The Laws of Attraction

A lot of comments I’ve received about recent cameras could just as easily have been made about significant others or spouses: attractive, intelligent, well-proportioned, instantly likable, and more. 

Are we picking cameras because some natural instinct gets triggered and we salivate over that or are we picking them because they’re the right one for us?

I’ll admit that in the laws of attraction game I’m a sucker for a redhead. Something in my genes (or is it jeans?) immediately comes to attention with red hair (and to a lesser degree freckles). I’m afraid to visit Ireland. 

But the three long term relationships that covered most of my life were not with redheads. Indeed, I’d say that there was very little commonality in the physical department between those three women. Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention my first attraction response to red hair, but to something else.

That’s the way it should be with cameras, too. But camera makers know your proclivities, and they often will cater to them. For example, the recent trend towards “carved from a block of aluminum” is like that redhead: some men just can’t resist the look of real metal all over. The return of the Panda-style (silver on black) was heralded by many as making for more attractive cameras, as was retro controls. The latest Hasselblad X1D that everyone is talking about has two of the those three (aluminum block with Panda-style body covering).     

Yet most of us shoot with modern control bodies clad solely in black. It’s as if after examining all the beautiful actresses in Hollywood draped in gorgeous gowns on the glam of the red carpet, we all picked a New York City office worker in her everyday black ensemble and low maintenance hair and makeup. 

One of the things I noticed recently was that while the D300 and D500 are sized similarly—and certainly look similar on first inspection—the D300 body is curvier and swoopier than the pretty squarish D500 body. It’s almost as if Nikon has given up on design and just went straight to function. 

Do I care? For the most part no, though I’ve noted that the hand position is getting less comfortable on some recent Nikon bodies. Guigiaro’s carefully considered control and button angles are being changed in Tokyo. For example, the rear command dial on the D500 is near horizontal, but in the original Guigiaro designs it’s tilted down slightly on the right because given the hand position of the grip your thumb moves more naturally at a slight diagonal.

But let’s get back to the point: we’re in a period of four months when we’re going to see a ton of new gear introduced (it’s a Photokina year, and the quake in Japan also delayed a number of announcements that would probably already have been made). As each new gee-whiz marketing show provides you your first look at the new contestants, are you going to go by your attraction reaction or by an actual analysis of what the product might really do for you? 

Yeah, you’re right, it’s attraction first that’ll drive your initial reactions. My advice, verify the attraction is real before getting out the wallet.


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