The Fall camera show season will be upon us sooner than we think and camera makers are making the final preparations for the introduction of their new wares. Likewise, camera buffs are scouring the Internet for crumbs of information related to what may be their next camera. And in Dubuque, Iowa, the Camera Crisis Center (CCC) is getting ready to help another group of disappointed, dismayed, depressed, and angry photographers get through another winter of discontent.
While the CCC helps sufferers of many camera-related illnesses (like Bokeh Dysfunction, Pre-Order Anxiety Disorder, Wrong Camera Trauma, and others), the most prevalent illness during the fall camera show season is Camera Disappointment Disorder, or CDD. The CDD virus spawns on camera rumor websites, where fictitious specifications of fictitious cameras are cultivated. After several months of speculation from sources in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, some of these rumors swim upstream and lay eggs on large camera websites, where they spread like a cold at an all you can eat buffet. By then, the mythical unicorn cameras that these rumors purport to cover are so far advanced that anyone buying them will automagically win a Pulitzer Prize. Invariably, the new cameras fail to meet inflated expectations, leading to CDD outbreaks all over the Internet.
When asked what kind of people they get, CCC director Leif Schutter said, “We get all kinds….actually, that’s not really true. We get men mostly. Older men. Every once in a blue moon we’ll get a woman or a younger man and just assume that they are lost. But once they mention one of the safe words–DxO, DPReview, Steve Stonewall, 100% crop, etc…–we know that we have a live one and our crew springs into action.”
One might think that with so many fine cameras now on the market that the CCC would see a decline in the number of calls to their hotline. But that isn’t the case.
“Many of those stricken with CCC believe that they are one camera away from greatness, that the only thing that their photography needs is less shadow noise or better rendering of the red channel,” said Schutter. “Then they hear these rumors of this mythical new camera and they think that their prayers are about to be answered. They invest so much time in believing in this new camera–some go so far as to create space on their camera shelf–that when it doesn’t appear exactly as they wanted they’re gutted.”
We had one guy wanting to compete in the LoHi Canaries in a Coal Mine Championships,” says Schutter, “and was gutted that Olympus didn’t announce a new Micro Four-Thirds body with usable ISO56,200. He spent weeks lamenting his switch to Micro Four-Thirds, shunning his family and friends.”
“It breaks my heart to see these grown men chopped down in the prime of their lives. Well, actually, it’s more like their sunset, but that’s no matter. This is why we are here, for these photographers,” says Schutter, his eyes getting all moist with emotion. “We won’t rest until CDD is wiped off the planet.”
The CCC offers peer counseling, self help programs, and a unique “Happy Place” program, where patients sit in a room filled with old SLR film cameras, F1.4 prime lenses, and film canisters for one hour intervals.