The fairy tale of the egg laying wooly milk pig

An egg laying wooly milk pig is the german equivalent of a jack of all trades device. It is the fabulous creature that does everything as perfectly as anyone could ever wish. But, as I am sure (almost) everybody knows, such mythical creatures do not exist. Only Camera and Lens Review (do you remember them?) do not seem to be aware of this important little fact. Camera Review thinks that the jack of all trades device does exist and for example criticizes cows that fail to lay eggs or give bad wool. Even more disadvantageous is the blind loyalty to Camera Review by the majority of customers. Why on earth do people care about eggs if all they want is a glass of milk?

Unfortunately, the farming industry has submitted to the dictatorship of Camera Review by and large and really tries to create the impossible. Of course, all they come up with are unsatisfactory compromises whose eggs are ridiculous in comparison to a proper chicken (or even duck) egg, whose wool is only a shabby imitation of a sheep's product, or whose milk not even remotely resembles the richness of real milk. But a tiny egg, a shabby fur or watery milk is better than nothing and prevents criticism for a major omission, which seems to be the most feared form of critique of all. We may actually already have the milk cow that lays perfect eggs, but we do not realize it because Camera Review thinks it should definitely also have a sheepskin and provide us with a juicy ham.

I am of course not writing about genetically modified livestock, but about cameras. A camera with more functions is not automatically a better camera. Take an inbuilt flash as an example. If a manufacturer omits this useless feature, the camera will be criticized for this lack, receive less points in questionable camera comparisons, and be less sold (I assume this is the reasoning of camera manufacturers). Of course, if a flash is included it will be criticized for being weak, small, of short reach, at the wrong location etc. For most people it would be much better if their camera did not have a flash included, not only to prevent flashing while they photograph the Golden Gate Bridge from 300 m afar during daytime, but also because their cameras would have less buttons, simpler operation, longer battery life and a smaller housing. There are many other camera functions that are included for the very same reasons - only to provide as little contact surface for Camera Review as possible, not because they are really needed. I would really wish there were more manufacturers that design cameras with more courage to omit (unneeded) features! Omitting a function may be a quality, not a lack!

P.S. Before publishing this text, but after I had started writing it, a wooly pig and an egg laying cow were announced: The Sony A7 and A7r. Note: Neither of the two cameras has an inbuilt flash!

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A light & shadow composition on a facade in Hong Kong - also taken with a tiny point-and-shoot camera.

2013/10/16 by Florian Freimoser
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