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Friends and Point & Shoot cont.

July 12, 2008

Man, I’m so glad I wrote this last post, by far the most feedback I have EVER had. Text messages, emails and calls, from all over the place with photographers chiming in about several things.

First, I was correct in my opinion, at least in their opinion…

And, I did leave out a few high-end point and shoots from the film era. Leica did, and still does, make really good film point and shoots.

Many photogs checked in with total frustration, asking why nobody had brought something like this to the market. One spoke about a camera that was sweeping NYC like a flu-bug, but then said, “And, I’ve used it and it just doesn’t do what I need it to do.”

Another said, “If you saved one point and shoot from being born it was worth it.”

And a LOT of people called to describe their list of purchased and returned P&S cameras.

However, I wanted to clarify one thing. And this is very important. I don’t like these cameras because they are not doing what I need them to do, not yet anyway. The idea that we photogs have in our minds about what these cameras SHOULD be able to do, is just not a reality at the moment. There is no Leica P&S style camera around that will actually work for doing a PROJECT.

These cameras are fine for many things, and again, I think the most important point is that they allow the consumer to make pictures all the time, to catalog their lives, their travels, etc, and for things like this, they are a grand tool(With having said that, how these same consumers are archiving this mess is another story, but one that is critically important and needs to be told. (A later post.). I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I love my point and shoot,” and anytime I hear that I think, “Awesome, keep shooting, enjoy it, have fun, keep exploring.”

But what these cameras are not is a high-end documentary tool, but sometimes they are marketed to be. In fact, one person emailed me a link to a photographer who is using p&s cameras for his work, but I have to say, it really looked like point and shoot work. I referenced this in my previous post. Even reading the link about this person, there were so many things he was doing I would never put up with to use a particular camera. I think this person is a super-solid photographer, but their past work seemed stronger than the current set of pictures. Their current work appears to be about deconstructed images, on camera flash and quirky, minimalistic moments, which is virtually the only style of picture you get with a point and shoot. Gone are the great light, layered, gritty pictures capturing fleeting moments, which are nearly impossible to catch on a point and shoot. Just my opinion.

I think the point and shoot phenomenon amid the professional world is based solely on two things. One, desire. We all really WANT a camera like this, so it is easy to look at the current crop and think they they might work. Two, being sick and tired of leaving for a trip, or project, with two, large cameras, lenses, laptop, drives, cables, etc, etc. IF you are in the digital world then you know what I mean. How many photographers have said to me, “I get on a plane with more digital equipment than photography equipment.” In short, I can tell by looking at your photos. Sorry, but it’s true.

If I had a dollar for every photographer that said to me, “I don’t want to carry this stuff, I just want to go light and small.” In short, if the digital world is so great, or the film world was so bad, then why don’t we have the basic stuff we did fifteen years ago?

THIS is the reality. So, now we wait.

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