The Gear Head Pixel Peeper Quiz
I admit it. I am a card-carrying gear-head pixel-peeper. But I have an excuse (well, at least now I do): gear is my business. There was a time, before I got honest with myself, when I thought I was a just a photographer who was really interested in the tools of my craft. Eventually, I came to admit that I’m more interested in how the tools create the image than the image the tools create. In other words I’d rather be chief mechanic than drive the race car. That’s OK, the photography world needs some good mechanics.
But there are still a lot of you out there who haven’t gotten honest yet. Overcoming your denial and admitting you have a problem is the first step. So I’ve developed this little quiz to help you decide if you’re a photographer or a gear-head.
Photographer or Gearhead?
1. When you evaluate a photograph, the first thing you look at is the:
- EXIF data
2. When considering a new lens purchase, you check online for
- Best price
- Images other photographers shot with that Lens
- MTF charts and lens element diagrams
3. The next camera you plan on buying
- Has been around long enough that the price has dropped significantly. It’s a bargain now.
- Is pricey, but you have to pay to get the latest technology.
- Hasn’t been released yet, but the word from Rumors.com is it will be awesome.
4. When you wake up and see bright sunshine your first thought is
- Oh, no! I missed the Golden Hour
- Maybe it will be overcast later and I can get some good shots
- Wonderful! I’ve been wanting to test my lenses for flare and ghosting
5. When your new lens arrives the first thing you do is
- Take some pictures and see if you like the images
- Take 3 shots of each of 4 test charts, repeating at several focal lengths
- Same as #2, but also compare it to the other 3 copies of that lens you ordered so you can keep the sharpest one.
6. After a day taking pictures you first
- Go through the images to see which you want to print
- Ask other photographers to critique your work and make suggestions for improving your technique
- View the images at 100% on your monitor to see how much detail your lens resolved.
7. The most common place you post your photographs online is
- Flickr, Photobucket or pBase
- Your own website
- A forum under the heading “Is my lens sharp?”
8. When you notice dust in your most expensive lens you think
- OMG is that going to show up in my pictures??
- Not surprising, as much as I use that thing
- I need to get a dust-free, climate controlled enclosure to store my collection
9. Coma is
- A state of unconsciousness
- A common misspelling of a punctuation mark
- One of the 5 third-order lens aberrations
10. Your favorite lens
- Is never in your camera bag because it’s always mounted to your camera
- Is always in your camera bag in case you need it for that special shot
- Is on your desk near the computer where you can look at it while thrashing those who make negative comments about it in the forums
12. Your favorite photographic subjects are (in order)
- Your children, pets, and beautiful scenery
- Landscapes, architecture, and sunsets
- ISO-12233, AF1951, and LensAlign
13. A 50mm prime lens is
- An indispensable tool every photographer should own
- No longer necessary since excellent zooms cover that range
- A double-gauss design that is likely to have spherical aberration and astigmatism
14. When taking a group portrait you mentally calculate
- How to pose the subjects to form a pleasing geometry
- The angle of primary lighting to avoid a low-contrast image
- The depth of field of your 50mm lens at f/1.4 and a distance of 12 feet.
15. Photographing the stars at night
- Not something I do, I’m not spending that much for a tripod and cable release
- A marvelous way to create romantic, different images
- A great way to evaluate coma and astigmatism
1 point for every time you chose Answer #3
5 points if you chose answer #3 to question 5
+ 1 if you own your own ISO-12233 test chart
+ 2 if you’ve ever taken a picture OF your new lens before you’ve taken a picture WITH your new lens
If you scored 0 to 5, you have limited gear-head potential
6 to 9 points, you may just be a gear-head
10-to 14 points, you definitely are a gear-head pixel-peeper
15 points or more: please send your resume and salary requirements to Lensrentals.com We need people like you.
Author: Roger Cicala
I’m Roger and I am the founder of Lensrentals.com. Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.