Monday, July 4, 2011

Red Pop - Sums up everything I hate about living in age of the Intenet

I want you to watch the video below before you read my post. After, I will explain why everything I hate about the culture we live in today is embodied in this product. Please view the video now:

Red Pop from Beep Industries on Vimeo.

I hate the saying the, "The best camera is the one you have with you." The saying should be. "The best camera is the one you have with you - so you better bring a good camera. Cause if all you have is your iPhone then you're screwed."

I'm not exactly sure how to approach this. Everyone these days wants to be a hipster photographer. They want to capture those magical moments. And yet, I bet that almost no one is capturing those pictures, because they're trying to use their cell phone.

My main camera is a Canon EOS T2i. It's a mid-range DLSR . DSLR means it's digital and I can change the lenses. All this device was designed to do is take pictures (and video). Every menu, button and switch is about how to take a picture. The whole history of the Canon is about photography and optics.

When Brendan Dawes, owner of Red Pop tries to tell you that you can capture the same photos his dad did by adding Red Pop to your iPhone, he's lying. It's as big a lie as that red button.

I have to admit that I'm kind of a camera freak. Below is my baby. It's an Olympus OM-1. Made in the late 60's and probably very similar to the one Brendan's dad used. His Dad probably used a Canon or Nikon or possibly a Leica. But the mechanics are almost identical.

The OM-1 even had a built-in light meter.
See all those buttons and dials on the camera? Believe it or not they actually have functions. They allow the photographer to manipulate how much light comes in, how long the shutter stays open and other really cool stuff. And even back in the groovy days of the late 60's, photographers didn't rely on magically capturing the "moment". Their old mechanical cameras took one or two pictures a second and then the photographer chose which of those photos were the magic ones.

Look at the diameter of the lens in the picture below. See how big it is - size matters. That puny, little pin-hole on your iPhone ain't gonna cut it. It's just not .. okay, maybe it does alright taking a picture of a static object in full daylight. But then if you're taking a picture of a statue (minus the birds) what's the point of Red Pop?

Okay, so you don't want to spend the money on professional DSLR, nor do you want to take the time to learn all the functions of a mechanical camera. And both are too big to lug around. What's the answer? I'm glad you asked .. hold it .. put the iPhone down.

When I don't want to lug around my Canon, I have a little Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH5 . Great little camera. It's 16mp and has 4x optical zoom and pretty good image stabilization. It small, thin and solidly built. Takes fine pictures .. Much better than your iPhone, even with the Red Pop button.

Oh, but you want to be a hipster photographer .. then I recommend a Lomography Diana F+  

It's what every hipster photographer dreams about. It has unpredictable light leaks, forced perspective from the plastic lens and that great feel of spinning your own film.You can even change out the lens in the newer Dianas.

It's not the worst thing in the world to have a Red Pop hooked onto your iPhone. I really don't see the purpose, other than strangers asking you what the red button does, because everyone wants to know what a big red button does.

Here's what I'm saying. Brendan Dawes is trying to sell you this bullshit dream that by adding Red Pop (which I think the concept is pretty cool)  you're going to be able to take these incredible pictures, because now you have easy access to the camera on your Iphone.

I'm telling you - it just ain't so Joe. Sure, in full daylight with a non-moving object that is five to ten feet away that little iPhone can probably take just as good a picture as my Canon. But I would just hate for one of my loyal EiMB citizen to purchase a Red Pop and then try to take a picture of  say a mountain. Because through your eye that mountain may look huge, majestic, glorious - but to the iPhone it's a little green bump. Or you go to the ice skating rink and what you see is your daughter doing wonderful twirls but to the iPhone its just one blurry smudge.

Cameras got all those button and dials for a reason. It was an evolutionary process from a simple pin-hole camera. Photographers quickly learned that controlling how the light enters the camera and how light hits the sensor or film was critical to a good picture. And I can't discount the importance of lenses. Quality glass and mechanics are also key. As a matter of fact, my Canon camera body is actually one of the least expensive parts of the camera. The lenses can cost two to three times more. And it's worth it.

Photography is more than just investing in a button.

My many cameras - it is an addiction.

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