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Thread started 09 Sep 2012 (Sunday) 14:12
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Distinguishing want from need?

 
TSchrief
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Sep 09, 2012 14:12 |  #1
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I wanted to start a new thread with this because replying to someone else's posting with this would seem a bit rude, I believe.

I have seen a lot of OPs ask a question about this or that body, and whether it would be worth it to upgrade. Invariably the differences between the models and a lot of personal preferences are listed. That is normal.

Here is the part I simply do not understand. In most of these threads, someone will invariably ask something like, "What feature is lacking on your current body?" Or "Are you sure you are pushing your current equipment to the limit?" While these are valid questions, how many people do they really apply to? If you are an extremely creative professional and absolutely NEED this or that feature, fine. My belief is that this simply does not apply to 99% of people who own and use a camera, of any kind.

I have been taking pictures since the 1960s. I got my first bridge camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ8, I miss it) about 10 years ago and moved to DSLR in 2009. None of those 'upgrades' were based on need. To even ask the question about pushing the limits seems, to me, to be putting way too much emphasis on the technical and logical for most people. Don't most of us upgraded because we WANT to? I wanted a rear control wheel, auto ISO and flash commander, so I bought a 60D. I didn't need any of that stuff. Nobody pays me for my photography, which I am sure is true about most people on POTN.

Putting this kind of emphasis on the technical/logical process of photography seems antithetical. Isn't this an art form? A creative, emotional endeavor, meant so satisfy the creator as much as the viewer? Does any other upgrade in our lives get this kind of technical analysis? My feeling is that upgrading anything in your life should be because you WANT something better, however you perceive better. How many people get the test-track specs before buying a new car? Close to none, I bet. You get the car you WANT based mostly on emotion.

I bought a Kimber .45 ACP because it felt good in my hands. Not a cop. Don't even carry a gun. But I do like shooting and I wanted a new toy. Same thing applies to photography. I have already outlined my photographic skills and needs. With that in mind, I will be buying a 5D3+24-105 kit when I retire in March. Why? Because I want one. What is wrong with that? Without lots of people buying stuff they don't really need, wouldn't Canon go out of business?


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gosundevils
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Sep 09, 2012 14:24 |  #2

I think about this a lot as well, and as someone who is upgrading to a 5D2 finally, it is certainly a want. I think only the working professionals have a true "need". If it's not contributing to your bottom line, I feel like you don't NEED anything.

That being said, I'm a graphic designer, and it benefits me to have a good photography setup around. Whereas many other designers are fine with their 40D's and the 18-55 kit lenses, photography is sometimes part of my job (covering events happening around the university), and I do a lot of large-scale print work. When printing at 24x36, most of the time having to enlarge to be able to do so, these 18-55 lenses are much less forgiving. The design surrounding the photo can be fantastic, the composition of the photo can be fantastic. But what if the quality of the production is hindered because of a soft lens or chromatic aberrations or lens flare? Suddenly, everything that was great about the piece is nullified. This is how I justify putting forth the little bit of extra cash when going for the higher quality (sometimes L) lenses.

That being said, my upgrade to a 5D2 is a total "want". The 5D Classic is a perfect camera for me, I love everything about it and haven't had a single shot ruined by anything other than an idiot photographer. But, the 5D2 allows me to get away with less enlarging, as well as brings HD movie functionality. Since "graphic designer" is now evolving into a more multifaceted approach of designer, copywriter, photographer, and with the increasing prevalence of motion graphics, videographer… this brings new capabilities to my repertoire.

Good thread.


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-dave-m-
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Sep 09, 2012 14:36 as a reply to  @ gosundevils's post |  #3

I mostly agree as well. I "upgraded" from a T1i to a 5D MkII because I wanted to. If I had to justify it I couldn't. If I had to list features of the T1i that were holding me back, I couldn't. In the end it didn't matter because I wanted the 5D MkII so I bought it. Same goes for all my gear, I'm not a professional, in reality I don't "need" a DSLR. If I want something and can afford it, then I get it. I don't feel the need to justify it to anyone, especially random strangers on a forum.(By the way, you can probably tell I'm single and do not have any children)

I'll even go further and say alot of professionals upgrade based on want as well.


5D MkII Gripped | 7D MkII Gripped | 200 f/2.8L | 17-40 f/4L | Σ 24-105 OS f/4 Art | Σ 50 f/1.4 Art | Σ 150-600 OS f/5-6.3 C | 430EX II

  
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kriptikracing
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Sep 09, 2012 14:47 |  #4

Professional or hobbyist...it's never a need and always a want .


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TSchrief
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Sep 09, 2012 16:09 |  #5
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gosundevils wrote in post #14968295 (external link)
I think about this a lot as well, and as someone who is upgrading to a 5D2 finally, it is certainly a want. I think only the working professionals have a true "need". If it's not contributing to your bottom line, I feel like you don't NEED anything.

