche – in general on DPR the more obnoxious the post, the less accomplished the photos.
    Excellent article and really enjoying your recent photoessays and images, the first one in the Venice series is just fantastic.

  56. Bravo. Pt 10 is critical. Pt 11 is true … see it all the time.

  57. Well said Ming, sad that it needed to be.

  58. BRAVO! I, for one, *greatly* appreciate the time you invest in writing this blog and posting your images. And even on those extremely rare occasions when my experience differs from yours (I loved the Panasonic LX100, for instance) I always find your assessments to be fair and well-reasoned. And anyway, as you say, the images always come first. On that front, no one can argue with your incredible combination of technical skill and artistry.

    So there.

    • Thanks – but I’ll be the first to point out that photographs are the most subjective thing of all – down to personal preferences – therefore there is no right or wrong here…and nothing to argue about 🙂

  59. I don’t know what stimulated this post, but it seems to have annoyed you.

    Don’t be discouraged. Even on relatively civilised forums like the Leica User Forum, some posters really don’t get it. That’s life. I really appreciate the time you take with your site and the advice you give. We are all better for it, even though most of us don’t post to say so.

    Ignore the noise.

  60. Ming,
    I would like to join many others: your site is the most interesting to read and to look at that I know of. The content is always very much interesting and the images are outstanding in content and IQ!
    I would not mind, if you offer us a chance for donation.
    Thanks for all the work and your time.
    regards
    dierk

  61. I rarely comment but enjoy all your articles. I thank you for all the time you put into them. Haters gonna hate but that will never change. “Cameras are tools, not a religion, so there’s no reason to act like it” said it best. Keep up the great articles Ming!

  62. Oh Dpreview forums… 😀

  63. Well there goes DPR’s raison d’être…
    😉

  64. Sean Quigley says:

    Perfect

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