8.06.2012

A short follow up about the nature of blogging my purchase of the Sony Nex7.

Taken with a Sony R1 that I bought in 2005.  Still works just right.  Has an EVF. 

I'd like to get one point right out in front:  I don't blog in order to sell you cameras. If I did I'd have ads all up and down the sides of the blog.  I blog to tell you how I operate as a photographer and as a person. I like buying and using different cameras and, if you read this blog and many other popular photography blogs on the web, chances are that you like new cameras as well.  One thing I think you'll notice over time is that it's rare for me to request a "review" camera from a manufacturer which I then write about for no other reason than to boost affiliate or "click thru" sales. Generally I write about cameras that I've researched and then gone out and purchased with my own funds because I like the camera.  I then use the camera to take images and I write about my use of the camera. When I've wrung all the enjoyment out of a camera I release it back into the wild and re-bait the hook and try again. No one goes fly fishing just to catch fish...if you need to catch fish dynamite and a big net will always be more efficient...

In the past six months we've had lots of new cameras come to market that are very, very popular.  If my sole intention was to maximize sales to Amazon you would have seen "in depth" reviews of the Fuji XPro-1, the Canon 5Dmk3, the Nikon D800 and D800e (lots of fodder there for an extended collection of blogs with links...), the Sony RX100 and, of course, the Olympus OMD.
In fact, if I'd purchased an OMD I could probably have wrung twenty or thirty long blogs about it by now. All with links galore. I could probably make a meager living just selecting the most popular camera on the Amazon sales chart and gushing wildly about it until the next popular camera overtakes it. All sales all the time.

If I wanted to differentiate myself from other reviewers I could go after the cameras from companies with smaller market shares like Pentax, Samsung and Ricoh.  But the reality is that when you come here and read stuff you can be pretty certain that, when it comes to cameras and lenses, I've bought it (skin in the game), I am beholden to no camera company for any income or free product and, at the time, I probably thought the camera or lens was interesting. I'm certainly not seeing much affiliate cash for my many essays on old Pen lenses or the ethics of photographing on the streets....

Some photographers seem to think that once you've  committed by buying into a system that you are locked to that brand for the foreseeable future.  Most blog readers who come here to my site are not in the photographic profession full time.  For them camera purchases are just one of many things they buy from their family's discretionary income. They can't expense and depreciate their creative tools.  And in their business life most things are provided for them by their employers. They don't wake up one day and say, "Oh crap, Windows really does suck so hard. I'm going out today and have my IT department replace my machine with a new Apple MacBook Pro Retina machine!"  Most people either don't have the power to do that or they have become complacent about what they use because it's almost as good.  And it works for the ranges of tasks that are part of their employment.

As several of our fellow VSL members who live in India have pointed out to me more than once there is also an income disparity between the U.S. and a number of other countries such that the purchase of a new camera constitutes scrimping and saving for a good long while before diving in and making a purchase. This is another way of being "locked."

I am lucky to be part of a group of photographers who still actually work in their field, doing photography.  I don't intend to quit. I'm not trying to become wealthy or famous by blogging. I am not selling a DVD or an endless series of workshops. I'm doing the work.  I'm trying to reach out to like minded people and share the process, sometimes logical and sometimes misguided, that drives my decisions, colors my art and moves my excitement of being involved in the media forward. Part of that is trying new stuff and incorporating what I learn into the not inconsiderable store of stuff I've found out along the way to middle age.  And it's nice to have a certain sense of community...

Someone commented on a forum after I wrote about buying the Sony Nex7 that they "didn't get the whole Kirk Tuck brand."  Well who could? I am not a product. I am not a mission statement and I'm certainly not a cult leader issuing orders about which "holy" camera to buy. Branding is for products and multinational corporations.  I have a reputation instead of a brand.  To clients I am a reliable supplier of content. I work to supply images for their marketing needs.  To my vendors I am a source of income but also a good referral source.  To my readers I hope I am believable as a normal, average, flawed human being, plagued with the same indecisions and foibles as they are when it comes to dealing with the tidal change in the overall application of photography.  If I had all the answers I would be selling them to the highest bidder.  What I am trying to do here at the VSL is share what I feel and what I see in the market place.  I have the opportunity to shift gear around to suit my needs.  I have a great local store that does fair trade-ins and consignments.  The value of recent gear that I elect to shed doesn't drop in value to zero just because I'm no longer interested in it.