That being said, I'm a graphic designer, and it benefits me to have a good photography setup around. Whereas many other designers are fine with their 40D's and the 18-55 kit lenses, photography is sometimes part of my job (covering events happening around the university), and I do a lot of large-scale print work. When printing at 24x36, most of the time having to enlarge to be able to do so, these 18-55 lenses are much less forgiving. The design surrounding the photo can be fantastic, the composition of the photo can be fantastic. But what if the quality of the production is hindered because of a soft lens or chromatic aberrations or lens flare? Suddenly, everything that was great about the piece is nullified. This is how I justify putting forth the little bit of extra cash when going for the higher quality (sometimes L) lenses.

That being said, my upgrade to a 5D2 is a total "want". The 5D Classic is a perfect camera for me, I love everything about it and haven't had a single shot ruined by anything other than an idiot photographer. But, the 5D2 allows me to get away with less enlarging, as well as brings HD movie functionality. Since "graphic designer" is now evolving into a more multifaceted approach of designer, copywriter, photographer, and with the increasing prevalence of motion graphics, videographer… this brings new capabilities to my repertoire.

Good thread.

Thank you for the detailed and interesting response. Your statement about enlarging and the kit lens is what I want to pick your brain about. If you took the same shot, on a 5D2, using the 24-105 and the 17-85 (1/3 the price of a 24-105), would anyone but you, or another photographer have been able to tell the difference? I ask because for my shorter zooms I use mostly kit, 18-55 and 18-135. I take pictures of my grandson and the family is blown away by them. Well, I can get more creative than someone with an i-phone. However, to me, most of the shots with those two lenses are lacking in sharpness, contrast and color density (not sure how to describe that one). My 28, 50 and 85 primes do a much better job. But it does not matter to anyone but me. I really like my newly acquired 100-400L and 70-200 2.8. Personally, I don't need those lenses, but I was unsatisfied with my 70-300 non-L. It was too much of a compromise, on all fronts.

I guess this all leads back to the original question. What does it matter "what is your current setup lacking" or "are you using your current to its fullest potential?" If nearly every upgrade is a personal desire, what does talent, equipment potential or any of that have to do with anything? I don't need a 600 f4. I can't afford a 600 f4. So I won't buy one. But I still want one. If you want it, and your wife won't kill you for buying it, get it.


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Laramie
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Sep 09, 2012 16:34 |  #6

If you want something, and have the money for it..."need" magically disappears. :-)


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alazgr8
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Sep 09, 2012 17:04 |  #7

TScrief,

This is a very good discussion. I wonder if there is a bit of snobbery going on when people ask "What feature is lacking on your current body?" Or "Are you sure you are pushing your current equipment to the limit?" Is it because in the eye's of a working professional, a hobyist is considered a lesser photographer because he didn't pay his dues? Is a hobbyist who works a full time job, and can afford L lenses, and the newest cameras considered "buying" his way into photography? The truth is, a person can have the best gear and still not be a more than an average photographer, just as a professional photographer can also be average. In the stictest sense of the word, someone that works the photo shop at Walmart can be considered a "professional". What it really comes down to is, who's to judge what a person chooses to spend their money on?

Regards,

Rick


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RDKirk
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Sep 09, 2012 17:24 |  #8

Here is the part I simply do not understand. In most of these threads, someone will invariably ask something like, "What feature is lacking on your current body?" Or "Are you sure you are pushing your current equipment to the limit?" While these are valid questions, how many people do they really apply to?

So why ask the question "Would it be worth it to upgrade?" if we have established the point that it's all about "want?"

If it's all about "want," then there is no question of "is it worth it to upgrade?" Once you bring "worth" into the picture, then it's certainly valid to discuss "need."

And it's just as valid to discuss "need" even for hobbyists. Most hobbyists don't have an unlimited budget and must consider the satisfaction return of their expenditures. It certainly is valid to question, then, whether they can't satisfy themselves more by making better use of a current body and using that money for a lens rather than a body upgrade.


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-dave-m-
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Sep 09, 2012 17:28 as a reply to  @ alazgr8's post |  #9

Some of it can come from snobbery, some of it can be attributed to the parrot effect. New person to the forum asks for advice on upgrading from body "a" to body "b". First reply asks what body "a" is lacking or how body "a" is holding you back. Many of the new people will go on to give the same canned responses down the line.

A better first question would be are you upgrading because you want a new body or are you trying to improve your photos by purchasing a new body?


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FlyingPhotog
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Sep 09, 2012 17:29 |  #10

If spending money on "X" will generate some kind of a significant return on that investment (be it more income or more enjoyment) then it's fair to call "X" a need.

