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06-01-2011, 03:49 PM   #451
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Mmm... I don't accept the irreducible subjective as a meaningful philosophical concept, if that's what you're getting at - I think Wittgenstein made a good run at it, and modern neurological experiments have confirmed that it's not the state of affairs. I think it's fairly certain that we all have the same sorts of experiences, and that "subjectivity" resides primarily in degree, rather than kind.
FA limited lenses are fine, but the pixie dust language game makes me cringe.

06-01-2011, 03:53 PM   #452
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
In almost exactly the same way, there is a special quality to Coke as compared to Pepsi. If we knew the formulas, would could put that difference into words just as Jun did in explaining the FA Limiteds. But that doesn't make all people who prefer Pepsi wrong
Have you seen the film The Invention of Lying? That's my take on Pepsi.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Recognizing and appreciating differences in the musics of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms (and the differences *within* their output) is similarly a matter of trained and attuned perception. The differences are real. But it's still the case that experts might disagree on preferences, or simply not have preferences.
That is fine. I note in passing that experts agree more than they disagree on such things; it is not nearly so much a matter of personal opinion as those outside their field of expertise might think. (I see you recognise this, but highlight this point for other readers.)

Most of my comments are directed to those who admit of no difference or who slag those of use who see a difference as being elitist, being involved in mutual masturbation, etc. It is those attitudes that are insupportable.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
You left out category 4: those who think lenses matter and acknowledge the "special" qualities of certain lenses, but don't recognize that being "special" makes them "better" in any objective sense, because such things are subjective and not objective.
Fair enough. I have no argument with you, though I disagree. For me these lenses are distinct and better. I have no special interest in making this known except that is saves Pentax newcomers a great deal of wasted time and expense in buying less capable lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
3b. Those who find it necessary to deride those who point out that such preferences are subjective
I hope you are not including me in that category, since I don't think I have done as you say.
06-01-2011, 03:57 PM   #453
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
LOL! This isn't the time or the place, and I will say only this: If you can't tell whether you're listening to it in a double blind test, it doesn't matter what they say it does.
Hmmmmm, not necessarily in the quote above, but overall you seem to put a lot of faith in the double blind study. Let me see if I can throw a wrench in that apparent epistemological assumption (one of my favorite pastimes).

Getting back to the thread theme, let’s say you conduct a double blind study on a hundred people who all claim they recognize a lens pixie dusted (PD). After the study is completed, only three people were able to choose shots taken with lenses they’ve deemed PD. Study conclusion: PD is an illusion. And the three percent who did guess correctly . . . random luck?

Now let’s add more facts. As it turns out, most people who own PD lenses love cool equipment, often even more than they love doing photography (LBA?); and only about, say, three percent of the average group of enthusiasts actually have developed the appreciation skills needed to detect PD rendered pictures.

So when the study is done, what does it actually prove? It merely proves most people who own PD lenses are collectors, lovers of quality equipment, etc., and not that PD cannot be detected by the relative few whose tastes have matured enough to appreciate the quality.
06-01-2011, 04:06 PM   #454
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Most of my comments are directed to those who admit of no difference or who slag those of use who see a difference as being elitist, being involved in mutual masturbation, etc. It is those attitudes that are insupportable.
I hope you weren't offended. I was using the following definition of "circlejerk:"

"Sometimes used to describe an internet forum thread where forum members all give each other kudos (Or rep where a rep system is present) for some non-event that has occurred."

06-01-2011, 04:08 PM   #455
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Lenses can work the same way.
I like this. But part of me is thinking... well what about all of the other tools out there?

I am a very suspicious person by nature - and I am particularly suspicious of motivations. Justification for an expensive tool is suspicious, but so is an aversion to anything expensive.

I really have a problem when, no matter one's intended use, they are guided to blow their budget on an FA ltd. I used to get into very silly arguments with people when they would suggest: "skip the DA 40, you will always wonder about the FA 43". It does not matter to them what the person intends to use the lens for (i.e., FA 43 is going be better at some things, DA 40 is going to be better at other things.

Jsherman, I don't want to play favourites, but I think you are the finest and most consistent photographer on this forum. You can make any lens look good - and you also have a rather tempered approach to this whole discussion, which I can respect.