I've been playing with the micro four thirds cameras and lenses long before most of the rank and file forum rats discovered them.  I've plumbed the depths and done some nice work with the cameras and lenses. Call it gear ADHD or whatever but I wanted to try something new.  My gear allegiance right now is to the company that makes the best EVF. In my mind that's the change that M4:3 brought to the table (with the Olympus VF-2) and that's what is driving the market.  Sony's EVF's in the a65, a77 and Nex 7 are the best in the industry right now.  That's where my interest lies.

I'm not asking anyone to follow me into the store and do what I do, or like what I like.  That's crazy.  If I gave a crap about high ISO performance, if that was my primary metric, I'd be shooting with a Fuji X Pro-1, and trying to figure out how to make it focus consistently...  If I wanted the best IS in the world I'd join the long line and snap up an Olympus OMD.  If I wanted the ultimate in pixels there's a Nikon D800 at the local camera shop that could be mine within the half hour.  No.  I like the idea of bringing a finder up to my eye and seeing all the parameters of imagemaking beautifully and instantly resolved in the viewfinder BEFORE I snap the shutter.  The ultrafast electronic first curtain shutter. It's an imaging paradigm shift.

You don't need to like the same thing.  I probably won't care about the Sony brand when the other two "majors" finally get dragged into the current century and implement real EVF's in their top tier shooting cameras either.  But I don't think that qualifies me for permanent, online psychoanalysis.  The blog is a form of entertainment, for me and for you. It also keeps my books (which I worked really hard and long to produce) in the public eye.  I love it when they actually get sold.  But I don't flog them in every other blog post, nor do I flog products I don't use in every other blog post.  So, brand addicted gear nuts:  Get over it.

This is a blog, not a buying guide for people who are too something to do their own research and trust their own tastes.

Something interesting about our out of control acquisition: http://www.pixiq.com/article/the-ugly-truth-behind-our-beautiful-cameras

(Full disclosure about affiliate advertising.  I take advantage of Amazon's affiliate program by putting links to products I blog about in the VSL blog. When a reader clicks on a link and buys something from Amazon I get a small commission which does not effect the price a reader pays on Amazon. My total of commissions so far for the first week of August is.......drumroll.......$40 US.  Some weeks are a bit better and some are a little worse.

I am not currently accepting any placed advertising on the blog and have turned down requests from one of the biggest camera stores in the world to join their program.  I am not currently promoting workshops or collateral items.  I am not heading to Creative Live and, as a result, I am not flogging their programming either.

As an income generating venue I hope you'll agree with me that this has been a total loss.  A time sink hole. Financial quicksand. Just thought I'd be really upfront about it. I have one great hope: When I bring out the e-book of my first novel I hope people will read about it here and then buy it.  That's it.  All done.)

54 comments:

Keith I. said...

I for one take your write ups much more to heart than I would most review sites because I know you have bought the gear yourself and used it in the real world, and you write what works and doesn't work for you.

Keep up the great work, and not just on the gear reviews.

kirk tuck said...

Thanks. I'm still having fun with it. Not getting rich from it. Having fun. That's its own ROI.

CadenceMichael said...

I hope you don't mind that I purchase your books (yes, I do) from my local small bookstore rather than the Amazon links. It costs me more even though I know the owner, but it is the right thing to do.

photohc said...

Lovin it and will keep reading it. Thanks!!

Lanthus Clark said...

Hi Kirk!

