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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Does this study apply to expensive lenses? Are you all suckers?
Old 01-14-2008   #1
M. Valdemar
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Does this study apply to expensive lenses? Are you all suckers?

http://www.news.com/8301-13580_3-984...ml?tag=newsmap

I think it does. Leica lenses as opposed to FSU lenses.

Audio equipment too. It's the "chump" factor.

For example, knowledge of a beer's ingredients and brand can affect reported taste quality, and the reported enjoyment of a film is influenced by expectations about its quality," the researchers said. "Even more intriguingly, changing the price at which an energy drink is purchased can influence the ability to solve puzzles."
 

Old 01-14-2008   #2
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Test it yourself. Buy a $10 bottle of wine, drink it and then use it for a lens. Let us know the results....lol

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Old 01-14-2008   #3
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This is exactly why proper scientific tests are done using the so called "double blind" methodology. e.g. in a trial of a new medicine, neither the person adminstering the tests, nor the person undergoing them knows whether a real medicine has been administered or whether its a placebo. This is to avoid giving accidental / unconscious signals to the person taking the medicine /placebo. It does not surprise me that the same principle applies with other products as the effect is well known and is real.

And of course, manufacturers / marketers of all sorts of products have known this for yonks. Ask my wife about expensive French perfume for example. I bought her some expensive stuff for xmas a couple of years ago but boought it at about 40% off in a discount perfumery. When I accidentally fessed up to her, she became convinced that it was cheap copy perfume (although I am sure it is not) and decided that it smelled like crap. The power of the human mind!
 

Old 01-14-2008   #4
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The good news is the expensive wine tastes better!
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Old 01-14-2008   #5
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Valdemar,
Thanks for sharing. Interesting but not surprising

Quote:
Originally Posted by mackigator
The good news is the expensive wine tastes better!
Excellent one
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Old 01-14-2008   #6
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Oh about your question, yes of course it applies to lenses. But as Peter pointed out, "this is exactly why proper scientific tests are done using the so called "double blind" methodology".
This is all about expectation that expensive products have superior quality. If you think you're using a $2000 Leica lense, of course you expect some quality and you anticipate it (it's a kind of adaptative preference). But you can be disappointed also ... so price is only one parameter of our expectations.
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Old 01-14-2008   #7
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I'm curious about the people who made up the sample that was tested. Did these people pass some threshold of expertise? I didn't look up the actual study (which simply shows the limits to my curiousity).

Relevant to lenses: Does this make a case for listening to "experts" and knowing at least enough to distinguish between who is likely to have reliable data and sound conclusions? People who are broadly acknowledged as being experts (according to criteria established in their field) tend to actually know more than enthusiasts, fans, amateurs, whatever.

(pause while some posters disdain the very concept of expertise)
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Old 01-14-2008   #8
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Good grief ... now we're going to be deluged with images from J12's and 35mm Lux's by posters who didn't know which image they posted first asking us which one we like best while wearing a blindfold and drinking cheap wine!

Hey Pitxu ... chill out **** ... he only refered to us as suckers ... I've been called much worse by far better people!
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Old 01-14-2008   #9
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This is perfectly understandable. I feel much more pleasure driving an Infinity than I do driving a Toyota. I also feel much better about my photography when I use a quality camera versus a cheap one. I participate in the activity (driving or photography) with a more engaged attitude.
 

x
Old 01-14-2008   #10
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x

Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Valdemar
http://www.news.com/8301-13580_3-984...ml?tag=newsmap

I think it does. Leica lenses as opposed to FSU lenses.

Audio equipment too. It's the "chump" factor.
This is a study in psychology. However, it's flawed in two counts:

a. That the "Emperor's New Clothes" effect works, ie people will believe what the the price tag says.

But the truth is that, people can see and feel the difference between PVC and real leather, and between cheap leather and Connolly leather, for instance. You can't put a $10,000 price tag on a PVC seat and make people feel the quality of a Connolly leather seat.

b. That there is no real difference between a cheap item and an expensive item.

Clearly, the materials used in a cheap item and an expensive one are different, and this difference must translate into real-world differences, even if people can't differentiate them.


As for lenses, there are both objective and subjective tests (eg optical bench tests, pixel peeping, bokeh evaluations, etc) to show the differences.

The question is not whether people can see the difference-- train your eyes and you can certainly see it-- the question is whether it's wortg paying for.


Read the lemur article by Dante Stella if you want a counterpoint.
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Old 01-14-2008   #11
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I'm going to Dafen:

http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/...d_fine_art.php
 

Old 01-14-2008   #12
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There is no flaw in this study. They were testing to see if the stated price of a wine influenced subjects' enjoyment of it (even though they used the same wine in both expensive and cheap trials.) A single or double blind study is not an appropriate methodology to test this question. It needed to be done as it was, to test what was tested.
 

Old 01-14-2008   #13
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Vlad, first you are making a comparison that is not relevant to the wine story to which you refer. In that test they used the same wine with a different price on each bottle. In your analogy you are not comparing the same product with a different price tag, but two entirely different products. As for the vitriol and calling Leica lens users chumps ...it is both wrong and inappropriate. Your argument is exactly like the selling line of a local used car dealer. The used car salesman claims that their nicely detailed cars are every bit as good as a new car (regardless of the age) because : "If you can't see the difference, why pay the difference." I think all of us would agree that determining the value of anything goes far beyond external appearance.
 

Old 01-14-2008   #14
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What I find astounding is the implicit assumption that some of "us" might be immune to this effect.
 