Simply feeling like you have to keep up with the Joneses (or in this case, Gearheads...) puts purchases squarely in the want column.


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Sep 09, 2012 17:39 as a reply to  @ FlyingPhotog's post |  #11

I don't even need a camera. I don't need a smart phone or a travel trailer or wine cellar, either. But they all give me enjoyment (sometimes simultaneously) and I have the ability to procure them, so I would definitely put them in the want category. Along with everything else except food, water, and shelter from the environment.


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Snydremark
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Sep 09, 2012 17:53 |  #12

Those types of questions tend to get asked because the base question gets asked without all of the qualifiers that you indicate "frequently" go along with it.

If someone asks "Is it worth it to upgrade my 40D to a 5D II?" and doesn't give any indication of what sort of photography they do, what sort of framing they are looking for, what sorts of focal lengths they're dealing with, etc, then none of us can really offer any sort of a salient response. So, we ask those questions in order to get enough information to, at least attempt to, give them a thoughtful and reasoned response.

Heck, most of the time, those questions should really be phrased more like "What are the pros and cons of making this switch", instead, because that's what folks are really looking for. Information that they haven't previously found.

Why is that "elitist", "snobbish" or anything else? In your example of getting the 60D, you say you wanted those things. Great! A lot of the posters that ask those questions don't give those sorts of details.

kriptikracing wrote in post #14968369 (external link)
Professional or hobbyist...it's never a need and always a want .

I disagree, on an admittedly somewhat pedantic level. ;)

If you WANT to use your 100mm Macro, at f/2.8, at Noon, in the direct sunlight, you will NEED one or more ND filters or other manner of reducing the amount of light coming in the lens.

If you are being paid by a client for the same shoot, that initial want also becomes a need; because now you have a contractual agreement to deliver a particular result.

If you were gardening and only had a rake, but had to put a potted plant in the garden, would you really only WANT a shovel to make that hole? :p


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Motor ­ On
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Sep 09, 2012 18:15 |  #13

TSchrief wrote in post #14968248 (external link)
Here is the part I simply do not understand. In most of these threads, someone will invariably ask something like, "What feature is lacking on your current body?" Or "Are you sure you are pushing your current equipment to the limit?" While these are valid questions, how many people do they really apply to? If you are an extremely creative professional and absolutely NEED this or that feature, fine. My belief is that this simply does not apply to 99% of people who own and use a camera, of any kind.

I have a feeling you've missed the point of those questions though.

For example if someone has a T4i and asks "should I get a 60D?" And the response is "What is lacking on your current body?", and the response is "It doesn't perform well in low light." Want or need the answer is no, upgrading to the 60D from the T4i isn't going to make a lick of difference in that department, same as someone with a 7D asking if they should go to a 5DmkII; if they think the more expensive body will have better AF, the answer would be a resounding no, if they're looking for better low light performance and like do wide angle stuff and like to make large prints, then it may be a different answer.

Want and need have nothing to do with it, and by the time you're generically asking without direction a group of internet strangers how to spend thousands of dollars without having done the research to understand the need for and what pertinent details apply; then it's fair IMO to assume want and if it's need there will be far bigger issues at hand than the gear ever will be.


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-dave-m-
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Sep 09, 2012 18:28 |  #14

Motor On wrote in post #14969093 (external link)
I have a feeling you've missed the point of those questions though.

For example if someone has a T4i and asks "should I get a 60D?" And the response is "What is lacking on your current body?", and the response is "It doesn't perform well in low light." Want or need the answer is no, upgrading to the 60D from the T4i isn't going to make a lick of difference in that department, same as someone with a 7D asking if they should go to a 5DmkII; if they think the more expensive body will have better AF, the answer would be a resounding no, if they're looking for better low light performance and like do wide angle stuff and like to make large prints, then it may be a different answer.

Want and need have nothing to do with it, and by the time you're generically asking without direction a group of internet strangers how to spend thousands of dollars without having done the research to understand the need for and what pertinent details apply; then it's fair IMO to assume want and if it's need there will be far bigger issues at hand than the gear ever will be.

I think his point is that a person "wanting" a new body is just as valid as "needing" a new body. But most people assume the reason is to improve on their results and give responses like "What is your current body lacking?" without trying to establish "want" or "need". If a person answered with "I want a new body because I want to have a big camera and get noticed at my son's high school football game." it may turn some people off but is just as vaild as any other reason.


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Sep 09, 2012 18:30 |  #15

'Need' is when, without that, you simply cannot get the job done by other means.

'Want' is when, without that, you simply cannot get along with your life because you are thinking too much about how much you cannot continue to live without it!

:lol:

'lust' and 'want' are closely related


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Distinguishing want from need?
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