The gear write-ups are great and all, but I think the real reason I come to your blog so often is because you are a long time working pro who has a lot to share by way of insight to what makes you tick. You have the same strengths and weaknesses that we all have but you have experience and a unique way of looking at things, life, work, photography, coffee, swimming, whatever.

And you have a really eloquent way of putting it all out there for all of us to share with you and get to know you better, and ultimately get to know the business and experience of photography better.

You also come across as a really nice guy, somebody I would have a cup of coffee and conversation with one day if we would ever meet.

Thanks so much for taking the time Kirk, I really appreciate it!

Have a great day!

Lanthus

PS: I promise to buy your books when they are available as on-line downloadable electronic versions. Shipping and import duties to Sweden just works out way too expensive. :-)

AndyK said...

I feel privileged just to go along for the ride. I don't much care what the destination is as you always find interesting places to go.

kirk tuck said...

It's absolutely the right thing to do and I'd do exactly the same. Wish we still had some of the good local bookstores here in Austin. Support them while you've got them. Hard to put a price on good local resources. Thanks.

kirk tuck said...

No book buying obligation, ever. I've always enjoyed your comments and knowing that you were along for the ride!

kirk tuck said...

Thanks AndyK, That's exactly the way I look at it.

Lanthus Clark said...

No, I really want just to get your books. I don't feel obligated at all! B^)

Kevin Hanson said...

Hi Kirk,
I suppose someone or many one's sent you some hot messages that got under your skin.... I had no clue that that could be the case, but you let the cat out of the bag with this article today. Its sad there are what I call "internet cowboys" out there just gidding around on their horses to bash someone for not writing what they want to read at that moment. its the me me me era, I tell you, its ruining us all.

I enjoy your posts... even though I'm a OMD owner, I was intrigued by your post of the NEX 7 and had me wondering if I did the right thing. Both cameras are excellent but you shared your experience about the decision and not about your ego. Which I appreciate. I think I bought the OMD because of ego.... well one plus is its weather sealed so on those days my ego gets going to much, atleast its got me covered hahahaha.

I can only recommend to ignore the unglorious bastards and never pay them homage by letting them know they got under your skin....

Thanks as always and looking forward to following you on your NEX 7 and camera journey!

neil said...

Kirk,

The reason that I enjoy your blog so much is because you are earnest, have a depth of knowledge, and are not afraid to voice your opinion. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out on the internet every day and I thank you for doing that.

I usually agree with your opinions. For those times when I disagree, it would never occur to me to blast you for our differences. In fact, thinking about those differences is probably the most entertaining part for me.

I bought an Nex 7 in March (a very similar experience to your purchase). Some cameras start out fun, but become less so over time. For me, the Nex 7 has been the opposite. A little challenging setting it up and getting used to the controls, but my enjoyment has been going up. Manual focus is a blast.

Were it not for the low-light autofocus performance, I would probably get rid of my Canon equipment.

-Neil

Charles said...

Kirk, do you really consider the NEX EVF superior? It is good and higher resolution than the OM-D (which is slightly better than the VF-2). I find I like the Olympus versions better though. The Sony finders seem to clip a lot earlier and I like how the Olys look when things are in focus. What do you prefer about the NEX7?

Biro said...

Kirk... it's possible I may have unwittingly brought on some of the Internet response to your blog post about the NEX-7. I posted links to your piece on a couple of other forums - simply because I thought others would find it as interesting as I did even if they wouldn't have made the same purchase you did. I think most people understand where you're coming from. And I certainly hope you haven't been unreasonably stressed by the mixed reaction. Keep on writing and posting, Kirk, and I'll keep reading.

kirk tuck said...

Nobody pissed me off this time, there was just an overwhelming amount of conjecture along the lines of "Kirk is just churning the gear to make money from his blog...." kind of stuff. I just thought I'd go all factual on em and cut it off at the pass.

If I were making a fortune writing this I'd suffer all the innuendo with dignity and aplomp. As I do it for fun I think it's equally fun to yell at them, "Hey. You kids get off my lawn (blog)."

kirk tuck said...

