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jlw
12-25-2006, 20:55
In a previous discussion I've mentioned my surprise at learning that many RFFers use rangefinder cameras not because they like the advantages of the range/viewfinder optical system... but because they DISlike the way mainstream cameras have been developing, and choose RFs as a way of jumping off the evolutionary bandwagon.

For those people, I'd like to ask you to pinpoint WHERE in the development of modern cameras you feel everything started to go wrong. I've proposed several "breakthrough" camera models and their associated years for your selection.

béte noir...]

SolaresLarrave
12-25-2006, 20:59
In my case, the dim viewfinder of my Minolta and Nikon SLRs drove me to rangefinders. But then, this isn't an evolutionary assessment but rather my own discovery.

Besides, SLRs managed to bore me about three years ago. :rolleyes: What can I do? It's the truth...

wlewisiii
12-25-2006, 21:05
Hmm. I had a decent camera - a Canon Rebel XS with kit zoom and took a fair number of decent shots with it. What I kept running into was the limitations of it's programmed modes and the difficulty of using it in manual mode. So I bought a Yashicamat 124G on the bay. Lots of fun. Then I saw a GSN at a flea market. I had no clue what it was but the Yashica name was already a proven quantity to me so I dropped the $10. A couple of days later, in total desperation, I found this place and it's slippery slope. I hope the 2x3 RF equiped Speed Graphic is where I bottom out... but I doubt it :D

No thought about technical superiority, just what lets me get the pictures I want. "So far, so good" he thought as he went down past the 50th floor... :bang:

William

back alley
12-25-2006, 21:31
nothing that i'm aware of drove me into the arms of the rf camera. a rf was my first camera and i liked it, even though i have used many of the mainstream slr cameras from the past.
rf is still my first love, they seem more natural than slr's, more comfortable and easier to use also.

ballfresno
12-25-2006, 22:25
I love my SLRs (both digital and film, auto everything and fully manual, ...) but my love of RFs is all down to the viewfinder.

SLRs were okay in the viewfinder stakes until AF started taking over and we now have cameras that are impossible to focus manually, a nightmare for available light photography. Sigh.

Bryce
12-25-2006, 22:48
I'm not down on SLR's where they work. That being longer lenses, etc.
What I can't stand is huge cameras (canon), cameras that are automated to the point that you have to do workarounds to use them manually (virtually anything made in the last 20 years).
So I've got (and like) early K- Pentax stuff, a Bessa L, a Fuji GS645s, a Brooks Veriwide, a Mamiya TLR. I also have a Pentax *istDs, since it's the closest thing I could pay for to a likeable digital camera. I don't like it all that well...

Slipkid
12-25-2006, 23:54
The first camera that I ever touched was one of my father's Leica M's...Probably about fifteen years later I actually took some pictures with it...figure I was about 15 or 16...when I got to use his M3.

I have SLRs (Nikon) and digital (Sigma and Nikon)...Nothing wrong with them (besides that they won't take my Leitz glass)...and that they are large, heavier, bulkier, noisier... And I find that I am hardly using them...But my used M's...now those are a pleasure to hold and shoot...often.:D

Cheers,
AJ

dmr
12-26-2006, 00:08
So I've got (and like) early K- Pentax stuff ...

Sorry, RF fans, but my main camera for serious work is still the Pentax K1000, even though I use RFs for most low-light stuff.

What annoys me, and makes me want to regurgitate, is the guys (and yes, they are mostly guys, sorry) who are sooooo stuck on the latest and greatest DSLRs but do not have the slightest clue as to the very basics of photography. I'm sure all of you know the type I refer to.

Oh well ...

David Murphy
12-26-2006, 00:37
In my case, the dim viewfinder of my Minolta and Nikon SLRs drove me to rangefinders. But then, this isn't an evolutionary assessment but rather my own discovery.

Besides, SLRs managed to bore me about three years ago. :rolleyes: What can I do? It's the truth...
SLR's bored me for a while too, now I am getting interested in them again. The reason: The lenses. There are simply some great ones at low prices now. I am particularly fond of the Canon FD/FL lenses in their multitude of variety. They are built well (some like works of art) and offer astonishing image quality for the money. Most Pentax and Nilkon SLR lenses still command prices so high as to discourage collecting and experimenting.

David Murphy
12-26-2006, 00:41
Sorry, RF fans, but my main camera for serious work is still the Pentax K1000, even though I use RFs for most low-light stuff.

What annoys me, and makes me want to regurgitate, is the guys (and yes, they are mostly guys, sorry) who are sooooo stuck on the latest and greatest DSLRs but do not have the slightest clue as to the very basics of photography. I'm sure all of you know the type I refer to.

Oh well ...
If you like the K1000 (I used one for about 20 years), check out the Pentax MX. It's K mount perfection. It's a small, light, precise, all mechanical machine that will impress.

Nachkebia
12-26-2006, 00:56
You know my choice, don`t ya? :D

Abbazz
12-26-2006, 01:48
It all started in the 70s when marketing departments of some manufacturers realized than many consumers were more interested in reading camera specs than in taking pictures. Photo companies soon began to cater to these customers and to release ugly plastic cameras with crappy zooms and two inches thick instruction manuals. And, yes, the Canon AE1 was one of those who started the trend.

Then consumers began to switch to point and shoot 35mm cameras, seeking smaller, full automatic cameras equipped with long zooms. Ever tried to shoot with a plastic 150mm zoom lens with a max aperture of f/11.5 on a tiny point and shoot? Then the manufacturers started to complain, because SLR sales were dropping. What a surprise... Fortunately, digital came to the rescue and everybody now sells cameras by the truckload.

But, wait a minute, what happened then to Konica and Minolta? Why Pentax has just been bought by a filter manufacturer? Why Kodak is going the way of the Dodo?

Photo equipment manufacturers should focus on their core consumer base: photographers, and not forget that photographers like real cameras that help them to takes good pictures. Photographers don't care about crappy zooms and cameras that look like electronic toys. Photographers don't give a damn about Instamatic, 110, Kodak Disc or APS postage stamps sized negatives.

If a digital SLR delivers the same picture quality as a p&s weighting and costing half as much, and if the SLR doesn't even allow you to frame your picture on the LCD screen or to shoot a video, then what's the point of buying the SLR for the average consumer that will never buy an additional lens? Manufacturers like Canon are putting great efforts into downgrading their p&s cameras in order not to compete with their SLRs (no raw shooting, limited video quality, bad high ISO handling...). But the amateur digital SLR market is already dying.

It seems that Mr. Hirofumi Kobayashi is not wrong afterall: there is a market for manufacturers of tools destined to people who actually enjoy taking pictures (digital or film is not the point, one can always mount a digital back on a 40 years old Hasselblad). For all the others, they will be happy with their 12x zoom 10 Mpix digital gizmo assembled by an underpaid third world worker and sold under Nokia brand. I said Nokia, not Nikon...

Cheers,

Abbazz

oscroft
12-26-2006, 02:18
There are two things that I dislike. No, three things. No, .... Amongst my dislikes are such diverse things as...

* Autofocus. This came hand in hand with small aperture lenses and nasty dark viewfinders, which made proper focusing harder rather than easier (the "one size fits all, focus where the camera wants" design is just horrible).

* Extra-zoom lenses. The zoom lenses that were enabled by auto-focus (where you don't actually need to be able to see anything), with such small apertures that a white rabbit on a snowfield looks like a black cat in a coal mine.

* Batteries with everything. A camera where nothing works unless it's stuffed with twice its own weight in batteries (and with the same weight of batteries again in a bag round your shoulder, because the first set are only going to last ten minutes) was sheer insanity.

* Push buttons. Shutter speed, aperture, metering mode, film speed - they're all supposed to be changed by turning knobs, dials and rings, NOT by pushing buttons! And as for multi-function controls - if there isn't room on the body for a dedicated control with engraved settings, then it's a control you don't need.

* Black plastic overload. Does anyone really think that the process that led from nice compact metal cameras like Leica, Olympus OM, Pentax MX etc to huge black plastic monstrosities like those appalling Nikon and Canon things is progress?

That'll have to do for now - I haven't taken my blood pressure pills yet today. (Oh, and is it just coincidence that all the things I hate are SLR developments? I think not).

markinlondon
12-26-2006, 03:09
Definitely the T90-style innovation. This changed cameras from things you used to things that gave a bewildering range of options, thus giving the illusion of choice but really taking control away from the operator. This is in the nature of Arthur C. Clarke's assertion that "a sufficiently advanced technology should be indistinguishable from magic". We're getting there :eek:

Avotius
12-26-2006, 03:41
I hate plastics on my cameras, that said I have a canon ae1 that I love, its a great camera that has served me well for a long time.

rxmd
12-26-2006, 03:43
Definitely the T90-style innovation. This changed cameras from things you used to things that gave a bewildering range of options

What's interesting is that many pre-T-90 1980's cameras presented you with the same options, but in a way that was a lot more confusing and less streamlined because it was all bolted upon what was basically a Nikon F. The T-90 took all that and gave it a user interface where it was all integrated somehow, and actually a lot less bewildering and easier to use than many 1980's cameras before it. And incidentally it's sometimes nicknamed "Tank", so the plastic apparently doesn't hurt as much as we think. And the T-90 can take pictures that are impossible to take with other FD-series cameras and/or with any rangefinder, but we apparently aren't interested. I like the T-90 and consider it a landmark camera in the best possible sense of the word.

I would ask the poll question differently - not when dit it all go wrong, but when did we go wrong? When did we go luddite? A photographer who embraced the Leica M3 was expecting and using cutting edge technology. Same with the Nikon F, the Spotmatic, the A-1, the M5, the T-90. There's a train of evolution here that we missed at some point. We are afraid that because photography has become too easy for "the masses", we might lose our elite status, and thus we get poll options complaining about the ease of use of the Autoreflex and the AE-1 (as if cars only were proper cars before the Model T, because then driving became too easy for the masses). Not to mention how "autofocus makes it too easy", as if photography was only proper if it was born through artificial hardship. We are more concerned with looks than with content; a Canon EOS-1 looks like plastic, so it has to be plastic and hence Bad - we happily ignore the fact that in spite of its looks it's a metal body that is more sturdy and lighter than anything ever offered by Leica's brass bodies, and thus we get poll options complaining about the looks of the T-90.

As long as we can be happy to bend our heads around the quaintness of doing things like they were done fifty years ago, we apparently content ourselves with ignoring and, partly, deriding what has happened elsewhere in the photography world. We are like people who prefer steam-driven trains. It's all nice and quaint, the way of the 1940s, but at least to me it seems like it's our idiosyncrasy when we talk about how things went wrong when diesel and electrical engines came about.

Philipp

gareth
12-26-2006, 03:57
Definitely the T90-style innovation. This changed cameras from things you used to things that gave a bewildering range of options, thus giving the illusion of choice but really taking control away from the operator. This is in the nature of Arthur C. Clarke's assertion that "a sufficiently advanced technology should be indistinguishable from magic". We're getting there :eek:

I've got a T90. What a fantastic camera. What it did was integrate all it's clever features via the control wheel. Everything you do with the camera is done through the control wheel. Once you realise that, there's no need for the manual, you just press any button and turn the wheel, within a few minutes you know your way round the camera. It's also a fantastically fast way to work.

And of course just about every modern camera since the T90 has copied it.

When did it all go wrong, if indeed it did? Probably with the invention of film and the camera. It's all technology, once you start something you can't stop it.

Anyway I always find it amusing to see people using the information super highway to moan about technology!

sejanus
12-26-2006, 04:13
I think Philipp makes a good point, as does Gareth. Nothing 'went wrong', things just changed. I wonder if we look at the welter of new cameras, most of which are competent tools, few of which are exciting, and forget that it was ever thus. The Leica M3s and the Rollei 2.8Fs were the creme de la creme but the everyday reality for the mass of photographers were the Baldas, Regulas and Halinas. And the cost of entry for the manufacturer has become much, much higher; every new camera has to earn it's cost back and quickly.


I say, let's enjoy our good fortune and all those marvellously cheap cameras out there! :)

Socke
12-26-2006, 04:19
Exactly Aug. 25th, 1959 5:42pm, at least in my case :-)

Ok, honestly, I like a small camera with exchangeable lenses, mirrorslap/blackout vs. paralax/inacurate framlines is not my main concern as is shutterlag under 0.1 seconds.

Weight and bulk favours the RF for me.

Richard Black
12-26-2006, 04:54
Weight...when slrs dominated they weighed a ton compared to r/fs. Extra baggage is the bane of my existence. Rangefinders are superior in that regard and much easier to use their viewfinders.

Trius
12-26-2006, 05:20
For me, it was definitely the Minolta Maxuum, though the AE-1 is close. I was selling cameras at the time the Maxuum came out. The marketing campaign for that camera was huge, unlike any other campaign for a camera previously.

Person after person came into the store nearly begging to get their mitts on the camera. They flew out the door.

And people came back complaining that all their photos weren't perfect. All the hype about the automation had raised expectations to such a level that an SLR had been raised to the level of P&S simplicity with National Geographic photographer results ... every time. It was my job to explain how the camera functioned and was not foolproof; in other words, that some brain-power was sitll necessary.

After that, every other camera company raced to match or exceed Minolta. As the automation was "improved" to try and eliminate the previous model's shortcomings, things became more complicated. Many people came to the conclusion that image quality wasn't really what they were after, rather they wanted simplicity, so the auto focus point-n-shoot became the focus of the camera manufacturers. There have been lots of casualties along the way.

clintock
12-26-2006, 06:04
My gripe is lens speed, and zooms as 'normal'. What happened to consumer cameras and fast lenses? It used to be that f2.8 was normal, 3.5 was slow and anything wider than 2 was fast.. Canon GIII with the 1.7!?
Now look at the normal lens supplied on any consumer digital, film or dslr.. F2.8 is the new f1.4 one would observe, despite the digital sensors being best at asa 50.

I don't remember when it happened, but I remember a film SLR being sold with a 35-70mm zoom as the standard supplied lens, with it's attendent f 3.5 maximum opening- I think that was when it all went downhill, when people began thinking they had to have a slow little zoom instead of a fast prime as the 'main' lens.

