Friday, October 22, 2010

Caught Up in Technicalities

Every now and then, I found myself with a burning desire to know everything about a particular topic. I become obsessed with it. Like, for instance, how the brain functions. I starting acquiring books on psychology and learning about how the neurons work. It still fascinates me and I still don't quite get it. I love getting down to that level of detail.

Every now and then, I'll speak to a someone who wants that same level of detail about cameras. And that's ok..... sometimes.

Occasionally, people ask questions that cannot be answered in a sentence. Or they don't like your answer, or they're just being tools.

Today was such a time. Someone started asking questions about a large zoom camera like the Pentax X90. He said e though he image quality should be better than the point and shoot he's got because it looks bigger and has 12 Megapixels.

After explain to him about sensor size and and pixel size and using some analogies with buckets and water, the bigger the bucket the more water it should hold etc etc etc, he told me that the 12MP on the Pentax X90 and the Nikon D5000 should give the same image quality. Well, in some circumstances yes, but in lower light, no.

We then moved onto why small compacts are rather good at macro. This resulted in lots of  "Why?" "Why?" "Why?"

"What are the exact reasons a compact is good at macro, and why can I get closer?"

I couldn't answer that in any simple way.The problem wasn't that he was asking these questions. I get many really technical questions asked every day.

No, the problem was he was getting narky. I wasn't disrespectfully and I certainly didn't talk down to him. So why on earth would you walk into a store and act like a dickhead.

He was getting narky because he didn't understand the technicalities of how it worked. But my job isn't to explain every single detail to him. If a car salesman tells you that this car uses less petrol than this brand, do you really need to know how the engine works to achieve that?

Fine if you do. Go look it up or download the white paper from the manufacturers website. If you want to know how Rolex achieve a stepless moving second hand arm on their watches, look it up.

But don't think the salesperson's an idiot because they don't know.

Here's another scenario that happens. Customer asks Q. "Which camera is better?"

ME: "This one".

Q. "Why?"

ME: "Takes better pictures"

Q: "Why?"

ME: "The colour is better, better contrast, etc etc etc"

Q: "Why? is it better". What makes it take a better picture? How does it do with the electronics it has?"

I'll show them two pictures printed 8x12 inches from the two models, and they still want to know why?

The answer is I don't care why. This happens all the time. I applaud people for wanting information rather than just relying on what a salesperson might say, but there are limits. It inhibits you ability to pick up on the good information. You know, the relevant stuff.

Asking the speed of a frontside bus IS relevant. Asking how it achieves this and what materials they use in making it, isn't.

Stop getting caught up in completely irrelevant technicalities, you'll live a much happier life. And though I wasn't going to add any thing further I will. It's a book on the Art of Photography. Helps you think about the important part of the craft. Due in November it promises to be an excellent read.