Philosophycal...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by haris, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hi to all,

    Lately I often have next thing on my mind: I find myself thinking that people who use auto focus/auto mettering cameras and especially digital, are not "real photographers". Please, don't get me wrong. I use AF/AE camera, and I have digital camera, but lately find that I would really love to sell all of that and use basic gear. I wouldn'd be surprised if I get myself 20x25cm camera, Weston meter and contact copy printer. I am 36 years old firmly on ground person, and I know this can sound very fullish. But I have these thoughts more often that I would like.

    Did any of you people have ar have had simmilar thoughts? Any thoughts about this issue?

    Or am I getting older and wants to slow down in my life and in photography...

    P. S. Please, I don't want to start another auto vs manual or film vs digital fight. This is not about that. This is about wandering through styles and ways of thinking, not about equipment.
     
  2. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I use AF/AE a lot and I consider myself a photographer!
     
  3. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    Thats because of your Holga....... right :D
    I must say that to me it doesn't matter whether its Auto everything or not I am still (not) a photographer. Its just a tool and sometimes you need the "out of focus" feature and AE.
    Cheers Søren
     
  4. haris

    haris Guest

    Like I said, this was not about equipment or who is or is not a photographer. This is about changing of approach. I already said me too use AF/AE camera. What I wanted to say, is my subconcous need for returning to basics somethnig naturall and something you all went through or it is just me. An yours overall thought about rejecting automatism and returning to basics. That is essence of my post.
     
  5. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have found lately that I use manual cameras more and more. It slows me down, REALLY makes me look at what I'm photographing. I usually take one or two readings with a hand held light meter, and keep the camera set there unless the light changes. I have two rangefinder cameras, and one 35mm slr with all the bells and whistles.

    Occasionally, however, I find the slr is the right tool. I shoot a lot of children's portraits, and I find the quick auto focus very handy. My personal work, however, is always made with one of the two rangefinders! They are really satisfying cameras to use.
     
  6. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    When using a manual camera ( or the manual feature on an elektronic) I find that the operation is sometimes more "spontane?" eg the compensation which is done more easily than if I have to set it to + or - on the camerabody in AE mode. I do like the AF on my F90X but use it manually on closeups. The reason I upgraded to MF is partly because it force me to change my habits and slow down. This make me think more before I press the shutter.
    Mvh Søren
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Your interests and the type of work you wish to do will pretty much dictate what type of gear is useful. I work almost entirely with static subjects and I use a manual focus slr using a seperate incident light meter. If, however, as an example, I was trying to photograph children being themselves I would likely change to a rangefinder or auto-focus camera. Who knows I might even buy a zoom lens.

    The other day I heard a rumor that one is even able to take photos without film. What a silly idea.
     
  8. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I like using my Olympus OM-1 as it is easy to use and small. I like to use manual cameras, but for portraits of kids I like AF!

    I use my Canon EOS Elan 7E with a handheld meter almost all the time and like the handheld way of metering the light.

    Whether or not using manual or automatic I work manually (at least partly) almost all the time.
     
  9. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Go right ahead and find yourself some vintage gear and get after it. Then, when you see how truly wonderful advances in equipment are you will come back to the newer stuff. Trust me on this. I started when the only thing there was was manual everything. The only thing advances in technology do is remove the excuses of mechanical failure. When you remove mechanical failures, the only thing left is the failure of the photographer's vision. The key to successful photography is removing the failure of the photographer's vision.
    So, go ahead and give that vintage gear a try. It will give you a good grounding in film exposure and focus so you can appreciate your newer gear.
     
  10. rogueish

    rogueish Member

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    I have a 35mm AF camera that extremly rarely get used in the auto mod. I found the autofocus annoying and often wrong. Really sucked the juice out of the batteries too. The only time I use AF now is for fast moving objects and the odd sports event, which again is pretty rare. I never use the auto shutter or apeture settings
    There's a good article here: http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?goto=lastcomment&v=1&a=5#comment426
    which will link you to this site: http://wilson.dynu.net/dilution.asp
     
  11. Bighead

    Bighead Member

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    Depends on the situation, of course, as to what gear I use but I don't think I enjoy the act of photography more, that when I am using my C330..... No meter. No AF. Just a pocket full of 120, a light meter in my breast pocket and the behemoth around my neck.
     
  12. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    The camera is just a tool. How one uses the tool to express ideas, to communicate is what makes one a photographer. It doesn't matter one bit whether one uses an automated tool or, a simple one. It is the communication that matters. Use the right tool for the job and develop you communication skills.
     
  13. haris

    haris Guest

    I am completely misunderstood, but never mind...
     
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  15. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Luck must be against me, because my 1968 Nikon F cameras still work, as do the very old Linhof, and Hasselblads, while every single, spendy automatic camera I purchased for my wife broke within a year.

    A minor thought - when one surrenders to auto-everything, he's chosen to let the camera choose certain elements of the photographic language. To a writer that is like letting a word processor correct grammar; not all literature, nor every good photo is technically 'correct'.
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I've used modern cameras, old cameras, vintage cameras and antique cameras.

    Guess what: I prefer the older ones! The extra time and thought required to take a picture with an all-manual large format camera means that I have just about 100% "keepers". So even if I take far fewer exposures, the number of pictures has gone right up!
     
