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06-01-2011, 04:54 PM   #466
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
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) .
Wait! That's been my argument all along (one of them, in re art vs technique)!!! In this, we agree - I *did* think it thru...

06-01-2011, 04:59 PM   #467
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
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.
Absolutely agree. Although that person might not be an elitist, that is, might not think they were better because they could do that trick. One must always be careful with methodology, indeed.

So a question... if the goal is to produce art, is the intended audience of that art only those who can perceive the pixie dust?
06-01-2011, 05:02 PM   #468
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QuoteOriginally posted by napawino Quote
To use the guitar comparison....I suck just as bad on my $3500 Masterbuilt Telecaster as I do on my $800 Telecaster.
I want a telecaster. Always have, since I heard Mark Knopfler play one
06-01-2011, 05:13 PM   #469
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
So a question... if the goal is to produce art, is the intended audience of that art only those who can perceive the pixie dust?
Not in my opinion. Art should have no exclusivity to its viewing (though we might do so inherently by charging an art gallery entrance fee, thereby discriminating against those who cannot spare the money), and thus its intent is for all to see what the creator of the artwork is trying to communicate with the art. However just as not all viewers will appreciate or understand the art (as I do not with the eccentricities of modern paintings), there will be its admirers; and therein lies its value.

06-01-2011, 05:15 PM   #470
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
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.
I understand normalization, and the ideals of science. I suppose I shouldn't have suggested my hypothetical study proved anything, but rather that it might indicate such and such. I was lightly challenging 100% faith in science. I don't want to start debating that, so let me try another approach.

Let's say Albert spends his life primarily focused on accumulating info, and his twin brother Jose spends his life more focused on feeling things. As they age, their ability to study situations and to feel situations both develop. Albert studies, among other things, human psychology, and before going to a party finds out the backgrounds of the people attending. Based on a deep understanding of all the studies done on personality types who will be at the party, Albert plans his response to each person there.

Jose takes a different approach. He has learned to feel people, and so his plan is to let how each person feels determine his response to them.

In every area of my life that involves appreciation, I can see there is info and there is a way to feel it. If I research adding new components to my stereo system primarily in feeling mode, then I will not do well. But if I approach listening to music primarily in an info mode, I won't feel it nearly as well. If while listening, I turn myself into a total feeling being, I detect far more than I ever would in info mode. Of course, to get in total feeling mode requires time, relaxing, settling down. If someone dragged me to a study, where I was being scrutinized and tested, I doubt I could attain the level of feeling I can when alone and unpressed.

Now, all those who lean toward testing and info . . . they sometimes like to ridicule those who lean toward feeling as deluded or idiotic. Not all feelers are lacking in info and science ability, it's just that they don't trust it over what they can feel (and feel about 1000 times faster than studies can indicate). So a typical debate goes . . . study indicates . . . but I feel it . . . can't be, a study indicates . . . but I see it . . . can't be, this info says so . . . but I hear it . . . nope.

I am not trying to say which view is right or wrong (actually I think they are both right in a way) so much as not to be so adamant about one's approach to knowing that one automatically dismisses anyone expressing views from a different perspective (especially the feeling perspective because I think it is dissed far more at sites where advanced technology is involved).

Last edited by les3547; 06-01-2011 at 05:20 PM.
06-01-2011, 05:44 PM   #471
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
I am not trying to say which view is right or wrong (actually I think they are both right in a way) so much as not to be so adamant about one's approach to knowing that one automatically dismisses anyone expressing views from a different perspective (especially the feeling perspective because I think it is dissed far more at sites where advanced technology is involved).
I certainly agree there. I don't advocate "sucking the poetry out of life". But a poet - and an artist - will choose the lens they choose for the look they choose and get on with things - and I will have no disagreement with that artist. The artist chooses the tools that fit with his or her art. However, when an artist makes objective claims about the empirical world, that artist treads into the engineer's territory. I've maintained all along that I'm completely ok with the idea of a gestalt of photographer, lens, and subject. I have no beef with an artist that says to me "This lens gives me the look I want."

When he adds, "And it will give *you* the look *you* want, too." I stop. And think. How could he *know* the look I want? So I ask. And he says, "Because it's *better*." "Better how?" "It has Pixie Dust!" "How do you know?" ... and that's how it begins

Then someone suggests there is a fundamental, objective character of the item that makes it better, for everyone, always...
06-01-2011, 06:09 PM   #472
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
I certainly agree there. I don't advocate "sucking the poetry out of life". But a poet - and an artist - will choose the lens they choose for the look they choose and get on with things - and I will have no disagreement with that artist. The artist chooses the tools that fit with his or her art. However, when an artist makes objective claims about the empirical world, that artist treads into the engineer's territory. I've maintained all along that I'm completely ok with the idea of a gestalt of photographer, lens, and subject. I have no beef with an artist that says to me "This lens gives me the look I want."

