I have been pixel peeping A LOT lately… … scrutinizing my past works, works done on 120mm film, 35mm film, then the now ancient Canon D60, then the not-too-long-ago Canon 20D, then the Canon 5D, then the Nikon D700, then, the Olympus E-P1, Olympus E-3(loaned), and now, Olympus E-P2.
For those wondering whether to buy Panasonic GF1 or the Olympus PEN series… I have also tried out both. The only thing I can say is, there are 2 camps: the Panasonic Camp and the Olympus Camp. You either love or hate one or the other. For me, I hate GF1’s clanky shutter sound. For those who know me personally, I have this thing in me about Shutter Sound! LOL… probably ever since I touched a Leica Rangefinder. But there are many things good about the GF1 which many appreciates. For me, I use the Lumix 20mm F1.7 lens on my E-P2. No offence Olympus, the Lumix is really way sharper! With rumors about the next EP-xx coming very soon, for all those who haven’t yet invested in MFT(Micro-four-thirds) system, you might wanna hold your horse.
I treat photography as an ART. I used to hang out a lot with some photographers who think highly of themselves as artists. They hate pixel peepers. Who are the pixel peepers? They are those who couldn’t resist pressing the magnifying button on their computer, and those who kept emphasizing on “actual pixels”. They get their satisfaction doing test shots, scrutinizing the difference between F1.2 and F1.4 bokeh, studying chromatic aberration, looking out for “doughnut rings” in the bokehs… and so on.
Artists view them as a waste of time and energy. Artists view them as the bottom feeders, the lowest class of photographers, the proud and unproductive ones, the talk but no action/no true masterpieces ones, the gearheads, the equipment-enthusiasts and not the true photo-enthusiasts, the insecure ones who need big and expensive equipment to boost their self-confidence.
But when the “artist” comes to buying a certain piece of equipment, they seek out internet reviews. They seek out their “gearhead buddies”. They too go pixel peeping online, looking for an answer. How ironical and hypocritical can human be? (I used to be like this)
Just for example, the controversial Canon EF50mm F1.2L lens. This lens has created such a stir on the internet regarding it’s focus-shift issues that at least for me, I will not waste my money on it. So who found out about it’s focus-shift problems? (This lens constantly back focuses at close distances and front focuses at infinity) THE PIXEL PEEPERS!
Photography is not a competition! There are no real champions or real losers! There’s no “finishing line” like in a race! In sports, you can beat someone’s previous record, or score more goals than your competitors, but in photography, don’t tell me you guys out there are calculating how many awards you can win each year in order to compete with your neighbour??? I really hope not! Human is imperfect and so are the judges of each photography competition. You subject your own artistic interpretation for somone else to judge, and you should be prepared that his/her views may not be your views. Nobody’s right or wrong. Can’t you see?
To set a standard for everyone to follow is “communism”. It will be so damn boring to have everyone shoot the same way! Organizations which declare themselves as “world standards” often are doing it for commercial reasons, never ARTS. They exist for clients who want quick answers.
So what’s about my “pixel-peeping” lately? I am learning from my previous works. I am doing lotsa comparisons. (I’m still not that “FREE” ok? I pixel-peep in between clearing current workload). I am studying if I am progressing. I am studying if the photographs I made can last a lifetime without making me sick of looking at them. That’s one reason why I hate Fisheye lenses. I just don’t think Fisheye images last. They make me feel giddy. And in today’s digital world, it is also obvious that “overly-photoshopped” pictures don’t last long!
All in all, we should thank the pixel peepers around us. They help us realize the difference between full frame sensors and four-thirds sensors, the beauty of creamy bokeh vs harsh bokeh, the worthy buys and the not-so-worthy ones… … etc. so that we can settle down on which equipment to use for which purposes, and concentrate on creating masterpieces of our own!
Equipment does play a part in image-making! If you are a true hardcore artist, this post is not for you as you are most likely happy with that $20 toy camera in your hands!