The skewed world of YouTubers

I enjoy watching YouTube videos as much as the next person. You can find pretty much anything on YouTube these days, from how to unclog a toilet to learning about what nihilism is.

Since I am a gearhead, I often watch camera reviews on YouTube. There are lots of YouTubers out there doing camera reviews, and they can be as informative as they are entertaining.

This is a vocal group. Some of these channels get hundreds and thousands of views. YouTube being a very effective viral platform, can often can amplify these reviewers’ opinions out of proportion. They often echo each other, giving one the impression that what their opinions are really ‘the truth’.

These are the top three ‘demands’ by these YouTubers which I do not necessarily agree with:

  1. Fully Articulated Screen. Of all the cameras I own, only one camera has a Fully Articulated Screen (Olympus E-M1 MKII). I have two cameras that allow the screen to be flipped up (Sony RX100 V and Panasonic GF9). While I understand why these YouTubers (vloggers) like a fully articulated screen (so they can see themselves while filming, without the need for an external monitor), I have to say that the fully articulated design is my LEAST favorite. I am mainly a still photographer, I rarely shoot video, and when I do, it’s not the ‘selfie vlogging’ type. The Fully Articulated Design will force you to swivel the screen even if you just want to make the screen angle up. And you have to do that with the screen swivel out first then up. First of all, this is inconvenient and secondly, the screen is now far off from the optical axis. I am fine with having a little parallax on my Leica Rangefinders, but to have this off-axis display is really annoying. The best ‘flip’ screen design I have seen so far comes from the Fujifim X-T100. Having a selfie screen can be useful, even if I don’t vlog. But I am not ready to sacrifice the simple mechanism of a flip up screen.
  2. 4k/60. 4:2:2. 10bit…. Honestly, the YouTubers are kidding themsleves if they think these specs make or break their videos. Granted, I find many YouTubers are indeed very talented ‘YouTube’ makers, lets face it, 99.9999% of them are just that. And even if some of them are professional filmmakers, the videos they make for YouTube will likely be viewed on a mobile device with a tiny screen. I am ready to bet that 99.999999% of viewers on YouTube do not care if you are shooting at 4k 24 or 60, 4:2:0 or 4:2:2, or 10bit vs 8bit. Yet everytime these reviewers talk about the cameras, they make it sound like not having Internal 10 bit recording is a deal breaker! Dealbreaker for…? The fact is, people are making videos with basic equipments and can become just as successful. I like having 4k video even if I do not take videos that often, but it is good to have, but missing 4k/60 or 10 bit, or 4:2:2 is far from a deal breaker for the majority of the viewers.
  3. Shallow DOF. Bokeh! Bokehlicious! Who doesn’t like shallow DOF. It is one of the most readily available ‘effects’ in photography. You can get the eyelash in focus, but the eyball out of focus. It’s fun to ‘show off’ but in reality, who needs that? My absolute favorite lens is the Leica APO-Summicron 50mm f2 lens. Yes it’s ‘slow’ at f2. I have the Leica Summilux-M 50/1.4 and Noctilux 50/0.95, but I really prefer the APO-Summicron 50. Image quality is hard to define. Of course having a large aperture can also aid in low light photography, but exactly how much will you get in focus when you shoot a 50mm lens at f0.95?  And what we end up is with big heavy lenses. I just sold my Sony FE35/1.4. The ONLY reason why I sold is because I find it too bulky. 35mm is my favorite focal length and is my preferred walk-around focal length, but given the size of the FE35/1.4, it is simply too big as a walk-around lens. I don’t mind the lenses to be a little slower if their IQ can be improved.

Cameras have mostly become hybrid devices for capturing stills and videos. I understand that this is an unavoidable trend for most camera manufacturers. The ONLY camera company who is still focused primarily on still photography is Leica. Leica is the only one ‘brave’ enough to introduce video capturing in the M Typ 240, only to remove it in the M10.

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