Then the ultimate sin- built in flash. That was the end.

rxmd
12-26-2006, 06:20
> It used to be that f2.8 was normal, 3.5 was slow and anything wider
> than 2 was fast.. Canon GIII with the 1.7!?

You're comparing yesterday's medium to high end with today's low end. The common man between 1971 and 1976 bought a Canonet 28 with a 40/f2.8 lens.

> Now look at the normal lens supplied on any consumer digital, film or
> dslr.. F2.8 is the new f1.4 one would observe, despite the digital sensors
> being best at asa 50.

Zooms were never fast. They aren't a lot faster today, but they deliver a lot more image quality. People are apparently happy to trade speed for flexibility. Many customers want zooms. Those who want speed instead are welcome to buy $100 50/1.8 or a $250 50/1.4 autofocus lenses for their EOS that deliver excellent image quality. Hard to see the end of the world there.

Philipp

Pherdinand
12-26-2006, 07:09
"Canon Ixus Whatever. The camera that thinks for you."

This is where it all starts going wrong, I would say.

clintock
12-26-2006, 07:10
Agreed, I guess the built in flash that was needed to compensate for the slow is my real gripe, does not really apply to this poll tho.. sorry bout that..

Pherdinand
12-26-2006, 07:12
Bryce, you have a Veriwide? cool! Would you care to post some images (full frame) to give me an idea about its capabilities?

Robert
12-26-2006, 08:42
I think it all went wrong with the auto exposure and auto focus.

Twenty five years ago when I bought my MX and C330f to my mind were golden times, for me anyway.

Although I am now using auto everything and digital I would have liked things to have stood still back then. Definately no digital

RayPA
12-26-2006, 09:01
It didn't go "wrong".

At about the same time the "Canon AE-1, 1976" came out, the OMs started being sold.

Around the same time the 5D came out, the CV cameras hit the market.

There is no single solution. The richer the market the better. There will always be "nieche" products that target an enthusiastic sub-group.

That's good.

What's scary for me is the culture change that I think digital cameras
are symbolic of.

Merry Christmas.

I agree. It didn't go wrong, just variations and flavors.

The list is a great little 35mm photography history lesson. I remember a lot of the developments mentioned, and at the time (being the purist that I was/am) I thought the some were pretty ridiculous, but not one of the developments listed has spoiled or ruined photography for me. In fact, I've come to really enjoy and learn how to make the most of things like meters-in-cameras and autofocus.

Right now, my biggest photographic bug-a-boo is the cameraphone. Cameraphones bug me like Disc and APS cameras bugged me back in their day.


:)

ray_g
12-26-2006, 09:13
Agreed, I guess the built in flash that was needed to compensate for the slow is my real gripe, does not really apply to this poll tho.. sorry bout that..

I love the built in flash on SLR's. I pretty much use flash for daylight fill, and for that, it is very handy.

HAnkg
12-26-2006, 09:24
I think all that electronics made possible was/is a positive thing. I do think however that it was unfortunate that the focus shifted from the cameras essential ergonomics to a focus on features. So you had cameras with a boatload of electronic features but lousy viewfinders, poorly placed controls, etc., it's the reason most of the cameras I used when shooting film where 20 or 30 years old. That seemed to be the zenith of opto-mechanical design.

thawkins
12-26-2006, 09:51
What caused me to revolt against the so called modern photo technology? Megapixels, digits, electronic menus loaded with mostly useless features and the cheap plastiky feel of the modern computerized photographic instrument. I enjoy the solid feel of precision construction and finish found in my two Retinas, QL17 and even a Zorki. With these vintage cameras I am involved in the photographic process rather the just being along for the ride while the hand held photo computer tells me what the focus, exposure, shutter speed and proper brand of lip balm should be.

Gabriel M.A.
12-26-2006, 10:32
I notice there isn't a single P&S in that list.

Robert
12-26-2006, 10:44
A lot of times photographers fire off many shots hoping to get one decent one. What about a single shot for that 'decisive moment'.

Taking photographs is too easy now. The difficult to use cameras aren't the multi programmed DSLRs but the manual cameras that require a little time to focus and set the exposure.

ffttklackdedeng
12-26-2006, 10:50
Even though I wouldn't exchange the M2 for a F2 now (i.e. I appreciate the RF finder over the SLR one and therefore I'm not the intended primary target for this poll), the reason which brought me away from SLRs (to viewfinders back then) was the simplicity of the photographic tool.

I voted for the autofocus which was 'to much' for me since it had the biggest negative effect for the pictures made. Until the F100 I was hunting for more but had to realize that I prefered the older pictures and wanted to slow down during the process. The AF function was working like a traffic light turning green - saying 'ready, push now!'..

clintock
12-26-2006, 10:55
At least 110 is gone, that's a good thing!
I forgot about fill in flash outdoors! duh- I was drunk earlier today.

RayPA
12-26-2006, 11:11
A lot of times photographers fire off many shots hoping to get one decent one. What about a single shot for that 'decisive moment'.

Taking photographs is too easy now. The difficult to use cameras aren't the multi programmed DSLRs but the manual cameras that require a little time to focus and set the exposure.

:) I remember thinking the exact same thing when the developments listed above came out. But is taking a "good" photograph really that much easier? With all the technological breakthroughs has our aesthetic regarding what makes a good photograph changed at all, or very much? The mantra here on RFF is "it's not the camera, it's the photographer." That goes both ways. Mastering a manual camera doesn't make you a better photographer, neither does mastering a multi-function DSLR. :) This diverges from the point you make, Robert, but maybe it's not right to dismiss a photographer based on the equipment he or she uses. Afterall, a good eye is a good eye.



:)

dee
12-26-2006, 11:16
I have a mild autistic ''glitch''. Over the years, I became increasingly anxious over the rapidly changing, increasingly complex, frighteningly disposable nature of taking photographs.

Recently I discovered early Leicas, and now, thanks to a small inheritance, I have several , together with some Russiian ''copies ''. All of which have returned to me the magic of capturing a little corner of a confusing world once again

[ I can't cope with cyrillic writing, so the Zorkis are all, controversially , ID -compromoised, Leica pretenders . ]

But, thet have all helped me to want to make ''magic slide shows'' again .

Ok, I am different from real people, but surely, the ritual of preparation / composing / and the soft click of the shutter are appreciated by ''normals '' too ?

Essentially, I also have the reassurance that my ''friends'' can be cared for ...the Russians can be CLA'd when they go wrong, and the Leicas, even of 1932/3 vintage are amazingly, expected to keep on doing what it says on the box - seemingly indefinitely, given sensible servicing...no-one has said to me ''Well, they are a bit old, you might find a newer camera more reliable '' !

By contrast, I have been told that fixing the Canon G2, which I have just got the hang of, isn't cost effective, and that I should find £350 for a replacement...and I bought it 'cos it was like a rangefinder...

tkluck
12-26-2006, 11:20
"Features"! features are evil! The work of the forces of evil!

I rather like a match needle meter in the finder. It points at the subject. It warns me that the sun has gone behind a cloud, or the subject has walked into a shadow. Nice. But that led to electric controls and that led to electronic controls. And to cameras that won't expose film without batteries. And to Features. All those functions and controls that show up on a cryptic screen and screw up the camera if you don't leave them in the default mode.
Just like they screw up your cell phone, your VCR and even your car.

The best thing about RF cameras is the lack of Features. Not to be confused with simplicity.(pull the top off a Kiev, it's not a simple machine) In fact, an SLR like my OM-1 is simpler than a good RF camera. But nether one have Features.

My wife bought the oldest grandchildren each a kid's digital camera. $20 each. And they have six "modes" and several features. No flash, but they have Features!

ChrisPlatt
12-26-2006, 11:42
For me SLRs reached their zenith with models like the MX and OM1.
Features added after that were just unnecessary and confusing.

The Bessa R was the first popularly priced 35mm system camera in
decades offering the creative control and simple operation I require.

Chris

Nachkebia
12-26-2006, 11:43
Admit it, only two brand made a real change, Leica and Nikon, everybody else was (is) just playing with there *** :D (don`t take it seriously, or do :D )

Nikon Bob
12-26-2006, 11:43
I don't know when it all went wrong or even if it did. Nothing wrong with the automation now offered in cameras if you like/need that sort of thing and can get along with the style of operating a camera that automation brings. Tired of button, button, push, push? We still have choices going back to as basic a set up as you want. Really can't say anything went wrong so long as there are still choices out there.

Bob

gareth
12-26-2006, 11:49
A lot of times photographers fire off many shots hoping to get one decent one. What about a single shot for that 'decisive moment'.

Taking photographs is too easy now. The difficult to use cameras aren't the multi programmed DSLRs but the manual cameras that require a little time to focus and set the exposure.
Another old photographic saying is 'Don't economise on film'. I lost count of how many times I've read some of the best pro's saying things like, keep shooting, don't worry about wasting film because somewhere in all those shots will be the one that works.

The 'decisive moment' was a myth created by that cheeky devil Bresson. It's just bull ****. There is no such thing, and if there is, and you just missed it, another will be along in a minute or two.

Timing is still very important. Photography is often a fight against time, and in that fight I'm often thankful for the wonders of automatic film advance and auto-focus.

Auto-focus - Probably one of the most important developments in the evolution of the modern camera. I love auto-focus.

gareth
12-26-2006, 11:54
I can't believe it. I can't say **** in here. Modern technology is censoring me!

For ****s sake!

gb hill
12-26-2006, 12:08
I chose Minolta Maxxum 7000. I inherited my uncles when he passed away. It's too bulky, the LQD display on top of camera works but is starting to leak this black stuff, the built in exposure meter won't light up. To me it's just an awful camera. Has a built in 10 year batt. acording to instructions and so it's got to be dead by now. Just a stiupd thing to do. Maybe thats why Minolta is out of the camera business. He never hardly ever used the camera, bought it because I bought a Canon. This is one reason why I'm scared to put alot of money in a digital because I've seen first hand what time does to LQDs and such.

Greg

jlw
12-26-2006, 12:24
I just wanted to point out that in the poll results so far, more people think the Leica M3 was the "wrong turn" camera than the Pentax Spotmatic. ?!?

jlw
12-26-2006, 12:27
I can't believe it. I can't say **** in here. Modern technology is censoring me!

For ****s sake!

Not only can't you say ****, you also can't say **** or ****. And you certainly can't say ******* or ************.

Personally, though, I'm all for it. It ****** me off when ****s come in here and start talking their ******* **** like a bunch of ******* ********. A little ******* civility never hurt anyone, that's my motto.


PS -- How's Lynette?

julianphotoart
12-26-2006, 12:43
Who knew that the T90 was soooo despised? We need to have some therapy about this. My vote was for the AE-1; damn that camera. So anti-elitist; it (or Canon's advertising of it) led to people perceiving that anyone could make a good photo. The AE-1 made photography seem as easy, and unartistic, as using a toaster.

mdelevie
12-26-2006, 12:45
I'm with Gareth and Philipp. I chose "T90" on the poll because that was the last design I really like -- after the T90, SLRs went downhill in build quality and usability, in my opinion. Even so-called "pro" cameras started to suffer from feature saturation, where picture-taking became an afterthought to manipulation of the camera itself.

This isn't exclusive to cameras -- lots of consumer products get caught up in an escalating war of marketing hype and the endless addition of new features which only serve as purchase discriminators, not really doing anything to improve the product. Now that there's software in pretty much everything, manufacturers can add new features pretty cheaply in the form of new operating modes, etc. It's sad when you see 'killed' features, such as in the first digital rebel... the capability was there, but it was disabled by the software for competitive reasons.

It took me a while, but I have discovered that I really don't like autofocus. It just doesn't reliably do what I want. I've gone back to manual focus SLR systems largely because most AF cameras no longer include useful focus assists such as a split-image viewfinder. Perhaps an EOS-1 body with a focus-assisting ground glass would have helped, but I'd have to squint to see past all those damn AF focus dots.

If it's mirror blackout and/or mirror slap that drives you mad, there have been several cameras which use a pellicle mirror. The Canon Pellix and the EOS1N-RS come to mind. These are reflex cameras in the strictest sense, and offer ground-glass focusing and precise composition, but there's no mirror movement and they have nearly instantaneous shutter actuation. If I buy another EOS camera, it'll be an RS.

Independent of the 'film versus digital' issue, I mourn the slow death of larger negatives. There are now several emulsions that I can't buy in 220, and a few that aren't even available in 120. Time to get a bigger freezer!

With modern p&s digicams, I'd have to say that shutter lag is the biggest deal-breaker. Previewing and composing on the LCD are great, but waiting for the exposure is crazymaking.

350D_user
12-26-2006, 13:06
I'm currently 'viewing' someones photos who's basically bought the most expensive DSLR equipment currently available... yet has absolutely no compositional or handling skills whatsoever. He's quickly learning, expensive equipment does not guarantee superb photos... they come with experience.

So... it went wrong when the market decided to push technology and high-end equipment as being essential, as opposed to handling skills. Just my opinion, that's all.

amateriat
12-26-2006, 13:31
Agreed, I guess the built in flash that was needed to compensate for the slow is my real gripe, does not really apply to this poll tho.. sorry bout that.. And this one "solution" to an industry-induced problem led to yet another problem – red eye – which led to a series of convoluted high-tech "solutions" that frequently don't work, leading to software-based "red-eye elimination" solutions. This state of affairs would put "built-in flash" at the top of my own "to Hell in a handcart" list.

As far as cameras go, I think it's a mixed bag. I remembered buying, hating, and quickly reselling, a new Canon A-1, didn't understand the T90 when it came out, so ignored it, then much later buying Minolta's 9xi, then bought another one, and I still regard it as one of the slickest pro SLRs ever made, in terms of both its control layout and intelligent use of materials (cast-zinc bottom plate, high-grade plastic injection-moulded film chamber, stainless-steel mirror box and UV-coated fiberglass top cover, which was truly dent-and-scratch proof...proving that not everything plastic in a camera is evil). But I didn't like lugging the big-butt zooms that were necessary for fast shooting with slower films as I favored, and even the fast primes I favored were still on the big n' weighty side. And I was starting to use my Hexar autofocus a hell of a lot more...

