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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 15th July 2011
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Web Wars

What is it about photographers and the Internet? Normally you couldn’t wish to meet a nicer, more affable group of people, all delighting in a shared passion for recording through their lens the world around them. Always with a friendly word to say upon meeting a fellow photographer, regardless of what equipment each is using. In fact, in real life equipment discussions are normally quite low down the list, well below the merits of what is being photographed, for example.

Sadly, that often changes online. Whether it’s the impersonality of “talking” to a fellow human being through a screen and keyboard, the anonymity of the medium or a more basic, tribal instinct emerging amongst the greater numbers present I don’t know, but there is a dramatic difference in the way cyber photographers relate to each other. Many of them gravitate towards one of several distinct tribes, usually defined by the make of camera used by the tribe members.

There are dedicated tribes for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus, with sub tribes for full frame and cropped sensor users and woe betide the unfortunate tribal member who inadvertently strays into the territory of a rival; each tribe has its own homeland with well-defined boundaries, known as a forum. Rivalry between these tribes can be so fierce that it makes the rivalry between Manchester United and Leeds supporters seem like a friendly agreement to differ. Some of the bitterest conflicts used to occur between the film and digital tribes, until the former declined in numbers so much that the issues became irrelevant.

However, there are also many large cosmopolitan areas of the Web owned by no single group and for the benefit of all. The idea is that these forums should act like a vast commune where homeless tribe members can peacefully co-exist in mutual respect of each other’s ethnic differences, with no discrimination whether their lenses are black or white. and regardless of whether they originate from Japan, Germany, China or Korea. Unfortunately these displaced photographers rapidly gravitate towards others from the same cultural background and very soon turf wars break out between the rival factions, all determined to impose their own pixel count or high ISO rating upon others with different beliefs.

It’s fairly easy to identify which tribe a photographer belongs to; they usually display a comprehensive list of equipment owned (and occasionally actually used) immediately beneath their signature, along with some witty or deep and meaningful slogan seldom related to photography. The equipment list serves two purposes; it identifies to which tribe the photographer owes his allegiance and it establishes his place within the hierarchy – the greater the amount of gear, particularly if it is all the latest top of the range stuff, the more proficient the photographer. It’s rather like the Two Ronnie’s sketch with John Cleese; “I am middle class because I own a 7D. I look up at him because he has a 5DII but down on him because he only has a 40D.” However, don’t feel too sorry for the 40D owner, he looks down on anyone who owns a Nikon, Pentax, Sony or Olympus.

The Internet is actually a great place for photographers to display their photographs, to a potentially massive audience. However, many of them prefer to Talk Photography and never let the facts get in the way of a good rant. These shadowy characters, anonymous through “user names,” do occasionally venture from their virtual half-world to actually meet real photographers, taking real photographs in real situations. You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer, more affable group of people, all delighting in a shared passion for recording through their lens the world around them. Always with a friendly word to say upon meeting a fellow photographer, regardless of what equipment each is using.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
It’s fairly easy to identify which tribe a photographer belongs to; they usually display a comprehensive list of equipment owned (and occasionally actually used) immediately beneath their signature, along with some witty or deep and meaningful slogan seldom related to photography. The equipment list serves two purposes; it identifies to which tribe the photographer owes his allegiance and it establishes his place within the hierarchy – the greater the amount of gear, particularly if it is all the latest top of the range stuff, the more proficient the photographer. It’s rather like the Two Ronnie’s sketch with John Cleese; “I am middle class because I own a 7D. I look up at him because he has a 5DII but down on him because he only has a 40D.” However, don’t feel too sorry for the 40D owner, he looks down on anyone who owns a Nikon, Pentax, Sony or Olympus.
Wasn't the sketch from That Was The Week That Was? And no I'm not old enough to remember the show but have seen the sketch.

I've never understood equipment lists in a signature as you can see from my current sig.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

As a very recently joined member of this forum I also never understood the reason for listing equipment in a signature but it seemed the thing to do so I eventually compiled a list. I don't read much into this or concerned whether it identifies me with any tribe or other group.

I belong to several forums, most of them non photographically orientated, and in all I use my real name as username. I have never seen the need for an anonymous username on a web forum that doesn't involve any security issues and in fact on all the non-photography forums I belong to nobody uses them.

Anyhow we are all individuals and the enjoyment of belonging to a friendly forum as this with the ability to have meaningful discourse with other photographers, irrespective of their tribe , signature, avatar, or username is priceless.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

Suppose I've been lucky in this, or have'nt really come across it. Maybe it's my general outlook, not giving a rats behind about equipment used but focusing more on the resulting images and the mind behind the shutter release.
My list here shows only my Oly based stuff, just to show others what I regularly use, and am comfortable with. You could give a chimp a Hassleblad, but wouldnt make it a great photographer. On that same note I've walked along side the homeless with Vivitar point and shoots, producing some amazing results.
There is also the question of interpreting text, and the loss of meaning and emotion within forums. I'd most often plumb for benifit of doubt.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

Ah! John (or should I call you Zuiko ) how very observant you are !

