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Wednesday, 22 May 2019


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If simplicity and extreme functionality of design translate to fun, which I think is what you are saying, there is of course the Leica M10D. Yes, the one without the LCD. That one, of course, stops being fun when you look at the price tag. But suppose Fuji came out with a similar version of one of their bodies, which I believe , Mike, you are keen on, would you buy it?

Just use film cameras. I'm saving up for a Leica MP. Analogue processsing is alive and well if you don't want to do it yourself

Cell phone cameras are fun: you take it out of your pocket, snap a picture of your friends, and you get what you get. You're not expecting art - just a memory of all of you having fun. Probably not much different than that disc camera or the 1930's Agfa folder.

Today Mike wrote,

So what's still missing?

Only one wee little thing: they're no fun. They have everything you could possibly want, except that.

Fun is the missing "feature."

Mike wrote on May 9, 2019,

I spent a few hours last night poking around the Web reading the conclusions of reviews of the RP, and here's my meta-analysis summary report:

"It might not technically be the greatest camera with the latest features, but it's a lot of fun to shoot with and the reviewer enjoyed it."

That's all the reviews I read in a nutshell.

Fun is funny. Part of the fun is often in coming up with ways to get around shortcomings or to make shortcomings work for the image. Putting in more features is part of the reason for less fun. There's less annoyances, less problems, less obstructions, you don't have to work at it. Look at kids playing and having fun—they work at it. They don't enjoy things that make it too easy for them. Having fun is something you have to work at.

Making it too easy also makes it less fun.

I wholeheartedly agree. Cameras ought to be much easier to use AND should be stupidly simple to share from. Thom Hogan has been harping on both these points from when I first started reading about digital photography (though, I presume he's been doing it for much longer than that).

Fun? I don't take pictures, I make images. A camera is a serious tool for a serious purpose. I don't want to be entertained by a camera, I want it to work for me.

Part of the reason that the manual is 519 pages long is that it is printed on 3"x4" paper in multiple languages. Why, because they want to print it cheaply because nobody reads them. They need a separately printed handbook.

[Well, what I looked at was a PDF, which has no native "size," but the pages were letter-sized aspect ratio in portrait orientation and the manual was entirely in English. --Mike]

Mike, Give me actual aperture and shutter speed dials on any camera+lens made today and I will have tons of fun with it. There may be a lot of whizzbang features under the hood but i can happily ignore them and make gorgeous photos.

I still have fun. I put a Holga lens on one of my cameras, set it to aperture preferred, minus 2/3 stop exposure, and go shoot. No focusing and great fun.

I have to agree about the need for "fun". This was an important part of my decision to buy my Oly EM5 Mark ii. It looked like a real camera and it's small and fun and I named it "Oliver". I even say things like "Oliver and I are going out to the park". If you haven't named your camera - you're not having enough fun imho.

Fun photography has been on my mind lately. I recently decided to start shooting black and white jpegs with my EM1 II. The trick to shooting jpegs and having fun is to not shoot raw. That means no raw+jpeg, which isn't fun because you end up pixel peeping and comparing too much. Just Jpeg. I find I'm shooting twice as much, plus I actually found a camera setting that makes black and white photos I like more than I get on the computer. Today I did the same thing with color jpegs. So now I have dedicated two of my custom modes to jpeg shooting. I don't care if raw files are more malleable. I like what I get.

I still tweak them with software, but it's faster and more satisfying.


Try a Leica M9 or later. More or less the same three congtrols as always. Hella fun! More fun than an M6, because with today's SD cards you can just keep shooting and shooting.

Not to put a fly in the ointment of discontent, if I can mix my metaphors: I just set up most digital cameras and then leave 'em. It _is_ fun to take 600 pictures in a weekend.

I think (at least in part) that succumbing to the constant "need" to upgrade is a large part of the problem. We rarely get to feel either satisfied or comfortable with the instrument at hand, before the pressure is on for the shiny new(er) object we can't live without with, will never bond with, or... enjoy.

I need to see some more thoughtful comments than mine, but are you sure it's all the camera's fault?

I just covered my 23rd commencement ceremony at the university where I work. The graduating students hadn't been born yet when I took this job. Talk about feeling old...

Mike, do you remember the Decisive Moment Digital article you wrote for Luminous Landscape? (Of course you do, duh.) That article captured exactly what I wanted in a digital camera. I kept telling people I wanted a "digital K1000" -- just four or five controls, like a manual film camera. At the time, the idea of a compact, large-sensor camera with fast prime lenses seemed impossible. Now it's easy to buy exactly that from several companies. Of course, it's still massively complex and difficult to master.

My first digital was one of the little Kodak cameras, maybe 1.5 megapixels? I used it for headshots in the studio -- the files were awful. That was around 1998 or so. In 2000 we hosted a presidential debate, and Canon was kind enough to send me a not-yet-released D30 to shoot with. I figured I'd get a couple of web photos and shoot the "real" pictures on film, as usual. I took one look at the files and shot the majority of photos on the D30. The files were gorgeous; the camera sucked, for lack of a better word. Couldn't focus, couldn't shoot more than 3 raw files without locking up, ugh. But we bought two of them and it was a revolution. Then in 2001 we got two of the brand new Canon EOS 1D bodies, 4 megapixels and they handled just like a professional camera -- great autofocus and 8 frames per second.

What fascinated me, and kept me up at night, was the problem of what is now called digital asset management. When we sent that D30 back to Canon after the debate, I had a couple of thousand digital files. Great! Now what do I do with them? How do I find them again? How do I name them so I don't end up with fifty pictures with the same "campus.jpg" filename? How do I add caption information? And the big one -- how do I let *other people* find them? I spent a ton of work and time on this problem, very early in the digital era.

The other big issue for us was color offset printing. The printing companies were used to dealing with color slides, not RGB files. I had to learn how to make CMYK conversions, sharpen for offset, and figure out how to get great color when the printers were actively discouraging digital photographs (which cut into their very lucrative scanning business.) I had been scanning film in-house for offset, which was a good start on this process, but it was still a steep learning curve.