Biro, no stress, no issues. I'm having a fun day. I figure once I put something out on the web it's free game. I just wrote this particular blog to make sure my intentions and motivations were crystal clear. I guess I should just be like the other bloggers and pretend I never read anything else on the web. Just my own stuff.

I've had a blast reading some of the conjecture about why I buy gear. Mad scientist stuff, for sure.

Dave said...

Mr. Tuck,

I know it has only been a day, would you shoot a wedding with a NEX 7? Thank you for all your insight, really enjoy your site.

Jessica Sweeney said...

Kirk, I have to say, I have been shooting Canon since the first day I read your blog and I will continue to do so for the forseeable future. Economically, I'd rather invest in lenses and other accessories that complement my system than new camera bodies that would make me reinvest in all the peripeherals again.

So I don't read your blog for the gear reviews. I read it because I like your voice, and I like what you have to say, especially when you're talking more about photography than you are about cameras and even when you're just talking about life.

As a reader I'm not going to make you any money in affiliate sales. Sorry. But I love your blog, no matter what you're shooting with, and I'll be back for more tomorrow or the day after. NEX-7, 5DmkII, OM-D, who cares?

Anonymous said...

"I am not a mission statement and I'm certainly not a cult leader issuing orders about which "holy" camera to buy."

Dang, you just ruined my day Mr. Tuck - and all this time I thought I was following the leader of the VSL Cult, looking for the next camera to stalk. Darn it all. Now I might have to get a life. ;)

Joking aside, I'll second Jessica Sweeney's comments. Thanks for the great blog, even if not everyone gets it. I am just happy to be along for the ride.
Ken

Bold Photography said...

I still cannot believe that any longtime reader of this blog thinks that way ( that you're writing about cameras to try to make money off of click-through sales or some other nonsense...).

then again - there's something about the cult of the Tuck... maybe we should all wear robes made from 2 stop ripstop nylon and have glowing arms from all the LED panels...

kirk tuck said...

Nope. It doesn't focus fast enough. Especially under lower light levels. Yes for an SLT a77. No for a Nex7.

kirk tuck said...

Jessica, I really appreciate your comment. That's always been exactly what I had in mind for the blog.

kirk tuck said...

Sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?

Brad Burnham said...

Even if the blog as an income generating venue is a total loss, as an interest generating venue I would say it is a great success. I am always interested with your posts, regardless of the topic. Your writing is engaging and the dialogue (or rather implied dialouge) is fun for me. In a world of memes, tags, tweeets and pins it is nice to find something more subtantial on the internet.

I look forward to the novel.

Brad

Rudi said...

I, for one, don't have a clue what the big deal is! You bought a new camera. You wrote about it. So what? I don't agree with every single post that you write, but then I am aware that you are human, just like me, and that we will occasionally have differing opinions.

I wouldn't worry about any blowback from this latest "controversy", Kirk. Life is too short to worry about what everyone else thinks. (Unless you're running for public office ;) ).

Mr said...

is book people gone, cross from wholefoods?

Wally Brooks said...

Spot on yet again. For fan boys "So, brand addicted gear nuts: Get over it."
My comment is Hire a carpenter, build a bi=ridge and get over it.

Anonymous said...

No, Book People is still there. They don't carry Kirk's books though.

Libby said...

It did surprise me that you bought another small camera. While I dislike the NEX cameras, they are just not for me, I wholly enjoyed the article.

So do you mean that you are not going to market a flash modifier made from a Cool Whip bowl? It would have to be Cool Whip - Tupperware already taken ;-)

Mr said...

agreed here, i wasnt impressed by the sonys myself

Mr said...

any chance youve got a Voigt 25 color skopar youll be testing on that nex? :) i keep glancing at them online and wondering how theyd be on my others 5N

Zac said...

I came here first for the photographs. I found them linked to sights about portraiture. I stayed for the really interesting blog posts, as a hobbyist it gives me a great insight into how professionals approach photography.

