PDA

View Full Version : Are we losing touch with our cameras?


hawkeye
12-30-2010, 05:22
Another posting I hope you will all find interesting. Especially rangefinder users.

http://www.pixiq.com/article/are-we-losing-touch-with-our-cameras%3F

Steve

sig
12-30-2010, 05:36
No, it is dead simple to change aperture, shutter speed etc on a modern DSLR. It is infact created like that because it is faster and simpler to do it that way for the average user.

So it is just you that need to adjust to a different way of doing it.

Brian Sweeney
12-30-2010, 05:45
Reminds me of as Herb Keppler article written when the newer generation of compact SLR's came out and he listed all the features being stripped, such as DOF preview levers.

All I can say is... I'm not losing touch with my cameras.

Soothsayerman
12-30-2010, 05:49
On my dslr 50% of the time I shoot in manual the other 50% in aperature preferred, I don't think I'm losing touch. I think most people that read this forum will answer the same. If you posted the question somewhere else, the answer might be different.

Arjay
12-30-2010, 06:04
All of this depends on user preference.

There are cameras for the 'You press the button, we'll do the rest' crowd, and those users have never really been in touch with their cameras, even before the introduction of digital.

There are other users (and I count myself to that group) who take their new camera into their hands and start to play with its controls for an hour before they even shoot the first frame. There certainly are digital cameras for that clientele as well, and I know what I am talking about, because I own such a camera.

Oh, and BTW, using any automatic mode on a camera does not necessarily mean that this function is intransparent and leaves the user guessing what is going on. If I as a user care about what is happening as I use my camera to take a photograph, I can have my camera tell me so, and I can intervene if I do not agree with what the camera does. So, if I have chosen the right camera, I will certainly stay 'in the driver's seat', even if I use automatic function modes.

It's not the camera - it's the user who cares about or ignores being in touch with his/her camera.

jsrockit
12-30-2010, 06:26
I'm a manual exposure fan, and use it almost exclusively, but this article is nonsense. One still has to frame the right thing... the camera doesn't do that for you. I hate when people think auto-exposure = the camera taking the picture for you. It simply means the camera took care of the techincal concerns so one can focus on composition / moment.

NickTrop
12-30-2010, 07:01
Much of the aperture-shutter-iso relationship is rote. - like multiplication times tables. Although there are time you might want to wonk with it for creative effect, 95% of the time you just want proper exposure. Isn't the camera taking care of that which is simply a rote mechanical/mathematical relationship a good thing? Doesn't that free you up to be /more/ in touch with the subject of your photo, instead of the camera?

kshapero
12-30-2010, 07:04
Well I enjoyed reading the article.

thegf
12-30-2010, 07:07
i like the phrase "karaoke photography". in some ways, i think that is why i am slowly transitioning to film from a DSLR.

Andy Kibber
12-30-2010, 07:17
Surprisingly enough, people like automated cameras. There's plenty of hand-wringing about the death of metal mechanical manual cameras from a small group of photography enthusists but most people don't give a hoot. They just want a camera that will deliver adequate exposure and focusing with minimal fuss. Who can blame them?

Film dino
12-30-2010, 07:33
Steve Meltzer makes a valid point about practice-acquired instinctive/ intuitive familiarity with controls. But I think he then confuses this with the nature or type of these controls. I don't see why someone can't become instinctively familiar with controls of any type of camera (assuming it has controls!)

GSNfan
12-30-2010, 08:02
Most of the technological improvements in cameras came about by the feedback of photographers themselves. Most professional photographers embrace any technology that makes their job easy with a lot of enthusiasm, so are parents with small kids, average camera users and even some of the photographer artists. I believe a famous Japanese photographer uses a compact Ricoh on auto mode and there are many videos of famous photographers speaking about how they love a particular digital p&s... As much as I love to have full control over my picture taking process, I would like technology to be there just in case.

Paul Luscher
12-30-2010, 08:19
Well, that's one reason I got a Leica. Keeps me in touch, literally.:)

I'm of two minds about this. Grew up with film cameras..with knobs, dials, etc. It's not so much those I miss as much as how (relatively) simple those cameras were to operate. Photographing with them felt...well, I can only call it "purer," for lack of a better word.

