auto focus and aperture priority (or shutter priority) is about as automatic as I get. Sometimes I even override the auto focus, and if I'm shooting infrared, well that forces me to go completely manual. As for correcting exposure post-shutter release, that happens when prints are made from my medium format box camera.
As far as the whole automatic thing goes, the only thing I use that's automatic is the autofocus, even on my Dxxx I never use anything but M or B settings, if you can't take a picture using the manual settings, then you haven't trained yourself to really know your camera all that well, you really should be able to make all of those micro adjustments very easily without relying in any auto settings including Tv (shutter priority) or Av (aperture priority).
I think that autofocus can be valuable, especially if your eyes are not good, or if it's a very fast motion seen, however mostly I use autofocus because the new camera lenses require you to use autofocus, they don't come with focusing screens, especially a split screen which is what I grew up using, and the throw on the lens is very short in comparison to the manual lenses which have a nice long throw so you can make small adjustments without going too far over, so auto focus is almost a requirement on the newer cameras, but that's about it, everything else I rely on is manual, obviously if you think about having an in camera meter as something that's "automatic" then obviously that is automatic too, but I'm not allowing the camera to make a decision, I'm just reading the data of the exposure levels that the camera reads, and making my own decisions about if I should follow them.
So I basically shoot digital just like I shoot film, The only difference is the after processing, and although the two types are different, my actual processes are very much the same, I often end up pushing film because I like the contrasty look, and I often end up planning to "push" the digital file in Digital editing afterward (Lightroom 4) so to me, the ONLY reason I shoot film is my own self, The way that I personally handle the film give me a different result than it does with Digital, it's not that film is better, it's that film is different, film gives me the look I enjoy and so I shoot it for that purpose, it does slow me down to some degree especially if I'm using larger formats, but ultimately it's really about the type of image that I can produce using film versus digital.
It wasn't an accusation, just a general observation. Cameras have evolved to make everything foolproof, but that degree of automation comes at a price. Take auto focus - how can chasing a red dot around a viewfinder be easier than turning a focus ring? Probably because the ring, if it exists at all, will be a vestigial affair in no way suitable for manual focus.
Originally Posted by Hatchetman
Exposure suffers the same level of automation, fine when it works, but on the occasions it doesn't getting to override the 'brain' and know how it will respond is an exercise in computing, not photography. We become dependent on gadgets at our peril.
Well we could all shoot large format with a shutterless lenses and print with sunlight. :whistling:
Originally Posted by blockend
Automating our processes is kinda like becoming dependent on electricity. I'm comfortable being dependent on electricity.
I'm quite fond of automatic flash exposure, especially if I have the ability to adjust the results.
And I like having the convenience of "program" exposure when I'm taking snapshots.
And aperture preferred auto combined with exposure compensation is good and flexible.
If automatic functions are both predictable and override-able, I think they have value.
Gadgets and conveniences have their place. But they are not the end all, be all. I like the eye focus on my Canon. It can be a real asset in some situations.
It does not substitute for manual focus when the situation allows.
35mm does not make a worthy substitute for 8x10 when doing landscapes. But at a football game, or the Indy 500, it's a winner hands down.
You may be conflating tools with gadgets. The latter are solutions to a problem that may not exist, or one invented to provide the solution with an application. Cameras have a sliding scale of gadget-itis, some being more useful than others. I'd define a photographic gadget as something that takes as long or longer to complete a task than an existing method. Metering is especially prone to gadget-itis, but focus is going down a similar route. DSLRs are gadget heaven, or hell depending on your perspective.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
Someone recently suggested to me, in all seriousness, that cameras should have focus bracketing.