Fortunately for me, after sitting on the same DSLR for 7 years and having payed zero attention to where the industry grew you also opened my eyes to the EVF. I too am unwilling to go backwards from having an EVF, even as an amateur it has helped me understand my camera settings and spend less time staring at the back of the camera and guessing what tweaks to make.

In the end though, I keep coming back for the photographs. I care very little what the subject of your blog posts are, I read them all and I find great insight and amazing photos in all of your posts.

kirk tuck said...

Someone wrote on the m4:3 forum: "It must be cheaper than therapy." I thought this was therapy. :-)

Sean Staples said...

I enjoy your blog because it's just you being honest about what works and doesn't work for you. Taken correctly the reader can apply the knowledge to his own situation. You don't need to buy every camera Kirk buys because he's an expert, but if you're smart you'll pay attention and might find some very valuable bits you can use. For example I followed you into the the smaller Pen cameras, because for a guy like me, an enthusiast with a 2 1/2 year old terror to mind, a smaller camera makes a lot of sense. Your thoughts and reviews helped me make my purchase but I'm not going to ask for my money back because Kirk Tuck bought a NEX...

Gregg Mack said...

Kirk, I don't care what brand of camera you use. I come to your blog for entertainment, but I also learn a LOT from it.

I don't agree with everything that you say, but I like your sense of humor!

The only click-through commission you have ever earned from me was for an Epson V500 scanner, and I really like it (now if I could just remember where that box of slides is that I took inside the Armadillo World Headquarters). I bought all 5 of your books, and read every word in 4 of them), and I thank y

James Shackleton said...

Hi Kirk. A minor detail question: How do you get the feet on your Berlebach from sliding on polished surfaces? I'm still searching for that mythical "lasts-a-lifetime" tripod. Enjoying the blog. J

Gregg Mack said...

Damn this iPhone!

Anyway, thanks for all that you have taught me. I don't care what brand of camera you use.

Paul said...

Thankfully owning a camera is not like getting married. There is no life long commitment to a brand or model, cameras don't mind if are unfaithful, they don't care if are into polygamy, and if you decide to get rid of it there are no alimony payments.

I've never understood why people get so hung up on the brand loyalty thing. I'd much rather listen to someone who genuinely enjoys the whole process of photography rather than endless bickering over pixel density, dynamic range, whether it's professional (whatever that means, I always thought the user was the professional not the tool) and equivalency to full frame. It bothers me not one bit that you have a new camera, what interests me is how you use that camera to take good photos.

Keep having fun and keeping telling us about it.

arg said...

Kirk, not all of your posts interest me much, but I still check in daily because there is occasionally an absolute screaming beauty like this one.

At last someone who admits they don't buy cameras because they are the best cameras, but because it suits their priorities.

Two years ago I made my entry to digital system cameras, so I had a free hand to pick anything. I ended up choosing Canon and the choice had nothing to do with any of the attributes of any of their cameras! Like your priority on EVF, my priority was on the best performing, most comprehensive suite of lenses I could get for $4k. Against that measure, Canon were about 30-50% ahead of any other brand, so my decision was made. I just picked up a body that looked about right for my needs with no concern for brand comparisons. I love my lenses! They are taking me on a great journey in photography. The camera itself is 'fine but fleeting'.

hbernstein said...

Jeez,

You gave your reasons for liking the camera and why it seems to work well for you.

Anyone who follows your blog knows that you're a restless working photographer who's always looking for a personal edge.

A big part of the fun in following your writing is seeing what you come up with.

Enjoy the NEX, and lighten up, people!

Christine Bogan said...

As a longtime reader I'm interested in your journey through photography and especially in nex and olympus pen. I enjoy it. Thanks for that.
Last year I bought a nex3 and an e-PL1 not knowing which is the best one for me. One year later I know it's the olympus line.
Despite that I didn't sell the nex and use it from time to time. Could have been a nice system if ... But the decision brought security and know I'm locked in for mft. In my opinion being locked brings more freedom than not being locked. I'm immun for marketing with the phrase "there is no reason to stay with one manufacturer". Too many choices is seldom a good choice for me.

