It is a well-known fact that there are some rather serious diseases that plague photographers out there. While we have all heard of the Gear Acquisition Syndrome and other photography addictions, it is time to expand the photography jargon to include the many types of photographers we deal with today. Some of these have been around for years, while others have been recently bred in the darkest corners of the Internet. Without further ado, let’s get down to it!
We will first start with brand fanboys, then move on to the more specific types.
- The Nikon Fanboy – a Nikon fanboy shoots only with Nikon-branded gear. Over many years of owning and shooting with Nikon cameras and Nikkor glass, they have developed a severe allergic reaction to any other camera brand. A diehard Nikon fan will be wearing Nikon tattoos and only drinking from a Nikkor lens mug. Each year when celebrating their birthday, they will be eating a chocolate-covered cake, shaped in the form of a Nikon DSLR. Nikon fanboys are always in line for the latest and greatest Nikon has to offer. In fact, aside from the real camera gear, they are actually proud to own a limited edition crystal mock-up version of a Nikon Model 1 (pictured above). In the modern age of mirrorless cameras, one might think that Nikon fanboys are a dying breed, but that’s so far from the truth. In fact, mirrorless has made them even more visible than ever.
- The Canon Fanboy – a true Canon fanboy doesn’t listen to Nikon fanboys and their dynamic range and base ISO performance claims. Dynamic range hasn’t mattered for years, they say, and even if it did, the newest Canon cameras have gotten better this time around! The EOS R5 scored a 95 on DxO! Canon fanboys really aren’t bothered that Nikon, Sony, Pentax, and Panasonic have all crossed the 100 mark for years. As long as the camera performs miracles at high ISOs and provides beautiful Canon color with natural-looking skin tones, that’s all that matters. Real Canon fanboys know that glass > camera, always. And come on, who in the world shoots with black lenses? They heat up like Death Valley in summer. Pro-grade white glass is immune from this, which is why all the pros shoot with Canon at Olympics. Lastly, let’s not forget who owns the camera market!
- The Sony Fanboy – “DSLR is dead weight. It is too late for Nikon and Canon to compete, and a matter of time until they suffer the same fate as Kodak,” says a Sony fanboy. Sony is the people’s camera… Have some old Canikon glass lying around? Don’t worry, anything can adapt to a Sony mirrorless camera. That’s because its lens mount is so small. (Pay no attention to the fools who say that’s a disadvantage.) Not to mention the Sony A1, which was the Z9 before the Z9! Why doesn’t biased Dpreview give the A1 the camera of the year? Amazon cronies. And let’s not forget, a Nikon is essentially a Sony camera, because it is all Sony-made sensor technology anyway.
- The Pentax Fanboy – want to escalate a perfectly friendly camera discussion to a fist fight? Invite a Pentaxian and say something bad about a Pentax product. Without a doubt, no other brand in the world has a community with that kind of dedication and commitment. On the extreme off-chance that you ever see a Pentaxian in person, your only way out is to ask for guidance on switching from your crap brand camera to Pentax and let them do the talking. Who said Pentax Q failed? It was a mere diversion strategy to bring out the K1 series, the greatest cameras the world will ever see. DSLR is alive.
- The Fuji Fanboy – every Fuji fanboy knows that their X-series cameras outperform all full-frame cameras on the market. Fuji APS-C is the new 35mm, haven’t you heard? The magic lies in the X-Trans filter array, which lies at the heart of every Fuji X camera sensor. Couple that with retro controls, super lightweight construction and the most outstanding lenses ever made in the history of mankind, and you’ve got yourself a Fuji fanboy. A full-frame DSLR has a prime disadvantage: it cannot match two cans of beer!
Heck yes to Acros and Astia – a Fuji shooter only resorts to RAW as a backup. As a Fuji fanboy, you either stick to the X, or go big with the GF. Everything else is a compromise. A Fuji fanboy doesn’t waste his time analyzing MTF charts or pixel-peeping his images – he heads out with a Fuji camera and dives into the only thing that matters: photography. And what in the world is a PASM dial again?
- The Micro Four Thirds Fanboy – every Micro Four Thirds (MFT) fanboy knows who brought the 4:3 aspect ratio to digital photography. Heck, even the iPhone uses 4:3 aspect ratio when taking pictures and it is the most popular phone on the market today! MFT fanboys stay clear from all the big, bulky and heavy camera gear. Why even bother with those when an MFT system is practically pocketable? Not to mention that every mirrorless manufacturer owes it to MFT alliance. Olympus and Panasonic are always a decade ahead of everyone else, and if it wasn’t for them, people would still be clicking with their prehistoric DSLR cameras.