It's been an exhilarating ride and made for an interesting career... :)

Those fun cameras ... they’re called smartphones, and we know you’ve got one and have fun with it, after all you can’t take them seriously 😐

So so right. I remember when I got my very first digital camera, a Sony R1. This was shortly before they bought up Minolta, which erased the need to develop what would be a legend, an R1 with better AF, a few more MP and something vaguely resembling a buffer. I'd still be happy with that today.

But instead, I got a Nikon D3. Still have it, still use it, it makes the film to digital transition seamless. I then added a Panasonic GX7, nice little camera, produces good files but weighs less that an everready case for the Nikon. But ironically, none ever gave me the fun that I got using my xPan.
Lastly I got an Olympus EMD5ii. It's ergonomically great for my teen age girlish hands, it' weighs less than the smallest lens for the D3, but (and as an old professor used to say, a mighty big butt) then I used the Oly menus.

I''ll just say that those menus sucked more joy out of my life than my ex wife. Great lenses, great handling, but ultimately unusable.

Oh well...

If you want a simple digital camera you have to pay much more for it: https://www.reddotcameras.co.uk/m-bodies/14083-leica-m10-d-black-camera-body.html

I'd humbly submit a contrarian point of view.
I learned photography by shooting slide film. I initially favored Kodachrome 50, and K64 was my 'fast film'. The available ISO 200 slide films had grain the size of golfballs and were best ignored. With slide film you had to nail the exposure, or you got impenetrable black shadows and midtones, or you got blown out transparent whites. You didn't know if your exposures were garbage or gold until you got the slides back from Koday 7-10 days later. Okay, checking out those jewel-like slides on a light box and seeing that you nailed the exposure on the best shot on the roll- that was fun.
Now? I can pick up a DSLR and hand-hold a shot of post-sunset clouds, at maybe ISO 1600, and it looks fabulous. Or I can use a tripod-mounted Canon 5DSr with careful technique, and make an absolutely flawless 24 x 36" print. The understanding of camera operations required to achieve this is a very small subset of that thick manual; I never have to bother reading anything about video features or JPEG in-camera options.
I call that fun.

I have rediscovered the fun in photography. A few weeks ago I set myself to a photo (and video) project. It's not a big one, but it involves making specific photos, either at specific events or specific places when the weather cooperates, over the next 12 months. Early rises, lots of walking, fresh air, a task in mind. I have three tools to use: my 5DIII, a Spark camera drone, and my iPhone XR mounted on an Osmo Mobile.

I've had to learn to fly the drone and shoot with the Osmo and iPhone. I've had to learn new things about my ageing and battle-scarred DSLR. But I'm doing that step-by-step, with a, dare I say it - specific - goal in mind.

The end result will be an exhibition to travel the local area over the following year. The printing, mounting, framing, and presentation will be my responsibility, as well as marketing and sales.

The aim of the project is, quite simply, to enjoy the work. To exercise the mind. To enjoy the process and, hopefully, relish the achievement.

If I fail, I will have tried. But I already know this: I'm having fun.

Here's a thought, maybe it's not Them (camera makers) as much as it's Us (camera Buyers).
To be sure cameras have changed, because they are now essentially computers whose features exist mostly in software. And because the marginal cost of additional features in software is near zero we now have devices that can be configured in thousands of ways. We can make a hobby of deep diving into menus, or pixel peeping until we find fault with every camera.
But we don't have to.
Manufacturers have given us flexibility to set up a camera in any way that suits us. I'm not sure we should blame them for giving us the ability to do lots of things in lots of ways.
The average person picking up a new digital camera has far more success than would have been the case in the film era.
Do we really want 'no learning curve' ?
Weather via iPhone or FF DSLR, or digital point & shoot, I can not think of a time when I have ever gotten better results, or had more fun.
We just need to worry less about being 'Camera Experts' and more about enjoying the ability we've been given to make the best still and moving pictures that has ever existed.
Fun, like Happiness, is mostly up to us.

The fun part is making the pictures, cameras are companions on the journey.

Fun? If I want fun during photography, I load film and go out into the world with my Rolleiflex, Leica IIIC, and even a Voigtlander Vito BL. And people who see those cameras in use look like they pick up some of the fun factor. I seldom bother with my Fuji digital now.

Can I please have a digital Xpan, that would be fun!

To be fun, it is required that you stop trying learn all the features that you won’t need much. You have to fill comfortable using it and... use it. It is better that you adapt to a camera than the opposite. Me? I’m having fun with an “old” m43 Olympus em10(mk1) with only primes (eq 50 and 90mm), 16MP, mostly monochrome. And an all manual Olympus OM1n (the funniest). And an iPhone.
My secret? I adapt to cameras and keep shooting your favorite subjects. Fun will come.
Before you had less features so you mastered faster what you really needed and shoot more.
It was not fun to set up Em10 to suit my needs, I confess. With OM1n it was fun from start, I.e. not much to set up.

You're exactly right, Mike. I just did what I always do when I've decided to shake things up a little bit--sold off some surplus equipment ("surplus" meaning not used in recent memory) to get funds for a new purchase or two. Funds are actually sitting in my bank account, an incredibly rare occurrence, but this time, since I already have what I need to do my work (a reasonably complete Olympus Micro 4/3 system) I made the decision to spend that money only on stuff that would actually be fun to use. I haven't been seriously tempted yet.

