Brian's Photo Blog — Article 181
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Micro Four Thirds Camera Not Serious Enough?
Monday 22 October 2012   —   Category: Other Photographers
I ran across a very interesting article referenced by the 4/3 Rumors Web site today entitled Antelope Canyon — got a mirrorless camera? No permit for you!

Photographer Gordon Laing relates the discrimination he experienced earlier this month while visiting the Navajo Nation Park Antelope Canyons. Following is an excerpt from the article:
For safety reasons, both Canyons are only accessible by tours, in groups of around 20 people, leaving every 15 minutes or so.... Photographers will however be pleased to learn ... you can request a permit which allows you to enter and ’self-guide' for up to two hours. This is what I did the first time I visited, and what I wanted to do again, but today was different. I'd already been identified as a potentially serious photographer due to my tripod, but then the man in the ticket office asked to see my camera.

I produced my Panasonic GX1 to which he asked 'does that have a mirror?' 'No!' I proudly replied, to which he said 'then you can’t have a permit'! He then explained that permits were only granted to people carrying DSLRs or film cameras, especially larger formats. This makes sense as it separates the serious photographers from the tourists with the point-and-shoots on wobbly tripods. To keep the crowds flowing through the Canyons, the latter would be kept in tour groups, while only the former would be allowed to roam free.

It’s a fine idea, but like all these things, where do you draw the line and importantly which side will you be on? Well, the managers of Antelope Canyons in their wisdom drew the line with mirrors. I was actually told I could not have a self-guided photographer’s permit because I had a mirror-less camera. I of course tried to explain my camera was every bit as serious as a DSLR in terms of quality, control and lens choice, but he was adamant: no mirror, no permit.
WOW! I think that’s pretty shocking! Be sure to click over and read the entire article. It’s really too bad that the official making this decision didn’t know enough about cameras to realize that it was more than a tourist camera, but blindly made his decision based solely on whether it had a mirror or not.

If they really have to sift the tourists from the photographers, it would make a lot more sense to base it on whether a camera has interchangeable lenses or not. But even using that criteria has its problems. A number of manufacturers are making high-end cameras with fixed lenses, but they are definitely NOT tourist cameras! Like the $2,800 Sony RX1, the $2,000 Leica X2, and the $1,000 Fujifilm X100, just to name three. These are unequivocally high-end cameras for serious photographers, even though they do not have mirrors nor interchangeable lenses.

I think one reader of Mr. Laing’s article summed it up best: It’s about the photographer and not his gear!
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 181
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