Sigmund Freud introduced the world to “the narcissism of minor differences” as a way to explain his finding that people who have the most in common tend to have the most brutal arguments with one another.
Freud considered the narcissism of small differences a combination of our inclination toward aggression and a desire for a distinct identity. Seeing too much of ourselves in our neighbors apparently makes us feel less unique which threatens our sense of self. To prevent damage to our ego, we tend to focus on trivial differences and magnify their importance. This leads to religious and ethnic conflicts but it applies to culture as well.
From my vantage point, the narcissism of small differences plays and outsized role in the photography blogosphere where reviewers tend to focus on trivial differences and magnify their importance. It also likes plays a role when reviewers fight amongst themselves or photographers slam reviewers online.
In many cases, these lenses aren’t that different
The goal of this website is to documenting my experience so you can learn from my errors. Hopefully this will save you time, money, and headaches, during your journey.
In order to accomplish that goal, in some cases, I need to thread the needle walk the thin line drawn upon the photographic narcissism of small differences.
Remember, the differences between many of these lenses, even though I magnify them to help you make purchasing decisions, are south of enormous and oftentimes trivial.
Don’t fool yourself (I don’t fool myself) websites like these are more about the hobby of photography than anything else and that is perfectly acceptable. I make part of my salary from photography but worrying about the small differences between these lenses has ZERO factor in that side of my business. Worrying about what is “the best” is an interesting pastime for and you absolutely need to be aware of these differences so you dont buy something you don’t want or need. But please don’t fall prey to the narcissism of small differences and agonize over your gear purchases.
The Forum Wars
Previously, I mentioned that the narcissism of small differences also applies to culture. Nowhere is this on display more than in a camera forum or on photographic social media accounts. I don’t usually frequent forums and rarely read social media comments because the vitriol that the rage machine spits out is oftentimes little more than the result of people failing pretty to the narcissism of small differences. It is particularly absorbing to watch (sarcasm) when different reviewers start going after one another for their opinion even though the opinions aren’t really all that different.
The ultimate goal of this website is to help save you time and money. But lets be honest, there is no piece of equipment on this site that isn’t discussed somewhere else online. I believe the value of this website is that you are provided a single, consistent, opinion across a wide range of gear. If you are like me it will resonate but, although I know my opinion is the correct opinion for my situation, I don’t feel that my opinion is the correct opinion all cases. You will likely need to play the field before blindly following my advice.