With the release of Nikon’s new mirrorless camera and the impending release of Canon’s competitor, we are seeing the future of photography as we know it. However, in the response of some we are also seeing the demise of the community as a whole. Where passion and creativity once dominated the perceived agility of a camera, now spec sheets and internet comment sections threaten to destroy the art as we know it. People have started refusing the words of true artists and now mindlessly worship the words of talking heads that make edgy YouTube videos.
As a community and as a family, we can do better.
Brand loyalty can serve a purpose. For many years I was an ambassador for Nikon and I am now honored to serve as an ambassador for Hasselblad. I know what it is like to be loyal to a brand and take pride in the gear that I use. However, this should never come at the cost of despising another camera company. In blindly hating the merits of one brand you hurt your art, and there is no greater loss that the possibilities missed because of arrogance.
I am grateful to be friends with ambassadors from many brands, from Brian Smith at Sony to Joel Grimes at Canon and the family at Nikon that I met while serving alongside them. All of these photographers make great images with their respective gear and show the world what is possible with the platforms at hand. While we all may stand on separate stages at a trade show, we often sit at the same tables at the bar after the show floor is empty. What I love most about this community is not the critiquing of what each other’s camera can’t do, but the celebrating of what they can.
While playing up a “Mirrorless War” may help Internet personas to get clicks on their videos and articles, it degrades the social fabric of our community. We have seen what can happen in other aspects of our lives when “gotcha” anecdotes are valued more than professionals with real knowledge and hands on experience with a camera. Not only does it create rifts that don’t exist, but it cheapens the real knowledge that one really possesses. As friends and counterparts in this industry, you deserve better.
In the very near future we will see Canon launch their platform and the Nikon offering will be trickling into the market to join the likes of Sony. I challenge you to embrace not one, but all platforms, and to not celebrate the differences of design by trolling one another’s forums, but take the opportunity to really learn and find what each can do for you. To dig in and entrench yourself with one platform for prides’ sake will only cut off your nose to spite your face.