Mike I don’t want to disagree because I struggled with the same issue. But I came to the realization fun for me was an internal emotion, the camera didn’t create fun, I did in how I interacted with it. I shoot a Pen F (there’s a joy in a beautiful object) set the front dial to mono and the camera to aperture priority (I learned on a Nikon). Manual when I want. Flip the screen so I can’t see it, set the camera to .jpg/raw and just start trying to see. I’ve stopped (not really but I’m trying) worrying about whether my images were technically the peak of modern computing. I still struggle with the advertising induced fear that I’m not shooting “the best” gear, and I occasionally cheat and peak at the screen. I don’t always succeed in my goal of using the .jpg and get sucked into editing purgatory occasionally, but when I succeed in resisting the temptations, I find myself accidentally having fun on occasion. For me this works, I even find myself thrilled as an image pops up during import, almost like it was as the first contact sheet from a roll began to resolve in the developer. I shot my best in film when the camera wasn’t my hobby the image was, it’s harder to get there with the new gadgets we call cameras but it’s possible. Here’s hoping you find your path back to the early days and the magic.

Maybe Fun is now spelled Pfun as in using P mode and letting the camera figure it out. Today, most cameras are amazingly good at exposure in the P mode and typically allow you to make exposure changes with one dial - allowing you to focus on the subject and less on the gear.
I just tried this on my Fuji XT2 and Panasonic G9 (Somehow it’s your fault I have this body too - at least that’s what I told my wife!) and it works quite well! (And, yes that G9 shutter button sure is sensitive!)

It's true. Most cameras aren't much fun anymore. In fact, the fun deficit applies to many things I used to enjoy.

Cars are another example. They are so much more competent and trouble-free than they used to be. But they have largely become joyless transportation modules.

Part of it could be me as I age but I believe it reflects western society in general. Virtually everyone seems to have forgotten how to have fun. There's too much emphasis on productivity and checking off boxes - whether they be political, social, financial or technical.

No wonder fun isn't on the design brief for camera engineers. It simply isn't a priority in our society anymore.

I recently retrieved a Sony RX10iii that I'd consigned for sale a year ago. And know what, it's a lot of fun. I love not having to change lenses, I like the simple controls - I rarely need to dip into menus so no concern there. Yes it's heavy and yes, its very slow to focus at 640 mm., and sure I'm not going to make 30X40 prints from it, but know what, there's nothing wrong with having fun.

When I get frustrated that a shot made on the RX10 wasn't made with a bigger 'better' camera, I remind myself It might not have been made at all if I'd only had the choice of a big camera. So there....

Fully mechanical cameras are so fun to use, so simple to operate, and so durable.

In such a complex digital photography world, my Fujifilm cameras have returned fun to my photography. Who cares if they are not full frame? Who cares if there is some digital noise at high ISOs? Who cares if the dynamic range is not cutting edge? Who cares if they can’t focus the absolute fastest? They are not the best at anything but they can do everything very, very well. Why? They call to me to pick them up, go out and make photographs. Very, very satisfying. Photography is fun again.

Mike I think that the problem is that as we ask for our tools to do more for us we, as a result, have to in some way pay attention to what the tool is doing. Part of us is, in that moment of creation, paying attention to the tool and not what the tool is for. In our case that tool is to help us see the world in a wondrous way that we can share with others. The more complex our tools the more of our attention is focused on the tool and not experience that we are attempting to capture.

I've been making photos for 40 years and have always tried to keep my tools simple and not let them get in the way of my experience or what my subjects need to get from their time with me. For years I have pretty much turned all of the automation off. Auto focus is super cool when it helps but the rest is to me useless and unnecessary. I shoot in fully manual exposure relying on my brain and hands to do the rest. I am often finding things that my cameras can do on paper but they don't help me make better images. Really.

As a result I want the camera to be invisible so that I can focus on the experience and make my shooting time flowing and effective.

To your point but in reverse: I've never had a "fun" camera. Shooting large format chromes was certainly not fun but the results were. But by keeping the use of the tool simple my photography has always been exciting.

Film is fun. That's why so many of us still shoot it, That and the character of the images. ("Image character" is as important as "image quality, yes?)

It’s been just over a decade since I switched from digital to film. And fun has played a crucial role in thwarting digital’s return.

Mike, get yourself a Pentax Q7 and its fisheye lens. Set it to ISO 200, manual exposure, SOOC jpegs.

The most fun you'll ever have with a camera.

I waited until 2001, when 3 megapixels became affordable enough (for me) - a Kodak DC4800.

I just now timed my Lumix GF1: 2 seconds from power on to ready. Not bad for a ten year old camera. (It's had an IR conversion. Why? Fun!)

Of all my cameras, the most images have come from a Lumix LX7. I just like the little bugger, and its bigger brother, the LX100. I also like what I can get out of a Nikon D700, but it's not really fun.

Fun is a feature of the photographer.

For me my iPhone Xs has put the fun back into photography/videography. It took a while to become acclimated to shooting verticaly. Vertical 4:3 stills are perfect for phone viewing. The video I'm working on now is vertical. Vertical is so much easier to shoot or view with your phone. I'm also using LumaFusion to do the edit on the Xs. Getting closer and closer to ditching my iMac.

My interest is making short videos—<90-120 seconds long. My hoped-for audience is 24/7/365 phone users, who prefer vertical viewing .

Check-out this documentary from VPRO, the Dutch public television station. Shot with a smart-phone held vertical https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=-zjkkWIyNZk

I shot A Kiev 60 over a Hasselblad, for that reason. And Dumped full-frame Nikon for Fuji. Olympus frustrates me, because they almost get it, but not quite - and then, they discontinue heir fun camera and build a big awesome no fun giant.

Carmakers, too - Honda was more attractive to me when they made the Del Sol, or CRX. Or Mazda, and the glorious Miata.

I think Fun is the big driver behind film nowadays, so many options, most of them cheap. A bit sad that the current output from camera land is mostly dull...

