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  1. #11

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    I actually agree with the article, but also with the complementary one at http://leicaphilia.com/?p=327, which nicely articulates some important things that *are* about the toys. A tool that gets out of the way and lets the user do their artistic thing, or that's inspirational to use, is in fact useful and worthwhile.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I actually agree with the article, but also with the complementary one at http://leicaphilia.com/?p=327, which nicely articulates some important things that *are* about the toys. A tool that gets out of the way and lets the user do their artistic thing, or that's inspirational to use, is in fact useful and worthwhile.

    -NT
    Yes to that. I think most people today are way more tolerant of distractions than I am, but modern cameras seem constantly trying to get in your way. And all in the name of making things easier.

  3. #13

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    For so many people today, especially now that digital dominates the market, it is about the toys. It's about "well how many megapixels does it have?" or "full frame or crop frame?" On digital I shoot with a Pentax body. 9 out of 10 times I get laughed at by so called "pros" because it's not a Nikon or a Canon. "Pentax? Nobody uses those!" Put a print from my Pentax next to a print from the Canon or Nikon equivalent and I highly doubt any client (or really any photographer either) would be able to tell the difference, if there is a difference at all. And never mind the fact that even with the most expensive full frame DSLR, if you take boring shots, you take boring shots. The marketing gods are pretty good at convincing people otherwise though, and humans are extremely gullible when it comes to marketing. I mean hey, if that new camera body made Ashton Kutcher a better photographer, well then it will definitely make my shots more interesting!

  4. #14
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    "getting out of the way" takes a different form for each photographer. For some, it means having a simple interface that they can use intuitively. For others, it means having the exact right accessories/lenses/etc to allow them to take the pictures they're looking for without compromising/jerry-rigging. At some point, of course, "too much" does get in the way of everyone, but where that point lies is a moving target. I have a few cameras now in my arsenal that I'm keeping for the sake of having them - they were cameras I dreamed of but couldn't afford at the time they were new, etc. But forcing myself to work with a camera that has one lens and one lens only, but everything else about it (from my perspective) is not a compromise, made me think about what I was doing and focus (pun intended) a lot more on what I'm trying to accomplish with my images. That change enabled me to be more effective when I am using other gear from the collection as well, because I think in simpler terms now.

  5. #15

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    I do like cameras and lenses, and this is pretty much a hobby for the vast majority of us anymore, even those of us who used to make a living with photography, but it is still nice to keep things in perspective. That seems even harder for the modern gear folks where I saw something recently about some camera's (very good) autofocus not being adequate for children or sports pictures. I wonder how the poster thought the pictures of children and sports for almost all of the 20th century were made. The history of photography before last year seems unimportant, or unknown, to many.

    But film users are guilty to. An another forum with a strong film contingent I read endless posts about the miraculous "drawing" of various lenses - some good, some mediocre, and some fairly lousy. I love messing with lenses, and even some of those funky ones, but what I really value is equipment that does what is expected of it. I really appreciate a lens that has a nice look, like a 50 Summicron, but it is being able to count on it doing that at every f stop in nearly every situation for a period of decades that makes me value it. I don't think that is toy worshiping particularly. I could happily take pictures with many other lenses or cameras.

    Maybe more in the APUG line, there doesn't seem to be much interest in good solid reliable film processing that doesn't involve a precise number of gentle agitations followed by long periods of "standing". Or "pushing" your film, because, what? That just makes it better, you know. And don't forget to shake some chicken bones over it half way through. I'm sure that is the way the Time-Life labs (or pick your favorite art processor) did it.

    Oh, anyway, enough grumpiness. I'm going to go take some pictures.

  6. #16
    Hatchetman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    I once took some photos at a press conference of Sir Julian Huxley, a famed philosopher and brother of Aldous Huxley, the famed writer. The camera was an Asahi Pentax with a 105mm lens. Every time the shutter went off, he jumped. A rangefinder Leica or Nikon would probably have been a better choice but the the major university I was working for did not own such a camera.
    I loved the old Pentax but they were not perfect for every single job. Duh.
    Jeez, my EOS 3 would have killed the poor guy. My Spotmatic IS my quiet option.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree View Post
    Maybe more in the APUG line, there doesn't seem to be much interest in good solid reliable film processing that doesn't involve a precise number of gentle agitations followed by long periods of "standing". Or "pushing" your film, because, what? That just makes it better, you know.
    Oh, I think there's a lot of selection bias in that appearance, because there's not so much to *say* about plain old reliable film processing. Once in a while we have a thread about a film/dev combo for which there aren't published times, or about the weird Kodak numbers for TX400 in HC-110, but how many times can you say "I did it the usual way and it worked again"?

    I haven't tested this rigorously, but I think if you go through the gallery and look at how the images in it were produced, there's not all that much exotic development.

    And don't forget to shake some chicken bones over it half way through. I'm sure that is the way the Time-Life labs (or pick your favorite art processor) did it.
    The real old-timers used wild passenger pigeon bones. No modern bird will give your negatives the same look.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  8. #18

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    The only Leica I have left and will ever need...

  9. #19

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    Good article. Rather than spend money on a new lens with mythical qualities, I'd recommend photographers buy half a dozen books by classic photographers. Compare your own work and feel how painfully impoverished it is in comparison. Then resolve to do something about it.

    Most 35mm lenses perform within a gnat's whisker of one another (at least ones made since the 1970s) and a few lines per millimetre aren't going to turn a lemon into a masterpiece. The reality is buying a new camera or lens is much easier than becoming a better photographer.

  10. #20
    tony lockerbie's Avatar
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    Oh, I do like playing with toys, it's not a distraction but an adjunct to my serious stuff. Nothing like experimenting with a new (old) lens or camera and some of those experiments occasionally lead to a good photo Agree that the older Leitz lenses are put on a slightly too high a pedestal, which is why I use mostly CV lenses on my Leicas.
    Still, my M2 and 11F are really a joy to use, and surely that can't do any harm.

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