Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Losing touch with reality

Amateur photographers have lost touch with reality. Yes, that's right. Read that again - amateur photographers have lost touch with reality. I'm not talking about professional photographers - most of them have already realised that photography is ever less lucrative to the point that most now do not use photography as their sole income.

Some manufacturer comes out with the latest whiz-bang camera that takes photos, makes the tea, pops out slices of ready-buttered toast cut neatly into soldiers and all the amateurs immediately hawk their current cameras on ebay to rush off and buy the latest creation. It's been utterly ridiculous for years. First the madheads rushed off to buy 2 and 3 megapixel digital SLRs - as though they were actually worth paying money for. To cap it all, they paid thousands for them. They broke the unwritten rule that you never buy electronics when they first come out unless you have no money sense whatsoever. As if that wasn't enough, they fell for the advertiser's bullshit about last year's model not being as good as this year's model. They repeated the process!

Judging by the way manufacturers slowly leaked out minor increases in sensor sizes, milking the market each time, enough amateurs fell for that to keep the process going for a good few years. All it takes to keep a scam like that going is enough suckers to fall for it. Let's have a good look at megapixels.

When I started in digital photography, I bought a 3 megapixel compact which I used extensively. It didn't have a long zoom and recorded only 15 second clips of silent video. Most people today would turn their delicate little noses up at 3 megapixels yet a 3 megapixel image will yield a nice 10x8 print and possibly bigger. How many prints are hanging on walls bigger than 10x8? Not many - that's how many. Then a friend gave me a 3 megapixel superzoom which also did video. The compact failed after 6 years use and about 4,000 photos. The superzoom failed at about the same time but failed of a known manufacturing defect so it was sent back for a free repair and still works to this day though it doesn't get used much now. I did not go for multiple upgrades and camera after camera as megapixels crept from 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 to 8 etc. I looked at the advertisers' baloney the first year and recognised it as baloney.

Eventually I got a digital SLR with an 8 megapixel sensor. Sadly, I bought that while it was still quite expensive though not at the brand spanking new prices. I still use that 8 megapixel digital SLR. I checked the other day and the price had fallen from $1,200 when it was newly released to $30 on the secondhand market. That took 7 years. I use cameras that are between 7 and 10 years old or very much out of date.
As far as I am concerned, the photos from my 7 year old digital SLR that is now worth almost nothing are pretty darned good.

There was a time when I thought a lot of stabilised lenses. I'm not such a fan of them any more. They're very nice and I can get some great photos from them but I can also get some absolutely ghastly photos when they go bananas - which they do. I have seen the image jumping about through the viewfinder and had to switch both camera and lens off in order to cure the problem. I was very much a fan of stabilised lenses when I found I could take hand-held photos in low light with them. Now, I'm not so much of a fan because I think I get better photos out of my non-stabilised lenses. The above photo was from a stabilised lens. The below photo was from a non-stabilised lens.
This was taken with a non-stabilised, hand held Tamron 17-35 that I got secondhand for almost nothing. The resolution is great. The problem with stabilised lenses is they tend to want to stabilise already stable images which degrades the images very slightly. They also lull people into a false sense of security as they only stabilise in certain planes.

Amateurs, needless to say have fallen for the stabilised lens baloney and tend to buy only stabilised lenses. I bought one and liked it initially so I bought another. Now I'm not keen on either, hence I put them up for sale.

I enjoyed my photography the most when I used manual focus cameras with manual exposure only. I had to think about what I was doing more than I do with these electronic things. Similarly, with my old manual flash, I used to work out the exposures in my head rather than relying upon some electronic thing to get it right. I miss having control over all the aspects of photography from exposure to flash control etc that I used to have with film. I miss having a depth of field scale on the lens. These electronic calculation apps we can have on our phones just don't give me the quality of information that the scales used to give. With that scale I could ensure everything between two points was in focus. I can't do that with these wretched calculators. I can't even work out where exactly the lens is focussing as there's nothing worthwhile in the way of a distance scale any more.

Amateurs fall for all the "advances" believing that they will make their own photography match that of the professionals. In fact what will advance their photography is getting out and taking better pictures and doing it more often. Amateurs need to forget about all the stupid rules like the rule of thirds. They need to forget about all the "experts" they meet online and in real life. They need to get out and take pictures and to stop worrying if they're breaking some rule or other.

My ideal camera would not have 90% of the fancy features. It would have a shutter speed dial with an aperture priority setting, ISO controls and basic view/review/delete controls for the LCD. It would in effect be a Nikon F3 in digital. 

Digital cameras are just too darned complicated. If I need to carry the manual with me to work out how to operate funky features like second curtain synch etc then the camera is too complicated. I don't want features I'll use maybe once in a blue moon. Amateurs seem crazy on having every damned feature they can think of even though it makes the camera into an unwieldy monstrosity. Most of these digital cameras are monstrosities these days. Amateurs buying into it all is what's driving manufacturers to put all the garbage onto cameras. I don't want a camera that will brew the tea and make sandwiches. I want a camera that I can work with.

Lenses - as I've already said - the image stabilisation feature is interesting but adds to problems. The autofocus thing adds to laziness and problems. Give me a good old manual focus lens with my digital camera and give me back my freznel rings and split screens! Keep the weight of the old film cameras though - I prefer the more modern lightweight systems.

Amateurs have largely forgotten what it is to make a photograph - they let the camera do all the work without any basic understanding of the process. Many cannot understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Most won't even know what this symbol means  0  on their camera bodies. It is most assuredly on my 7 year old Canon XT. 

Amateurs through the advancement of technology have completely lost touch with the reality of photography. They clamor for ever more crap on their cameras, grade cameras by megapixels, focussing speed and a whole load of irrelevant garbage that actually gets in the way of taking good photos.

Many amateurs laugh at the so-called "MWAC" - mom with a camera who goes out and sells their skills with a camera for money without ever knowing quite why the camera does what it does. Those amateurs are not much behind MWACs for lack of photographic knowledge. It's a sobering thought that the unskilled people of old who were unable to load film into their cameras or to take a photo without their finger in front of the lens now own digital cameras and call themselves amateurs.

No comments:

Post a Comment