So, aside from occasional use of an old Olympus OM-2n, no more SLRs for me. From my all-manual/mechanical Canon F-1 through my cybernetic-hero 9xi, it was a great ride. But traveling light with a pair of M-mount RFs and three lenses is so much better (and, however discreetly hidden, my Hexar RFs are highly technologically-enriched, but minus the show-off factor), which is all the better for my work.


- Barrett

gareth
12-26-2006, 13:31
I'm with Gareth and Philipp. I chose "T90" on the poll because that was the last design I really like -- after the T90, SLRs went downhill in build quality and usability, in my opinion.


Umm no, the T90 is a landmark camera, that's all. The control wheel was a revolution. SLR's have continued to improve since then. Auto-focus, multi-point auto-focus, more accurate metering, and yes build quality and reliability have continued to improve.


I haven't voted in the poll. It's a non-question. Technology will continue to improve, cameras will continue to get better and better. This is a question strictly for the luddites.

The only sad thing is that some camera makers will abandon film, but I'm sure not all will.

It just doesn't reliably do what I want.

If you are using a basic autofocus camera with a kit lens it can be frustrating, particularly in low light. The other reason that people can find it frustrating, and can't get it to do what they want, is they don't understand it and don't know how to use it. Sometimes I think auto-focus was miss-named. You have to be in full control of the auto-system to get the best out of it.

Trius
12-26-2006, 13:33
Agreed, I guess the built in flash that was needed to compensate for the slow is my real gripe, does not really apply to this poll tho.. sorry bout that..
But it is not just the slow aperture of the zoom substituted for the fast(er) prime. The slower zoom is bigger, heavier, less ergonomic. It is harder for joe schmoe to get the quality he was shown on the TV from that lens because he has to either use faster films (or crank the ISO on his digital) or flash; and what joe schmoe knows how to use a flash to get natural-looking results?

Have zoom lenses improved? Yes. Is the $50 kit zoom sold with the latest plastic wonder a statement of the lens-maker's art?

jlw
12-26-2006, 13:39
So... it went wrong when the market decided to push technology and high-end equipment as being essential, as opposed to handling skills...

Which happened roughly the moment George Eastman coined the advertising slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest."

Guess I didn't set the starting point of my poll early enough!

ray_g
12-26-2006, 14:12
I think technology has it's place. Don't you think having modern films with "forgiving" exposure latitude is a big part of what lets us enjoy shooting with old cameras? Meterless, guesstimating exposure, inexact shutter speeds. Add to this the fact that we mostly shoot with them for fun.

If you were to be the only photographer for your best friend's wedding tomorrow, for money, with slide film, and you could take only one camera - would you shoot it with a barnack or FSU and a weston meter? Would you use shoot meterless in the church? Or would you rely on something more modern?

hth
12-26-2006, 14:16
When the Hexar RF was dropped, it all went wrong. :cool: Best camera ever. Simple and intuitive user interface, gives you complete control and it has high build quality. (The only thing I can consider as an alternative is an old Leica M.)

In general I think it went wrong when marketing started to sell on features and tried to make cameras cheaper and cheaper by taking away build quality for toss and replace. Poor viewfinders and zooms that more or less can only be used for autofocus comes to mind.

It started to go really downhill, but digital came and gave it a second breath. Soon all DSLR will be passed to the dinosaur heaven, to be replaced by small mammals (small point and shoots, that will evolve to something better than today).

Hopefully, we can also keep a good amount of film choices in various formats, as a complement to these small new mammals.

/Håkan

amateriat
12-26-2006, 14:17
And, speaking of George Eastman, and good/bad innovations...what about the stuff most of us here stuff our cameras with: film?

I think the the greatest emulsions ever made are with us right here, right now. I know there are people who think things started to go south ever since Kodachrome X was released (you wouldn't believe the bellyaching a lot of "serious" shooters did about "newfangled" films like K25/64, never mind this radical new E6 stuff...the world was coming to an end, and it was all Rochester's fault!

Of course, all wasn't sweetness and light (first-gen Kodacolor 400, anyone?), but it all got better, to the point where I can load up with certain ISO 800 color neg films, shoot in mixed-lighting conditions, have the roll developed, make scans, and have 8x10" prints that look spectacular. And this can be with most any decent camera of most any era (prefereably with a reasonably fast lens). And that film will likely keep a good deal longer than film types of the past.

As Carly sang, these are the good old days.

ray_g
12-26-2006, 14:24
And I agree with Gareth about the decisive moment fallacy. Even HCB's contact sheets were not full of one-shot wonders.

Maybe a bit of a deviation, but here is a good quote from an old photonet discussion:

The book "On verra bien" (ISBN 91-973787-6-3) is a commemorative over the work of Swedish master photographer Christer Strömholm (1918-2002). In an interview (p168) Strömholm says the folloving:

"My first encounter with Cartier-Bresson [I] was quite strange. I had found out where his agency was and asked if I could come by and show some pictures. So I made four prints (which was quite difficult in Paris, I seem to remember that I got help at United Press), of what I felt were bloody good Paris pictures. He looked at them for three seconds - or maybe half a second in fact, very quickly anyway, and then said: 'May I see your contact prints?'.
- Contact prints!, I said, more or less as if I always..., I haven't got them with me, but I can bring them tomorrow... convinced that he would say no, that won't work. - Good!, he said. I'd like to see your contact prints. Are your pictures all on the same roll? - No, they must be on two or three rolls, came my reply.
- Bring them round tomorrow!
- Well, now...! What the hell did the old codger want with my contact prints? I couldn't understand it. Was it to annoy me, I mean can you see anything on contact prints? And yes, in the end I managed to go up to United Press again and make those contact prints after having spent half the night ruining a bunch of paper, and I returned to Cartier... . He put on his glasses and pushed them up on his brow, examined each frame carefully, and we're not talking two seconds now, it was more like three bloody minutes per sheet... And then he began to point: 'How did you do this, what was your thinking, why do you choose to photograph from this point, have you noticed the light, why aren't you on the other side, why aren't you faster here?' That was when I began to realize how important contact prints are, how much can be read from them. That was why, later on, we were so careful about contact prints at Fotoskolan [Academic photo school founded by Strömholm] ."

DavidH
12-26-2006, 14:27
It never went wrong...it's all tools for the job...when I have to shoot wildlife for work then I have a Nikon DSLR with a silent wave fast focus long lens to get the shot. When I have time to enjoy myself then I use a G2 or a fully manual SLR and shoot THAT way. I enjoy the small size of the RF kits but it simply couldn't take many of the shots that the work demands - nor could other RF - horses for courses at the end of the day...

:)

amateriat
12-26-2006, 14:51
When the Hexar RF was dropped, it all went wrong. :cool: Best camera ever. Simple and intuitive user interface, gives you complete control and it has high build quality. (The only thing I can consider as an alternative is an old Leica M.) Well, no argument from me, of course. :)

In general I think it went wrong when marketing started to sell on features and tried to make cameras cheaper and cheaper by taking away build quality for toss and replace. Poor viewfinders and zooms that more or less can only be used for autofocus comes to mind. One problem was that the highly-automated-production concept that Canon helped usher in (the AE-1 essentially being the Model T of the camera industry) led to larger-scale production industry-wide. Now the industry could easily make a lot more cameras per-annum than before, and more cheaply, but the corollary to this is that they have to keep selling that many cameras annually. Like the auto industry, the camera biz has been cranking out a good deal more product than the market can comfortably absorb, and this can lead to some rather unfortunate trends in product design, such as cameras designed to essentially be tossed once they break (non-repairable/replaceable parts), extremely short product life-cycles, and numerous corner-cutting schemes (crazy-dim film/dSLR viewfinders, cramped and confusing controls/displays, etc.). 20 years ago, when someone decided to purchase an SLR, the camera was regarded as a fairly long-term investment, something that might even be handed off to the kids (if there were any) many years down the line. No one is going to hand off any current-production camera to their kids (unless the kid's lucky to have parents who prefer Leicas, ZIs or CVs, a rather small minority). I find that prospect particularly sad.

It started to go really downhill, but digital came and gave it a second breath. Soon all DSLR will be passed to the dinosaur heaven, to be replaced by small mammals (small point and shoots, that will evolve to something better than today). I remember Photo.net's Philip Greenspun speculating that perhaps all still photography will die off in favor of HD camcorders with "acceptable" frame-grab quality, in the same way that higher-res camera-phones are slowly picking off compact digicams (when technology such as displayed in Samsung's 10-megapixel camera-phone (http://*******.com/yc9uuz) becomes more widespread in the market, it's all over). That idea depresses me, but I also question how soon such a thing would truly come about, if at all. But "never say never", especially in this century.

Hopefully, we can also keep a good amount of film choices in various formats, as a complement to these small new mammals.

/Håkan Dare to hope...that's my motto.


- Barrett

FoldingCamera
12-26-2006, 15:22
I do not believe that cameras took a wrong turn, they were developed and changed with time, and we all have our own preferences. For years I used a Canon F1 with three lenses (20mm, 35mm & 100mm) as my prefered kit. More recently I wearied of the weight of this really quite minimalist selection of hardwear, especially if I was carrying it about and not taking many pics.
This was when RF became more attractive, choosing medium format folding cameras, 6x6 & 6x9 for there much higher image quality, as well as 35mm rigid RF's. for their larger number of frames, oh yes and one folding 35mm camera that is so small that I can slip it into my pocket without its presence being too obvious.

That said, in my view camera design went down hill after the first version of the Canon F1, which is my obvious choice if wanting to use anything other than a standard lens.

Stephen.

mdelevie
12-26-2006, 15:33
If you are using a basic autofocus camera with a kit lens it can be frustrating, particularly in low light. The other reason that people can find it frustrating, and can't get it to do what they want, is they don't understand it and don't know how to use it. Sometimes I think auto-focus was miss-named. You have to be in full control of the auto-system to get the best out of it.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Gareth. For sake of clarification, I'm certainly not using a kit lens or a 'basic' autofocus camera. I'm using very fast primes (50/1.4, 85/1.2, 200/1.8) and pro-quality f/2.8 zooms (24-70L, 70-200L) in a Canon 20D or 5D.

While I find AF extremely useful for sports in strong light, I dislike it at other times. Maybe an example would help: I've lost frames of a bride & her father walking down the aisle due to poor servo AF tracking. In but a few steps they might be halving their distance to the lens, and in low light the camera can get lost hunting for the right focus. This is an important shot, and it's hard enough to capture flattering moments without worrying about my AF tracking poorly. This is a textbook scenario for using servo AF; with a moving subject, one-shot AF wouldn't do. That's just one example that comes to mind.

I admit that perhaps a screen with a split-image focus assistance would help with manual focus on these cameras. In the case of the 20D, the viewfinder image is pretty small, and it's hard to focus 'by eye' in low light on a plain matte screen. What looks sharp in that tiny viewfinder might not look sharp on an 8x10 print. (Infrared or ultrasonic AF would be perfect in this application)

BTW, the revolutionary features of the T90 (to me, anyway) go beyond the comfortable ergonomics and the control wheel. The big deal is that most settings are made via software, the control wheel is just the input device. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the multi-point spot metering and highlight/shadow exposure controls on the T90. (which, according to wikipedia, were copied from the Olympus OM-4) The T90 also introduced the 'program' mode, where after deciding upon the exposure, one can trade-off aperture versus shutter speeds. Brilliant!

BTW, I think of a Canon F1N or a T90 as a 'professional' camera, whereas the AE-1 was definitely a consumer camera. Today's camera offerings reproduce this market segmentation: there are plenty of consumer cameras and some very nice professional ones. I currently use a 20-year-old T90... will a Canon 300D still be usable in 20 years?

Regards,

Mark

Gabriel M.A.
12-26-2006, 15:59
Absolutely agree with Dave. Who would compare an impact wrench with a manual wrench, with a torque wrench and say only one of them is needed ? All this discussion is largely based on our emotional attachment to equipment and brands.
I agree. I've always held that view; but it's usually knives and hammers. Same idea :D

Al Patterson
12-26-2006, 17:19
I was going to say when Argus stopped making the C3, but it wasn't an option.

DougK
12-26-2006, 20:09
I don't mind the advances in technology at all. Matrix metering is a godsend in rapidly changing light conditions. Autofocus works just fine for my purposes but I miss lenses with hyperfocal markings and smooth manual focusing. I also miss the days when a basic camera kit consisted of a body + normal lens. I'm not a big fan of zooms but that has more to do with my preferences rather than the technology itself.

mc_vancouver
12-26-2006, 20:41
Interesting poll! My vote was for post-AE1, the plastic and the reliance on electronics.

I remember taking one camera on my first trip to Europe, and on Mykonos, which was, back then, not overrun as it now is, finding the camera was no better than an expensive door stop: a Canon AE1 with a spare battery that didn't like the heat or humidity. It regain functionality later, but when I got back to Canada I sold it for a manual camera. That said, one of the best cameras ever built is the Konica Hexar with the fixed 35mm/2.0 Hexanon lens, which only works with a battery...

jlw
12-26-2006, 20:50
It has been interesting for me to watch the results on this one. It seems that the Canon T90 is well in the lead as the tipping point -- although I've found from reading the replies that there's been some ambiguity in interpreting the poll question, so that some people may feel the T90 was the "last good camera" while others feel it was the "first evil camera."

Still, it seems clear that most people feel the wheels came off sometime during the mid-1970s to mid-1980s.

If this were serious research, my next effort would be to follow up by trying to correlate the respondents' ages with their votes. I'd be interested in this because there's an axiom in the classic-car biz that the car you wanted when you were a pimply teenager is the car you go out and buy when you're flabby, fiftyish, and flush with cash -- this explains the current soaring values of '60s and '70s "muscle cars." It would be interesting to discover if people's pick for the "last good camera" matches up with cameras that were hot news in their youth.

ffttklackdedeng
12-27-2006, 00:01
If this were serious research, my next effort would be to follow up by trying to correlate the respondents' ages with their votes. I'd be interested in this because there's an axiom in the classic-car biz that the car you wanted when you were a pimply teenager is the car you go out and buy when you're flabby, fiftyish, and flush with cash -- this explains the current soaring values of '60s and '70s "muscle cars." It would be interesting to discover if people's pick for the "last good camera" matches up with cameras that were hot news in their youth.