Your timing is impeccable.
I've been thinking that you would have a topic that would prompt my story, but I did not expect such coincidental timing.
Monday I put my digital camera equipment on eBay. All of it. Every bit.
The camera is two years old and has had 1421 photos taken with it.
But let me regress. I bought my first digital camera in 1997, a Hewlett-Packard Photosmart digital camera made by Konica in Japan. It's resolution was a whopping 640X480 - VGA resolution. I considered it a marvel, short circuiting the work I was doing in web publishing (which I started three years earlier) by removing steps of exposing/developing/scanning film to get pictures online.
I started a long process of chasing digital capability. 2MP, 5MP, Nikon D100/200/300, the first Olympus PENs, and right on up to the latest technology. Dozens of lenses. What seems like gazillions of Photoshop upgrades. It was an adventure. And a trip through HELL. Expensive, because cameras would depreciate 50%+ in less than 2 years. I started buying year old used equipment about 5 years ago because the "improvements" were incremental. Not worth the cost.
Then I bought my "last digital camera." Great specs. Praised in reviews. But so @#$%^&*()_+ complicated it took weeks to set it up for taking pictures. Too easy to screw up the setup with all the function buttons that I could never remember what they were programmed to do. So easy to screw up I lost a lot of potentially good photos.
That's only part of why it go so little use. I moved into the city where carrying a camera was dorky - make you look like a tourist - and there was little to photograph.
At least little to photograph that needed more than my iPhone. I used the iPhone all the time. Probably average a dozen shots a day. And it's so easy to use - IT'S FUN! Fun, Mike, it's fun! And when I sit at my computer, it's trivial to download photos, check them out on Apple Photos ap and the editing functions are more than sufficient for my needs.
For 50+ years I have been making my living off technology. I still do. I still own state of the art computer equipment (including a 38" curved monitor) and know how to use it for my work: writing (9 books and more than 3 million words in articles, web pages, etc.) and image editing for publication. I am far from a Luddite, but, like you, I want cameras to be fun.
You got me thinking. The last digital camera I had that was fun was a credit-card sized Casio w/2MP. Before that it was the film Minox 35 that I carried in my briefcase for decades.
I am not interested in playing with hardware; I like to take pictures. And have fun.
But I guess I made the right choice in my last camera system. the eBay listing is 2 days old and has 129 views and and 26 watchers. I have turned down two offers well over the bid starting price. There certainly are a lot of people into hardware!
Just not me. I'm into fun.

I’ll admit up front, I’m not a gear-oriented guy. I read about photographers having GAS, and it simply doesn’t resonate. So I have to ask - what makes a camera fun?

Don’t get me wrong - over the years I’ve had an awful lot of fun doing photography, but I’ve always felt that photography facilitated my enjoyment, not that the camera itself was fun.

A lot of what I hear in your post concerns the complexity of modern cameras, and I certainly get that. In my case, after working in, and with, software for 40 years, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s more complex than it needs to be, and that I’ll never use more than a small fraction of its capabilities. So it doesn’t trouble me that my D750 has hundreds (thousands?) of features that I’ll never understand or use. I still get photographs I like.

But that still leaves me curious... what do you and your readers find “fun” in a camera?

2 of the most fun cameras I have shot are?

The Nikon 950 Coolpix of about 19 years ago. The swivel design was useful and back then the image quality seemed ok. (For then)

Then a few months ago I picked up a used Sony RX10iii for a really great price. Despite the menu familiarization and button configuration that plague us all it is a ball to shoot. With a not bad at all 24-600 equivalent lens there is almost nothing it can not do decently. Not the ultimate for anything but hey I can't afford ultimate. Sometimes I think I should sell off most of what I have, along with any photographic ego I have acquired and just have fun with this camera.

Some wise person, somewhere, sometime said: "Happiness is not to be found in Things"

You are surely going to get a lot of responses on this one! We will all agree entirely! I am sure that about 99% of what is keeping film alive (or keeping LPs turning) is the Fun Factor. We like to witter on about the ‘film look’ or ‘warmth of the sound’, but really it’s the fact that we get something to do rather than handing it all off to a computer, that keeps us coming back for more. In the digital photography realm, (and I hate to admit it) it’s probably a large part of why I love the Leica M. After the camera companies have finished their sales decent and have a near death experience, I expect a resurgence of digital versions of cameras like the Nikon FM3a, but probably at a not-so-much fun price.

My phone camera is loads of fun. It's always handy when I need it, is ready to shoot nearly immediately and has lots of features like Panos that are easy to use. There are no menus. There is no manual. It takes great shots.

You're totally right but, no offence, you also made me think of this: https://youtu.be/ppBt1Igsg-U
"Fun, God dammit!"

I think you may have described why smartphone cameras are so popular.

I hear ya Mike. Been shooting Canon APS-C DSLRs since the 40D. All technically competent, but less fun than the Pentax 645 I sold. A year ago I bought a Fuji XE-3, with 23mm and 50mm Fujicrons. I take it everywhere. The fun is back. And I even enjoy the Canon again when I use it for flash or telephoto work. Fuji is on to something.

Hmmm... You don't have to use all of those features. I guess I just don't think this way. My camera has quite a lot of stuff (Canon 70D), I use only the most basic settings. I view it as a tool, taking pictures is fun, so using the camera is fun only in so far as it's grabbing a picture I want. I think I'm trying to say I don't view the act of using the camera as a fun activity in itself, it's what it yields by being used that is the reward.

Mike I feel you have hit the nail on the head. Cameras are not fun because the photographer is becoming less important in the photographic process.

Digital cameras are good tools, and I use them to take pictures with. I'm not sure the act of taking the pictures has ever been fun in really the way you mean—I'm in it for the pictures themselves. True back with the Leica M3, Bolex, even true with my original Pixie 127 (Imperial Lark was its real name).

Or, maybe I just have no idea what fun is. It's true I've been known to respond to invitations to go somewhere and "have fun" with the remark that I don't like fun.

Canon 5D mkIV, a highly effective tool which gets excellent results. 180 page manual, separate from the user manual, on how to use just the WiFi features.

'Only one wee little thing: they're no fun. They have everything you could possibly want, except that.

Fun is the missing "feature."'

Not universally true. I'm having all sorts of fun using my digital cameras.

More fun than in film days. True!

Overly complex, to you. Amazingly flexible and powerful, to me.