I guess the "Kit List" is akin "showing off their six-pack in public" ! Merely being proud of one's possessions - I cannot believe that anyone would have "all of the kit" and "NOT use it" ?

However, I have observed Skiers with "the latest and best kit" at the top of the Blackest, highest runs; Motorbikers with "the latest, fastest bike and best kit"; horser riders, with "all the best & most expensive kit AND a very expensive prize winner horse" ; Yachties with a beautiful 36 footer; all the kit, and the owners cannot or do not (or both) USE IT !

Sometimes, I feel it is self inflicted persecution - by having the best they put themselves "on a pedestal" too high to climb down from to do the job! It becomes Self Intimidation

Whereas, if they started with less - they would learn more about the basics, have a lot of fun - it not mattering if they dropped it and broke it - although old kit is likely to more robust to the elements much like quality kit today

Turf Wars - well we all have an Ego and an Id - it is the Jekyll and Hyde and when a certain button is pressed, they are "Activated" in more than one way

I decided not to play the "kit list" game ... and at the time of joining here being an avid E-1, not upgraded for donkey's years, user !... I am only interested "per great shot", for the "kit" and then more importantly; how it was used

As for the Talk Photography discussions and um! "heated debates" it is fascinating when they ... "never let the facts get in the way" ... - but then, as in all sport from Football to Gladiators "The Spectator sees more of the game"
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

I find the signature kit list is useful for brand-specific forums in giving a strong hint about where to ask specific kit-related questions.
For example I see PhotoNutter is currently using an e-500 so I would feel free to ask him to show a colour photo of bluebells with his Kodak-sensor camera next to the bluebell-frustrating Jpegs of his e-600 ...

In more general photography forums the kit list serves as a justification for displaying wealth, despite perhaps the investment of £2000 in a hobby not being the wisest thing. (not me)
There is nothing wrong with that. Be proud of your stuff.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

I don't agree. Kit listing is willy waving of the worst kind. It only serves to say to others with less kit that you have more and better so they had better not mess with you.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

I'm not too fussed about kit listing either way: What sort of camera have I got? A black one...

However I am concerned, like John, about the uncivil corners of the web. It's not just photographers, poke around in any single purpose forum and you risk being flamed by the resident dragons.

Why is this? I note a habit in certain forums (Flickr comes to mind) that you don't sign your name after your rant. This makes the exchanges more anonymous and hence potentially more agressive.

Furthermore I try to project friendly with each post as part of my own personal forum maintenance

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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

I feel this is going where other less friendly forums go, let's stop it now and talk about photography again!

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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

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I don't agree. Kit listing is willy waving of the worst kind. It only serves to say to others with less kit that you have more and better so they had better not mess with you.
And as a blanket statement I would disagree with that.

This and FT are the only sites where I and a few others have a kit list and then only bodies so other members here that have the same bodies can ask me questions about those specific bodies knowing that I will probably have the answer.

Other than here the only thing in my signature beside a quote of a dog lover (and I am one) is my website as I would rather that show my knowledge ( what little I have) and joy of photography rather than a list of equipment.

I'm not impressed by equipment lists but then I'm also not impressed by people that act and talk as the greatest gift to photography then do not like to share the results of there work/hobby with other like minded people that enjoy images and the making of them.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

Hey, it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, slightly humorous (I may have failed ) and irreverent piece of satire. I certainly didn't mean to cause offence or polarize opinions (there's the photography connection, I should have used a filter ).

I may be poking my out, but it is aimed at myself as much as anyone else! I don't excel at much, but self deprication is one where I hope I do!
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Hey, it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, slightly humorous (I may have failed ) and irreverent piece of satire. I certainly didn't mean to cause offence or polarize opinions (there's the photography connection, I should have used a filter ).

I may be poking my out, but it is aimed at myself as much as anyone else! I don't excel at much, but self deprication is one where I hope I do!
Damn troublemaker
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

I'm proud of my list of kit, why wouldn't I be??? I paid lots of money for what I have, so I dont mind letting you all know I have it. If you don't want to see it, then don't read it
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

All forums are blessed with the presence of keyboard heroes. What you have to decide is if a mere mortal can ever hope to best the virtual knowledge, kit and skills of a keyboard hero.
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Old 15th July 2011
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Re: Web Wars

It's forums like this one that really show up the bad ones, good natured debate never hurt anyone - but then try that on TP(especially if you don't have a big willie to wave[or even mention 4/3])
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