And taking a snapshot used to be so easy....

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Brac, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. Brac

    Brac Member

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    Ever since George Eastman told our grandparents/great-grandparents that all they had to do was press the button and he would do the rest, millions of us have continued to take trillions of humble snapshots of special moments in our lives. Not high art perhaps, but increasingly precious as the years pass by. But today it's not so easy at all for many people swept up in digital mania.

    What prompts this thought is a brief visit to an old friend last weekend. A glorious afternoon with brilliant sunshine. My friend was in the garden playing with his young daughter. I hadn't expected to be taking any photos that afternoon so had no camera. But he wanted me to take some and asked me to use his latest toy, a Konica-Minolta bridge type camera with zoom & electronic viewfinder. One of the last models they introduced and of which there seem to be many clones around.

    I didn't feel very enthusiastic about using it but I didn't expect any problems. Covered with buttons & sliding bits and made of what felt like incredibly flimsy plastic, I had to ask for an instant crash course in how to operate it. But then the real problems began because in the bright sunshine both the LCD screen & the view from the electronic viewfinder were incredibly difficult to see. So I ended up shooting half blind; worse when the shutter button was pressed there was a substantial delay before the shutter fired so I was not really sure of what I was capturing. As the daughter was moving about all the time it made it very difficult to get anything worthwhile.

    Afterwards I thought to myself I could have got better results using a Kodak 126 cartridge camera of 40 years ago. It's a shame because so many people using this type of electronic gadget are not going to get as good photos as they could have with a 35mm compact. It's strange one never seems to read about these very real problems in the photographic or computer press.

    Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong forum but this one seemed kind of appropriate!
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    It is amazing to see the how much inconvience people will put up with, just to have the "latest and greatest".
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    My DLSR is easy to use, even on manual. i prefer the simplicity of my pentax: shutter,pc sync, apeture, and lightmeter were the switches. but wiht the canon there is so many things to learn
     
  4. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    Shutter lag is an issue on many newer cameras, and autofocus hunting can even make that time lag worse. I tend to use older gear with extremely short shutter release times, since I like that timing aspect of getting the shots I want. Obviously, the convenience factor is bigger with the general public, or we might have more newer quick shutter cameras.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  5. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    I honestly don't understand why anyone needs autofocus.
     
  6. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    The shutter lag on the digi cameras I have tried makes them almost useless for photographing anything that moves. You never get what you saw when you tripped the shutter.

    Blech!
     
  7. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    you must be "young"; or have young eyes :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2006
  8. Peter Jones

    Peter Jones Member

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    Most "Happy snappers" would really be better off with a 35mm p&s that uses no batteries. Using the camera twice a year (Christmas and summer vacation) doesn't do LiIon batteries much good.
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    The problem I see with most people who use digital compacts for family/holiday snapshots is that they don't tend to print them out any more so they only exist on a computer or a CD.

    The advantage of proper pictures in an album is that you can look at it at any time. Another scenario would perhaps be clearing out the house of a deceased relative - not a nice thing to do in any circumstance but if you find an old album, you will usually have a look through it and recall some happy memories.

    If you find a CD, you are unlikely to spend time putting it into a computer to have a look. These images will probably be lost forever.


    Steve.
     
  10. Didzis

    Didzis Member

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    Shutter lag in new cameras actually is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, although when today I ran out of film in my Zenit EM and switched to my digital snapshoot camera (which is actually a pretty decent camera), I found it quite hard to adjust to autofocus, shutter lag, and the unfortunate fact that you cannot see much in the LCD if shooting in a sunny day (I very rarely use it now that I've rediscovered the joys of film).

    However, digital clearly has advantages for the average snapshooter; you get immediate results so you can see if you've goofed or show off the picture to everybody on it just after it's taken (call it names if you like but that IS great, that's what made Polaroid popular in the first place), it's extremely portable (simple digital camera fits very easily in pocket, and few 35mm cameras do -- with notable exceptions, of course, like the most venerable Olympus XA), it's cheap (digital P&S cameras start at pretty low prices nowadays), and then you also save 'cause you don't have to pay for developing film, and, probably most importantly, the picture is already digital, so you don't have to have it scanned in anymore.