When he adds, "And it will give *you* the look *you* want, too." I stop. And think. How could he *know* the look I want? So I ask. And he says, "Because it's *better*." "Better how?" "It has Pixie Dust!" "How do you know?" ... and that's how it begins

Then someone suggests there is a fundamental, objective character of the item that makes it better, for everyone, always...
Just when I thought we were about to embrace each other's point of view, you say "when an artist makes objective claims about the empirical world, that artist treads into the engineer's territory." The thing is, your rules for proof are different from the feeler but, I maintain, not superior. How about you give our hypothetical feeler the benefit of the doubt, and grant he isn't without facts or lacking logic skills, but is simply relying more on feeling than info?

First, there are plenty of deluded or dishonest people, some use the feeling side to make their case and others use the info side to do it. In the end, we each have to judge just how careful and conscientious/honest someone reporting has been/is.

I don't think objectivists can claim exclusive rights to the empirical (experieneable) world; that's because we don't yet know the limits of human experience. Some believe, ahead of proof, that sense experience is all that yields information. Others of us claim the senses are not all that feels and detects and knows.

Here is how I would agree. If someone states something is an empirical, demonstrable fact, then that something should be subject to empirical testing. But if I say I feel it, and I am making competent choices (like a lens) based on that feeling, then even if science can't confirm it, that claim has some weight. That acknowledges science may not be able to validate or invalidate the truth of all claims.
06-01-2011, 06:54 PM - 1 Like   #473
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Wait! That's been my argument all along (one of them, in re art vs technique)!!! In this, we agree - I *did* think it thru...
Sure they are tools. That isn't really the central discussion which is the quality of the tool. I am sure a good surgeon can remove your spleen with a butter knife. However, would you rather the surgeon use the best laser scalpel available? If the surgeon doesn't know the difference between your spleen and pancreas, it isn't going to matter much.

06-01-2011, 07:28 PM   #474
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Have you seen the film The Invention of Lying? That's my take on Pepsi.
Haven't seen it, no. Should I? Sounded mildly interesting.

QuoteQuote:
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.
The "for me" part is good. But still, "less capable" again potentially implies these things are objective, which is the part I reject. I know, one shouldn't have to preface every single opinion with an explicit disclaimer. But it just seems to me there are ways of wording opinions that sort of tweak the nerve of people who don't share that opinion, and then there are ways of wording things that don't. I try to find the latter where possible.

QuoteQuote:
I hope you are not including me in that category, since I don't think I have done as you say.
No, I aimed that particular shot to be about as close a miss as your categorization was for me :-). I see both as lines in the sand, if you will, to help us figure out how to find ways of expressing our opinions that don't overshoot the mark.
06-01-2011, 07:49 PM   #475
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QuoteOriginally posted by les3547 Quote
Just when I thought we were about to embrace each other's point of view, you say "when an artist makes objective claims about the empirical world, that artist treads into the engineer's territory." The thing is, your rules for proof are different from the feeler but, I maintain, not superior. How about you give our hypothetical feeler the benefit of the doubt, and grant he isn't without facts or lacking logic skills, but is simply relying more on feeling than info?

First, there are plenty of deluded or dishonest people, some use the feeling side to make their case and others use the info side to do it. In the end, we each have to judge just how careful and conscientious/honest someone reporting has been/is.

I don't think objectivists can claim exclusive rights to the empirical (experieneable) world; that's because we don't yet know the limits of human experience. Some believe, ahead of proof, that sense experience is all that yields information. Others of us claim the senses are not all that feels and detects and knows.

Here is how I would agree. If someone states something is an empirical, demonstrable fact, then that something should be subject to empirical testing. But if I say I feel it, and I am making competent choices (like a lens) based on that feeling, then even if science can't confirm it, that claim has some weight. That acknowledges science may not be able to validate or invalidate the truth of all claims.
This is a somewhat interesting philosophical discussion, but probably not topic appropriate for this forum, eh?

FWIW, I acknowledge the problem of induction, but also claim that if there were a more accurate way of knowing things than the scientific method, that means would become the scientific method. Nothing else has presented itself as such, so we make do with what we have.