No, I don't read the manuals through. They are PDF, not paper. That means they are on my phone and tablet, available anywhere, even in the dark. Even if the Table of Contents and/or index are insufficient, I can use Search to find what I want.

Case in point. We're off Saturday to Southern Utah; part of the trip is to shoot night skies. I've not done that before, and had no idea whether my Gx9s have a built-in intervalometer. A few moments in the PDF manual, and I know that they do, and how to operate it.

Is it possible that you are making it un-fun by personal rules about things like needing to know everything it can do, even the things you will never use?

Yes, I've heard you 'talk' about the time it takes to wholly "know" a camera, and how important that is. What if it isn't, anymore? What if I only need to know the functions I use?

Read the whole manual, for a test? Yuck!

There are whole areas of my cameras (and PS, BTW) that I've never used, know nothing about and don't expect to use. There are settings on the Mode dial that I've never used. Peering at them, I think I've figured out what they are for - things I don't need, so I don't need to know about them.

So what? I learn and use what I need. And that is so much more than my film cameras, even my earlier digital cameras could do.

What Fun!

Hmmm.. if something is perfectly predictable, it's rarely fun. The pursuit of cameras that do everything close-to-perfectly has commoditized photography so it's no longer fun. Look no further than the huge growth in Fuji Instax, which is far from perfect, but lots of fun!

To be fair, Instax also meets another need better than anything other than smart phones: instant sharing. No wonder it's a success story.

Lomography and pinhole photography are other examples where less then perfect results are a large part of the fun factor.

I would also add film photography to the list, as most users would find a certain amount of unpredictability in the results - partly due to the medium and partly due to the use of cameras that don't have the same level of automation a typical digital camera has.

Well, I certainly concur. For me, photography was a lot more fun in the pre-digital era, when most of the mastery resided with the photographer rather than the equipment. Taken in large, that bias might still exist, but one's mastery must now include exhaustive patience. The wondrous technology of today's cameras aren't always evident without persistent study and the related need to cope with a computer.

One correction: Automatic optical image stabilization materially predated the digital era. It initially debuted in 1994 when Nikon released their Zoom-Touch 105 VR point-’n’-shoot film camera. Lots of VR/IS stabilized-type SLR lenses (from numerous makers) then followed before the debut of Nikon's initial digital D1 camera in mid-1999. It was the D1—not the prior Kodak digital models that used modified Nikon and Canon film bodies—that changed photography forever.

"I don't think it's just me."

It isn't.

Apple have long been a poster child for user experience a priority above capability. Everyone will have a counter-example or horror story, but the product suite is famous for being loved by its users despite not having the best performance by the numbers. Not only do they hold their own, their products sell at both higher prices and with (much) better margins.

People can't help but prioritise their emotional needs above their functional ones. People who make cars, clothes, watches and phones — all know this.

I think Fuji and Leica (especially Leica) know it too.

I think this is why I am drawn more to film photography nowadays. The cameras are much simpler and I get to enjoy the process, rather than having to learn yet another computer system. Also, my ten-year-old digital cameras are 'good enough'. The improvement in performance that a new uber-camera might bring simply isn't worth it financially.

I think this is part of the reason why Instax sells so well, and why Leica even though $$$ got UI simplicity right.

You don't NEED to know everything about your camera to have 'fun', put it on A, slap a 40mm prime on it, and use that computer like a film camera, all you need to know is written on the buttons ...

The Fujifilm X system ranks very high in "fun factor", if you ask me. It has various degrees of fun for various tastes, from rangefinder retro, to SLR retro. Not to mention the wonderful X100 series.

Fun for me's a Pixel3, Mike. Numerous cameras over numerous years, it's the first time I've had proper fun.

Other than using view cameras, which are always fun, there is a single feature that makes a camera fun to use for me - a bright microprism focusing screen coupled with a smooth manual focusing lens.
Maybe Leica could come out with a new digital version of a Leicaflex SL.

Spot on - Oh how I wish Epson/Cosina would do a “RD-2” at this stage of the game, or even some kind of Cosina/Voightlander that was really basic, they are about the only manufacturer that I think could pull it off because they’ve never gone down the spec/feature rabbit-hole... Ricoh/Pentax might be able do it with a “Spotmatic D-1” or “KD-1000”, but there’s probably not enough “Pentax” brandness left anymore for enough people to care/notice... Until then, agreed - The new spec to look at is the shortest instruction manual...

A great article and largely true barring just one fun camera...

.... The iPhone.

I know you know, :-), but because this a comment section, I'll say it anyway. Go back in time, i.e., eBay or like, and find the last camera you had fun with. And then have fun. Go back as far as you need to.

I actually don't think it's the fault of the new cameras. None of us read the whole manual. We know basically what we want from a camera and set it up that way from Day 1. It's the world that's not much fun right now, including photography. With photography, it's one step further into the "no fun zone." What the heck do we do with our photographs? Sharing has always been fun, or at least a prime motivator, but sharing isn't what is used to be. I know it vexes me.

Yup. That's why I like shooting old film cameras--fun. It's not for the "film look". With some effort, I think one can achieve that look, if desired, with a digital camera and post processing. I've passed through the whole "film vs. digital based on technical properties" thing. I just like film shooting because it's more fun. Waist-level finders with images reversed left to right--fun. Large format press cameras with flash bulbs--fun. Folding 120 cameras with art deco trim--fun. Metal SLRs with loud motor drives--fun. And this fun is actually quite inexpensive if one avoids the collectible models. Striving to get results "as good as digital" with a $20 junker is more fun.

I lay the blame on ourselves instead of the cameras. The impatient waiting for as-good-as-film led to a single-minded pursuit of image quality for its own sake. After we got the IQ we then got impatient waiting for the other features. If cameras stayed the same we would be bored.

That game of tapping our fingers waiting for the camera makers to entertain us is indeed not fun anymore, at least not for me.

To bring the fun back I think we can focus our attention on whatever thrilled us about photography in the first place.