- The Leica Fanboy – made in Germany? Check. Henri Cartier Bresson? Check. Silent, discreet Shooting? Check. Collectability? Check. Top-of-the-line glass. Hell Yeah! Form follows function? Leica invented that phrase! Leica fanboys are in for the exclusivity and it is worth every dollar to be a part of it. Remember, with Leica, you don’t buy into a system, you buy into a lifestyle! Leica haters will always hate because they can’t afford it. Fuji is the China of Leica. Don’t ever dare to challenge a Leica fanboy, or they will be ramming your house with their limited edition Porsche Carrera GTs!
- The Mirrorless Guru – size and weight matter and EVF is the best thing since sliced bread, says a mirrorless guru. Don’t you dare mention a DSLR to a mirrorless guru, or you will have to endure an hour-long lecture on why DSLRs are a dying breed, with plenty of analogies to back up the claims, such as “carriage vs car”, “VHS vs Blu-Ray”,etc. You will surely enrich your photography jargon with such terms as: Live histograms, focus peaking, fast on-sensor phase detection AF, so on and so forth. Oh, and with the upcoming solar eclipse, you definitely do not want to bring up OVF into the discussion, as it will surely burn a hole through your head. A true mirrorless guru never rests. They spend the bulk of their time browsing the Internet and looking for any mirrorless vs DSLR discussions they can find. They know that it is their sacred duty to spread awareness of the amazing mirrorless technology – the more DSLR shooters they convert, the more safer they feel about their new investment.
- The DSLR Diehard – “you will only be able to pry my DSLR out of my cold, dead hands”, says a DSLR user (whose hands are admittedly looking a bit frosty). A DSLR diehard doesn’t care about EVFs, since OVFs give him the real representation of what his eyes see, not some display with a bunch of fancy pixels. He has tried an EVF before and it gave him a headache, and/or made him seasick. He hates the handling of mirrorless cameras, their terrible balance with long glass and his big fingers don’t fit flimsy grips. He appreciates the solid feel of a DSLR in his hands and feels comfortable with the menu system that doesn’t have a million of different options he could care less about.
- The A1/R5/Z9 Photographer – a subset of Sony/Canon/Nikon fanboys. Never before has so much data been pushed by so many in the service of photos so ordinary. But the amount of unsuccessful photos doesn’t matter – if they take 20 FPS, 50 MP photos of everything they encounter, the law of averages says that eventually they’ll take an award-winning photo of a seagull. That is, if they don’t fall asleep while culling all their near-identical frames first.
- The Pixel Peeper – is one who cannot appreciate an image without looking at it at 100% or higher zoom levels. Pixel peepers can only appreciate digital photography, since film does not have enough resolving power to create pixel-level data. They only work on a dual monitor setup, because it is the ultimate way to pixel peep. By default, their Lightroom opens with 200% zoom on the second monitor, because that’s how they can easily tell if a photo is worth even looking at. They scout the web for high-resolution images of any new camera and import them into Lightroom for slicing and dicing every part of the image. Just by looking at a 100% view of any photo, they can instantly recognize the camera make and model, determine its dynamic range capabilities and whether the camera has a damaging low-pass filter. Pixel peepers spend weeks calibrating every single lens they have at various distances, because they do not want a single out of focus image in their Lightroom catalog.
- The DxOMarker – a relatively new breed of photographers who like numbers more than photography. They refer to DxOMark data like the Bible. If you hear someone argue that one camera has 0.1 EV inferior dynamic range performance, you have met a DxOMarker. They base every purchase they make on DxOMark data and only look at lenses with the highest sharpness numbers, since everything else is irrelevant. DxOMarkers are not afraid to admit that they are heavy pixel peepers. No Canon fanboy is a DxOMarker.
- The Rumor Fanatic – subscribes to and hangs out on rumor sites to find out what camera and lenses will be coming out. Over the years, he has become an expert in identifying fake vs real rumors. Rumor fanatics love the build-up of excitement, because it is a perfect way to fuel Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS). Rumors are the adrenaline of photography. A dedicated rumor fanatic reads every rumor post and every comment posted by others. He loves using “Shut Up and Take My Money” and similar memes to show his excitement with new camera gear rumors and announcements.
