Creating Perspective

pentaxk10d21mm.jpgI wrote in my end-of-year wrap-up about the Pentax K10D, a prosumer digital SLR, and Pentax has just announced its successor, the K20D. This has led to a storm of commentary in several Pentax discussion forums which are a microcosm of the extremism that the internet often generates. The level of emotion really gets out of hand quickly as people try to one-up each others’ arguments.

What are all the arguments about? In this case, in part whether Pentax dropped the ball by not improving the frames-per-second (fps) that the camera can shoot. Both the K10 and the K20 are 3fps, which is arguably slower than the competition. Some people, presumably who shoot fast moving sports, wildlife or kids, are vociferously complaining about “only” 3fps and are really dominating the conversation. However, a poll going on at The Online Photographer is (as of this writing) showing that 3fps is just fine for the vast majority of people.

This highlights two things:

  1. Complainers tend to outweigh the silent majority of satisfied people and leads to a skewed perspective of the quality of a manufacturer’s products.
  2. People’s perceptions of the importance of features can be very different at the point of purchase than in ongoing use.

In any case, the whole dialog reminds me of the famous Monty Python “Four Yorkshiremen” sketch where each man tries to one-up the others on how horrible their childhood was.