Uh, wait. The manual for your car is how many pages? Is your car fun?

So no, it isn't the size of the manual.

[The manual for my car is 351 pages, so very close to 2/3 the length of the S1R manual. Personally I think a camera could have a manual that is shorter than a car's, but maybe that's just me. The manual for my old M6 was 43 pages, but they were half-pages because the manual was small. And that one included sections such as "General Notes on Exposure Metering," mention of related products such as enlargers, projectors, and binoculars, and "Use In Tropical Regions." ("Before a long trip to the tropics, it is possible to have the camera and lenses treated with a fungicide by our Technical Service. The outfit is then protected against fungus formation to a large extent.") --Mike]

I wrote the below following a recent article here which made me think about what I'd actually want a digital camera to do.

A digital camera I would like to use.

It will be reasonably small, but not tiny – the size of a Minolta CLE perhaps, or a little bigger: it will be light enough to carry all day with a reasonable lens. It will be reasonably weather-sealed, without claiming to be suitable for use in space or underwater. It will be reasonably quiet.

The sensor will be big enough and good enough, without being absurd. It will take either one or two SD cards, if it takes two it will mirror them (but it will actually just take one). It will be capable of writing three frames a second to the card(s) until the battery (which will also be good enough) dies. It will shoot either raw or raw & JPEG (see below) and 'raw' will be DNG.

It will be turned on by a ring around the shutter release which will stick out slightly over the front of the camera: this will have four positions: off, single, slow and fast, where 'slow' is probably one frame/second and 'fast' is probably three. Those are the only options, there is no video. When it is turned on it will be on, immediately. This may mean it is never really off: there will be very good power-management which arranges that it can sleep on very low power and wake up instantly. When it's asleep it will be woken by any control movement (including focus) unless the shutter switch is at 'off'. There will be negligible shutter lag.

Viewfinder & screen: it will have a combined optical & electronic viewfinder like the Fujis, selectable by a lever like the Fujis. The EVF will be good enough and there will be no perceptible lag. The viewfinder may not be at the left of the camera, although I suspect it may need to be for the OVF to work. There will be no screen: chimping is done through the EVF. When the camera is asleep the OVF will be selected, and will be parallax corrected for the current (or last in the case of AF) focus setting: there will be framelines which show even when it is off (they may be replaced by more accurate ones when it is on). Both OVF and EVF will have enough information, but it will be discrete.

The lenses for it will have aperture and focus rings which will feel like a good mechanical one, even if they are not. Both will have 'A' settings: setting the focus ring to 'A' is how autofocus is selected. They may be interchangeable: if not they will be 40mm-e.

The top of the camera will have shutter (with ring as described above), combined exposure (with 'A') and ISO selection, and exposure compensation dial, with the latter easily adjustable by thumb when holding the camera, with an obvious zero position, but not a lock.

The back of the camera will have a switch to select a number of metering patterns: spot will be one, and there will be a default one at one end of the rotation which is good enough for almost everything. There will be a button where your thumb rests with a ring switch around it: the options on the switch will control whether half-shutter press locks just exposure, just focus or both: the button will lock focus with a half-press and both with a full press (there will be really significant half-press point). [I need to think more about focus control.]

There will be a switch to turn on or off anti-shake (and perhaps this switch will control how hard it works, so it may have more than two positions).

There will be a little set of buttons, perhaps on the LHS of the back, which enable preview, forward or back through the preview, zoom & delete. The previews will be really good quality (either they will be computed on the fly from the raw file, or the camera will shoot raw & JPEG).

Focus. There will be a single rangefinder-style autofocus point in the centre of the frame. To focus elsewhere you focus & recompose. As the camera has gyros (anti-shake, see above) it will use these to correct the focus when you recompose (ie if you focus on something and turn the camera so that is right in the corner of the frame, it will still be in focus, even with the lens wide open. It will focus immediately. In manual-focus mode there will be some indication of focus overlayed on the 'rangefinder spot', even in the OVF.

That's it. It is possible that there will be other, persistent settings (although not many: one such might be the nature of the program mode that is selected if both exposure & aperture are on 'A'): if there are these will be controlled by a USB connection to the camera. There may be an application provided to control these, but how they are set will be documented so that it will be possible to use the camera without the application (in practice this means the camera will present some kind of filesystem and there will be a configuration file or files you save on it: this will be the same way firmware updates happen, obviously).

One significant characteristic of this camera is that by looking at the position of the switches you know its state, even if it's off. Another is that it has controls which are actually useful, and only those. Finally it is designed to that you never have to wait for anything: when you turn it on, it's on, when you take the picture, it's taken.

I don't think that fun and features are mutually exclusive. With more intelligent UI design, I think this issue can be overcome. Maybe we should have Fisher-Price design a camera :)

I agree that cameras have become more complex, mainly due to the introduction of video and increases in user customization facilities. But I own and work mostly with five brand lines of cameras and find each and all of their models fun and simple to use. In fact, I’ve never had more fun using cameras. It’s never been easier to get the image I have in mind or to make many cameras fit my needs and style. I just do not find cameras to be obtrusive any more.

In contrast, I had very little fun using film cameras from the “simpler” days of yore that you seem to lament. Way too many hit-or-miss guessing games with film emulsions. Way too many mechanical quirks and limitations. It was so much “fun” keeping track of the number of shots left on the film roll. It was an absolute ball keeping track of color temperatures in my frames. I still have several of these fun film gadgets but they’re largely museum pieces to me now. Goodbye and good riddance to the simpler, “fun”(?) film era for me!

My camera came with a 100 page owner’s manual and a 666 page on-line help guide. I have a lot of fun with it.

The camera's complex menu isn’t really a problem for me. It took me longer to figure out how to use it than the Contax 139Q that for years defined “camera” for me, but I appreciate what my Sony A7R III can do that the Contax could not. (No, not video—I’ve never used the video functions of the camera, so that reduced the manual reading time and the menu browsing.) I have the camera set just the way that I generally want it as the default, and I can change the few settings that I want to change for various use cases quickly and easily.