Funny idea: so I was 15 when 'things got wrong' :D

jlw
12-27-2006, 05:29
Funny idea: so I was 15 when 'things got wrong' :D

Well, a lot of photographers first got interested in it when in their teens (hands up, everybody) so it wouldn't be surprising if the cameras they coveted in that era would be the standard against which they judge everything else since.


I suppose it's possible to suggest that while our tastes may broaden later, in general (thank God for the exceptions) we never quite outgrow the things that appealed to us most in our golden youth, whether they might be cameras, loud bands, flashy cars, or long-haired girls in cheerleader uniforms.

dmr
12-27-2006, 06:45
Several responses here, very interesting thread ...

If you like the K1000 (I used one for about 20 years), check out the Pentax MX. It's K mount perfection. It's a small, light, precise, all mechanical machine that will impress.

I may do that. That K1000 has had thousands of shots, perhaps over 1000 rolls, and still acting like new. Yes, if/when it dies I'll probably look for another K of some kind.

I can't believe it. I can't say **** in here. Modern technology is censoring me!

What gets me about this board is that some very innocent things trigger the bleep-out. I've shown it to a local VBulletin jock who says he is stumped as to why. Other VBulletin systems don't seem to be as touchy.

I just wanted to point out that in the poll results so far, more people think the Leica M3 was the "wrong turn" camera than the Pentax Spotmatic. ?!?


The Spotmatic is obviously far from a wrong turn. Changing lenses was a major pain, but that's one of the few faults it has/had.

I'm currently 'viewing' someones photos who's basically bought the most expensive DSLR equipment currently available... yet has absolutely no compositional or handling skills whatsoever.

{expletives} Don't get me started! :(

If this were serious research, my next effort would be to follow up by trying to correlate the respondents' ages with their votes. I'd be interested in this because there's an axiom in the classic-car biz that the car you wanted when you were a pimply teenager is the car you go out and buy when you're flabby, fiftyish, and flush with cash

I'm curious about this too. I'm still using more or less the same camera technology that I did in my late teens, which is so long ago I hate to admit it. Today I could easily afford better -- scratch "better", substitute more expensive, but the Pentax K and the 60s-70s RF do almost all of what I want.

Cars have never been my thing. I do understand the analogy, however.

dazedgonebye
12-27-2006, 07:58
Sorry,
I don't understand how one can hate autofocus/autoexposure/digital...whatever as a thing that exists. I can certainly understand why you would chose not to use such things...but hate them?

mdelevie
12-27-2006, 12:04
Well, to try to answer Steve's question, I can't quite say I *hate* autofocus, but it has caused me quite a bit of frustration at times, and I've learned not to trust it. My earlier example of the wedding shot (bride being escorted down the aisle by her dad) came first to mind, but there have been other times where AF has ruined good captures for me.

Consider what happens when the camera loses AF. At least in Canon's case, what the AF does when it 'loses focus lock' is that it heads off to infinitity and back in a search for good focus. Considering my go-to lens for weddings is the 24-70L (which has a huge focal range... it can even do macro), infinity might be a long way off! So the lens heads off on a lengthy excursion, which probably only takes less than a second but it feels like much longer when all of my good photo opportunities are evaporating.

Another example that comes to mind is football from the sidelines. While I'm tracking a player who's running for the goal line, what happens if another player happens to briefly run across the frame in-between myself and the player I'm following? Yep, you got it, the camera starts to focus in towards the nearer player, then loses him (as he runs out of the field of view) and again tries to recapture the original subject. Oh well, maybe I'll get a good shot of the next play. :)

That's not to say that I "hate" autofocus, I just find that there are times when it simply doesn't work for me. And since cameras now don't provide assistance for manual focus, the obvious work-around is precluded.

As for autoexposure and digital, they're great! The greatest benefit of digital capture is the immediate feedback on the picture. Given that nearly instant feedback (histogram, image preview, or what-have-you), even if the autoexposure gets me close at first, I'll nail it on the next frame. This is good stuff.

This thread has me thinking about all the features I *don't* use. I've never once used second-curtain flash sync. I've never used multiple exposure. I've not used those pre-programmed modes (sports, portrait, landscape, A-DEP) and I stay away from the green square. Automatic noise reduction on long exposures sounds cool, but I can't convince myself that it has any effect. It's extremely rare that I use any WB setting other than AWB.

So what do I use the most?
spot metering (as opposed to matrix)
manual exposure compensation (for the shot and flash exposure)
exposure lock
manual focus
e-TTL flash metering
Av and P modes ("aperture priority" and "program" for non-Canon people)

Every now and then I use self timer and mirror lockup. Other than that, nada.

Regards,

Mark

dazedgonebye
12-27-2006, 12:24
Mark,
I don't know which Canon camera you use, but it was my understanding that the focus tracking was very good on the pro models. I've used the "sports" mode on my lowly DRebel because that's the only way I can get AF tracking. It allowed me to get shots of ducks landing that I could not manage manually focused.
In any case, I think the biggest failure of automation occurs when the photographer uses it thoughtlessly (this is intended as a general statement). Perhaps marketing is to blame. We're all lead to believe that auto systems can handle any situation and when they let us down, we may tend to dismiss them.
Judiciously used, most "advances" in photo technology are a Godsend in the appropriate situations.

gareth
12-27-2006, 12:31
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Gareth. For sake of clarification, I'm certainly not using a kit lens or a 'basic' autofocus camera. I'm using very fast primes (50/1.4, 85/1.2, 200/1.8) and pro-quality f/2.8 zooms (24-70L, 70-200L) in a Canon 20D or 5D.

Sorry mdelevie, just a lots folks moan about auto-focus because they don't know how to use it.

I've lost frames of a bride & her father walking down the aisle due to poor servo AF tracking. In but a few steps they might be halving their distance to the lens, and in low light the camera can get lost hunting for the right focus.

Yup I know what you mean even the best stuff can struggle when the light is low. But I can't see how old style manual focus would be any great advantage here. I read later you were using the 24-70 (I want one of these), so perhaps a 35L or 50L would help here, though at a price. Or just set the focus and wait for them to come to you, and repeat a few times, though you'll not get many frames in doing this.

I think on the whole auto-focus is fantastic, I love it, there are the odd times it lets me down, but on the whole the number of frames I get in focus had increased dramtically since I started using auto-focus.

x-ray
12-27-2006, 14:04
Things didn't go wrong. Everything is great.

fdic2000
12-27-2006, 20:22
I've been using SLR since 1978(Pentax MX- My first serious camera). it was a small compact SLR with good lens and easy to use. In 1987 I bought my first Nikon(F3) It was a bigger camera but had better lens it was fine too and in 1997(I think) I bought the F100 and from here it started to get bigger and bigger(both camera and the lens) and I tried the leica R8, It was no help too, this system wasl also big and heavy. It was at its worst when Digital module(back) for R system. Than my brother bought a leica MP and showed me his pictures, and I was impressed. till than I though only SLR's can make serious pictures(I didn't know leica was more popular with the M-system than R). So I bought myself a RF camera(Rollei 35RF- mid July 2006) with 40mm lens. it was simple easy light and fun to take picture.
So I sold all my telphoto lens(both Nikon and leica-R) and hte Rollei 35RF and bought my own MP and a used M6. I didn't tough my SLR's ever since July and didn't felt the need to do so. RF is realy fun to use.

Flinor
12-27-2006, 20:25
"If this were serious research, my next effort would be to follow up by trying to correlate the respondents' ages with their votes. I'd be interested in this because there's an axiom in the classic-car biz that the car you wanted when you were a pimply teenager is the car you go out and buy when you're flabby, fiftyish, and flush with cash"

My first "real" camera was a Yashica Lynx 1000. When I thought that I'd outgrown it I went SLR with Pentax (LX, MX and my wife's Super Program) Was happy with the SLR's until a trip overseas. I took the three bodies, three motor drives and single focal length lenses from 24mm -200mm, nothing slower than 2.8.

As the vacation wore on, more and more got left in the hotel room each day until I wound up just carrying the LX with a 50 mounted and a 28 in one pocket. I even took the motor drive off.

When we got home I sold all the Pentax gear and dug the 25 year old Yashica out of the back of the closet and stayed with rangefinders since. Hence, my vote that the Nikon F was the wrong turn. Big and heavy=bad, light and small=good.

Unfortunately, the post script is that advancing age have made autofocus and shake reduction mandatory so my new K10D showed up today. It's not as big as I feared but the lens (31mm 1.8) is huge and what's this nonsense about a 240 page IB?

RML
01-01-2007, 05:45
Nothing went really wrong but, like fdic2000 syas, they became big and cumbersome, especially the lenses. When that happened? I don't know really. My Praktica MTL5 is heavy but similarly sixed to my R-D1. My old Eos3000 is light (plastic and alloys) and also nearly as big as my R-D1. My 50 standard, however, is easily 2-3 bigger than my J8 and surely 2 times bigger than my CZ 50.

jlw
01-01-2007, 09:15
My 50 standard, however, is easily 2-3 bigger than my J8 and surely 2 times bigger than my CZ 50.

SLR lenses have to have a larger diameter than RF lenses to provide room for the auto diaphragm stop-down mechanism. AF lenses also need to provide room for the focus motor and/or coupling shaft, and lenses that make electronic connections to the camera body need room within the lens mount for a strip of electrical contacts.

All that adds up to the need for a larger diameter of the mount. It would be possible in some cases to design the actual body of the lens to be smaller than the mount, but I suspect many designers feel that looks "odd" -- if you've seen a 105mm Mountain Elmar or a 100/3.5 Canon, you'll note that part of their distinctive appearance comes from the fact that diameter of the lens is smaller at the front than at the back. (I'm sure feminist art theorists could have, and possibly have had, a field day with this whole issue of male photographers' preferences in the matter of lens size, shape and proportion...)

Trius
01-17-2007, 19:21
Sorry mdelevie, just a lots folks moan about auto-focus because they don't know how to use it.
And it is still called autofocus?

Robert Price
01-17-2007, 20:14
The problem is not really the camera's so to speak...It's us! Truly, if we could pack all the features of todays high-end DSLR's, in to the body of say a Leica mp. With quality glass in greater focal lengths with out comprimising size and weight, we would. But alas we can not, at least not yet.

That is our problem, not that SLR's digital or film are getting worse. Tecnology and world economics dictate it.

Imagine what a SLR would weigh if the body was all metal?! And the lenses too. WOW! have fun carring that around.

Auto focus, well you don't have to use it, thats why there is a switch to turn it off.

Believe it or not, Range Finder users are the minority for new camera purchases. Most people don't want to have to think about taking a photo. I use A digital SLR for alot of photography, but.... My Contax G2 is for my personal satisfaction, to remind me that I do have control, and that control does extend in the end to my DSLR.

peterm1
01-17-2007, 21:59
Who says it did?

Maybe we should all go back to using a camera obscura and a highly skilled painter :^)

(The image is projected onto a canvas then the painter actually paints the picture over the image to make it permanent - and yes, it is reversed. Its now believed to be how many classic artists like Vermeer did their works.

http://essentialvermeer.20m.com/camera_obscura/co_one.htm

http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/cameraob.htm

Trius
01-19-2007, 04:15
Robert: Gotta disagree. I could go out and buy a camera with all those features and weighs about the same as any of my favourite cameras. But I stick with simple rangefinders and the the OM-1 and OM-2. And autofocus turned off does not yield the same manual focus functionality.

Robert Price
01-20-2007, 06:15
[quote=Trius]Robert: Gotta disagree. I could go out and buy a camera with all those features and weighs about the same as any of my favourite cameras.quote]

Show me what it is? I am curious to see this ultimate camera that can be the end all be all of cameras. Because if it is, I am going to buy it.

The SLR (film or digital) is quite a capable piece of kit. The main workhorse for quite some time for a great many protographers, and still is. Yes RF's had their place before the advent of the SLR, and that was due to their compact size. I would like to think that RF users are more deliberate in the photo's they chose to take. But the majority of the world is content with useing their phone as a camera. The advances in Digital SLR cameras are by far leaps and bounds ahead of any film RF'er, And put head to head would out shoot the latter by far.

Now don't get me wrong here, I shoot both out of nessity. Digital for the ease of it, and RF for the joy of it. Yes my digital feels like a toy at times, especially compared to some of my older SLR's (Minolta 9000) but it is far superior to it also.

I think the whole underlying point to be made is that we all shoot what we are comfortable with.

Trius
01-20-2007, 08:07
Olympus E-500: 129.5 x 94.5 x 66 mm 435 g (body only)
Olympus OM-1: 136 x 83 x 50mm 510 g (body only)
Olympus OM-4Ti: 136 x 84 x 50mm 510 g (body only)

Then we get to RFs and compact digicams, I won't do the math.

It's the interface and the "features" that intrude that make the difference. Not to mention the difference between film and digital, which is irrelevant to me for this thread.

Edit:

Olympus 35SP: 130mm x 81mm x 62mm 624g (w/ fixed lens)

I don't have significant first hand experience in "turning off" autofocus on a digital wonder. But from everything I've read, it's not like using manual focus on a film SLR at all. I could be way wrong.

Keith
01-20-2007, 09:32
I have my rangefinders which require a certain input from me to get a decent shot but I also have a little canon A620 point and shoot that can do things that are beyond belief for the camera's cost. I actually don't think that the process of camera evolution has gone wrong at any stage ... the choices available are very much up to the individual and the ability of afordable cameras now is phenominal!

The proposition that it has gone wrong at some stage doesn't make sense to me I'm afraid!:confused:

Robert Price
01-20-2007, 09:40
All excelent Cameras to be sure. I have had a few of the ones you mentioned in my life from time to to. Cameras are like girl friends, some times you love them..but they gotta go.

Now to get back on topic...

Camera Design really did not take a wrong turn in my opinion, they have just evoloved. Truly ugly cameras have perished as well as their film formats (Remember the disk camera :eek: ).

I think the design of todays modern cameras, SLR's for sure are have become a fanciful contraption. But tecnology and the wanting of the masses to "cram it all in" has dictated a lot of it.

Range finders have stayed quite true to their roots. Still employing gears and levers to activate the various funcutions. If all rangefinders were made to LEICA quality, then I guess most of us would be on a different forum.