    Digital pictures fit the current life just fine: you can easily share them, you can store them on a CD and then just pop in a computer when you want to show them, instead of keeping a large album. Everything is fast and portable, just the way people like it. Yes, they are very temporary and might have serious archival problems. Of course, you can print them out, but few people do. But again, most people today can live with it. The thing to remember is thar we live in an increasingly throw-away society. Things are so cheap that it's cheaper to throw them out when they break than to repair them. And this menthality extends to other things, such as family photographs, as well. The adoption curve of digital very strongly suggests that people actually can accept all the inconveniences of those cameras, so it's a bit useless to suggest how much better off they would be with a film camera. Of course, it's always possible that this is just a mass fad and people are buying useless cameras just because everybody else is.
     
  11. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Member

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    "Rage, rage, against the dying of the light!"
     
  12. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I didn't either until I hit 50... and got into trifocals. :sad:

    --Eddy
     
  13. Wigwam Jones

    Wigwam Jones Member

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    Why do you care what other people do with their photos? If you want to print yours, print them. If others don't, what exactly makes it your business?
     
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  15. Didzis

    Didzis Member

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    Oh, really? If the CD has Family Photos written on it, would you really pass it by? Moreover, the average digishooter is probably now more used to photos on CDs than in albums, so taking a look would seem rather natural.
     
  16. dmr

    dmr Member

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    Well, I grudgingly admit to being "49 and holding" and I still have good near vision (for now -- knocking on wood), and can focus both the rangefinders and the Pentax quite easily.

    However, back in 1997 I decided I needed a decent small "carry everywhere" camera. I realized that I was missing many shots because I didn't have anything, period, with me at the time. I wanted a purse-sized camera, but still one that had a good lens and could do decent real photography. :smile: I eventually settled on the Olympus Stylus Zoom (yeah, a film camera), the one with the 35-70 zoom and yes, autofocus.

    I really don't need autofocus.

    However, the choice in small reasonably-priced point-n-shoot cameras was (and still is) either fixed focus or autofocus. So, autofocus is the lesser of the evils.

    One reason I chose this model was that it had almost zero shutter lag.

    At first I kinda forgot about focus, until one night at a party I took a shot of my then-boss and his assistant, a shot that I hoped would be a keeper, but the autofocus locked on to the wall 20 feet behind them and dead center in the photo. :sad: Since then I got into the practice of "focusing" first, meaning center on the subject, holding the shutter half way down to focus, set autoexposure/flash, and then recompose and shoot.
     
  17. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I'm the same with modern 35mm film camera's...I usually have to ask the person how to turn on their camera. My 35mm for family colour snap-shots is a Pentax K1000 who's battery ran out 2 years ago, and I haven't bothered to put in a fresh one. I just take a wild guess on exposure based on the f16 rule or use a manual flash indoors.

    Low tech rarely fails :smile:

    Murray
     
  18. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    I just returned from 2 days at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and was amazed to see how many people were shooting with their little p&s digitals. It was like a mini-fireworks show at dusk. Many of them were trying to shoot the performers onstage from roughly 200 yards out. So from the vantage point of most of the audience, there was lot of flashing going on. My guess is that very few shots turned out unless the GN's from some of these units is a lot further than I think they are!
     
  19. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    I don’t either and my eyes are not the greatest. All I need is a ground glass and loupe and good to go. AF is a waste. And with the blad, I just focus as much as I can see then stop the lens down to pick up where my eyes leave off.

    Oh and yes I use the blad for family snapshots, never a problem even when the kids are running around either. Pratice is all it takes...
     
  20. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy Member

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    Storage mediums change abnd get outdated. My fear is that there will be a day where finding that CD-ROM that says "Family Photos" will be the same as finding a box of punch Cards marked "Family Photos" in this day. Pretty much not going ot be seeing them again without spending a handful of time & effort tracking down some vintage equipment.

