In Defense of Kirk Tuck

I know what you're thinking. Why is this idiot in Orlando talking about an Austenite he's never met in person? Because I like the guy and I like what he writes and the way he rights. Because it looks like some self-righteous forum assholes have taken Kirk to task over his shift from µ4:3rds to a Sony Nex system (Nex7 to be precise), a move that streamlines his camera system usage to all Sony. This seems to have outraged all the pro-µ4:3rds/anti-Nex partisans in much the same way it seemed to enrage equivalent pro-Canon partisans who railed against him when he shifted from heavy Canon kit (5DMk2, 7D, 60D) to the Sony α77.

If nothing else I always keep up with Kirk's transitions, in part because I find them fascinating, in part because he can do what I can't, and that's afford to try something new on a fairly regular basis. Kirk can do this because (1) he's an honest-to-god working pro with decades of experience and (2) he's developed a decades-long solid business relationship with one of the last few honest-to-god decent camera stores left in this country, Precision Camera and Video. Precision doesn't cut him any special deals, but what they do do is allow him to sell back his gear and use that to help finance the next phase of brand/model ownership when the mood and business needs strike. I think its a great opportunity to watch over his shoulder as he does this because I certainly can't do that, and I'm always curious about camera equipment.

I follow Kirk, and Matthew Robertson, for essentially the same reason; they have a passion for the art and technique of photography, and they have over the years moved through an interesting and eclectic collection of cameras of all brands and types. I may not always agree with their conclusions or their opinions, but hey, they're the ones with the gear, not me. If I do find something I feel is amiss, I keep my tongue in check because (1) I've been politely invited to look vicariously over their shoulder via their blogging and (2) I'm the rank amateur and they're the pros. If you're a guest in a person's home, even virtually, you don't repay their gracious hospitality by making an ass of yourself.

I'm glad Kirk moved to the Sony Alpha bodies and the Nex series. I've been seriously considering Sony since my Olympus DSLRs were stolen, and my interest has been piqued by the fact that John Isaac, a former Olympus Visionary, has himself shifted to the Sony α77 and G series lenses. No, I'm not going to follow John Isaac just because that's what he bought any more than I'd buy because of what Kirk did. But their actions have motivated me to look at what Sony has to offer and compare what Sony has with what I had, and what I want to do with those cameras. Will I purchase Sony next? I don't know. But I have at least two good reliable sources I can turn to on the web to help me reach a decision, and for that I'm most grateful. I don't believe we have the kind of camera store in Orlando that Kirk has in Austin, so I'm forced to depend on such trusted resources on the web as Kirk and Matt.

I asked once upon a time, tongue in check, why Kirk wasn't smiling. After reading his last post it's a wonder he can smile at all...

Update 7 August

I forgot to mention that Matthew Robertson was once a strong Olympus user as well. Go back and look at his review site for Olympus and you'll see where he had an E-1 and several E-3s, as well as some of the SHG lenses in his arsenal. And then one day he decided to shift from Olympus to a Nikon D700, and then recently to a Nikon D800. And there are all the other interesting cameras he owns and uses on occasion. And yet, in spite of all that, we're pretty good (virtual) friends.


  1. Right, Bill. Kirk is very generous in providing his thoughts about gear and art (and how to make beautiful portraits) to the rest of us. He's a must read for me, and his blog is the first one on which I check the RSS bookmark for new content each day. I also found it great that he gave you his E-1 as a present.

    Regarding cameras, and the replacement of your stolen gear: I find that difficult as I wrote already. On the one hand there are these superb Olympus lenses which are beauties in themselves. On the other hand, I've read in some tests (I think it was one about the E-3) that even a 600D would easily out-resolve it, even with a much lesser lens. And Sony do have some nice Zeiss (and also own branded) glass as well - as does Pentax with their primes (which I still consider a bit expensive when compared to others, but then there's their build quality).

    Ming Thein writes in his experience-based database that he thinks the Nikon D7000 is the one best APS-C camera around, and if you look at Nikon as a whole system, that's hard to deny. DPReview wrote that the Nex-7 is the absolute best APS-C camera around, tho they scored the Pentax K-5 even higher. All of these have Sony sensors, and maybe even the OM-D has one, and isn't far behind.

    Like I said: tough decision. For me it would be more or less clear: we have the most important prime lenses, so it would have to be the OM-D (and I had to forget about the absolute best tracking AF of Nikon in this case). But for you? It will be interesting to read about your thoughts and decision some time after Photokina.

    About John Isaac: does he have a blog as well? Do you have a link? The 'homepage' link on Wikipedia doesn't seem to be vaild anymore...

    Thanks, and
    best regards,

  2. John Isaac's blog is gone. The only way I keep track of him now is his Facebook page:

  3. Kirk Tuck is a fascinating photographer to follow on his blog! He's the first one that I go to every day. I have bought some photography gear - simply on his recommendation. I do not have the inclination, or the financial resources, to change camera (system) as often as Kirk does, but I am still interested in what he has to say about the equipment that he writes about.

    I also live in Austin, but have only run into Kirk on three occassions - all in the last year. Kirk is a very friendly, unpretentious, fun kind of guy to be around.

    I'm sure that if I ran into him around town that he would say "Hi" to me, just because he's that kind of guy. As far as photography is concerned, he's my "master teacher", but he doesn't even know that I am his "grasshopper".


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