I think the allure for most if not all of us is the joy of using rangefinder, design changes aside.

Trius
01-20-2007, 11:11
Damn, now I want a digital Disc camera with fixed focus lens. :D

If any of the classic SLRs (FM, OM, MX, SR-T Autoreflex T, etc.) were to show up in digital form with none of the electronic whizzbang stuff other than the absolute minimum, I am willing to bet there would a large market. While a portion of the market may have "demanded" all the features, I am not convinced it's as significant many believe. I know product managers out of control when I see them. :rolleyes:

rxmd
01-20-2007, 11:29
Damn, now I want a digital Disc camera with fixed focus lens. :D
Go ahead: Sony Mavica MVC-FD73 - 0.35 megapixel digital camera that records on floppy drives (http://www.megapixel.net/cgi-bin/fs_loader.pl?p=http%3A//www.megapixel.net/reviews/sony-mvcfd73/mvcfd73-review.html). If this is not a "digital Disc camera" (picture (http://www.multiemail.com/EbayImages/mvc732906/MVC-004S.JPG)), then I don't know what is. No fixed focus, but at least it has manual focus.

Philipp

rxmd
01-20-2007, 11:39
If any of the classic SLRs (FM, OM, MX, SR-T Autoreflex T, etc.) were to show up in digital form with none of the electronic whizzbang stuff other than the absolute minimum, I am willing to bet there would a large market.
No, there wouldn't.

If someone were to release, say, a digital Canon A-1, all the Nikon and Pentax and Minolta and Olympus crowd (and vice versa) wouldn't start being enthusiastic about ditching their lenses and buying FD stuff. If it were something Cosina-esque available in multiple lens mounts, people would scream bloody murder because it has too much plastic and is not from one of the big brands and Cosina always used to build junk. Something would be wrong, and hence people would find something to complain, the same way Leicaphiles complained about the lack of an advance lever on the M8. Many of us are too emotionally invested in their own view of what constitutes the ideal "digital classic" camera, so that they wouldn't be able to accept something that falls short of the mark (i.e. with the wrong mount, the wrong shutter speeds, made of plastic instead of metal, by the wrong maker, etc.) I guess these little differences would in the end turn out to be more important than the big picture. I actually think this poll is evidence enough how much we actually disagree on what is "acceptable" in a "classic" and what isn't.

Everybody in the the-grass-was-greener-back-then club agrees that a simple digital SLR with a classic lens mount could be a big hit. Unfortunately that's already all that they/we agree on. Come on, guys, let's get over it. It's not going to happen. The M8 is the closest we'll ever get, and that's only because it was made by one company that caters to their own customer base only.

Philipp

RF-Addict
02-19-2007, 13:40
Couldn't vote because I don't think anything went wrong - we have a lot of choice today - you can use the old-style, like view and field cameras, you are free to use rangefinders or SLRs and even DSLRs and if you feel like it, you can use them all. They all have their particular strengthsand are a joy to use. Why does everything new have to be bad?

Trius
02-19-2007, 17:59
Phillip: I agree with most of your posts, I think on this one I will have to disagree, quite strenuously. Despite the complaints of the construction and feel of the moder Bessa RFs, they, have been an unqualified success for Cosina. While I agree I am emotionally invested in Olympus gear at this point, a "simple", classic digital SLR or RF would cause me to switch and, I am certain, many others.

And I totally disagree that the M8 is the only close thing we will get. Who would have predicted a revival of RF photography, much less led by Mr. K? We should be dreaming, not pitying ourselves and bemoaning the lack of truth in digital photography.

egpj
02-19-2007, 18:27
Classic cameras and they way they do not intrude in the creative process is something that I seek out. I do not particularly care for the autofocus cameras or even those with a light meter. I voted that things went wrong when the Spotmatic was released. Of course the masses really do not want to think about what has to go into making a properly exposed image not to mention the framing and content. They just want to do their happy snaps and really, good for them. I have small palm sized video camera for taking video and stills for work. Without all those increasing complex cameras coming before my little Samsung sport video camera would not have been possible. Maybe that just lends itself to the argument, "the right tool for the right job at the right time."

Al Patterson
02-19-2007, 18:47
Trius, much as I'd love to have a digital A-1, I agree with Phillip. I doubt we'll see anyone other than Leica building an updated classic.

I'd like to be wrong here, but my gut feeling agrees with Phillip.

ICU
02-20-2007, 07:42
Couldn't vote because I don't think anything went wrong ... They all have their particular strengths and are a joy to use.

I agree. To suggest that one type of camera is universally better than another is, ethnocentric.

ChrisN
02-22-2007, 04:44
If any of the classic SLRs (FM, OM, MX, SR-T Autoreflex T, etc.) were to show up in digital form with none of the electronic whizzbang stuff other than the absolute minimum, I am willing to bet there would a large market. While a portion of the market may have "demanded" all the features, I am not convinced it's as significant many believe. I know product managers out of control when I see them. :rolleyes:

Take a Pentax *istDS or DL, mount a manual focus "M" or "K" lens, and set the camera for manual focus and manual exposure mode. Just like using a Spotmatic! Set the aperture on the lens, focus, compose, press the button for stop-down metering (sets the shutter speed) and shoot! Check the histogram on the replay and adjust your exposure to suit.

And you also have the option of using modern lenses (auto-focus, auto-aperture) and letting the camera do it automatically if you choose to.

Wimpler
03-03-2007, 04:11
I think it went wrong when "new technology" became the "only technology". Want to use your point and shoot camera with an external flash? Sorry, no PC socket or hotshoe. That is the kind of thing that pisses me off.

"New technology" cameras have become cheaper to manufacture (cheaper then the cameras we love). Then our good old non auto everything cameras became more expensive because everybody bought the new stuff.

rxmd
03-03-2007, 04:27
Want to use your point and shoot camera with an external flash? Sorry, no PC socket or hotshoe. That is the kind of thing that pisses me off.
Go to dpreview.com's Buying Guide (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare.asp). Select "Format: Compact" and "External Flash: Yes". Click "Compare". Result: "Too many results, only first 10 shown, please try to be more specific."

Granted, some of them are Canons that want a proprietary flash, but the others have either a hot shoe or a PC sync terminal. So if that's important to you, there's plenty of choice.

Philipp

Socke
03-03-2007, 04:43
I think it went wrong when "new technology" became the "only technology". Want to use your point and shoot camera with an external flash? Sorry, no PC socket or hotshoe. That is the kind of thing that pisses me off.

"New technology" cameras have become cheaper to manufacture (cheaper then the cameras we love). Then our good old non auto everything cameras became more expensive because everybody bought the new stuff.

To be true, my "good old nothing auto" Rollei 35TE was very expensive when I bought it new in 1980. Not much cheaper than a Minox with AE.

mfunnell
03-03-2007, 05:14
It all started going wrong with the decline in use of daguerreotype processing. Now those were the days! When a portable camera required a horse and cart, plus a tent for processing. Sure, some thought that mercury vapor was problematic, but now its gone I haven't noted that photographers lack for insanity. Have you?

...Mike

ErnestoJL
03-03-2007, 06:55
I do not like battery dependant cameras, it is cameras unable to be used if not fitted with an usually bulky, heavy and expensive or hard to find high tech battery.
I still prefer the manual types, either RF or SLR where the only battery is the one that drives the exposure meter (galvanometer based).
That´s my choice.

If there was a turning point from where things started going downhill, it was (IMO) about 1972 /1974 when the first examples of electronically controlled SLR cameras were introduced.
A very short time after came the plastic body era, full exposure automation, and sooner than nothing else came autofocus.
Up to this point, cameras were made to last. From there on, cameras were made to be obsolete in a few years, forcing the owner to replace it when spare parts became unavailable.

The newest camera I´m using today was made in the mid ´70s, all the other are way older, and still working perfectly today. They still can be repaired and in case I have no batteries, I can set the camera in total darkenss just lighting a match.

Would it be possible for any of the best auto everything film SLRs of today to be usable for its purpose 70 years from today?
Surely not. But a 1964 Zeiss Contarex Bullseye surely will.

That´s why I keep tied to some old metal bricks which don´t go useless if batteries are exhausted or unavailable.

Ernesto

rxmd
03-03-2007, 08:04
But a 1964 Zeiss Contarex Bullseye surely will.

That's a very bad choice for a future-proof camera. Here in Germany it's become nearly impossible to have a Contarex repaired because nobody has the parts and hardly anybody has the skills. There was a shop (Arlüwa in Cologne) that used to do it, but they stopped about a year and a half or so ago because the guy who worked on Contarexes was getting old. I know somebody who used a Contarex Bullseye as his main workhorse 35mm camera (link (http://www.fotoralf.de/contarex.htm)) and who sold it last year after having a very frustrating experience of having it repaired without success (and AFAIK that includes Henry Scherer). In 70 years simple and idiot-proof mechanical cameras will be usable, but overengineered marvels like the Contarex won't.

Philipp

Socke
03-03-2007, 08:41
The more answers I read the more I come to the impression that it started to go wrong when the weel was invented. May be climbing down from the trees was a bad idea as well :)

rxmd
03-03-2007, 08:54
May be climbing down from the trees was a bad idea as well :)
Ook ook? :D

Socke
03-03-2007, 09:04
Ook ook? :D

You're right, fire was a bad idea, too.

georgefspencer
03-03-2007, 10:44
"Canon Ixus Whatever. The camera that thinks for you."

This is where it all starts going wrong, I would say.


Amen to that. I have a Canon 30D. It thinks for me. Sometimes that's okay. I've gotten some pretty good pictures with it. But I went back to my Leica because I get to do the thinking.

Socke
03-03-2007, 11:22
Amen to that. I have a Canon 30D. It thinks for me. Sometimes that's okay. I've gotten some pretty good pictures with it. But I went back to my Leica because I get to do the thinking.


You can switch off most of the thinking by setting the dial on the left and the switch on the lens to "M". Works for me.

mike goldberg
03-03-2007, 14:47
Is there a single point where things went wrong... or is it several
evolutionary points along the way? For me, Canon AE, printed circuits
and more plastic in 1976 are one jumping off point. Serious cameras
going plastic is another. The P & S digital revolution is another.

For me the SLR is still an appropriate tool for close-up and tele work.
Even if I returned to RF and film because I disliked the trends in the
camera industry in the mid-2000's, so what? The main thing is, I returned
to myself, so to speak, and thankfully am thriving.

Cheers, mike

reub2000
03-03-2007, 14:53
That´s why I keep tied to some old metal bricks which don´t go useless if batteries are exhausted or unavailable.By that same logic, you wouldn't use film because a camera becomes a brick when you run out of film. And if you ran out of hc-110, (or it went bad) that exposed film that you just shot would be pretty much useless.

I don't really mind. Besides digital cameras, most cameras last a long time on a set of batteries. I used the batteries that came with my ELAN 7 for nearly half a year. Even with the 350D, I can expect one battery to be a lot more than I need for one day of shooting.

I don't think anything went wrong. New cameras are still able to produce good images in the right hands.

mw_uio
03-03-2007, 15:06
Anything that is gear gadget based, cameras, electronics, etc...... is "opium for the masses" regardless if the design is good or bad. :cool:

cheers

MArk
Quito, EC

rbsinto
03-05-2007, 11:10
For me, it started to go wrong when Nikon brought out the F3.
May the Camera Gods not strike me down for blaspheming, but The Canon New F1 was everything the Nikon F3 was supposed to be, and should have been.
It took Nikon until the F5 to once again bring out a truly great Professional film camera, However, by then it was already the beginning of the end for film.
And the less said about digital the better.

amateriat
03-05-2007, 12:39
For me, it started to go wrong when Nikon brought out the F3.
May the Camera Gods not strike me down for blaspheming, but The Canon New F1 was everything the Nikon F3 was supposed to be, and should have been.
It took Nikon until the F5 to once again bring out a truly great Professional film camera, However, by then it was already the beginning of the end for film.
And the less said about digital te better. The F3, the beginning of the "downslide?" I think that's harsh. I loved my (pre-"hybrid" shutter) Canon F-1s, but loved the F3 a good deal more. About the only thing you could dis the F3 for is for limited functionality when the battery dies, but (1) you do have one mechanical shutter speed – 1/60th – to fall back on (albeit with a sligthly odd shutter-release arrangement), (2) a pair of those S76 cells do go a long way in typical use, and (3) bolt on an MD-4 motor and you have an alternate power supply for the camera's electronics. And, Nikon didn't abandon their F-mount, as Canon did.

– Barrett

rbsinto
03-05-2007, 15:22
When the F3 was introduced, there were many pros who didn't trust an all-electronic camera, and shunned the F3 for F2's. While you are correct that the addition of the MD-4 gave the camera an eight "AA" battery source of power for the cameras electronics, I still believe that the New F1's electo-mechanical shutter was a much better solution giving one a range of usable speeds in the event of a battery meltdown. And the shutter release for the F3's one mechanical shutter speed was strange to say the least. The FE/FE-2/FA series of cameras had their one mechanical shutter speed marked on the shutterspeed dial, and selecting it allowed one to use the shutter button to trip it. At the very least the F3 could have had the same arrangement.
Additionally, with the F3 Nikon continued its idiotic tradition of positioning the hot shoe on the rewind lever. To be fair they corrected this with the F3P and the F3 Limited. Howver even with these two variants, one still had to use the rewind hotshoe to utilize the cameras TTL metering.
Finally, a personal problem with the F3's aesthetics; I intensely disliked the position of the shutter button in the film advance lever. In my opinion, the shutter button should have been on a separate pylon, as on the F and F2.
As a result, I ended up with a motorized F, motorized F2, and motorized FA, which make up my three-camera kit for street shooting, and I've never really considered buying an F3.
If, however in the unlikely event I change my mind, and get one, it would certainly be an F3P. At least then the hotshoe would be where it was supposed to be; on top of the finder.
And thus, I feel it all started to go downhill when Nikon brought out the F3.

amateriat
03-05-2007, 17:11
Rbsinto: Point taken, regarding some of the F3's design peculiarities. The funny thing is, at the time, I had high regard for the New F-1's shutter design; I was using a pair of older F-1s at the time. But I was no longer crazy about the size and weight of either version, so went with something entirely different: the Pentax LX, which had a similar "hybrid" shutter design to the New F-1. I've told this saga before on this site, but let's just say the experience had my running to get a pair of F3s in less than a year's time. Had I gone with Canon rather than Pentax, the story would likely have turned out differently.