    Human eyes should be around for quite a long time yet, and they're all that will be needed to views a photo album that says "Family Photos" written on it for many thousands of years to come.
     
  21. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I shot a Folk gig last night

    Thankfully it was in a club and I used a Nikon F2 loaded up with Ilford Delta 3200 and packed the Nikkor 35 f2, 50 f1.4 and 105 f2.8. I develop tonight.

    I remember the thread where parents were trying to document their kid's university graduation with camera phones, if that is not set up for disappointment, I don't know what is.

    Bill
     
  22. eddym

    eddym Member

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    My wife is a pastel artist, and usually takes photos to use for reference to make her art. Years ago I gave her a Rollei Prego 28-90 P&S, and she loves it. But it is a bit large for her purse, so for the same reason you state, she has taken to carrying a disposable camera with her everywhere. No zoom, no focus, but the quality is much better than many digicams, and light-years ahead of camera cell phones (which we had considered). And even better, it's film! :smile:
     
  23. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Anyone remember the Olympus Trip? Simple, compact and mine only cost me £25:smile::smile:And then there was the Minox 35mm models, Contax T series, Ricoh GR1..........in fact even my Pentax LX with 40mm 'pancake' attached is pretty compact. As for archiving, well NASA lost thousands of images because they were stored on obsolete computer tapes.....nuff said.
     
  24. Didzis

    Didzis Member

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    Well, I'm not that sure about that. CD-ROMs are not exactly punch cards; they are (or probably were, before DVDs became popular) considerably more popular. Punch cards were used by large, noisy computing machines that took a whole building and cost a fortune; CD-ROMs are used by small desktop computers that are not particularly expensive, and most people in somewhat developed countries do have one. It's probably more like finding a 8mm film or Beta tape labelled "Home movies" -- both technologies were quite widespread, so it should be quite easy to find a conversion service. And probably even that would not be needed: many computers still have 3.5 inch floppy drives, even though a good share of those drives never see a floppy. It's there just for backwards compatibility with that old format that was so popular that people still might need to read the occasional floppy.
    However, there's another archival issue, probably more serious than that -- CDs and especially DVDs should really be handled with care if you want them to last. For example, I have a pretty large collection of CD-Rs, and some of them cannot be read some three years later, even though I didn't do anything that bad to them. It's probably some 20 or so out of 500, but the number would surely grow with time. Backups, however, would help somewhat, and regular migration to newer formats would pretty much solve the problem.
     
  25. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    FWIW A good portion of the digital images I stored just a few years past on name brand CD's under decent conditions are now unreadable. I have better things to do than constantly migrate digital media to the geek spasm of the day. I am pushing all my client work back to film. I no longer believe at all in the archivability of digital material, its a bunch of hype, prone to deletion, degradation, and failure.

    In contrast, I can still print negatives my grandfather shot 60 years ago, with no problems at all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2006
  26. haris

    haris Guest

    Shutter lag: I have Canon EOS3, my brother has D20 and I have friend who has D5. No noticeable difference between mine film and their digital cameras. Ok, maybe some computerized measuring machine will measure difference, but I didn't see it.

    Autofocus: I usually (90%) of time use manual focus. But, autofocus worked with basketball play shooting, car rally racing, and I didn't have oportunity to try it with formula 1 race, but I belive it will be no problems. And it was on slow lenses. What I want to say, if you use cameras as good as EOS 3 or even faster, autofocus works good, so it is up to you if you want to use it or not. If you don't get good photographs with autofocus with these class of cameras it is up to you, not camera.

    Five days ago was concert of Paco de Lucia in my town. It was really sad to look at people with theire mobile phones and digital p/s trying to get picture from 50 meters distance...

    I had Olumpus mjuII. It was stolen from me. If I can find another one, I will buy it. Lovelly little sexy thing.