On the other hand... the thing about a lot of these digital cameras, with auto-this and do-everything that, is that they leave you free to concentrate on the most important thing--capturing that fleeting "decisive moment."

So I've learned to live in both worlds. When I need a break from my computer-with-a-lens, I'll pick up one of my old film-burners for a change of pace.

Frankly, I think the REAL threat to Western civilization is the rise of Blackberry, texting, Twitter,etc. Everybody's talking these days--but not to each other. I'm thinking of the times I've seen two people out on what appears to be a "date," but they're not talking--instead, they're each totally absorbed in texting on their "personal communication device"....

Roger Hicks
12-30-2010, 08:20
Most of the technological improvements in cameras came about by the feedback of photographers themselves. Most professional photographers embrace any technology that makes their job easy with a lot of enthusiasm, so are parents with small kids, average camera users and even some of the photographer artists. I believe a famous Japanese photographer uses a compact Ricoh on auto mode and there are many videos of famous photographers speaking about how they love a particular digital p&s... As much as I love to have full control over my picture taking process, I would like technology to be there just in case.

Just in case what? Sorry, I genuinely don't understand.

Cheers,

R.

Roger Hicks
12-30-2010, 08:24
Well, that's one reason I got a Leica. Keeps me in touch, literally.:)

I'm of two minds about this. Grew up with film cameras..with knobs, dials, etc. It's not so much those I miss as much as how (relatively) simple those cameras were to operate. Photographing with them felt...well, I can only call it "purer," for lack of a better word.

On the other hand... the thing about a lot of these digital cameras, with auto-this and do-everything that, is that they leave you free to concentrate on the most important thing--capturing that fleeting "decisive moment."

So I've learned to live in both worlds. When I need a break from my computer-with-a-lens, I'll pick up one of my old film-burners for a change of pace.

Frankly, I think the REAL threat to Western civilization is the rise of Blackberry, texting, Twitter,etc. Everybody's talking these days--but not to each other. I'm thinking of the times I've seen two people out on what appears to be a "date," but they're not talking--instead, they're each totally absorbed in texting on their "personal communication device"....

Maybe five years ago now, I saw a young man walking down the road in a nearby city, accompanied by three pretty girls: all late teens/early 20s.

If I'd been that young man when I was 20, I'd have been walking like a prince. Surrounded by pretty girls? Wonderful!

But all four of them were on their mobile 'phones...

Cheers,

R.

xxloverxx
12-30-2010, 08:26
I don't think we're losing touch, but I think it's a different kind of touch. Surely people have developed their own ways of handling a dSLR just as fast as an RF user could.

I first though of it as letters and email. Both do the job, but how you create the final product and express yourself in such a way is different.

I personally find physical controls (aperture rings and all) easier and faster to use than electronic (?) controls, but it used to be the other way around for me...

konicaman
12-30-2010, 08:37
Pressing buttons instead of using dials could be okay, if the buttons were placed in the same position on every camera. I have had 5 different Canon DSLRs and I have had to sit down and RTFM every time to locate most of the functions - and after that spending a couple of months trying to remember where the functions are. Functions that for the greater part demands that I remove the camera from my eye and take a look at the screen.

Picking up a film SLR I can (with a few exceptions) be pretty sure where the shuttertime and aperture rings are situated...

Operating your camera should be second nature - I am really looking forward to the x100

remegius
12-30-2010, 08:40
I wonder if "losing touch" has affected Natchwey and Salgado.

Cheers...

Rem

GSNfan
12-30-2010, 08:44
Just in case what? Sorry, I genuinely don't understand.

Cheers,

R.

Just in case I need technology because my own skills are limited in particular situation.

Pablito
12-30-2010, 08:49
Just in case I need technology because my own skills are limited in particular situation.

technology won't help you then!

migtex
12-30-2010, 08:50
I use mostly Nikon's, so I know how the "things" behave!
All DSLR's are configured the same way (like all focus on the AF button but not the shutter button)
The RF's work the same way has the Old SLR's so no change either (not even the way lens focus ;-) )

Adding to Roger post... He just got married...
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs774.snc4/67418_1480466533766_1296877282_31163758_2138218_n. jpg

GSNfan
12-30-2010, 09:05
technology won't help you then!

I use light meter technology to set the exposure in my all manual RF cameras.