At the end of the day, though, I do think that a lot of lenses are completely looked over because they aren't a limited (DA or FA), and this is simply biased. In fact, it is brand loyalty, and I am particularly suspicious of that motivation. There are more than 3 lenses out there that have dust, and it's such a personal call, that I would think that you would have trouble quantitatively determining which do and which do not, unless you do it by democratic vote.

This approach works insofar as it allows you to distinguish between two popular decisions, but it removes the personal component from the equation... which is *all* I believe to be important.

Lets get back to guitars. I'm sure you can hear the difference between one guitar and another, Todd. I happen to prefer the sound of humbuckers to single coils, and I can pick out a fender vs. grestch vs. gibson at will in a dense mix. However, this does not make one better than the other. If X player connects with Y guitar better, and they sing together, that does *not* suggest that Y guitar is superior to Z. In fact, it tells you more about the player. A heavy handed guitarist might sound best with a 24 3/4 scale guitar, a Jazz player who prefers complex runs might prefer the tension caused by a 25 1/2 scale guitar, etc. Give the wrong player the wrong guitar and it will sound terrible (me and a strat), however, if you give someone else the exact same guitar, it will sing.

Pixie dust is the product of a complex relationship. I say, forget the labels. Sure, try the FAs out... just realize they aren't going to give you pixie dust. Your pixie might still be out in the woods, waiting for you to find it. Magic comes in all forms.

Some of the greatest tastemakers (when it comes to gear) bought really cheap stuff because it was all they could afford. It was far outside of the mainstream, and through trial and error, these individuals forged a unique voice. Now a lot of those undesirable objects are worth big bucks on the vintage market because "Nels Cline played (through) one!"

I mean, come on. You don't think that hipster's fascination with disposable cameras has anything to do with Terry Richardson (who, after reaching a certian level of success, finally bought a DSLR and only uses the onboard flash and a zoom to emulate the look of a point-and-shoot)?

To some, a point and shoot has the pixie dust.

Enjoy what you love, and do what you enjoy . Let's not encourage everyone to love the same thing. We are a competitive enough culture as it is.
06-01-2011, 04:11 PM   #456
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Hmmmmm, not necessarily in the quote above, but overall you seem to put a lot of faith in the double blind study. Let me see if I can throw a wrench in that apparent epistemological assumption (one of my favorite pastimes).

Getting back to the thread theme, letís say you conduct a double blind study on a hundred people who all claim they recognize a lens pixie dusted (PD). After the study is completed, only three people were able to choose shots taken with lenses theyíve deemed PD. Study conclusion: PD is an illusion. And the three percent who did guess correctly . . . random luck?

Now letís add more facts. As it turns out, most people who own PD lenses love cool equipment, often even more than they love doing photography (LBA?); and only about, say, three percent of the average group of enthusiasts actually have developed the appreciation skills needed to detect PD rendered pictures.

So when the study is done, what does it actually prove? It merely proves most people who own PD lenses are collectors, lovers of quality equipment, etc., and not that PD cannot be detected by the relative few whose tastes have matured enough to appreciate the quality.
When we do studies, we do what's called normalization; that means we sit around and brainstorm for any possible variable that might throw a monkey wrench in our results. Then we attempt to discover ways to normalize that variable. Such as add a cohort made up of people who 1) collect glass perceived as being special, and 2) agree with the average enthusiast who perceives PD. So now we have three cohorts: The control (people off the street), the enthusiast cohort, and the (for lack of a better term) expert cohort. We might also categorize individuals by color perception, depth perception, and visual acuity, so we can look at those variables in the mix later on.

And your assumptions about such things are incorrect. If three people out of a hundred consistently score very highly at selecting images from PD lenses, it would be a *positive* result - to wit : 3% of the enthusiast population can detect PD reliably! Many researchers would immediately begin mining the data for what set those individuals apart from the others. Because if even *one* person can *reliably* detect PD in a double-blind situation, your case is *proven*; you just need to expand your study to find more people so you can get a higher accuracy representation of what percentage of the population can detect PD. What's more common is that you get a bell curve, rather than a discontinuous result.