- The Film Prick – expired film? Sounds good! The Holga “look”? Why the hell not?! If you thought digital photography was the future, you have not met a film prick. Seriously, you will never master photography if you don’t experience film. Film pricks pride themselves with making images, not taking them. They know that digital photography has made people lazier than ever. Before digital, there was no concept of “spray and pray” and bracketed shots with every image – that’s a grave sin for any self-respected film photographer! Film photography is a pure form of art that connects people to the original medium. Film slows you down and forces you to think twice before taking a shot. And don’t you dare argue with that!
- The Prime Shooter – zoom lenses suck, they are made for lazy people who do not know how to move with their feet! A zoom lens has way too many moving elements and they can never match the performance of a simple, low element count prime. Forget about the 3D pop with a zoom lens – it is simply impossible! A prime shooter only stays loyal to his primes and he won’t let a zoom near his camera bag. A dedicated prime shooter only invests in branded lenses and their ultimate kit consists of Zeiss, Leica or Schneider lenses. For some prime shooters, the more lead and radiation, the better!
- The SuperZoomer – the direct opposite of a prime shooter. A superzoomer’s favorite lens has for years been the Nikon 28-300mm, until Tamron released its 18-400mm. The king is dead, long live the king! Superzoomers dream of a day when an ultimate 8-600mm f/0.95 materializes. And if it takes liquid lenses to do it, so be it!
- The Camera Gear Hoarder – there is no hope when it comes to curing their GAS. Over the years, they collected everything they could find at reasonable or bargain price. Despite the fact that most of the gear only gathers dust today, it will never be traded, sold or given away. Their closets are full of “good ol’ stuff” and they are proud to have gear for any occasion. A true camera gear hoarder will own cameras and lenses from multiple brands. They will have a mixture of film and digital cameras in a number of different formats, along with a boatload of lenses and adapters.
- The Wide Open Freak – lenses are made to be shot wide open and stopping down is for losers, says a wide open freak. These people will shoot everything at maximum aperture, even landscapes. They don’t appreciate slow glass and their ultimate kit would only consist of pro-grade f/1.4 lenses, preferably all Zeiss.
- The Bokeh Monster – a close cousin of a wide open freak, a bokeh monster shoots wide open only for one reason – to get good-looking bokeh! Bokeh monsters use special words to describe the characteristics of out of focus areas. You will often hear them use the word “creamy”, but they will use other words like “smooth”, “silky” and “bokehlicious” interchangeably. Unlike wide open freaks, bokeh monsters hate aspherical lens elements, because they make “onion-shaped” bokeh.
They also don’t mind some specific zoom lenses such as a 70-200mm f/2.8, as long as its bokeh looks glorious. Many bokeh monsters naturally become portrait photographers and their favorite term aside from bokeh is “shallow depth of field”. Some bokeh monsters venture out to vintage glass specifically because they can get unique-looking bokeh that modern lenses cannot produce.
- The Sharpness Junkie – most photographers who use digital cameras are sharpness junkies, but their junkiness can vary quite a bit and OCD sharpness junkies are by far the worst. If you go through their Lightroom catalogs, you will not find a single blurry image! OCD sharpness junkies have a special workflow set up for culling images. They view every single image at 100% zoom during the culling process only for one reason – to assess the sharpness of each photograph. If a photo turned out to be slightly out of focus or blurry, it must be eradicated, no matter how much emotion it might have in it. OCD sharpness junkies don’t even let blurry images get to the culling process; they get rid of those right in the camera. The button they press the most on their camera (aside from the shutter release) is the 100% instant zoom button. That’s because they use it religiously after every single shot.
- The Crazy Photographer – the one who will do anything to get the shot, even if that means getting chased by a grizzly.
- The HDR Freak – ever seen a photographer who shoots in 5 to 9 brackets by default? Well, you probably have not met a true HDR freak then. It is easy to identify HDR freaks – just look at any camera announcement article and scroll down to the comments section. Pretty much anyone who complaints about lack of 5+ brackets in ±3 stops is an HDR freak. A true HDR freak will use at least three different types of HDR software, with all kinds of ready presets to use.
While most photographers end up in an “HDR hole” (refer to the green line in the above chart) when starting out in photography, some end up staying there permanently.
- The Blending Addict – some photographers graduate out of the HDR hole directly into blending addicts, while others take much longer to earn this status. A blending addict loves in-camera bracketing as much as an HDR freak does, but there is one main difference between the two – post-processing. Instead of utilizing ready-made presets from third party HDR software, a true blending addict only defaults to luminosity masks in Photoshop. To make it easier to blend images, a blending addict will have at least one panel specifically made for creating many types of luminosity masks. Advanced blending addicts don’t buy third party panels – they make their own!