Sparrow
12-30-2010, 09:14
After so many years my manual cameras are pretty much automatic in practice ... where as the automatic ones are too often over complicated and confusing, why should I go to the trouble of learning a new control technology just so I can climb on Nikon or Canons upgrade merry-go-round ...

hawkeye
12-30-2010, 23:34
Rem

Those guys are deeply in touch

Steve

Neare
12-31-2010, 05:04
There is nothing wrong with automation. p&s's are tools for working too.
The problem lies when people are reliant only on automation that they no longer know how to do things without it. I mean no disrespect to SA's out of this, but I know of a South African who was so used to having maids do all the housework that she didn't even know how to open a can on tuna.

The other day I had a someone using my m6 to take a few photos, they had to ask me twice where the shutter button was and then needed a demonstration on how to wind on the film afterward. In most cases 20 years ago, that probably wouldn't have happened.

But that doesn't mean that someone using a G2 system is any less in touch with their system just because it is doing things for you.
All this in touch business depends solely on the individual and what they want to get out of their camera exactly.

rolleistef
12-31-2010, 05:32
I once wondered whether the appearance of the cameras was not dictated by the way it is controlled (as for "serious cameras").
Cameras started getting bigger and bigger when they started being really automated, with some exceptions such as the last small film SLR Minolta.
It is also the case for many other items such as cars : it has to be reassuring as well as aggressive. It doesn't have to be cute or nice looking anymore : a Nikon FM, a Peugeot 405 are small and look rather beautiful, though their later counterpart grew bigger and bigger : look at the size of a 407 (for our American friends, take the old Fiesta and the new Fiesta : the 1980s car weighs 750kg!) or of a Nikon D300! Is safety and the space taken by technologies the only things that we can account for? A 1970s Citroen GS is an extremely small car, the "safety cell" of which can survive (as well as it occupants) a 70kph crash!

In a way, there was a transformation of objects from operated tool (you operate a Leica) to useable objects (you use a DSLR).

We might be what ethnologists call "mutants" : we are half way between a world in which you have to instruct the object what you want to do, and another in which we use a function.

In France we have a problem with computers which is, I think, linkable :

Computers are mainly "anglo-saxon", that means we learn how to use a computer (and they're are designed for that) by wandering into the menus and stuff, and see how it works : the knowledge come from the experience. This button activates that function.

On the other hand, in France, we tend to start from a general principle and try to apply it to our action : perhaps the idea of the "decisive moment" used by Cartier-Bresson is a good exemple. And it prevents people from older generations from using computers properly because the logic is so foreign to them.
My generation, in this respect, is a "mutating" culture as we can master both.

Cameras might have evolved in the same way :
A Leica has got a number of parameters you have to set so that you can get the photo you want. You know you have to set the exposure and focus in such a way to get the picture you want, and you learn how to master it, from the "general ideology" you know.

On the contrary, modern cameras, which obey to the "computer logic" tend to be the application of a function to a process : on a film camera, the shutter opens and the light is painted unto film, though on a digital camera, the signal the sensor gets has to be processed by a computer to give you an image.

So, yes we are losing touch with our cameras, if talking about the old logic, only because we can't actually touch the process...

remegius
12-31-2010, 08:52
Rem

Those guys are deeply in touch

Steve

Precisely! The tool, and what it takes to operate it, is a non issue.

Cheers...

Rem

lilmsmaggie
12-31-2010, 09:02
I once wondered whether the appearance of the cameras was not dictated by the way it is controlled (as for "serious cameras").
Cameras started getting bigger and bigger when they started being really automated, with some exceptions such as the last small film SLR Minolta.
It is also the case for many other items such as cars : it has to be reassuring as well as aggressive. It doesn't have to be cute or nice looking anymore : a Nikon FM, a Peugeot 405 are small and look rather beautiful, though their later counterpart grew bigger and bigger : look at the size of a 407 (for our American friends, take the old Fiesta and the new Fiesta : the 1980s car weighs 750kg!) or of a Nikon D300! Is safety and the space taken by technologies the only things that we can account for? A 1970s Citroen GS is an extremely small car, the "safety cell" of which can survive (as well as it occupants) a 70kph crash!

In a way, there was a transformation of objects from operated tool (you operate a Leica) to useable objects (you use a DSLR).

