And taking a snapshot used to be so easy....
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!
It is amazing to see the how much inconvience people will put up with, just to have the "latest and greatest".
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
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.
I honestly don't understand why anyone needs autofocus.
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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.
"What drives man to create is the compulsion to, just once in his life, comprehend and record the pure, unadorned, unvarnished truth. Not some of it; all of it."
- Fred Picker
Originally Posted by Tom Kershaw
you must be "young"; or have young eyes
Last edited by ann; 07-08-2006 at 03:05 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
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.
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.