In the non-professional context, I agree with Sabee and Dream Merchant that its boys and their toys. I'm just as guilty as the next guy on this front but usually I'll only ask such questions to friends I know well. And personally, I find it quite affronting when people ask how much you paid for this or that. Dunno why but I just feel awkward when asked that. And it's not like I have a super-ex camera or lenses. But I'll happy talk about my gear with someone really interested in learning about it. What little I know, I'm happy to share, but the caveat is always that I'm no expert and they should do their own homework, too.
Maybe some people use this as a way to start a conversation, too. Break the ice, so to speak.
Could it be just pure curiosity or friendliness?
Also, if I had to hire a wedding photographer in the future I might ask the question because it is a common topic of interest. If it is something unexpected after seeing the portfolio and we get some friendly chat going on, I would probably end up hiring the photographer. Even if it is not a brand/model I would spend my own money on. If the photographer takes offense to the question, it would give off pretty bad vibes and I would stay away even with an impressive portfolio and go find someone who is more 'fun' to work with so that the day would be enjoyable.
Or is this thread about people who can't identify a portfolio they like and choose photographers based on equipment only? There are many types of people in the world, so don't be too quick to judge their motives based on a single question they ask.
i will use the question as some form of icebreaker. since i'm paying for the services, i probably would want to see if i can get along with this guy. if the vibe i get is not good, even if your portfolio is great, so what. there are tons of photographers around.
as a photographer providing a service, won't you be happier to offer your service if the cleint is interested in what you do and how you do it?
Unless you are some super hot shot photographer and every second you spend talking to a client is like wasting time and money.
When Steve McCurry came to Singapore last year, i was amused that one of the audience ask him what camera he uses instead of finding out more from his wealth of experience.
Which is a fine example of whats happening these days. There's one school of people who are more concerned about the tech stuff and another, people who are more concerned about their art (photog).
Anyone remember David Low here on ClubSnap?
A Fellowship and Associateship recipient from the Royal Photographic Society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Photographic_Society).
His current weapon of choice?
The weapon used for the works when he was awarded his Associateship and Fellowship?
Panasonic Lumix FZ50.
IIRC, he once mentioned that he hated DSLRs, but it appears that that statement has since been removed.
Its quite normal you know. Its like violins. People also have an interest in the violin that a prodigy or Virtuoso is playing. Some people look for antique Fenders that some rock star musician played in the past. In F1 there are tech fans too. Just look at the Ferrari fans.
Some male tourist looked ABSOLUTELY STUNNED when I switched out from a fifty to a UWA.
He kept STARING at my lens, then looked back down to the kit lens he had, and looked at mine again.
This happened for quite a long stretch of Orchard Rd as we were walking the same direction, and he looked crestfallen the entire time. Poor guy.
Another curious (to me anyways) incident - when I was using a Lumix FZ10, with a huge Hoya Rubber Lens Hood that had a red ring on it.
A group of DSLR toting guys kept staring at it as I was shooting. Eventually, one or two guys strolled over, peeked, went back to the group and proclaimed "ONLY FZ10 lah!" and the rest of the 'gang' switched from looks of great concern to smiles of relief.
It seems to be quite an Asian thing if I'm not mistaken - when people ask disturbingly intrusive questions such as how much you buy your house ah? How much the schools fees ah? How much your wedding ring ah?
It gets to the point where even colleagues and acquaintances spontaneously blurt out (at socials) things as deeply personal as "So when is your time?" (to get married) or "How come you don't have yet ah?" (having kids) without even blinking an eyelid.
While some (here in some parts of Asia) would find such insensitivity alarming, it seems that the frequency of such lines of interrogation are so rampant that most of us have become numb to it, and it becomes an accepted part of the cultural scenery - to the extent that foreign friends and visitors/colleagues who may not have had enough time to get used to 'this culture', get bombarded without the slightest consideration for that person's cultural background, comfort, or social appropriateness. It's so in-one's face that almost all of us are guilty of it.
Last edited by Dream Merchant; 11th February 2010 at 12:54 PM.
Life is short, and we're bombarded by tech talk and gawk from all directions. Some would actually prefer to talk about aspects of the hobby other than the most basics regarding the equipment, and take the opportunity to try and connect with another person instead of (usually and narrowly) gaagaing over equipment.
To many, it seems like such topics of obsessing over equipment, especially when approached insensitively or at the wrong time, by strangers (especially) may result in a very irksome encounter.
At the risk of sounding 'atas', it's a matter of choosing the right conversation subject and angle, and at the right time and place with the right people.
Esoterica, as in the examples you gave, is different, because it often involves a small group of like-minded people intensely focused on the equipment. But at the end of the day, it's still equipment gawking.
Last edited by Dream Merchant; 11th February 2010 at 01:31 PM.
Quite a few guys are into photography.... perhaps just as a hobby.
When they (potential clients) engage a PROFESSIONAL photographer, (as true blue singaporeans) they want to be certain this guy can deliver results and not be conned.
Events such as actual or pre-wedding shoots matters especially to their future COs. Imagine the hell they get if they engage some one who have nice portfolio but can't deliver results-consistent images. Seriously, how many photographers put up their lousy portfolio? you choose the best right?
so how, random questions like what gear do u use, what settings do u shoot with come along. Guess TS gotta treat it like interview questions... even if you shoot with a pns, be proud of it if you believe you can deliver.
You don't take a photograph, you make it. ~Ansel Adams
How true. Talking about equipment, last Sunday I was at the zoo with my small and cute Pentax K 135f2.5 stuck to my 5D and when I came abreast with a young man carrying his 7D plus 70-200f4 IS, he turned to me and commented," What's that, so cute"? I said,'It's a MF lens". He looked stunt and replied," What, no AF, so archiac"!! I looked at him and said," I had that but sold it for this". He walked away shaking his head.
Home is where the heart is.
So one fine day, you meet up a friend.
Hey Jay, where are you working now? Silence... Oh, it is the working attitude and not the company I worked in of importance.
Oh, how old is your children now and where are they studying..... Oh it is not the age or the school that is important but the quality of the child.
Alright, so heard you bought a new chio car.... What model did you buy?..... Oh it is the driver behind the wheels and not the car.
See you next time. Woow nice conversation huh.
i think modern people rely too much on AF to appreciate the beauty of MF at times.
When your focusing unit on your lens fail, what is he going to do? cry...
man... his lens so long brain so small.
You don't take a photograph, you make it. ~Ansel Adams
One thing is that many have never experienced film photography, or manual lenses, so to them, without greater knowledge or experience, digital and AF are the only things that exist in their scope of photographic equipment.
Last edited by Dream Merchant; 11th February 2010 at 02:06 PM.
And let's face it; 'it's the man behind the equipment' and 'thanks for your comments, I'll keep it in mind' is just a nice way of saying 'I'm not sure what you're talking about but I don't want to talk about it (with you)', or 'don't waste my time; I'm really not interested in what you have to say'.