I appreciate the Sony’s cool features like the excellent eye focus tracking when I use it with my only autofocus lens. I enjoy the ability to adapt lenses from other mounts (It's a pleasure to use the lovely Zeiss M-mount 35mm f/1.4 and I quite like my little M-mount 85) and the Loxia 25 is perhaps my favorite lens ever—so the lenses are fun, too. IBIS, which is as essential for me as it is for you, works fine with the adapted lenses. The Sony’s viewfinder’s good, and it’s quite a bit more useful in low light than the Contax’s although perhaps not as nice in good light—except for the various useful things (displays, magification) that the Sony’s viewfinder can do that the Contax’s could not. I’m happy.

I generally use the Sony like I used the Contax: set the aperture (on the lens, exept for my single autofocus lens), set the ISO, and let the Sony, like the Contax, choose the shutter speed while I adjust the exposure with the dial on the camera’s top plate. (I use the camera’s zebra settings—another handy function that the Contax lacked—to help avoid overexposure.) I never have to dive into the complex menu. It’s straightforward—and in many ways better than with the Contax. I think that the Sony is as easy to use, and as fun to use, as the Contax was.

Agree 100%. I wish to get one day a good quality camera with no more controls than F100 had and no menu at all.

"Fun is the missing "feature."
You are right.
Compare it to a car. You're certainly more engaged in the driving process if your car has stick shift, or has a certain feel of the road to it. A modern camera, particularly one set to auto ISO and program or auto mode has little engagement factor.
Maybe the saying "you push the button, we do the rest" is a bridge too far for the fun factor.

"Simplicity, directness, responsiveness, and the possibility of complete mastery and control, of its use becoming second nature with practice. And a great viewfinder. :-)"

Sounds like my 8x10 camera. I use it because I love it and get so much pleasure out of the experience. There are other reasons I choose that format, but, at the end of the day, I simply love interacting with it. Never lets me down. I understand it's not for most people, but it makes ME happy.

On the one hand, I think I totally understand where you're coming from. It took a lot of reading online, questions via forums, and menu-diving to set up my Sony a7r2. But after an initial learning period, I've been quite settled with that camera for well over two years at this point. I won't bother describing my setup because it's probably unique to me, but at this point I don' think it's the camera's fault whether shooting is fun or not. At this point, the camera's pretty transparent.

What makes it less "fun", I think, is that I'm far pickier and far more demanding on myself than I used to be. I used to go out hiking, pull out an SLR, explore to find a composition, set up the tripod, rack the focus to what I thought would be a good hyperfocal setup, and then take one exposure trusting the camera's meter. I might bracket exposure a frame or two if the scene was challenging. Still, fairly spontaneous.

Now, if I'm taking an image seriously, I'm still hiking to a location and exploring to find a composition, and setting up the tripod... But now I've got a miniature view camera where I'm checking the focus over basically the entire frame using live view, stopping down and wide open, trying to figure the optimal aperture that will get enough depth of field before diffraction sets in. But I'm too obsessed about shooting at the "best" aperture, so I'll need to shoot multiple frames to blend later for additional depth of field. And I'll want to expose to the right to try to maximize the pixel quality, because I've read over and over that it's important (even though the camera has plenty of dynamic range in almost every situation). And, if it's a really great shot, I might try to shoot a panorama that I'll stitch later for even more megapixels. Now I'm back to shooting more frames again to maximize depth of field for each piece of the panorama...

...but that change in approach is my fault, not the camera's. The camera is far better than the camera I started shooting with. It's just that advances in the technical capabilities of the camera have also raised my standards of what a "quality" shot is, and those have risen faster than my ability to shoot. If I wanted shooting to be more fun, I don't know that I need to change cameras. For me, it's far more likely that I need to simplify my approach.

I wonder if camera enthusiasts are changing bodies too quickly at this point and, correspondingly, if your position as a blogger forces you to change cameras faster than you'd naturally want to. The best part about all of these advances is that we're far past the point of satisficing, so almost any one of us can get off the upgrade treadmill if we choose to.

Now, if Sony improved the haptics of the shutter button, I wouldn't say no...

a few weeks ago, as I was sitting in the 1st class lounge in Union Station (Chicago)-at the mid-point of our 3 city/3 train/3,000 mile trip-I overheard a conversation wherein a woman was asking for help with her new camera, a mid-level Nikon DSLR. She was desperate inasmuch as she was on special trip, for which she had purchased the camera, and as yet had been unable to make a picture. Literally, unable to make a single picture.

I stepped up and offered to help. You might think, after nearly 2 decades of digital camera(s) usage, it would not be a herculean/rocket science task to get her started. While I was eventually able to get her reasonably set up, there was not a single camera function for which access was intuitive. What a bad joke the whole experience was, both for her and me.

After getting her functional (in a VERY rudimentary/basic fashion), off she went, reasonably happy, only to return 5 minutes later with another it-won't-work issue.

Utterly shameful and ridiculous on the part of camera makers who have created this mess. ASIDE: not unlike the developers at Adobe who have turned Photoshop in a bloated pig of a program.

But, I guess the situation is to be expected when people with degrees in software programming start developing things for which they have no real "feel".

The Pen F I have (digital) sits in my bag and doesn't see as much use as other cameras I own. I still don't know all the possibilities of that camera. But You will find me more often with the Olympus OM2, or a Rollie TLR, or Zeiss Ikon IV. Sometimes the little Rollei 35s sees the light of day, and sometimes the Bronica RF 645 (a camera I should use more often, excellent simple machine.)
My first 35 was the Petri 7s, bought when in the Army in 1968. Boy I had fun with that camera. Followed by a Canon that was my constant companion thru Viet Nam. Why do I like the fun factor in those old cameras as compared to the digital platform? Simplicity of the controls is high on the list. The tactile enjoyment of well made cameras is another. The thought process and editing that you go through before you take the shot. I even like the sound and smell of a roll of film being threaded into the camera. All of that fooling around to take a photograph is more fun to me than snapping shots with any digital camera I have owned. I liken it to when I would go to a rifle range with my old muzzleloader. All around me were guys shooting through boxes of ammunition at targets down range. I pulled off about 5 shots in that time. But I know each of my shots, which included all the multiple steps of loading and firing a muzzleloader, were WAY more fun than the other guys.