The way I use SLRs now (rarely, and largely for either close-up work (Macro lens) or architechture (PC lens), my desired body would be a Nikon F4 with 20, 28mm PC, and 55 or 105 Micro lenses (I have an Olympus OM-2n with 50 f/1.8 and a set of extension tubes; thought about a PC lens for it, but used Oly 35 PCs go for as much or more than Nikon 28 PCs!). For the other 90% of what I shoot, I reach for my RFs.


- Barrett

sepiareverb
03-05-2007, 17:29
When slrs went to having to move something other than what you wanted to move to move that something you wanted to move (you get what I mean?? confusion built in) they lost me. I think it was a combination of the 'commmand dial' of nikons and the lcd screens on the top plate. I really did hate not having a simple dial to look at to see what shutter speed I was set on, added frustration in having to 'wake' the camera up to make an adjustmentwhen I wanted to bracket. Thankfully Getty stopped taking film so I could justify tossing all the nikons and really get back to photography as it was meant to be- personal, simple and on film.

NickTrop
03-05-2007, 18:14
It pains me to say this, but it was the Yashica Electros that were the beginning of the end.

No light = good picture (or at least properly exposed). Light = bad picture, try move aperture ring toward direction of arrow. Yashica sold over a million of those cameras with very little in the way of change over a 17 year run and started a trend toward convenience and automation over control. Realize this camera did something radical. It did away entirely with shutter speed control /and/ display. Threw it out the window - who cares? Consumers, obviously, didn't care. They just wanted to take nice pictures that weren't blurry, that "came out" okay without screwing something up. It was all about simplicity, ease of use. Automation made cameras more simple to use and the expense of control. The success of the GSN was the camera that validated the philosophical or (I hate using this phrase) "paradigm shift" away from a spec-driven business model (who had the fastest, sharpest lens? Who had the fastes shutter? What camera had the best build quality?) toward a convenience-based model (What camera is easiest to use?) a decade before the AE1. The Canon just had more sophisticated electronics and was put into an SLR. The GSN was the first to tap into this new model, imo. And they sold bunches and bunches of cameras as their reward. It paved the way for cheap point and shoots, super automated SLRs, and digital by "teaching" camera companies that the camera market cared about ease of use far, far more than specs or control.

That said, the GSN will always be one of my favorite cameras, believe it or not. It just works. Great camera.

amateriat
03-05-2007, 19:22
When slrs went to having to move something other than what you wanted to move to move that something you wanted to move (you get what I mean?? confusion built in) they lost me. I think it was a combination of the 'commmand dial' of nikons and the lcd screens on the top plate. I really did hate not having a simple dial to look at to see what shutter speed I was set on, added frustration in having to 'wake' the camera up to make an adjustmentwhen I wanted to bracket. Thankfully Getty stopped taking film so I could justify tossing all the nikons and really get back to photography as it was meant to be- personal, simple and on film. Yeah, that threw me a sucker punch at first...then I got hooked on the Minolta 9xi's dual-control-wheel. the crazy thing was, I really could grok menu-driven (almost wrote "menu-drivel"...somewhere, Freud is grinning) systems like this. tbe key to my acceptance of this was that I was shooting film. When digital sensors got stuffed into the damn things, all bets were off. Working with most dSLRs is fairly brain-chafing to me; not because I can't figure them out, but because of the general operating procedure most of them inevitably force me to work through. As well as the fact that most of the better-built dSLRs are still way too (expletive deleted) big, IMO. But I rediscovered RFs, so I'm good till the film runs out.

BTW, an old colleague of mine still shoots for Getty; last time I ran into him, he said it was "real, but anything but fun." Turning pro sure as hell ain't what it used to be.


- Barrett

reub2000
03-05-2007, 21:31
Cameras with electronic controls aren't bad. I can adjust the exposure without taking my eye from the viewfinder. When it really goes bad is with menu based controls. For example with the 350D, settings like FEC. So if I want to turn down the flash I have to navigate through the menus. Even worse is when your on a tripod, and have the self timer and mirror lockup enabled, and then you pop the quick release. You press the shutter and see the viewfinder go black, and the self timer activate. Then you have to cancel these setting which takes a couple of seconds. Argh.

The funny thing about the cameras that pioneered automation is that they would hardly be considered automatic by today's standards.

Trius
03-06-2007, 16:32
The most common theme here is: USER INTERFACE.

ajuk
03-09-2007, 15:25
I said the D30, not because I am against digtal, I just see too much over zealouse use of it.

St.Ephen
05-10-2007, 20:20
Is there a single point where things went wrong... or is it several
evolutionary points along the way? For me, Canon AE, printed circuits
and more plastic in 1976 are one jumping off point. Serious cameras
going plastic is another.

I'm with Mike on this. There are a LOT of joe-schmos, women at their kids' school graduation ceremony, or oyaji with their DSLRs (usually Canon Kiss) here in Japan, that when i see them, think, "you wouldn't even know how to use a camera like that if it were film." These old men tend to like photographing school-girls, and so have given genuine photographers a bad reputation.

Buttons and menus. Anything that detracts from the creative aspect.

foto_fool
05-11-2007, 01:02
I responded to this poll based on an esthetic consideration. My dad taught me cameras with his Contax IIIa and gave me my first SLR - and Olympus OM-1 I still use. So for me I guess the AE-1 Program marked a turning point.

Actually I'm not sure that there has been a WRONG turn. But like most things in the world, there has been serious fragmentation. Popularization of the Polaroid? Enabled some interesting artistic statements. Development of digital? Anyone checking out justin.tv? We now document everything.

I wonder if there are not more RF users in the world today than when the Barnack was introduced?

- John

Socke
05-11-2007, 03:49
Buttons and menus. Anything that detracts from the creative aspect.


I realy can't understand why people are so afraid off buttons and menues?

You choose a sensitivity which gives you an acceptable compromise between grain and sensitivity, then you adapt to the light, colour and amount, with filters and exposure settings.

When teh medium is exposed, you give it to somebody who prints it.

Even with a single use you have to decide if you want flash or not and which sensitivity and if you want colour or B/W.

How many photographers carried two bodies, one loaded with B/W the other with colour, since they didn't know beforehand what they would need?

Alex v T
05-11-2007, 04:06
[QUOTE=clintock]My gripe is lens speed, and zooms as 'normal'. What happened to consumer cameras and fast lenses?

I totally agree that this is the major culprit.
For example, amateur photography to a major turn for the worse with the introduction of small aperture zoom point and shoot 35mm cameras.

There are shots where the wide aperture is almost mandatory, and there are shots where you want to stop down. The 35mm format with wide aperture lenses is a very flexible compromise. It is just right.

I have seen a huge number of wonderful looking snapshots (pro-like) that were created between the 30's and 60's (some in 70's). There have been much less since. This would be with both rangefinders and SLR's.

dmr
05-11-2007, 06:08
I realy can't understand why people are so afraid off buttons and menues?

I'm not afraid of them. To me, they are just annoying and unnecessary.

However, as I think back, to showing off my first real camera to friends, and they would take it and look it over and then more often than not exclaim "eeeewww, too many settings ..." or something like that, preferring their Instamatic.

Oh well, plus ca change ...

micromontenegro
05-11-2007, 06:15
IMHO, there was never a wrong turn. Today you can call whichever major supplier you choose and buy a new Leica M3, a new Nikon SP, a new Rolleiflex... but you can also buy the best digital whatchamacallit. The best of both worlds. There are also newfangled RFs, like the ZI and the CVs.
Again IMHO, all the cameras mentioned in the poll are great cameras, and no one of them was a turn for worse.
I use classic rangefinders because I cut my teeth with classic rangefinders, and feel comfortable with them. I like their jewel-like fit and finish. But I don`t think other photographic tools should be downplayed. Many a modern plastic "ugly" thing in capable hands has produced incredible results.

Steve B
05-19-2007, 19:25
I guess I ought to excuse myself from voting as I turned to rangefinders for their positives rather than "modern" camera's negatives although there certainly are enough to choose from. Lousy viewfinders are on the top of my list, but I use digital cameras as well as I think their advantages outweigh their shortcomings and find them very useful for many types of shooting. If though, heaven forfend, I had to choose one camera and forsake all others it would definitely be my M6, for all the usual reasons. If only we could combine the best of both worlds. Well, I guess we probably can, and folks more familiar with the M8 and R-D1 might argue that we have. I just have yet to experience it myself. But I hope to. I'd like to buy a lottery ticket, please.

rbiemer
05-19-2007, 21:20
When this poll was first posted, I looked at it and didn't vote. The choices didn't work for me. Since the poll has been bumped up again, I read all the previous posts and have come to a realization.
None of the choices are the "wrong turn" for me.
I'm not sure when "it" happened but for me it was/is when these tools we all like to use were turned into consumable products: when things started to be made just good enough to last for whatever product cycle and no better.
It isn't restricted to cameras, in my view, but to most of the stuff we use: watches and TVs and toasters and shoes and pens and razors and <insert your example here>.
In other words, I think it started to "go wrong" when manufactoered goods became essentially disposable.
Rob

visiondr
05-19-2007, 21:54
Rob,

You couldn't be more correct. That is, indeed when it all went wrong. It galls me everytime I poke my head into a retail store to see how little merchandise is designed to last. Sure, there are things that time quickly passes by; computers come to mind as a product that quickly become obsolete. Software is actually the changing factor here, not the computer itself. But, why are watches (to use your example) made to "crap out" in a few years or need yet another landfill filling - water table polluting battery? Time, the quantity watches are designed to measure, doesn't "change with the times" and thus a decent mechanical watch should easily last a lifetime.

lament
05-22-2007, 09:31
It all went wrong when Cosina released the R3A. That camera's just too good :D

Vics
05-23-2007, 12:45
I voted for the Maxxum 7000, because that was when I started shooting less and less... Then in 1991 I was handed an old (1959) Nikon F with a 50/1.4 and I was a gonner. Back into photography with both feet. Nikons, then Rollei TLRs, then Contax IIIa and now M3 w/Summicron 50. Seems like a very natural progression to me.

feyz
05-24-2007, 00:07
You don't want AF? Switch to MF. Don't like A and P? Switch to M. You don't want to shoot 1000s of photos? Then just don't do it! The only problem is in your mind not in the tools!

gavinlg
05-24-2007, 01:08
I agree with some of the comments here. Cameras never went wrong.

rxmd
05-24-2007, 02:33
In other words, I think it started to "go wrong" when manufactoered goods became essentially disposable.
In other words, the end of the world began in 1901, and Gilette is to blame? I don't see it that dramatically. The disposable razor blade did have practical advantages. And when as a camera manufacturer you can't sell any new products because your products are so expensive and your users are so conservative that you're constantly competing unfavourably against your old products, it takes a manufacturer of cheaper cameras to turn the market around and revive it for everybody. It's now a fact of life, and it doesn't have only a dark side.

Philipp

pvdhaar
05-24-2007, 05:01
You don't want AF? Switch to MF. Don't like A and P? Switch to M. You don't want to shoot 1000s of photos? Then just don't do it! The only problem is in your mind not in the tools!
Yeah, blame my mind..

Sure you can switch to MF, but AF-SLR viewfinder screens are so lame that I can't focus visually. So I end up going by the af-confirmation led, which basically is the AF systems interpretation of what is sharp. Tell you what; none of my AF-SLRs was ever as sharp as my Zenit-E (which didn't even feature a microprism or split center focus aid, just ground glass)..

Sure you can switch to M, but the limited digital meter scales are so uninformative I end up turning the wheels until the middle led lights up, which basically is the AE interpretation of what is correct exposure. Tell you what; none of my AF-SLRs ever had such a splendid meter as my Nikon FE (covering the entire shutter speed range, and having two needles)..

Although anecdotal, this is what I think is wrong.. Everytime something is automated, it goes at the expense of the quality of what was and could previously be done manually.

feyz
05-24-2007, 05:26
So you are good with the old zenit. Why you look at the modern cameras? You have all you want. Can't see where is the problem.

rxmd
05-24-2007, 07:11
Sure you can switch to MF, but AF-SLR viewfinder screens are so lame that I can't focus visually.
You just need the right camera, one that either comes with exchangeable viewfinder screens or where you can fit one in yourself. For example, many EOS cameras can take the rather good matte/split-image/microprism screen from the Canon EF-M manual focus camera. Etc. It's just about making the right choice based on what you want your equipment to do. If you want an AF camera with a good focusing screen, buy one. They exist. A lot of people do manual focus macros etc. on AF camera bodies, you are not alone.

Sure you can switch to M, but the limited digital meter scales are so uninformative I end up turning the wheels until the middle led lights up, which basically is the AE interpretation of what is correct exposure.
Same thing here. Just pick your camera so that it will fit your needs. People used to make choices in the good old days, too, so we can just do the same today.

I got camera socialized on Canon AE-1Ps and A-1s, with a meter that just told me numbers for aperture and (only on the A-1) shutter speed. You can easily have similar comfort on today's AF SLRs, with the added benefit of things like TTL flash on manual lenses if you choose the right body.

In the case of a matchneedle meter, they also come with a lot of disadvantages (such as they're mechanically sensitive, some of them are dependent on camera alignment, and most of them use a CdS cell with memory effect, sensitivity limits and the mercury battery problem). Actually they started to disappear long before AF cameras made their appearance.

Philipp

rbiemer
05-24-2007, 08:34
It's now a fact of life, and it doesn't have only a dark side.
Philipp
OK, I probably was a little extreme. And I agree, there is a bright side that mostly outweighs my point in my earlier post. If it weren't for that kind of marketplace, I probably would not have any of the FSU gear that I like so well.
I wouldn't be bothered so much by the "replace instead of repair" consumer goods if the replaced object was actually put back into the supply/material chain instead of mostly just being dumped into a landfill.
Rob
Edit: I have to admit, I wouldn't mind having an example of all of the cameras listed in the poll choices:D

scottgee1
05-24-2007, 11:15
In my little world AF is the least important 'automated' feature. I do like aperture preferred exposure -- when it works correctly. ;)

As to the poll, I might have started earlier in the development of cameras, say, when the first camera came along that didn't require a tripod.

