Beyond the Specs

Sometimes I think that the true artists in photography are the designers and engineers who create our cameras.

I've been working with two new additions lately: the Olympus PEN-F and Pentax KP. As part of my self-education about them, I've been reading reviews and user reports to help me better understand each device.

In general, I think many reviews miss the point.

Comparisons often focus on a few key specifications such as sensor size, high ISO rating, megapixels, frame rate, focusing speed, and a few words about usability. If these cameras were cars, we'd hear about horsepower, tire size, transmission gears, and something about the seats.

But cars aren't promoted that way. And neither should cameras.

The journey that I've been on with the Pentax KP has been filled with delights and surprises. There are so many thoughtful nuances in its bones. I would love to have dinner with the engineers just to hear about their thinking process during the design phase. I would buy the beer.

There are so many little things that I appreciate, like a green reset button that takes your settings back to square one, the ability to choose the image characteristics for program mode, and the creative library of digital filters that I can apply long after the shot has been captured. 

I've spent hours with this camera learning about the gems that I never read in a review.

Then I picked up the Olympus PEN-F, and I was transported to a completely different place. It had nothing to do with megapixels or ISO. But it had everything to do with how this camera can be used to create an image that looks completely different than the one captured by the guy standing next to me. It's a magical paint brush for photographers.

And beyond that, how this camera makes me feel as an artist when it's hanging around my neck. I  believe that I can create something beautiful at any moment. The PEN-F borders on the metaphysical.

As I read forum comments and stock reviews, I feel like there's a lack of appreciation for the designers and engineers who create these devices. I wish that I could be so talented to make a Pentax KP or Olympus PEN-F.

But I can't. So I will happily settle with using them to paint the moments of my life, as artistically and beautifully as possible.. and enjoy every fraction of a second along the way.