- The Sky Replacer – let’s face it: you’ll never see a sunset as good as one in those Luminar or Adobe stock images. So why even try? It’s better to shoot everything on a clear day with a blue sky, then paste in the prettiest possible clouds. Results, people! The process doesn’t matter and it hasn’t for years.
- The Panorama Freak – if you shoot landscapes or architecture, you probably come across panorama freaks all the time. Identifying them is pretty easy – the first thing they pull out of their camera bag after setting up a tripod, is a panoramic head with a slider. More advanced panorama freaks will pull out a multi-row panorama setup, while dedicated panorama freaks won’t shoot with anything other than an automated panoramic head. Some of them eventually graduate into HDR + Panorama freaks, while others will venture into virtual reality. Why waste your time taking a single image with a high-resolution camera, if you can take gigapixel panos that can be made into wall-size prints at 720 dpi? That’s the basic mentality of a dedicated panorama freak. Never ask how much storage a panorama freak uses and don’t even picture what type of computer they built to handle multi-row HDR panoramas. A mere thought will burn a hole in your wallet.
- The “Get It Right In Camera” Purist – a true “get it right in camera” purist does not play with exposure – he nails it every single time. He knows exactly what settings he needs to use in any scene and he could shoot with his eyes closed and still get a perfect shot. He has HDR and blending wiped out from his dictionary, because he never needs to resort to such low practices. He heavily depends on filters – the glass kind, thank you very much. He avoids spending much time with post-processing software, because his shots look good “as is”.
- The “Get It Right In Post” Purist – enemies with the prior type of photographer. This guy knows how to expose to the right and always does it. He shoots 14-bit RAW, lossless compressed. He takes five photos of every scene to image average and boost his shadow detail. And no one spends more time in post-processing tweaking their images to get just the perfect results. Unfortunately, you’ll see no more than a few photos from this photographer every year as they’re never quite done editing their newest work.
- The Teacher – AKA the KnowItAll. You never asked them for advice and yet there they come explaining how your camera works and how you should be taking pictures. They know everything there is to know and not just about photography, but also about life in general.
- The Critic – is found everywhere, especially in the circles of elite photographers of local camera clubs. “Your pictures suck”. “You have zero composition skills”. “Your framing is horrible”. “Your post-processing is amateurish”. These are just some of the kind things you will hear from a seasoned critic. Real critics believe that other photographers can only improve through direct, harsh criticism. They believe that softening up only leads to mediocrity, so a direct striking message is the only way to push an artist to create.
- The Talker – the one who never stops talking. Once they find a way to start a conversation (which usually starts out about cameras, lenses or photography), the talker just keeps on chattering about anything and everything.
- The Internet Troll – a very common occurrence on the Internet, but especially on photography forums. Internet trolls love hanging out in every discussion and contribute their part. Anonymity allows them to go by many different names and accounts. A true Internet troll will have multiple email accounts they use to register under different names / nicknames in many photography websites and forums. Internet trolls lie about their identity, age and sex, because they change them all the time. When nobody agrees with their statements, they sign in with a different account to support themselves. Internet trolls live off people’s reactions and they always seek confrontation and conflict. Some photography websites thrive on negative and provocative articles, because it brings out the best trolls. Unfortunately, some people get wrongly flagged as Internet trolls when they have conflicting views with others, especially website owners.
- The Pandemic Photographer – they realized their lives were boring after they stopped going into the office every day and desperately looked for something to fill the void. They landed on photography and have taken all manner of photos at local parks and golf courses since. Though usually harmless, the pandemic photographer likes to remind their friends that “this photography thing” is temporary, and once they go back to working in person, they’re going to give it up.
- The Selfie Monster – ah, the generation of the self-obsessed who make egoportraits. Selfie monsters are all around us – they have already penetrated every part of the society. Their numbers are highest among iPhoneographers and Androidographers (more on that kind below), but they are now commonly seen among amateur and professional photographers as well. Selfie monsters are capable of taking selfies with any gear at hand: camera phone, DSLR, mirrorless camera, large format camera or even a drone! That’s right, “drone selfie” has already entered the modern dictionary and there is nothing you can do about it.
A true selfie monster takes at least one selfie a day. Because of the repetitive behavior of extending their arms, selfie monsters have developed special muscles that cannot be found on other homo sapiens.