If you read research papers, this sort of thing is often noted, and then, a few months later, you'll see another study based on that condition. It's true that one could *mis-use* the statistics you present to 'show' that pd was an illusion, but it *would be* misuse, not science.
06-01-2011, 04:19 PM   #457
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Don't even get me started on audiophiles.
I know what you mean. I have listened to systems with $35K interconnects. For those who are not indoctrinated, an "interconnect" is what audio engineers like myself call "a cable". Did it sound great? You bet! That was something to do with the few hundred grand sunk into the rest of the system. Were the cables to credit? Er, no, hardly.

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
On guitar forums, I learned something after about a year - it's not the pickups, it's not the amp, it's not the room, it's your fingers. It's all in your fingers.
This is the same argument we've heard before: it's not the gear it's the performer. It's demonstrably false. That's why the pros spend huge amounts of money on better instruments. If you disagree please ask Yo-Yo Ma why he has several ultra cello including a 1733 Montagnana. Or ask Pat Metheny why he asks Linda Manzer to custom-build guitars. Or ask...

QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
The point is that a lens *can* have pixie dust... or maybe more accurately, a lens can *pull* pixie dust right out of you.
I like that. Though I disagree it's the only factor.
06-01-2011, 04:19 PM   #458
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
FA limited lenses are fine, but the pixie dust language game makes me cringe.
(ROFL) Even if I used it to take pictures of a Chinese Room?

06-01-2011, 04:21 PM   #459
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
I hope you weren't offended. I was using the following definition of "circlejerk:"

"Sometimes used to describe an internet forum thread where forum members all give each other kudos (Or rep where a rep system is present) for some non-event that has occurred."
Actually I was offended. I suppose because I think deeply about language and tend to trace words back to their originating meanings. Also, I am old enough to remember when there was only one definition of the phrase. And that is not the one you now put forward.
06-01-2011, 04:30 PM   #460
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
This is the same argument we've heard before: it's not the gear it's the performer. It's demonstrably false. That's why the pros spend huge amounts of money on better instruments. If you disagree please ask Yo-Yo Ma why he has several ultra cello including a 1733 Montagnana. Or ask Pat Metheny why he asks Linda Manzer to custom-build guitars. Or ask...
Did Yo-Yo Ma start out with such a cello? Or Pat Metheny? Do you think that Pat Metheny would still be an awesome guitar player if he'd chosen the Parker Jazz Fly instead of the Roland MIDI Guitar? Does Al Di Meola use the Manzer instruments because they have pixie dust?

The assertion is not that instruments don't matter at all; it's that they don't matter without the artist. A guitar doesn't play itself, and a lens doesn't point the camera. Intent is the core and soul of art, and devices do not have it.
06-01-2011, 04:36 PM   #461
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
If you read research papers, this sort of thing is often noted, and then, a few months later, you'll see another study based on that condition. It's true that one could *mis-use* the statistics you present to 'show' that pd was an illusion, but it *would be* misuse, not science.
Get back to me when science can explain conciousness.

I'm in science myself, but I think it is a fallacy to claim that the empirical method is the *only* method. It's great at some things, miserable at others.
06-01-2011, 04:38 PM   #462
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Because if even *one* person can *reliably* detect PD in a double-blind situation, your case is *proven*; you just need to expand your study to find more people so you can get a higher accuracy representation of what percentage of the population can detect PD
This is true (but would that one person not be elitist? ) and hence the power of the double-blinded study to test hypotheses. The strength of such a study lies in the robustness of the methodology. Studying 100 random people as opposed to defined subsets of appropriately credentialed photogs is like night and day, despite the study itself being executed flawlessly.
06-01-2011, 04:42 PM   #463
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
The assertion is not that instruments don't matter at all; it's that they don't matter without the artist.
Exactly, and the artist determines what makes a good instrument.

There is no "best", because experts never agree. Think that one through. These things are all just tools. If we admit we are subject to them, then we are in real trouble (see Kubrick's 2001) .
06-01-2011, 04:45 PM - 1 Like   #464
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To use the guitar comparison....I suck just as bad on my $3500 Masterbuilt Telecaster as I do on my $800 Telecaster.
06-01-2011, 04:52 PM   #465
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Get back to me when science can explain conciousness.

I'm in science myself, but I think it is a fallacy to claim that the empirical method is the *only* method. It's great at some things, miserable at others.
Oh, ouch... LOL! Get back to me when any epistemological process 'explains' consciousness, ok?

I don't think I did claim that the empirical method was the only one. Only that when people use terms like "objective", that's what they are talking about.
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