We might be what ethnologists call "mutants" : we are half way between a world in which you have to instruct the object what you want to do, and another in which we use a function.

In France we have a problem with computers which is, I think, linkable :

Computers are mainly "anglo-saxon", that means we learn how to use a computer (and they're are designed for that) by wandering into the menus and stuff, and see how it works : the knowledge come from the experience. This button activates that function.

On the other hand, in France, we tend to start from a general principle and try to apply it to our action : perhaps the idea of the "decisive moment" used by Cartier-Bresson is a good exemple. And it prevents people from older generations from using computers properly because the logic is so foreign to them.
My generation, in this respect, is a "mutating" culture as we can master both.

Cameras might have evolved in the same way :
A Leica has got a number of parameters you have to set so that you can get the photo you want. You know you have to set the exposure and focus in such a way to get the picture you want, and you learn how to master it, from the "general ideology" you know.

On the contrary, modern cameras, which obey to the "computer logic" tend to be the application of a function to a process : on a film camera, the shutter opens and the light is painted unto film, though on a digital camera, the signal the sensor gets has to be processed by a computer to give you an image.

So, yes we are losing touch with our cameras, if talking about the old logic, only because we can't actually touch the process...


Nicely said.

Matus
12-31-2010, 09:25
I am doing fine, I am touching my cameras daily :p

lilmsmaggie
12-31-2010, 09:26
There is nothing wrong with automation. p&s's are tools for working too. The problem lies when people are reliant only on automation that they no longer know how to do things without it.

And therein lies what could be a problem. Too much of a good thing is bad. If people allow technology and automation to supplant the thinking process, then they lose touch with the entire cycle of learning. It is one thing to push a button, or use a function. Its another to understand the process behind it.

As a computer programming professional, one premise of my theoretical training was to try and "think like a computer." Computers don't actually think -- yet. Computer Scientist and the field of robotics are working on that one; computers simply follow a set of instructions. However, in order to have a computer execute that set of instructions properly, a programmer must understand "how the computer will act on those instructions."

We are not all computer or technically savvy. We are not automotive engineers. Most of us turn on a computer and "expect" it to be able to do our bidding. We get into our automobiles, put the key into the ignition, start it, and drive away. Most of us don't care how it works, just as long as it works when we want it to work.

When it comes to cameras and photography, there will be those who "take pictures," and those who will "make photographs." Those individuals who just want to "take pictures," won't care about the process.

Those who "make photographs" will want to understand and involve themselves in the entire process in order to control the outcome and therefore exercise their creativity --ergo thinking processes.

Mikeds80
01-04-2011, 11:15
I'll bite, no we are not losing touch. All the controls are still on the camera, just in different places. His music analogy isn't really solid because unlike with music, how you change a setting doesn't matter. With an instrument, your mouth makes minute changes to form each note. If someone who never played a sax fingered a note correctly and just blew, it wouldn't work. With a camera you just fiddle dials and buttons. There is no physical interaction between you and the photograph. Photography has long been automated. Ever since a shutter could fire at a selected speed, initiated by the press of a button, we have been using automation. We tell a camera what to do and it does it. The camera is always the barrier between the person and the photo. If a DSLR replaces an aperture ring with a button on the back you aren't "less in touch". You still flip a lever, rotate a dial, or twist a knob to do something. What happens inside the camera doesn't matter at all because it still accomplishes the same thing. There is no technique to changing shutter speed, you can't turn the dial a different way and magically get better results. You just set it to what you want and that is the speed the camera uses.

All this talk of not having aperture rings and controls being moved around have nothing to do with being "in touch". The simple fact is that it is a different tool and you don't know how to use it because you lack experience with its interface. If you shot a DSLR for 20 years you would know it like the back of your hand, just the same as any rangefinder or manual slr. I'll admit that many modern cameras are not instantly intuitive to use, but that has nothing to do with being "in touch".