- The Filter Fanatic – very easy to spot, since they always put a UV / protective filter in front of every single lens. Filter fanatics have filters for every occasion – from colored filters for film photography, all the way to specialized reverse GND filters. Diehard filter fanatics have at least 2:1 ratio of owned filters vs lenses. They have a collection of resin and glass filters, in every available size and form. A true filter fanatic buys filters and rarely gets a chance to actually use them.
- The Filter Hater – a complete opposite of a filter fanatic is obviously a filter hater. A true filter hater owns zero filters. They find protective filters to be evil and they believe that they can emulate any filter in post-processing. When they need an ND filter for blurring water, they take consecutive shots and blend them into a single image instead. They often resort to HDR and blending techniques, so some filter haters are by default HDR freaks or blending addicts. Some filter haters even swear that they can emulate a polarizing filter in Photoshop!
- The Cameraphoneographer – a person who only takes pictures on a camera phone, because everything else is too big and bulky. A cameraphoneographer heavily utilizes camera apps and never uses a computer for post-processing. Speaking of apps, they have at least a dozen photography-related apps installed on their phones that actually get used. True cameraphoneographers take pictures and video of everything they experience, and they know that the more unique and special the moment, the better it is for their social media following. That’s why cameraphoneographers love concerts, weddings and funerals. They never hesitate to jump into action to take a shot that other professional photographers might miss. Cameraphoneographers hate being referred to as “that guy” by other so called photographers. They believe they have as much right to get a shot as a paid photographer.
- The iPhoneographer – typically a diehard Apple fan, an iPhoneographer only takes pictures with an iPhone. An iPhoneographer buys every iteration of an iPhone that comes out and continuously searches for iPhone-related rumors. They can be found standing in long lines on the day of an iPhone launch, even if they don’t end up getting one. It is all part of an iPhone experience, after-all!
- The iPadographer – same as above, except with an iPad.
- The Androidographer – typically a diehard Apple hater. Androidographers always wonder why Apple fanboys even bother buying iPhones, when their specifications always suck compared to modern Android phones. The best camera phones are based on Android and it is a fact based on DxOMark! Androidographers always laugh at iPhoneographers and their 4:3 aspect ratio photos that can’t even fit on the 16:9 screen.
- The Instagram Addict – the best of Cameraphoneographers, iPhoneographers and Androidographers unite on Instagram, because it is the place to be. Success on Instagram is guaranteed if you visit a popular tourist spot and include yourself or your pretty girlfriend in every picture. Moraine Lake, Skógafoss, Machu Picchu, Taj Mahal…you shall not fail! And the more booty revealed, the better.
Red hats and bright colored dresses are particularly in demand. Those who don’t have girlfriends and boyfriends do well by taking pictures of their feet. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag galore! A real addict spends more time on Instagram than taking pictures.
- The Artsy-Fartsy – A VSCO Film Preset, +75 Clarity and +50 Saturation because I can, says the Artsy-Fartsy. If you don’t like their images, it is your problem, because you don’t understand real Art. After-all, photography is an art form and everyone is free to create whatever they want. The Artsy-Fartsy types love Instagram, because they can preset, filter and Hipstagram their photos, so that other Artsy-Fartsies can appreciate their creation. The more “vintagy look”, the better.
- The Glamour Addict – typically a well-seasoned photographer who wants to see some young skin. Hangs out at Model Mayhem, Suicide Girls and other similar sites to provide his “photography services” in exchange for a photo shoot in his house studio.
- The Guinea Pig Pre-Orderer – on the night of any camera or lens announcement, the Guinea Pig Pre-Orderers patiently wait until the pre-order window opens up, so that they can be the first in line to buy the gear. To make sure that they get their gear in the first batch, they place multiple pre-orders with multiple retailers. Once the order ships from any of the stores, they cancel other pre-orders. If the camera gear is delayed for any reason, they call and complain. Guinea Pig Pre-Orderers don’t learn from product defects and recalls – the GAS urge is simply too hard to resist.
- The Chronic Complainer – no matter how much innovation camera manufacturers put into newly released cameras and lenses, it will never satisfy the chronic complainer. There is always something wrong with any gear and nothing has ever been perfect. Chronic complainers are typically ex-camera gear addicts. They feel that if they complain enough, they will not have to keep buying more gear. That’s how they keep their GAS in check.
Now the big question is, which one(s) of the above are you? Feel free to confess in public, there is no shame in that. I confess that I am partially #11, definitely #20, partially #21 & #25 and occasionally #43. Now it is your turn!
Hope you’ve had a good laugh. Happy Friday!