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.
Originally Posted by haris
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.
Originally Posted by Ole
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.
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.
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.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
When photographing scenics, nature and still life a manual focus, manual exposure camera with a good ground glass and decent DOF scales makes the job much easier than to try using much of the auto-focus equipment.
I disagree Joe. I think autofocus has a real place in fast action photography or as the photographer advances in age and their visual acuity suffers. However, I believe I can shoot quicker and probably more accurately using manual exposure controls. Plus, having an autoeverything camera suddenly lock up or go dead is not an experience I wish to repeat. I also hate having to reprogram the damn things when I wish to do something creative with them (e.g., underexpose by a stop or use a very slow shutter speed in low light, etc.).
Originally Posted by Joe Lipka
I agree that manual equipment slows you down and perhaps one shoots fewer yet more contemplative images that way. "A good thing" as Martha would say. First with the move to ULF and now as I'm about to take up wetplate collodion photography, I sense this is taking that philosophy to an extreme. I also think it will be a better way of working for me personally. (YMMV.) If I manage to do a few dozen exposures each year in that process I think I will be doing well and hopefully I'll bevery satisfied with the resulting images. It is going to take a lot of preparation and forethought as well as contemplation of the image before I pour any plate. I sure won't be burning through them.
Nope. The good sports photographers I know have always led the field because they saw a thousandth second in the future. The auto-focus cameras, motor-drives haven't helped them one bit except in the later regard to save their thumb from the manual advance.
Originally Posted by smieglitz
I'm not so sure.
Originally Posted by jjstafford
I'd be willing to bet that virtually all sports photographers are firing away at 5 frames a second, half a second before the "action", then choosing the right shot later.
You'd be crazy not to. The shot right after the one you visualized may just be the better shot. It's a competitive business and the best shot wins.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
There used to be a guy who shot for the Cleveland _Plain Dealer_ who usually only took one shot at the Browns games for the sports page.
For bird photos I like having a motor drive because it makes the camera react faster and gets it ready for the next shot, but I only use 5 fps for flight sequences. I used to shoot bursts occasionally, but I found I was always keeping the first frame and tossing the others.