Hammerklavier
01-05-2011, 07:15
I'll bite, no we are not losing touch. All the controls are still on the camera, just in different places. His music analogy isn't really solid because unlike with music, how you change a setting doesn't matter. With an instrument, your mouth makes minute changes to form each note. If someone who never played a sax fingered a note correctly and just blew, it wouldn't work. With a camera you just fiddle dials and buttons. There is no physical interaction between you and the photograph. Photography has long been automated. Ever since a shutter could fire at a selected speed, initiated by the press of a button, we have been using automation. We tell a camera what to do and it does it. The camera is always the barrier between the person and the photo. If a DSLR replaces an aperture ring with a button on the back you aren't "less in touch". You still flip a lever, rotate a dial, or twist a knob to do something. What happens inside the camera doesn't matter at all because it still accomplishes the same thing. There is no technique to changing shutter speed, you can't turn the dial a different way and magically get better results. You just set it to what you want and that is the speed the camera uses.

All this talk of not having aperture rings and controls being moved around have nothing to do with being "in touch". The simple fact is that it is a different tool and you don't know how to use it because you lack experience with its interface. If you shot a DSLR for 20 years you would know it like the back of your hand, just the same as any rangefinder or manual slr. I'll admit that many modern cameras are not instantly intuitive to use, but that has nothing to do with being "in touch".

Well said. +1

mtargz
01-09-2011, 11:43
It's a matter of preference. I used to adore the whole "do it my way" ethos of manual photography - I used to meter, calculate, average, think, re-think and then, just in case, bracket. I had (still do and will always have) a Praktica SuperTL1000, a precision brick with no creature-comforts bar an internal meter (which only works in decent light) and split-image and microprism focusing aids, and I love it to death.

The true revelation, however, came when I picked up a Minolta AL: Without a meter, I guesstimated exposures through the way, counting on Rodinal stand-development to cover the discrepancies. Boy oh boy, I felt liberated. I don't think I ever got a higher percentage of "hits" on a single roll.

It didn't take much thinking to realize that what I'm after is an AE camera. Around that time I also realized that manually focusing SLR lenses slower than f/2.8 (or wider than 50mm) is a bit of a pain, I set my mind one of the AE rangefinders on offer these days.

A few months of searching later turned up a Hexar RF and VC Color-Skopar 35mm f/2.5 II Pan: I'm in heaven. If I need manual control beyond Exposure Compensation, I can have it with a flick of a dial - but when I need to, I can just bring the camera up to my eye, focus, and click: The differences in the final image between 1/60 and 1/4000 are relatively minor, but missing another 2 seconds while matching LEDs or arrows can be crucial.

On the contrary, modern cameras, which obey to the "computer logic" tend to be the application of a function to a process : on a film camera, the shutter opens and the light is painted unto film, though on a digital camera, the signal the sensor gets has to be processed by a computer to give you an image.

I don't know how you do it, but I've never seen an image on my films without having them processed first.

williams473
01-19-2011, 06:54
An understanding of f-stop as it relates to exposure and depth of field, shutter speed, and manual focusing is crucial to understand, because varying these camera settings will certainly affect the outcome of an image. However, once what these settings do is understood, I don't see any problem in allowing an AE setting to pick for me, as long as I know what I'm getting and can intercede if it's going to do something contrary to the result I'm after.

israel_alanis
01-19-2011, 08:48
I like the article, its a wonderful artistic idea of photography, I agree with article, my family trip and everyday walk photograhys must be with my old cameras, feeling how I will take the photo, I agree with that, but working I can not waste my time with, I need aperture mode for modeling, product shot etc, speed mode for modeling moving street or people at event and of course a auto focus, tracking is better and a memory of 8Gb because I cant stop to change a roll, I can not say its impossible with film, because the masters of photography made it a long time ago, but now days we have a lot of option with digital...

So the article is right about the "ART" of photography, the article said it.

I love range finder cameras for me.
The work needs any Digital DSLR.

Regards.

GSNfan
01-19-2011, 09:21
I think this is a dreadful time for photographers. We're not only losing touch with our cameras, but even photography as an art is slowly losing its prestige... And in fact there is nothing we can do, we photographers are dependent on camera makers and their marketing teams who most often haven't got a clue about photography but know a lot about how to sell.

Andy Kibber
01-19-2011, 09:58
I think this is a dreadful time for photographers. We're not only losing touch with our cameras, but even photography as an art is slowly losing its prestige...

If so, photography-as-an-art's prestige was pretty short lived.

And in fact there is nothing we can do, we photographers are dependent on camera makers and their marketing teams who most often haven't got a clue about photography but know a lot about how to sell.

There are plenty of old cameras around if that's your bag.