FOMO versus FOMS

I know my average site visitor is probably scratching their head over the headline. FOMO is millennial speak for "fear of missing out." Medicare recipients may substitute "keeping up with the Joneses" if they wish ;~).

As bad as the camera marketing departments are, most of their sales pitches are basically FOMO-based. "Oh, you're only shooting with 45mp? Don't you need 61mp?" FOMO. "Oh, you can't hold the camera steady? Why didn't you buy one with sensor-based IS?" FOMO. 

Indeed, almost any new feature list that comes with an updated product tends to be just a FOMO promotion these days. 

But not always. The D800 to D810 to D850 progression was very revealing to me and others: from just a feature list standpoint—despite the eventual upgrade from 36 to 45mp—these cameras seemed to be basically the same. Why would I upgrade from a D800 to a D810? Or a D810 to a D850?

As it turns out, the sum of the parts exceeded the sum of the parts on each of those upgrades. It was really a long list of small changes and improvements—and yes, some modest addition of features and performance—that made the newer version better for overall shooting than the previous one. Little rough edges were sanded down and made smooth (not literally; Nikon doesn't do hard edges). 

Nikon's done it again with the D780 update (versus the D750). There's not a lot of quality difference at the sensor for stills shooting, certainly not enough to prompt people to pay US$2300 for it. You also don't get any extra pixels ;~(. 

Yet, in practice, I like the D780 so much more than the D750 that I'd be really tempted to upgrade if the D750 were my main camera. Why? It's the little things again that make the camera more compelling. And that's despite the fact that it lost a built-in flash and a vertical grip option. There's a little more finger-tip control while shooting, and thats finally all in the right places, for instance. 

Which brings me to the acronym that you should be always concerned with instead of FOMO: what I call FOMS. 

That would be "fear of missing shots." 

Again, let's take that D750/D780 comparison. Shooting a lacrosse game recently, I wanted to raise my camera over my head to get an angle down into a player huddle. With the D750, this was always hit-or-miss. Indeed, I tended to only do it with the widest angle focal length, smaller aperture, and a guess at manual focus. The D780? Live View has improved so much that it is now second nature to just tilt the Rear LCD and fire, letting the camera do the heavy lifting. Heck, if there's a place I want the camera to focus, even if it's way off center, I just tap it on the display. 

So, with the D750 I had FOMS in situations like that huddle. With the D780 I don't. 

To some degree, the initial reaction to the Z cameras was a FOMS nightmare for Nikon: YouTubers started proclaiming that the Z7—the Z6 wasn't available yet at those early events—just couldn't autofocus like the Sony A7R Mark III did. That caused a rush of folk to stop thinking about the Z7 and consider an A7Rm3 instead. FOMS. Worse still, FOMS instigated by someone handling a camera at a launch event for the first time and in a very limited manner.

One problem with rushing from one brand to another is that suddenly everything is a cognitive dissonance. Terminology used in the manuals, menus, and controls changes. Positions of controls changes. Interactions between controls changes. Performance of sub-systems changes. By rushing to another brand because of FOMS instigated by a YouTube video, you just forced yourself to learn everything all over again before you start to stop missing shots. Yes, that's right, your FOMS-driven switch will likely cause actual MS (missing shots). 

If you've been paying attention, you'll have noted that I've gotten great wildlife and sports shots with a broad range of cameras from cheap consumer to top end pro, and across brands. That's because I take the time to learn the product, practice with it, and find the abilities in it that allow me to "get the shot." I don't lean on all-automatic features to make decisions for me, though I sometimes will use them when they do a good enough job that it allows me to focus my concentration on another aspect of the shot.

My greatest fear as a photographer is missing a shot. Yet it's rare that the camera is the reason that happens. It's really my understanding of the camera that causes me to ever miss a shot.  

Don't let FOMO drive your decisions. And don't let FOMS from people who haven't actually studied a camera in depth and optimized their shooting with it drive you, either. If you're missing shots with your current camera, do you know why? Are you sure it's the camera? 

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