I've had cameras with automatic features, but leave everything in manual most of the time. Aside from having more direct control over the factors that make the image (DOF, chosing to stop motion or register motion, etc.), in manual, I can think about exposure in pretty much the same way with any camera (adding in bellows factor for large format), which I see as easier.
When I have to get a shot it's on program with exposure comp preset for whatever film I'm using. Manual otherwise. I started with a manual 35MM that has (yep,still got it) match needle metering and went from there. I even use manual focus glass on my digital cameras. And they get used just like the film cameras. You oughta see the looks I get with a digital camera in one hand and my Weston Master II in the other.
Good on you, man. Here's for using the brain!
Originally Posted by MartinCrabtree
“You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt
Depends on the manual camera can't get much easier than a Box camera or a Toycamera (Holga, Diana, etc...). I believe that some automation is ok just not auto everything. In fact a camera with AE and might be good tool to teach the basics. You change the aperture and then you see a change in the exposure time. So the camera basically shows the user the relation of aperture and exposure time. Something that I believe is necessary is a stop down preview lever to see the relation of aperture and depth of field. Auto everything cameras can be used to teach people how to concentrate on composition and on the image, this should be done at a later stage though.
Also I've never heard that fully auto cameras were good for beginners.
At the beginning of using an all manual camera it might be a bit difficult. As one makes progress in photography and becomes more and more demanding in terms of control over the camera, this is when all manual becomes a real comfort. After a while and before you know it, it becomes a second nature.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
I agree with this but there are a number of ways to exercise manual control. These can range all the way from all manual requiring the setting of all settings to using Program and then adjusting via exposure compensation or exposing in one area of the scene and locking exposure. I frequently use my PZ1p in Program and use the Hyper Program setting to adjust based on whether depth of field is important or shutter speed. These all require you to understand photography and understand what you are trying to achieve with your photograph. Just arbitrarily using manual settings is fine, but not the be-all, end-all of photography.
Originally Posted by zanxion72
As is often true in photography, there are not any easy, pat answers, just different techniques.
As for the original question, it can be quite easy to use a camera in manual, even if you are not that interested in picking your own shutter speed and aperture manually. Modern cameras provide many options to achieve your vision and it only takes a little time on your part to become relatively competent with the options you wish to use. Be aware though, it can take a lifetime to really FEEL competent with those choices.
The simplest tools can be the hardest to master.
+1. Case in point: The ME Super. It has two exposure modes - aperture priority and manual. When I knew I wanted a certain shutter speed, I'd let the camera meter the scene and pick the shutter based on the light and the aperture the lens was set at. If it wasn't the shutter speed I wanted, I'd simply adjust the aperture until I saw the shutter speed I wanted in the viewfinder. If I wanted a given aperture, then I'd set it and just let the camera pick the shutter speed.
Like Pioneer said, you don't always have to go completely manual in order to have sufficient control to get the result you want. Now if I'm shooting B&W infrared with an IR filter, yeah, I go completely manual. Even manual focus. But otherwise, 90% of the time, the camera's in some sort of AE mode that will give me enough manual control to get either the shutter speed or aperture I want, and those are two of the most important controls in photography.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.
If you understand how a camera works, every form of automation will get in the way and/or slow you down. If you don't know how a camera works, innovations like Program mode are a God-send.
The trouble is automatic-worship has reached insane levels. I recently spoke to someone who believed focusing a digital camera by eye was no longer possible because people had lost the skills, and they found chasing a focus point cursor round a screen quicker than turning a ring on the lens. After a moment's cognitive dissonance, I suspect he is probably correct.
My experience of a few digital cameras is they operate more like slide film (meter for the highlights) than print film. Full auto tends to provide mediocre results on film and digital.
Sorry blockend but that statement is pure BS.
Originally Posted by blockend
I'd pit the speed & accuracy of me & my F5 or F100 against any manual system.
I'm sorry you've chosen to frame your reply as an insult, but I stand by my original statement. There are certainly situations where automated metering can help, shooting fast moving sports under changing light for example, but most of the time correctly metering for the subject and having the experience to know how a particular film and developer will render it, will knock your matrix metered all-seeing-eye into cocked hat. I have twenty+ years experience of various zone metering algorithmic systems, so I know their advantages and their limitations.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
How does your system know I want to crush all the shadows to black and leave the lady's white hat as the sole highlight? And when will it anticipate that I want the backlit man as a light grey with the rest of the scene bleached out? No meter is that smart. If average is your thing, automatic metering is fine.
Last edited by blockend; 02-02-2014 at 03:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.