Home Trends

Trolling for Dummies


Welcome to Trolling for Dummies. I’m glad that you can join us as we explore the thrilling world of trolling. Trolling is safe, easy, and provide hours of entertainment with little to no effort. All it takes is minimal knowledge of the subject matter, a sense of your audience and planting the right “seed.” Today we’re going to focus on (pardon the pun) trolling photography forums.

Photography forums are great because they meet the basic requirements of good trolling subjects. One, many of them are very active, some with hundreds of posts a day. Two, they are filled with passionate participants. Think about it, instead of going out and taking photos or processing and printing them, they are spending hour upon hour talking about cameras. And three, their passion for cameras leads to strongly held beliefs that are ripe for trolling!

One thing you’ll note–many of you are not photographers, so we won’t go into any real detail about the subjects we’ll discuss today. That’s ok though, as an aspiring troll you will need to learn just a little bit about each subject that you troll. Remember, ignorance is power! Now let’s look at popular trolling topics on camera forums:


One of the classics. Watch people that barely made it through high school math battle it out with physicists and real life rocket scientists. Watch people fight sensor size wars solely on equivalence.

The beauty of this troll is that it will work in just about any camera forum. Large sensor forums will say that small sensors are crap because of equivalence, and small sensor forums will say that their new F0.4 lens is awesome. Or that their back hurts. The only place this troll won’t work is with Sony forums because they make all the sensors for others and their own cameras have just about every sensor size imaginable. But they’ve likely sold more sensors than lenses, so you can try that.

Pentax is Doomed

Pentax owners are a curious lot. Many have been loyal to the brand from back in the day when Pentax stood at the top of the heap of camera manufacturers, when mustaches weren’t ironic. But since then the luster and market share have faded and Pentax sits a distant third among DSLR camera makers. Tiny market share plus one new corporate master after another makes Pentaxicans skittish about their future. Heck, some are stomping mad at their new corporate overlords.

Merely questioning Pentax’s future prospects is enough to bring the skeptics, optimists, and lunatics* out from the woodwork. On a good day, a simple, “I’m interested in buying a Pentax but am not confident that they will exist next month.” will start the fireworks. Another option is to point out Pentax’s longstanding lack of a full-frame camera as an Achilles heel. Get some popcorn and enjoy!

DSLRs are Dead

In the minds of some photographers, DSLRs may as well be steampunk cameras, with copper tubing and Victorian Age aesthetics–all that’s missing is a spark arcing across a Jacob’s Ladder and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Mirrorless is the new emperor, they say, with its smallerness, it’s EVFity, and it’s kind-of-like-an-iPhone-ness.

But you’ve got to use this troll carefully; it’s very context sensitive. On a Canon or Nikon forum you should suggest that mirrorless cameras are going to outsell their beloved DSLRs by the end of the year. On a mirrorless camera forum you should boast that your $700 DSLR is better than their $1400 fetish. Either one should be enough to spark the flames.

Micro Four-Thirds is Doomed

The Micro Four-Thirds format is the Napoleon Bonaparte of the camera world. Yes, they’ve got plans to take over the world, but they are very sensitive to others noting their small sensor and small market share. Pointing either of these out while suggesting that this deficit will lead to the format’s demise will draw out a small army of defendants. Bonus points if you can throw in Olympus’ bookkeeping shenanigans or Panasonic’s lack of camera cred.

Video is Killing Real Cameras

In the beginning, adding video to a still camera was akin to adding a clock to a microwave oven–there was no real purpose, but since there was a clock on the microchip, the product folks said, “What the hey, why not?” But video on DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are evolving at a feverish pace. And it’s no wonder, as some makers see video as a key differentiator and a possible lifeboat for when the SS Point-And-Shoot finally hits that iceberg.

But all this attention to video is hurting the feels of some traditionalist as each successive generation of camera feels more like a camcorder and less like a Canon AE-1/Nikon FM2/Pentax LX/etc…Nikon, sensing this frustration, has even gone so far as to introduce a camera without any video features at all.

For this troll to work well, you’ve got to get your timing down. Don’t just throw it out there into the wind and expect it to stick. Wait for a new camera with interesting video features and find a forum with a mix of still photographers and videographers**. Get it wrong and the troll won’t last long–everyone will either agree or disagree with you. Get it right and you’ve the war of generations on your hands!

Leicas are Worth It

Nothing gets the forums buzzing quite like the announcement of a new Leica, with 99% saying, “Ha ha, for the same price I can get a truckfull of gear from {insert favorite brand here}. The remaining 1% shake their heads, gather on RangeFinderForum.com and say, “Those plebians just don’t understand.” Some venture into the low places (DPReview.com, et. al.) to do battle with the unwashed masses. It rarely ends well.

When a new Leica is released, there are several ways to play this troll. One, go to a Leica-oriented forum and claim that the new camera is overpriced. Two, go to a non-Leica forum and claim that you are selling all your gear to get the new Leica and a single lens.

I’m Leaving Nikon for Canon

Nothing gets stuck in a Nikonian’s craw more than watching one of their own leave for “that other brand.” Nikon and Canon have been battling for camera supremacy for years, so any defection to the other team is high treason. You can really wind Nikonians up if you claim that you are leaving for a dubious reason, I.e., claim that Canon has an advantage where it doesn’t. For example, “Farewell all, it’s been a lot of fun here, but I’m selling all of my Nikon gear and investing in Canon. I just feel that Canon has better zoom lenses and better sensors.” That will really wind them up!

I’m Leaving Canon for Nikon

This one is even better than the “I’m leaving Nikon for Canon” simply because of the fact that there are more Canonistas than Nikonians. Find a big, juice Canon forum and bombs away!

As with all trolling, it sucks to get called out early. Some forums have volunteer troll-watching units that will look for obvious marks of a troll. Don’t register for a forum and troll with your first message. Put in a little time, feign some interest, and then set your bait. Good luck, and we look forward to hearing about your trolling at our next monthly meeting where we will talk about HiFi and Watch Trolling.


* And by “lunatic” we mean those Pentaxicans that attach mega telephotos to their little Qs to take photos of the moon.

** Perhaps the ugliest word in existence.


Follow NCN on the Facebooks, Twitters, and that other thing for the latest camera news.


  1. Can I just point out a technical inaccuracy in your article – actually, Micro Four Thirds is full frame.

  2. First, one has to master nonsensical terms like shadow dynamic range, per pixel sharpness, etc. throw in a few terms like bubble zone system, vapour business, empty talker, talking from an empty mouth, fanboy, zealot, etc….and you’re good to go. Claim things that exist don’t, and vice versa, and you are on your way to being as master at being a webexpert.

  3. What a lousy article! (*) Misses the most important troll-topic: digitial vs. analog!

    This is a great topic because
    – digital photogs with former experience in analog feel a bit guilty, because everything is now so much easier. They overcompensate by either defending analoge or digital with more than usual zeal.

    – digital photogs without experience in analog feel unsecure, because all wildly famous photography is analog. Because they lack experience, you can sucker them into weird pro-analog arguments.

    Sure, you will miss out on the die hard analog photogs, but they have no time to visit online forums anyway, sitting in perfect darkness hand-developing 4×5 sheet film.

    (*) just trolling

  4. This is amateur stuff! The place to troll is a car site. Find one of the sites where the young (or aging suburban) hotshots talk orgasmically about how they are one with the road in their new autobahn-tuned model xyz with 19″ wheels and 400 hp, and how they want to be the master of control as they negotiate the twisting roads. Then ask if they have an automatic transmission.

Complaint Form