:D

ScottGee1

pvdhaar
05-24-2007, 23:09
You just need the right camera
And that's the whole point..

If you need to exchange the focus screen to get even somewhat decent manual focus, something is wrong with that AF-SLR. And it still won't be as good as one whose design parameters are not dictated by the rest of the electronics show to support AF..

What's more a KatzEye screen costs over $100, while I can get a minty Zenit-E for a tenner (lens included).

Oh, and if ever you get an opportunity to look through a viewfinder on a Nikon-FE (or FE2 etc..), then do. It's the best meter display approach ever in my book. It's not an over/under meter like you find in present day AF-SLRs. It shows you the metered speed and the selected speed simultaneously on a scale that covers the entire shutter speed range..

rxmd
05-24-2007, 23:42
If you need to exchange the focus screen to get even somewhat decent manual focus, something is wrong with that AF-SLR.
No... it's exactly right! Today's customers largely use AF, for which it is nice to have a bright screen. If you want to have a dimmer screen that allows you to focus manually, with a good camera you get the option. How is this different from having the option to put an AE metering screen or an aftermarket one with gridlines into a Canon F-1 in the 1970s?

What's more a KatzEye screen costs over $100, while I can get a minty Zenit-E for a tenner (lens included).
So what? A new high-end product from a small-scale third-party manufacturer is more expensive than a different, old product with no real demand, mass-produced in a Socialist country? Not really surprising... And a dead EF-M to hack a good screen into your EOS 100 will cost you $20... And how much did new Beattie Intenscreens for Hasselblads and Rolleiflexes cost back in the good old 1960s?

Oh, and if ever you get an opportunity to look through a viewfinder on a Nikon-FE (or FE2 etc..), then do. It's the best meter display approach ever in my book. It's not an over/under meter like you find in present day AF-SLRs. It shows you the metered speed and the selected speed simultaneously on a scale that covers the entire shutter speed range..
OK, I will. I like this kind of metering approach with my M5 (where I don't get precise numbers, but I get the selected shutter speed as well as a visual estimate how far my exposure is off the spot-metered value)

Philipp

landsknechte
05-25-2007, 00:05
Camera companies have been cranking out idiot-proof cameras for the masses for over 100 years now. There's no real philosophical difference, from the point of view the manufacturer, between a Brownie box camera and the latest digital P&S.

pvdhaar
05-25-2007, 00:40
OK, I will. I like this kind of metering approach with my M5 (where I don't get precise numbers, but I get the selected shutter speed as well as a visual estimate how far my exposure is off the spot-metered value)

I dug up a picture of the FE meter readout.. http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonfeseries/fe/needleunder.jpg

Green transparent needle is linked to the shutter dial, black needle is linked to meter..

MartinP
06-09-2007, 09:50
There appears to be no radio-button for choosing the end of wet collodion . . . . ?

Sisyphus
06-10-2007, 17:00
Definitely when cameras became plastic and lost there aesthetic sensibilities.

Finder
06-10-2007, 17:04
It never went wrong. There have always been good and bad cameras. Technology does not make a camera good or bad. It simply comes down to personal choice or bad design.

Trius
06-10-2007, 17:24
"or bad design" ... I think a lot of people think bad design is far more pervasive than it used to be, hence the question.

Finder
06-10-2007, 17:44
"or bad design" ... I think a lot of people think bad design is far more pervasive than it used to be, hence the question.

Since more cameras are being made, I guess by number there would be more cameras badly designed. But that is not new. Disk, instimatic, Retinas, Box Brownies. Now matter how far back you go, bad design has always been there. But then there is technology and techniques that have improved cameras. There has never been a golden-age of camera design.

(And nostalgia is not what it used to be.)

Richard Black
06-11-2007, 04:34
As a tool, I have no problems with plastic. My mom took lots of family photos with a brownie that are quite viewable as they were 40+ years ago. Camera still works. It was nothing to look at however. But is a wrench beautiful? I like the looks of the Pentax Spotmatic and those who do drooled over the "technical exercise" of the digital Spotmatic. It is a personal choice. I like the Bessa R look, not those that came later. mho, only!

Dr. Strangelove
07-11-2007, 08:35
I dug up a picture of the FE meter readout.. http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonfeseries/fe/needleunder.jpg

Green transparent needle is linked to the shutter dial, black needle is linked to meter..
This meter actually appeared first in the Nikkormat EL, which was the first Nikon camera with an electronically controlled shutter and aperture priority AE. My wife has one and it works great, although she prefers her all-mechanical, manual exposure only, bigger and much heavier Nikkormat FT. And she has small hands! Women are impossible to understand indeed! :D

Sparrow
07-11-2007, 08:56
At first I thought coming down from the trees was our big mistake, but I’m beginning to think the perpetual internet poll looks a bigger threat to humanity.

:D

jlw
07-11-2007, 22:28
At first I thought coming down from the trees was our big mistake, but I’m beginning to think the perpetual internet poll looks a bigger threat to humanity.

IS this now the oldest poll in RFF history? I started it; do I win something? (aside from a lifetime of notoriety)?

Sparrow
07-12-2007, 00:54
Immortality, my friend, your name could live forever

:)

Morca007
07-12-2007, 02:56
When plate etchings went out of style.

MatthewThompson
07-14-2007, 07:34
Luddites, all of you. I like my conversation pieces as much as the next fellow, but for professional work in a variety of circumstances we're truly in the golden age.

I got a lot of experience being an office manager for a busy commercial photographer in my city. He did nothing but moan about how little he used his Sinar 4x5 for work and complained endlessly about how terrible the Canon EOS system I talked him into purhcasing was. Turns out, like most people who bemoan change, he was simply unwilling to progress past the ground glass.

It took me literally a full week of explaining in different ways the E-TTL flash system before he *got it*. The Canon *exposure lock-focus-recompose-shutter* shuffle was beyond him for six months. I ended up saving at least a half dozen jobs that he would have blown through gross technical iignorance. You really need to know the *system* when it comes to a modern, pro DSLR system. Is it as uncluttered as an F1, OM-1 or even an M camera? Of course not. Pro news and sports photogs take 20 shots in a couple secinds because they *can* pick the best and throw the rest.

That's what technical innovation is all about: competitive advantage.

I fully endorse cherishing and enjoying vintage hardware; I have a fetish for the stuff too. At the end of the day, my old collection of cameras is for fun. I pay the bills and put food on the table with a Canon Techno-Brick. Such is the way of the market, and we're all slaves to it for survival. Simply put, anything after the Canon EOS-1 series (1-D and up, too) is a tool that's fit for professional use and abuse. That's why they sell: they pay the bills.

Welsh_Italian
07-19-2007, 15:08
When did it all go wrong? When I realised that depth of field could radically change the nature of a photograph - and that a lot of modern cameras did not allow me to choose what DoF I wanted, at least readily and without fuss.

I have never liked being ordered what is best by a machine, no matter how well-made or how often it is right. I just it's a control thing, even though I have a techie PhD (or maybe because of it!)

I started with an instamatic 126 then 110 cameras, then a snappy 35mm. But I realised it's limitations - luckily, I was bequeathed a Praktica MTL-3 which needed learning, but let me achieve the results I was looking for. After a few years away from photography, I found my way to rangefinders - a mysterious thing to me given that I started seriously taking pics in the late 1980s - and the picture quality is superb. After using my Fed 4 and I-61 lens and seeing the results, I knew I could never be happy with auto-everything, no matter how convenient. It really is worth the effort to get pictures that I can look at and even astound myself with. But auto-everything cameras cannot reliably provide that for me. I'm content to blame myself for my own mistakes, but I don't want to suffer for the mistakes made by a machine produced by someone who doesn't know what kind of picture I am after.

I really would like a digital cam if it let me do what I wanted (cost being a consideration of course!), but those that do seem to be so expensive. No problem, one day I say...

Maybe I should look into fixing an image sensor, board, batteries and memory card onto the back of a Fed 2. Actually, that's not half a bad idea...

scottgee1
07-19-2007, 20:59
Welsh_Italian? Like Pino Palladino, eh?

:D

Welsh_Italian
07-20-2007, 02:49
lol! Not quite but almost - my bass guitar playing was atrocious!

Welsh_Italian? Like Pino Palladino, eh?

:D

cameramanic
07-20-2007, 03:31
Like Joe Calzaghe ?

Welsh_Italian
07-20-2007, 03:46
Wish I had his money... :D

Like Joe Calzaghe ?

crawdiddy
11-16-2007, 14:03
I for one am gratified, to have my biases validated by this highly un-scientific poll of my peers.

It's the plastic!!!!

Oh sure, I don't like the autoexposure, and I don't like the electronic shutter, and really hate the autofocus. But if they only built them out of better stuff than polycarbonate, I wouldn't prefer the classic technology as much as I do....

Anupam
11-16-2007, 14:43
When did it all go wrong?

Rollfilm . . .

Steve B
11-16-2007, 18:48
I'm with Mathew I'm afraid. I love my M6 and really enjoy using it but anybody that thinks that a DSLR "forces" you to do certain things should probably reconsider their phraseology. An automatic camera doesn't force anybody to do anything. Its extremely convenient to choose aperture, shutter speed, DOF, etc. I make the same decisions with my DSLR that I do with my RF. I just execute them differently, and usually more quickly and more conveniently. People made the same complaints when cameras with light meters came out, they said the same thing when roll film came out, they said the same thing when dry plates became commercially available. And somehow none of these innovations has destroyed photography. Quite the opposite.
Having said that I have to admit that I am frustrated with certain things. I hate that the viewfinder on my compact digital is so lousy, I hate the fact that my DSLR doesn't have mirror lock up. But one simply has to choose the right tool for the job. Its good to remember that its not necessary to turn off your brain when you turn on a camera that has automatic functions. And to avoid the plasticy feel, just buy a better camera the way we have all done for years. I'm not saying that everybody should run out and buy a DSLR, just suggesting that one doesn't have to trash other peoples choices in order to justify one's own. I like them all, and am glad that we have so many great options to choose from.

dexdog
11-16-2007, 19:00
Sorry to disappoint, but nothing went wrong. Technology advances, people and artists embrace the changes, or not, as each sees fit. The image is the product, and is more important than how it was produced.

Russ
11-16-2007, 20:22
I don't use it nearly as often as I used to, but I still enjoy using my original Nikon FM. It's all manual, and a joy to shoot with.

Russ

Steve B
11-16-2007, 20:53
I don't use it nearly as often as I used to, but I still enjoy using my original Nikon FM. It's all manual, and a joy to shoot with.

Russ
The FM was the first camera that I bought with my own money and I used it for almost 30 years. I sold it last year as I just hadn't used it in a long while and probably wasn't going to. Sometimes I miss it. But I still have the Rolliecord that my Dad loaned me before I bought the FM. Should send it in for a CLA and use it a bit. Then maybe I'll give it back to him, only 35 years late.

kuzano
11-16-2007, 22:08
If I think of it in terms of major milestones of camera/photography change alone.

The first milestone was camera automation... late 60's to mid70's and beyond. The public perception that the camera alone would improve their photography.

Second, the recent perception that digital photography has met and exceeded the quality of film cameras. I believe digit is not better, nor is film. they are different. The workflow is vastly different and a common complaint is the time at the computer. But for a few willing to spend the time on the learning curve and the work flow, they do believe that they have more control over the final image than they did with film.

It's a tough question. Personally, there's not enough time left in this lifetime to become a wizard at Photoshop. However, I do have a digital camera for the quick and dirty work related stuff. I just refuse to sit at the computer massaging from 8 million to ten million pixels, a few at a time.

literiter
12-03-2007, 09:34
We never did go wrong, really, because we have some pretty good cameras out there right now. New digital stuff or old film stuff, doesn't matter as long as you get the image.

But I certainly have my preferences.

My first "automated" plastic, camera was a Canon A1. It froze up on me one cold winter day, but my old Leica M2 was still very useable even though it had been cold soaked in the car overnight.. (Absolutely amazing, even my light meter was frozen.)

The A1 went to a frind of mine who spends his winters in hot counties. I think, at the time it was the best camera he'd ever used. In a way I was sorry to see the camera go because I had taken some very good images with it. I found the automation freed me up to work with the image a bit more.

Since the A1, I've been a lot more careful of my choices in that I'll consider the environment I'll be using the camera etc. I've learned to see with rangefinder cameras, to not be bothered by the frame lines and focus mechanisms. I've taken my Leicas to some pretty awful situations and they don't seem to care.

As well I've been using Nikon F2 and a F3hp with similar result as the Leicas. They don't seem to be influenced by harsh weather.

If I were to find a digital camera that I could be assured could deliver the way my older cameras can, I'd get it. Perhaps one day.

These days I prefer to spend my time looking through a viewfinder than looking through camera catalogs.

scottgee1
12-03-2007, 10:29
SNIP!
If I were to find a digital camera that I could be assured could deliver the way my older cameras can, I'd get it. Perhaps one day.

SNIP!

literiter raises an interesting point; all the digicams of which I'm aware have an LCD and some rely on one exclusively for composition.

IME, LCDs perform poorly in cold weather and some won't work at all in very cold temperatures.

This question may belong in a different forum but what is your experience with LCDs in cold conditions?

TIA!/ScottGee1

narsuitus
12-03-2007, 12:52
“When Did It All Go Wrong?”
“Poll: At which point did camera design take a wrong turn?”
“At which point did camera design take a wrong turn?”

I did not vote in this poll because I don’t think that camera design took a wrong turn.

However, if I were forced to pick a time, it would not be one of the choices offered. Instead, it would be when Kodak put box cameras in the hands of the masses because that is when things first went wrong for the professional photographer.

Uwe_Nds
12-03-2007, 13:12
Long before the M3, at the time when Barnack came out with his miniature camera and its pathetically small negatives and enormous depth of field... ;-)

Best regards,
Uwe

kevin m
12-03-2007, 13:13
It all went wrong with the first commemorative "Sultan of Brunei" M6. ;)

Trius
12-03-2007, 17:36
When the marketing dept decided which new features were necessary ... without talking to photographers.

amateriat
12-03-2007, 21:48
I did not vote in this poll because I don’t think that camera design took a wrong turn.