Old 01-14-2008   #15
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I think Vlad's comparison is valid if you think of a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens. Are all people capable of telling the difference (without studying)? If not, then the extra money is just the sizzle (for them). If you couldn't 'realy' tell the difference, you paid for a name printed on the lens.

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Old 01-14-2008   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripod
There is no flaw in this study. They were testing to see if the stated price of a wine influenced subjects' enjoyment of it (even though they used the same wine in both expensive and cheap trials.) A single or double blind study is not an appropriate methodology to test this question. It needed to be done as it was, to test what was tested.
I disagree. I would not enjoy a Voigtlander lens more at 3x or 10x its market price. Indeed, my enjoyment might reduce-- I'd have higher expectations, and they might not be met.

This is precisely the issue with the entry of Zeiss-- people are questioning if Leica lenses are really worth the premium, both are venerable German names and the performance differences are slight, although there is still some build quality difference.

Hence the release of the new Summarits, to address this possible loss of enjoyment vis a vis the price tag differences.
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Old 01-14-2008   #17
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The study must have been done on people who are not experienced wine drinkers.
Wine drinkers know that price does not necessarily reflect the quality, and can tell
good from bad.

Lenses are not wine! But we can all do "studies", can't we?
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Old 01-14-2008   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjovin
The study must have been done on people who are not experienced wine drinkers.
Wine drinkers know that price does not necessarily reflect the quality, and can tell
good from bad.
That's usually true, but the study did not ask the subjects their opnions. It measured activity in areas of the brain associated with a pleasure response.


I've heard of a similar study that measured reaction to restaurant meals. Served the same wine, some folks were told it was from California, others that it was from North Dakota (yes, really). Guess who thought the meal was better.


Perhaps believing we are drinking expensive wine by itself gives us pleasure and increases our satisfaction. Perhaps using the more expensive of two lenses, whose measurable differences can be discerned only in a laboratory, has the same effects.
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Old 01-14-2008   #19
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The history of an object often has its own value, separate from the object itself. That's why original paintings are worth more than identical copies.

Would you argue that this battered old M4 should be worth virtually nothing:
http://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm
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Old 01-14-2008   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antiquark
Would you argue that this battered old M4 should be worth virtually nothing:
http://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm
I can only speak for myself in this case, and in the case of wines and lenses.
Just think of what archaelogists do for living !
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Old 01-14-2008   #21
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For myself I only know this>>>>

After about six glasses of the cheap wine, I can't tell the difference, and I sure can't tell which lens I put on my camera. The only thing I want to know is if tax dollars funded the study. I'm tired of paying people to skew studies to get the answers they want on my dime.
 

Old 01-15-2008   #22
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Quote:
Vlad, first you are making a comparison that is not relevant to the wine story to which you refer. In that test they used the same wine with a different price on each bottle. In your analogy you are not comparing the same product with a different price tag, but two entirely different products. As for the vitriol and calling Leica lens users chumps ...it is both wrong and inappropriate. Your argument is exactly like the selling line of a local used car dealer. The used car salesman claims that their nicely detailed cars are every bit as good as a new car (regardless of the age) because : "If you can't see the difference, why pay the difference." I think all of us would agree that determining the value of anything goes far beyond external appearance.
IMO this study applies to Leica lenses very well - the price of the lenses makes their owners think they are far above the rest...
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Old 01-15-2008   #23
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I don't know about this. I'm a Charles Shaw (2 buck Chuck) drinker and think that some of his wine is pretty darn good. I would have to be really impressed with a wine to think it was worth $90.

But then I'm cheap and would rather pay for a Toyota than a similar Lexus.
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Old 01-15-2008   #24
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Chambrenoir.

That's the most offensive thing I've seen posted here. You have to be pretty low in the food chain to resort to that kind of humour.
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Old 01-15-2008   #25
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after 6 glasses of wine, I'd be lucky if I could get the lens on my camera, never mind taking pictures with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano
After about six glasses of the cheap wine, I can't tell the difference, and I sure can't tell which lens I put on my camera. The only thing I want to know is if tax dollars funded the study. I'm tired of paying people to skew studies to get the answers they want on my dime.
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Old 01-15-2008   #26
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Ernstk, Pitxu - I'm with you.
 

Old 01-15-2008   #27
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Anybody remember photographs ..you know the things you get after using your box of tricks. We had one of the great picture mags here in the 30s-50s. 'Picture Post'. Their chief photographer went out with a box brownie and produced one of the greatest pics ever. Forget the glass....concentrate on whats in front of it. BTW anybody remember 'differential focus' ie in the posted pic of the 3 guys there's trees growing out of the back of all their heads. Come on guys!!!!!!!!!
 

Old 01-15-2008   #28
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Quote:
That's the most offensive thing I've seen posted here. You have to be pretty low in the food chain to resort to that kind of humour.
It's a joke, lighten up.

It's not nearly as "offensive" as current Leica prices, anyway.
 

Old 01-15-2008   #29
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Well now, as is often the case, the fuss about the joke has become a bigger problem than was the joke itself.

No need to mount any moral hobby horses or put on your homemade hall-monitor hats, gents.
 

Old 01-15-2008   #30
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It did not offend me.
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Old 01-15-2008   #31
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I personally found it extremely offensive but if Chambrenoire chose to remove the post I would bear him no resentment and would consider it a rather naive error of judgement!
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Old 01-15-2008   #32
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I'd delete this tout d' suite if I were the admin. Most people would find that pretty offensive.
 
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