  17. haris

    haris Guest

    To try to clear even more this issue. What I originaly ment is if anybody start to feel need to leave automatization and to turn to basics what could be force(emotional, artistic, philosophycal, any other) which make that need. And if some of you had that need what was background of it and how do you explain it. And for other what do you think what that could be...

    I know that "use any equipment you want" is correct, but I didn't meant to ask "should I use this or that". And I didn't hope to get answer "I use this or that". That is not the issue here.
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I see...

    I like big old heavy slow cameras because...

    I don't know really, but I get better results with them. Maybe there are "fewer layers" beween my self and the film?
     
  19. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think I'm with Ole, here. I was using AF cameras, with all the bells and whistles for years. When I descided to add medium format, I went with the rangefinder, and just realized how much easier it seemed to be between me... and the film!

    I can never quite manage to get my head around all the functions of my Nikon, and as a result, I probably don't take advantage of everything it has to offer. Oh well... it is still a good tool for certain situations.
     
  20. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Then I try to respond to your first (and thread-starting) post. :smile:

    I have had, and still have, similar thoughts of going back-to-basics and drop all the modern stuff (my camera has the feature of focusing on what I look at by tracking my pupil in the viewfinder with some sort of beam....I never use it, though). But I am too happy with the features (e.g. when shooting kids AF comes handy). The essense for me is to use the features to enhance the quality of the photos by incorporating them into your work flow. The main thing is to see and compose the shot. If you are shooting moving things AE and AF can help you a lot and makes you able to dedicate your energy to composition and finding the great thing to point the camera at. But I agree that I learn a lot by going all manual. I started out with Pentax Spotmatic and learned a lot from the beginning and after that I got more and more features in the cameras I bought next.
    In studio I am almost manual, but in the streets I am using aperture priority and AF a lot.

    So the conclusion for me is that going basic is good experience, but I gain too much from the AF and AE to give it up completely.

    I hope I got closer to what yopu asked.
     
  21. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    I felt this need 2-3 years ago. I felt that I was letting my camera make decisions for me that I thought I should be making. So I switched off the automation and immediately my photography improved. I also discovered that I was enjoying photography more too.

    Since I went manual I have occasionally used partially or fully automated systems (including various digitals). Each time I have felt that they were allowing me to be lazy. I think speed in one area of the process led me to hurry in other areas, probably because I concentrate less. And when I get lazy my photos suffer, leaving me feeling frustrated and disappointed.

    Of course this says more about me than it does about automation. I'm not a luddite - I have a successful career in IT that relies on my technology skills. There's just something about the slow pace of manual photography that I really enjoy.

    I think everyone should at least try non-automated photography. Of course it may not work for you and may not suit the work you do. That's fine - just keep automating. But you may also discover a new creative path.
     
  22. roteague

    roteague Member

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    It sounds like you just want more control over your work, and not wanting a computer to do your work for you. I have both a Nikon F5 as well as a 4x5; while I enjoy using both, I get much more pleasure out of using the 4x5.
     
  23. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Yes, the shotgun approach to photography doesn't appeal to me. I would rather take 1 or 2 really good images, then a 20 flat ones.
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Engaging the brain

    I would like to have the option of auto focus some times, but I don't. Otherwise, it seems to me that it depends on how you use the automatic functions.

    I use TTL flash a lot, but I am always analyzing the subject, to adjust (using the exposure compensation dial) for non-average reflectance. Philosophically, I believe that is almost as "manual" as using a guide number.

    I make similar adjustments to exposure settings, when I use automatic settings (primarily in rapidly changing environments). Even so, I am usually mentally comparing settings to "sunny 16" settings (when that is applicable).

    I guess what I am saying, is that "automatic" functions are great, if one understands them and modifies the settings when appropriate - i.e. one "engages the brain" while using same. More generally, and I guess somewhat philosophically, I am saying that I get satisfaction and the photographic process is more rewarding when I control the automation and consciously use it to my benefit, rather than letting it dictate my results.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Auto flash (not TTL) is a convenience that I use occassionally in situations where it's not likely to make too many mistakes.

    Focus is too important for me to leave to an auto function that is as likely to get it wrong as get it right, and I don't really find a need for auto exposure in general, though I have it on a few cameras. I pretty much leave them set on manual and use in-camera spot metering or a hand meter.

    I like motor drives, though I rarely shoot 5 fps. I like Grafmatics too.

    I do like those nifty DOF and tilt/swing calculators on the Sinar though.
     
  26. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Getting back to Haris' original thread, I'm having pretty much the same feelings. I started when everything was manual, and progressed with the technology through TTL and autofocus, and even digital. Each step let me do more, and be more.

    But I started to feel I was letting the camera drive me. I still have the F5, but I picked up a nice Nikon F and really love it. I'm not sure why... Maybe it's the solid feel of the camera, or the idea of a simpler time, or maybe that I must think, really THINK, before an exposure.

    I moved into large format for the same reasons. Now a good part of my work is in LF. And I see "alternative processes" in my future.

    So now most of my work is with manual equipment. I'll keep the AF and TTL for those rare occasions where it's really necessary. And the best way to get an image on the net is with a digital camera. But I personally feel more like a photographer using the manual equipment.