However, if I were forced to pick a time, it would not be one of the choices offered. Instead, it would be when Kodak put box cameras in the hands of the masses because that is when things first went wrong for the professional photographer. "Making photographers out of bums, and bums out of photographers" I think the saying went (but that was in reference to 35mm cameras catching on with PJs in the 1960s!).

This is a bit like blaming Apple's Garageband for egging on non-musically-trained people to "make" music and inflict the results on others; we've had real garage bands (among others...ever hear of Karaoke?) do just that for decades, though I'll admit they had to pick up real instruments and plug in to do it.

Out of the sea of mediocrity will come a handful of diamonds, so to speak. Same with photography, although getting a certain degree os attention these days can be a bit tough, which I suppose is the real objection.


- Barrett

Ronald M
12-11-2007, 18:09
It is still not easy. Just more junk is produced that is closer to correct exposure and focus.

Their still has to be a brain behind the camera.

wgerrard
12-25-2007, 14:18
Being big is bad. So is being heavy.

Offering lots of capability is good. Having a complex interface to that capability is bad.

Not breaking is good. Plastics are not necessarily bad because not all plastics break easily. A number of modern non-metal products are both lightweight and very strong. If you also want a heavy camera, I guess the manufacturer could glue a lead plate on the bottom.

However... the real killer was the realization by most camera makers that they could make Really Big Bucks by going after the consumer market. That market consists of almost everyone on the planet who gets seriously sleepy when people start talking about depth of field, aperture, and all that. Note: that demographic also represents almost everyone on the planet, period.

So, if you want to sell a lot of cameras to people who just want to point and click, or to people who just want to point and click while holding an big expensive thing that props up their ego, you will give the people more of what they've been buying.

Most people are no more interested in learning how to focus and expose a photo from scratch than they are in learning how to make a pizza from scratch.

That's the market camera makers sell into, and they know their market.

amateriat
12-25-2007, 14:26
wgerrard: Wow...I think we could cap the whole thread on your "last word." Largely sums it up for me.


- Barrett

wgerrard
12-25-2007, 15:01
When the Hexar RF was dropped, it all went wrong. :cool: Best camera ever. Simple and intuitive user interface...

it went wrong when marketing started to sell on features and tried to make cameras cheaper and cheaper by taking away build quality for toss and replace.
/Håkan

I'm having an interesting read through this vintage thread.

The Hexar RF is a fine camera, but priced too high for the consumer market.


We need to remember the impact of software. All cameras with electronic parts have software of some sort. However, as technological capabilities increase, software developers rush to learn how to take advantage of those new capabilities. Sadly, they are usually in no hurry to learn the human interface techniques needed to make it easy for people to use that software.

So, what happens is that we get a lot of automated cameras that make us push Button A and Button B while standing in a full moon if we want to use Capability R.

This is the root of Featureitis, which happens when engineers say to software developers, "Hey, we made it do this now...."

As a result, we have cameras that promise easy-to-use automation that also come with thick, thick manuals. If it's so @#$ easy to use, how come there's a 400-page book in the box?

giovatony
12-25-2007, 15:12
It never really went wrong! Only to certain people who think they know what a camera should be did it go wrong. They suffer needlessly over things they never had any control over to begin with. These inconsequential trivialities have little to no effect on normal folk whatsoever. We are thankful for the choices presented to us.
John

kevin m
12-25-2007, 15:32
If it's so @#$ easy to use, how come there's a 400-page book in the box?

I hope Apple develops a DSLR.

No, really!

I bought my wife an iPod last Xmas and never had to consult the 'manual' it came with even once. About the time my brain formulated the, "hey, how do I..." question, my fingers had already found the answer. That's what Canon/Nikon etc. need to learn: Make a camera that teaches the user how to use it.

wgerrard
12-25-2007, 15:35
...cameras were made to be obsolete in a few years, forcing the owner to replace it when spare parts became unavailable.


Nah. Digital products really are cheaper to replace than to repair. For example, if the video card in your PC takes a dive, would you rather pay a tech $90 an hour to troubleshoot and repair the thing, or just go buy a new card? And that assumes the tech could actually fix the card once the fault was found, which is a questionable assertion.

Spider67
12-25-2007, 15:53
"I'll show you an old SLR I have at home" and what did he bring? One of those plastic Canons ...YUKKKK!!!

Leighgion
12-25-2007, 17:03
It was all over once glass got involved with photography. REAL photography uses a box with a tiny hole poked in it. Weaklings with their "lenses" and "viewfinders ruined it all. I won't even get started on the heresy of roll film and including mechanical parts in a camera!:)

Seriously, nothing went wrong. I bought an Olympus XA because it's tiny, quiet and still has a good lens. That's all. It's a charming camera, but I have no propaganda to spout about how the current camera market has lost its way. Sure, designs could be better than they are and many points are driven purely my economy, but I for one do not consider it better for camera manufacture and by extension photography to be an elite art only in the hands of the few. Without chaff there's no wheat.

peterc
01-20-2008, 17:35
The only thing I think has gone "wrong" with cameras is proprietary batteries (not a problem for meterless, fully-manual cameras). One of the first things I check when looking at a camera is how it's powered. You can find AA or LR44 cells just about anywhere ... a Nikon EN-EL8 or a L-Ion for an M8 is a little harder to replace.

amateriat
01-20-2008, 19:37
I'll put in a good word for CR2 batteries (which all but one of my cameras use, including both my Hexar RFs, Ricoh GR-1 and Konica Lexio 70), among the last of the semi-ubiquitous batteries for camera use. Once things went digital and rechargeable, all bets were off.


- Barrett

peterc
01-20-2008, 20:04
Good point. The CR2 and CR123a can be found at just about any drugstore these days.

rxmd
01-21-2008, 00:05
To be honest if I was standing in a bog somewhere with a DSLR and had to change batteries and had to fiddle around with four AA batteries I would be quite grateful if the manufacturer had instead put the battery into a convenient package. ("Dang! Dropped one of them darned AAs again!")

If you expect to need more batteries, buy them in advance (just like you have to do with film if you don't want to rely on having a well-stocked drugstore nearby).

Philipp

Roger Vadim
01-21-2008, 17:14
[quote=clintock]My gripe is lens speed, and zooms as 'normal'. What happened to consumer cameras and fast lenses?

I totally agree that this is the major culprit.
For example, amateur photography to a major turn for the worse with the introduction of small aperture zoom point and shoot 35mm cameras.

There are shots where the wide aperture is almost mandatory, and there are shots where you want to stop down. The 35mm format with wide aperture lenses is a very flexible compromise. It is just right.

I have seen a huge number of wonderful looking snapshots (pro-like) that were created between the 30's and 60's (some in 70's). There have been much less since. This would be with both rangefinders and SLR's.

Definetely the case. It's not so much about the cameras itself, but the use of them. the 'trained' amateur up untill the end of the 70's had slow film, fast lenses (compared to the 4.5-5.6 zooms of nowadays Kit lenses) and when he was shooting the kids with granny the oof was great because he had to use a large aperture. so I'd say: Fast film. That's when everything went wrong;)

But seriuosly, I find it rather sad that our photo-albums will look rather boring compared to the ones when I was a kid (70's), or the ones of my mom and my grandparents... despite (or because) the evolotion of consumer products.

wt67
01-21-2008, 17:24
Why a rangefinder? In my view, there are a couple of things I felt that I had to learn. First, understanding how cars work; particularly, understanding engine so that I could figure out how to fix them in case something was wrong with it. So I bought a 1968 Mercedes 280SL and have been studying and tinkering with it ever since. And second, how to use a camera. And not just how to point and shoot. I needed to understand how they worked, and the Leica rangefinder seemed like the best way to do so. So I bought an M6ttl and 50mm Summicron M and have been shooting and experimenting ever since. :)

Athos6
03-26-2008, 18:39
I've used everything from 6x6 folders, 4x5 field, the Argus C3, Nikon F3, Fm3a, F5, D200, Nikkormat Ftn, Canon A-1, Ae-1, Ae-1 prog, Av-1, F1n, G3, Bessa R, Leica M2... (I think thats it.) I voted for the T90 because its UGLY plain and simple. I haven't bought a Canon SLR newer than the A-1 because of the way they look, wouldn't be caught dead with one. Call me shallow but at least Nikons look nice :) Automation vs. Manual, Digital vs. film, makes no difference to me. When taking pictures for the fun of it is the purpose, looks become a lot more important :) Nice pictures are the perk of a relaxing activity.

Sam N
03-26-2008, 18:43
This poll is based on two assumptions that are problematic:

1) That camera design is linear and only comes from one source.
There's a huge variety of competing camera designers and types. Leica is still kicking and Canon is still cranking out faster DSLRs. People still design (or at least build) large format cameras and SLRs, TLRs, RFs, etc.

2) That it ever went wrong in the first place
Camera design has progressed in every direction. You can get pretty much any type of camera you could want nowadays (except for an affordable full-frame digital RF :-P).

If anything, I'll agree with the previous poster about the physical look of most newer cameras and lenses. I'd love a DSLR that looks like a Manual SLR and lenses that feel solid. I don't want AF and AE to disappear though. I can just turn them off when I don't want to use them.

mabelsound
03-29-2008, 17:35
Things didn't go wrong. Everything is great.

I honestly could not agree more. I love using my DSLR, and getting into older-style RF cameras has made me enjoy photography even more. Every era since the beginning of photography has had its wonderful designs, and most of these cameras are still wonderful today.

I record music on a computer, except when I record it on 1/4-inch RTR 4-track. And both are great experiences, with different strengths. I think the same holds true here.

charjohncarter
03-29-2008, 17:43
I'm bidding on a 6x6 folder from the fifties, I hope I get it. It took me a long time (too long) to realize that I took/take better pictures (at least ones that satisfied me) with my Leica IIIf and my Pentax Spotmatic. So I decided: use them.

literiter
03-29-2008, 18:09
I'm bidding on a 6x6 folder from the fifties, I hope I get it. It took me a long time (too long) to realize that I took/take better pictures (at least ones that satisfied me) with my Leica IIIf and my Pentax Spotmatic. So I decided: use them.


I wish you luck with the folder. They have their issues to be sure but they are special cameras.

Special cameras in that they can be compared with cedar and canvas canoes. Quiet, slow moving, delicate, maneuverable, beautiful, infinitely repairable and in the right hands...precious.

sdotkling
01-09-2012, 13:47
Don't you mean...

Too bad we moved away from wet plates and blacked-out Conestoga wagons.

huntjump
01-09-2012, 14:03
I use an RF not because i dislike my nikon D700, but because i enjoy using it at least twice as much if not way more. I keep my d700 because its a badass camera! Just too big and heavy. (which besides the full manual control, the size of the RF is what appeals to me)

excellent
01-09-2012, 14:35
Brutal thread.

Corto
01-09-2012, 14:52
interesting old thread.

I dont think Cameras ever "went wrong". Lots of great cameras have been made up till this day.

And as far as Polycarbonate cameras go, I have no problems with them as long as they are as reliable and accurate as a damn Glock 19.

celluloidprop
01-09-2012, 16:02
The minute we progressed beyond wet-plate collodion.

back alley
01-09-2012, 16:05
3 year old thread...original poster no longer visits here...

n5jrn
01-09-2012, 16:15
Voting is no longer allowed on this poll, but for me I'd have to vote for autofocus as the downward slide point. I really prefer to focus manually. It wouldn't be so bad if autofocus didn't degrade the ability to focus manually, but it does. Half-silvered reflex mirrors make for a dimmer image in the finder, and the focus rings on AF lenses don't have the same feel as those on manual-focus lenses.

Moreover, AF lenses tend to be heavier and bulkier than their MF predecessors. This is another minus for me, as I do much of my photography out of doors while hiking, making portability a second feature compromised by autofocus.

Teuthida
01-09-2012, 16:31
When Leica became a fetish object and not a camera.

Frontman
01-09-2012, 17:35
Every camera listed in the poll is capable of taking an excellent photograph. A simpler camera does not make you a better photographer than a complicated camera, nor vice-versa. 99% of people who look at a photograph would not be able to tell if it was made with a fast prime or a slow zoom. A camera with a working, built in meter will give you more correctly exposed images than a camera without a meter. A $5000 50mm lens will not take 10000% better photographs than a $50 50mm lens.

Where it all went wrong is not the fault of any camera, as there aren't really any bad cameras on the poll. The problem is with the "photographers" who fell for the hype, and came to believe that owning such-and-such camera would make them better picture takers. Using a Leica does not make you an HCB anymore than using a Canon Rebel makes you an Andre Agassi.

David Hughes
01-10-2012, 01:59
Interesting thread.

As for me, I don't think it went wrong; I've had the same camera for 30 or 40 years and - as it can be repaired - intend to keep it. I've had a few ( one or two) serious SLR's and the Bron but being long retired don't need them so much. The Bron went a couple of years ago.

But, a while ago they all started dumping film cameras and going digital and I was tempted by a lot of seriously good cameras that I could buy for a pittance and I've enjoyed buying and using them. I've also others I've deliberately collected along the way like the pre-war Leicas, Contax, Werra etc that I use from time to time. And one or two I had when a lot younger I've bought again for a pound or two and enjoyed again.

The real problem comes when you count them all and realise you ought to get rid of most of them and just concentrate on knowing and using a few. Sorting that out is a lot harder than getting to that point.

Regards, David

cosmonaut
01-10-2012, 02:33
I would say when digital got affordable for the masses. 2000-2003. It's hard to believe I have had my M6 that long. Where does time go?

jsrockit
01-10-2012, 05:27
I'd say camera manufactuers went wrong when they removed the traditional shutter speed dial and aperture ring.

Guaranteed
01-10-2012, 08:28
Nothing went wrong, use what you like and don't use what you don't. To state otherwise is haughty at best.

jsrockit
01-10-2012, 08:35
Nothing went wrong, use what you like and don't use what you don't. To state otherwise is haughty at best.

The whole internet is "haughty."

PatrickONeill
01-11-2012, 07:25
it all went wrong after the salted paper prints hit the scene. =P