When the engineer makes claims about the aesthetic, he steps into the artist's realm and is subject to the artists rules; why should it not be the converse, as well?
06-01-2011, 07:51 PM   #476
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Sure they are tools. That isn't really the central discussion which is the quality of the tool. I am sure a good surgeon can remove your spleen with a butter knife. However, would you rather the surgeon use the best laser scalpel available? If the surgeon doesn't know the difference between your spleen and pancreas, it isn't going to matter much.
I completely agree, if we're talking the difference between a butter knife and a scalpel. But we aren't; we're talking about a choice between two of the best scalpels in the world. I want the surgeon to use the one he's most comfortable with.
06-01-2011, 08:02 PM   #477
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BTW, as a professional musician, the analogies to instruments (and to a lesser extent, cables) resonate with me. When I think about it about, I'd say my feelings are similar, but the different context allows me to put a different spin on things. It's a similar spin to what jsherman has been putting forth all along, but maybe the specifics differ a bit. To wit:

I can certainly hear the difference between a piece of junk piano and a decent one. And I can tell the difference between a decent one and a great one. These terms themselves are subjective, but the division of pianos into these three broad groups would be close enough to universally agreed upon that most could agree to talk as if they it were objective. That's not unlikel what jsherman has been talking about, except that in the cases of making these broad divisions, the factors that lead us to make these evaluations are easily measurable. It's more likely separating lenses into broad groups based on sharpness than on "3-d effect" or "pixie dust".

However, the distinctions within those broad groups are more problematic. Probably most people wouldn't be able to be able to tell a Yamaha C7 from a Boston, especially given the amount of sample variation and the effect that the way the instrument is prepped (hardness of hammers, etc) and tuned can have. But it's not particularly unusual that experienced pianists would be able to make that distinction. So, not unlike the situations with the FA Limiteds versus other similarly-good-in-most-ways lenses. On the other hand, of the people that can tell the difference, some would actually prefer one and some would prefer the other. And the same is true when you step up to the Bosendorfers and other really high end pianos. In this sense it might not be like the F Limiteds, where as jsherman points out, the sheer *number* of people saying the FA Limiteds are special to them seems significant in itself. I don't know if those same people say the FA Limiteds are better than the Zeiss' or if others say the opposite to the same extent that pianists might disagree on their favorite top tier pianists, though.

And the thing is, no matter how much a given pianist might love the Bosendorfer sound, chances are pretty good any extra money spent on the thing is going to be largely "wasted" in that most of his listeners won't actually be able to tell the difference, and the few that can tell might be as likely to prefer Steingraeber. His instrument make *him* happier, but it might not translate into music that anyone would think sounded better. Except to the extent that, as someone else put it, maybe it pulls the pixie dust out of his fingers, which is actually a very good of way of looking at for both lenses and pianos.

BTW, if you're looking for a point here, you can stop now.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 06-01-2011 at 08:09 PM.
06-01-2011, 08:05 PM   #478
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
BTW, as a professional musician, the analogies to instruments (and to a lesser extent, cables) resonates with me. When I think about it about, I'd say my feelings are similar, but the different context allows me to put a different spin on things. It's a similar spin to what jsherman has been putting forth all along, but maybe the specifics differ a bit. To wit:

I can certainly hear the difference between a piece of junk piano and a decent one. And I can tell the difference between a decent one and a great one. These terms themselves are subjective, but the division of pianos into these three broad groups would be close enough to universally agreed upon that most could agree to talk as if they it were objective. That's not unlikel what jsherman has been talking about, except that in the cases of making these broad divisions, the factors that lead us to make these evaluations are easily measurable. It's more likely separating lenses into broad groups based on sharpness than on "3-d effect" or "pixie dust".

However, the distinctions within those broad groups are more problematic. Probably most people wouldn't be able to be able to tell a Yamaha C7 from a Boston, especially given the amount of sample variation and the effect that the way the instrument is prepped (hardness of hammers, etc) and tuned can have. But it's not particularly unusual that experienced pianists would be able to make that distinction. On the other hand, of the people that can tell the difference, some would actually prefer one and some would prefer the other. And the same is true when you step up to the Bosendorfers and other really high end pianos.

The thing is, no matter how much a given pianist might love the Bosendorfer sound, chances are pretty good any extra money spent on the thing is going to be largely "wasted" in that most of his listeners won't actually be able to tell the difference, and the few that can tell might be as likely to prefer Steingraeber. His instrument make *him* happier, but it might not translate into music that anyone would think sounded better. Except to the extent that, as someone else put it, maybe it pulls the pixie dust out of his fingers, which is actually a very good of way of looking at for both lenses and pianos.
"You must spread reputation around before giving it to Marc again"... LOL

That's what I was getting at with the earlier analogy - we're not choosing between crappy and great, we're talking about the differentiation between some of the best lenses in the world.
06-01-2011, 08:23 PM   #479
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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.
Wrong. That is in fact the assertion I was responding to. I even quoted it to make it easy to follow the logic.

Really now, you must be desperate for an argument to take me so out of context.
06-01-2011, 08:29 PM   #480
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Haven't seen it, no. Should I? Sounded mildly interesting.
It was actually far better than it had any right to be. About half-way through, the film became about something quite different from expectation.

But my reference was to something early in the film, in this world where no-one can lie. Advertising is hence remarkably dull, though amusing. There's a billboard for Pepsi, whose slogan is "For when they don't have Coke."

Spot on!
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