We have just come down off the Photokina 2016 high and are sitting with our heads in our hands. The lucky ones who went to see the show have hangovers, sore feet, and credit card statements to deal with. The rest of us have our hopes, fears, desires, and aversions to consider - all fuelled by the internet reports of new equipment. We'll need to keep our wits about us in the coming months.
It is not the fact that there will be new equipment coming that will stress us - new equipment is always entering the market, just as old equipment leaves it - it will be how we feel we must react to it.
Feel? React? What the heck is this? A camera column or a new-age forum? Well, follow along and you'll see what I mean. I'll be honest with you and you should be too...
Photokina 2016 will raise your level of desire. It was meant to do that. No matter what the organisers ever say, all trade shows are there to cause people to want to trade. This is natural and healthy.
Stimulating that desire is done by showing new equipment, processes, or services. If the advertisers who work for the manufacturers are lucky, they catch you just on the cusp of change - when you are about to switch cameras, lenses, flashes, or programs. Then they show you the new gear and away you go. Sale.
If you are not at that launch point they have it a bit harder - they must convince you that the goods that they want to sell are better than the goods you own. In the case of digital equipment, they do this by additional performance or new features. Again, if they can get you up the slope of desire to the tipping point...sale.
The toughest thing that the Signal Corps* ever has to do is rouse the person who is happy with the equipment they already own to some feeling of discontent. Dissing something is a tricky business if you are the same firm that sold the original camera and lens to the photographer...and are now faced with selling a replacement well before the old one wears out. Because - and make no mistake about this - the equipment lasts far longer than they wish your contentment to last.
Well, I told you I was going to tell the truth. Now be truthful to yourself. You really do want the best -everybody does. But the best is ever-changing. It can shift within a particular manufacturer's lineup and it can jump between different makers. It rarely, if ever, settles upon one item from one maker.
is the same best for every photographer. One little change in your needs, likes, colour sense, clients, or business model whisks the concept away to another perch. Likewise your training, skill, intelligence, and personality all change the best. And then there is the fiscal elephant in the corner that we never discuss...
So you really should do a bit of self-analysis in the coming weeks as the Photokina reports flesh out. Do not be too hasty to judge, and in particular refrain from pronouncing sentence upon anything until you actually see it. If it is not best for you, don't assume that it is not best for others...and vice versa.
Wait until you have the item to hand to make a decision - by all means review other people's opinions on the net, but remember that the net is the same channel that brings you alien bat children in caves and the break-up of Hollywood marriages...
Make up your own mind.
* Signal Corps = Advertising Department
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