At a recent meeting of fellow R/C flyers, I was a passive listener to an interesting conversation of how to compare 2-stroke fuel engines to electric motors to determine equivalent performance. I just want to learn to fly better but these guys are masters and are now seriously into design.
Initially, we are attracted to a hobby because its activity appeals. For a while, that's enough.With ham radio, we want to communicate. Photographers want to make interesting photos, usually of a particular subject matter. Amateur astronomers want to view/photograph the moon, planets, double stars, etc. R/C aficionados want to fly models.
And all of the above want to get better at what they do. That is the Phase 1 goal of a hobbyist, I think - to get better at whatever it is we do.
But somewhere along the way it becomes more about the equipment and the intricacies involved in its design and specifications rather than the activity that the equipment enables.
Photographers have endless debates about sharpness at f/8 vs. f/16, etc. They pay close attention to things like chromatic aberration, pixel/bin size and other things they were unaware of when they were first attracted to photography. Things more technical than artistic.
Astronomers, during cloudy sessions, discuss things like color fringing and optical design. Achromatic or apochromatic? Double apo or triple? Batinov mask or individual test shots? Deep Sky Stacker or Sequator?
Shooters are no longer content just to improve their accuracy; they become reloaders and experiment with powder charge and ballistic weight as it pertains to trajectory and fall at X meters. Should your AR-15 have 8 inches per turn rifling or 10? What are the trade-offs and benefits of each?
We don't all morph into Phase 2 hobbyists, but many do. For them/us, the hobby has become about the gear rather than the activity.
I am that way regarding ham radio but not (yet?) in photography or other hobbies. I like to put a new rig on the air and see how it performs and compare it with what I'm used to. I am content to have one camera, but not just one ham radio.
At what point do we begin to enjoy the design aspects of a hobby and the minutia of its intricacies rather than the hobby's stated activity - and what is the catalyst? I have no idea; I'm just an observer ;-)
Multiply the size of a 2-stroke glow engine (in cubic inches) by 2000 to get the electric power equivalent in watts.