Friday, September 30, 2011

Nikon say's "it's all about the gear"....ah, never mind

You have to be careful with Social Media; it can turn around and bite you in the avatar. All it takes is one miss-step, as Nikon discovered this week when they posted the following comment on Facebook:
“A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?” | Oh no they didn't...
Now I think there are several ways to read that comment. One way is that if you want to do the best job, you want to use the best tool you can get. Another, similar, way to read it might be that if you don't have the best tool, it won't be as good as it could be. And I guess the third reading is that skill is unimportant, only the tool is important.

That seems a rather too literal reading of something that, admittedly, came from the PR department of a camera manufacturer. Still, we on the internet are a sensitive bunch, as a few thousand biting responses proved, and had Nikon quickly revising and extending their remarks:
“We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.” | Nikon’s Facebook response
And the whole thing has prompted a lot of additional blog posts too see: Nikon: "A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses" | Pixiq, and, well, this one too.

Of course, as one commenter said:
Wait - a camera company tries to encourage people to buy their product? Using “weasel words" and "glittering generalities?" You mean they're more concerned with profit than Art? No, not Nikon! (Canon maybe...)

And seriously, is anyone suggesting that you can produce the same results with a Flip cam that you can get with a RED Epic? That there's no image or functional difference between a Canon 5D and an ARRI Alexa? Seriously?

Nikon's mistake was wading into the debate about skill and technique vs gear, which seems to rear it's head every few months. I think most people would agree that if you don't know how to use it, the latest RED Epic isn't going to turn you into the world's greatest cinematographer. On the other hand, why wouldn't you want to use the best camera you can get your hands on?

One person tweeted:
The Nikon PR guy is such an idiot: [Has] he watched @5tu @vincentlaforet or @PhilipBloom pics?
A good point. Philip Bloom produces better results with a Sony NEX-5N than many of us could produce with an ARRI Alexa. On the other hand, he bought a Sony PMW-F3 earlier this year, and just bought a RED Epic. Yes, it's all about the skill, but it appears that having a good camera is pretty important too!
In the end I was able to get a few nice pretties with [the Canon 5D] but I was disappointed. I missed some great moments and it was pretty embarrassing for me, to have to tell my client the [Red Epic] had died. But thankfully he was fantastically understanding and happy with what we had.
-Philip Bloom, Strongman: Shot on RED EPIC at 120 and 300 FPS

I see Phillip bought an Epic he had familiar Red Experience sadly I can relate, everyone so obsessed with 5K
- Rodney Charters

No comments: