Try it Out For Yourself

Aix-en-Provence, 2015
Aix-en-Provence, 2015

Recently I got my laptop stolen in Paris from my backpack. It kinda sucked, but the “blessing in disguise” was that I was able to replace my (slightly) aging 11’’ Macbook air (2012 model).

I started to consider a few options: the 13’’ Macbook Air, the 13’’ Macbook Pro, and the new Retina 12’’ Macbook.

I then did the typical thing: Google reviews of the laptops which are written by “experts.”

I trudged through reviews on Engadget, The Verge, Cnet, etc— and became frustrated. All of their opinions contradicted another, and there seemed to always be pros/cons with each laptop.

Finally fed up, I disregarded all the reviews online and just decided to buy what I was interested in, and to try it out for myself.

I went to the Apple store in Aix-en-Provence, and picked up the new 12’’ Macbook Retina to try it out. I was happy to know that they had a 14-day return policy, so I could see if I liked the machine or not.

So the last two days I have been using the new 12’’ Macbook, and I like it a lot. Sure it isn’t the perfect device (it is a little bit slower than my 11’’ Macbook Air) and the lack of ports is a bit of a drawback. But for me, it works well. The majority of my work on a laptop is typing and writing (like I am doing now), and my priority is having the lightest and most compact weight (the 12’’ Macbook is surprisingly even lighter than my 11’’ Macbook air).

Everyone has their own preferences. No matter how many reviews of anything you resarch online (for a laptop, camera, lens, etc)— your experiences and preferences will always be different from that of a reviewer.

So for example, let’s say you’re interested in shooting with a film rangefinder. Sure you can read all this stuff online (even on this blog), but you will never truly know the experience until you try it out for yourself.

We are fortunate enough to live in a society that all of the decisions we make are (mostly) reversible. If you’re interested in a new camera for street photography, my suggestion is this: just buy it and try it out for yourself. If you don’t like it, simply return it. I know that offers very generous return policies (30 days).

As a general philosophy whenever it comes to anything in life, it is good to ask for the opinion and experiences of others. Sometimes it is good to have a starting point to base our own ideas upon.

However at the end of the day, experience is highly personal. If you have never been to Paris, you can’t simply ask your friends how their experience was. You have to go there and experience it directly for yourself.

If you’ve never shot film, you will never truly understand how the experience is for you, until you actually try it for yourself.

Do you have an idea for a photography project? Don’t ask what others think about your idea. Just try shooting the project. Perhaps after you’ve tried shooting that project, you can show others the photos and ask for their opinion.

Long story short: disregard camera reviews from others (including mine), opinions and experiences of others, and just try things for yourself.

Live a life of self-experimentation, and have fun.