Christine Bogan

David said...

Kirk, I find your blog refreshing and your honesty commendable. Your comment about choosing the right camera depending on your priorities seems to hit the nail on the head. I think too many forum posters worry about buying the "ultimate" camera, which does not exist. I often think many of them would be at happier with a super-zoom bridge camera, because they criticise a camera's performance based on it not performing in every scenario.

I say acquire as many different types of cameras as you like and use them for different purposes. If it's not fun, then it's not working.

Tony's Vision said...

I just want to add another "Thumbs Up" for your straightforward posts. I have no idea where you get the time and energy, but I feel I can always depend on them to be an honest discussion of the methods and gear that work for you. Maybe not always the best choice for me, as a landscape/ambient light type, but when things click, like the mirrorless technology, it opens up a whole new world for me.

Jay Fleece said...

Hi Kirk,1st all the best with your new tool.For me cameras and lenses are the tools i need. Sure and sensors and occasional film..i hang out with a few Leica fanatics. i have them also. My pals don't understand but often when i shot pro, a SLR was a way better way! WYSIWYG. Unlike yourself, i seldom off load gear, but now i will. i am very much into digital and have not printed wet in 5 years. i luv Photoshop, Adobe, whatever. Picassa my choice most of time..
i looked thru the Nex EVF and hated it! Maybe it will look better one morning.
Your writings are such fun. The problems to solve, the manner of the solution.
I am constantly amazed at your output on these pages!
It is very useful much wanted and we wait for you to finish novel..
i ought to get back to mine..i am near end, i know where it's going and the begin of next one!

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be contrary but I like the Sony EVF when compared with the OMD EVF. For the record I do own both - but not for much longer. I just can't bond with the OMD and prefer the PEN series, go figure.

Jeff W said...

Kirk,

I found your blog when searching for reviews of the E-PL2 (then fairly new) to be a smaller camera than my E-620 and I've been a loyal member of the cult since. Since then you have purchased several different cameras and I'm still happily using the PEN and E-620. I'm not surprised by your switch to NEX since it keeps your main cameras all in the same brand, with some interchangeability, and gives you what you need. The PEN still gives me what I need so enjoy the new camera, keep talking photography, and ignore anyone who thinks you are a shill for XYZ brand.

Sam said...

Kirk,

A smart man once told me that there are three kinds of people --- keep the good ones close to you as they will bring you pleasure and happiness --- keep the bad ones away from you as they will do nothing but bring you misery --- forget about the ones in the middle, there are too many of them and they will always be around anyway. His message was "don't be thin skinned."

Regards,

Sam

Alex said...

"When I bring out the e-book of my first novel I hope people will read about it here and then buy it. "
Ehm, who wants to read from a screen, when he can have real paper?

Low Budget Dave said...

Soon, the next generation of cameras will have e-readers built into their tiny swivel screens. (Also, Angry Birds!).

Be warned that if you keep writing for fun instead of profit, we won't be able to download your books on the all-new Sony AlphaNEX RX 777X.

sey said...

I am just enjoying seeing Ben grow up!
I love your portraits, no matter which of the
extensive range of cameras/lenses/view finders you use.
The fact that I agree, mostly, with the way you think also
play some part in why I read you almost daily.
The 'almost daily' is because the kit revues don't really interest me.
The thing is, I believe you, Kirk Tuck- Photographer, can pull a better
than decent shot out of any camera that you have
with you at that moment.
You know photography and tell us about it with a smile and
that is the cream in our morning coffee.
Thank You.

PvR said...

Would we have to wear the robes all day, or would it be more of a group meeting kind of thing?

Gordon Lewis said...

Kirk,

I like that when you buy a camera you own it--you don't let it own you.

kirk tuck said...

I like the Pen series better than the OMD and I like the Sony finder better than the VF2.

Anonymous said...

I think the current champion EVF is the add-on view finder for the NEX 5N.