Reading this I realized that, through laziness and sloth, I've solved this problem. I seldom (never) pay any attention to all the bells and whistles on my digital cameras. I shoot with them pretty much the same way I did with film cameras. "P" is for Professional. I do use things like the histogram and highlight blinking to make sure the exposure is good. I use exposure compensation to adjust as needed. I'll use "A" or "S" if I want to lock in one or the other of those. And I just take photos. It's pretty simple that way. And I do still enjoy it. Also, I don't really have to read those awful manuals.

After the camera mfg's arrived at the basics as you have listed above they became overcome with digititus. What is that? The same problem smartphones, software, digital watches, any item which uses embedded firmware and software to run. Current computer chips have an abundance of power, capacity, throughput for as many "features" as the designers can manage. And they manage to put more into each, the marketers see it as a way to distance themselves from their competitors. More of anything seems to be better than less. Who suffers from all this overload? Why the users of course for all the reasons you list in the blog. A clean, simple interface lacking "control" would not score well at dpreview.

What makes a camera fun to use (at least for me) is to get one that meets certain minimum requirements (e.g., resolution, availability of lenses or being able to use already purchased lenses), set it up to be as simple as possible to use, and ignore all the other features, bells and whistles, doodads (technical term). Every once in a while think of some new project that may require learning about one of those previously ignored features, and then get a feeling of fulfillment mastering a new technique.

One does not have to be the master of everything a camera can do. But one can be a master of the features of the camera that he/she needs to turn an idea into reality.

I have had a succession of Canon DSLRs. Have never used Live View, have never made a video. Maybe I will at some point, but not yet.

Digital cameras are not film cameras, and the criteria they should be judged by differ. Your post smacks of a the-old-days-were-better rant written by a former film shooter. "The new cellular phones have way, way too many features. What was wrong with the old idea? An earpiece and a mouthpiece and a dial are all we need!" Your post reminds me of the example I just gave.

[Well, you're wrong. I've been using and reviewing digital cameras for two decades. It's very easy to stereotype arguments instead of arguing with them, which is what you've done. --Mike]

My original SLR, a Nikon FM, was fun. No autofocus, no autometering, bright viewfinder, and lightweight. I don't use it anymore but it sits on the shelf where I can look at it everyday.

Agreed. I recently rented most new mirrorless cameras and there was not one that made me want to pick it up and go out with it, like some cameras in my past would. Makes the hobby cheaper, though.

This may be the closest digital ever came to simple and fun:

I carried mine until cell phone cameras became better than it.

Isn't M Leica still simple? The only thing that is not fun about it is the price. $10k for a body and one lens is not fun for most people.
But I don't agree with simplifying just for the sake of it. Digital Leica without a screen is just silly. Why would you not take advantage of histogram and the possibility to check sharpness?

I guess I don't get it.

Don't you get excited when you see something by the side of the road (for me, it may be an old building)? You stop the car, and get your camera out. You may have to change the lens - so what - it just builds anticipation. You have to find the right vantage point, the right angle, the proper depth of field. For me, it's still fun. It's not the simplicity of the camera that matters to me, it's my familiarity with it. I just want to create the image I want, and I want the camera to be able to do that instinctively (for me) – and I love doing it. I don’t care if the camera is complex, that doesn’t cause any problems. I use the current incarceration of a system I've used for many years (I'm over 70), and I don't have to fight it, or look things up. And it is, definitely, still fun.

‘No manufacturer ever, to my knowledge, has even attempted to make a digital camera that is radically simple—as simple as possible, but no simpler—yet also excellent in terms of quality, ergonomics, and responsiveness.‘ Really? You just described the Leica M10 (provided one wishes for a rangefinder, don’t know about the Leicaflex). They obviously didn’t succeed in making it easily affordable (nor did anyone else, at least not with some permanency), but that is another matter.

Perhaps in the spirit of "one camera, one lens" you could set a custom setting on your over-complicated digital camera to mimic, as closely as possible, one of the cameras that used to be fun. Then shoot only on that setting for a while.

And this is why I've gone back to shooting with film cameras for my personal work. They're just more satisfying. I've been shifting careers to web and "user experience design"and it's a known and studied phenomenon that more choice leads to lower user satisfaction, a.k.a. the paradox of choice. I was really excited at the launch of both the Fuji X series (later bought a clean used xpro1) and the Nikon Df, and yet neither company gets it after having used both. They've copied the form of the old film cameras without digging in and understanding the why so many photographers continue to prefer older (pre autofocus mostly) film cameras. The only digital cameras I've used that come close are digital Leica Ms and some of the early digital medium formats but those were basically just digital backs on film camera bodies anyways. And don't even get me started on Fujis appalling OS/menu redesign.

When I had a Leica M8 and afterwards an M9 I found these to be the best digital examples of what I think you're talking about. I hardly ever had to use a menu or a button. I'm guessing the latest incarnations are the same. Of course there are restrictions, not least the cost of entry. Maybe the biggest influencing factor was manual focus lenses, and simple metering. But it can be done if someone wants to.

The fun of Old School photography was trying to be personally fully in control of the whole process. At the same time there was always the excitement of the unexpected: the miracle, the disaster and anything in between.
I was lucky to learn the basics the hard way at art school. The first year using exclusively Plaubel, Sinar, Cambo or Linhof view cameras with 9 X 12cm glass plates. We had a list of 17 handlings to complete before we could press the shutter. Not to mention the even more complex chemical process that followed. One mistake and you entered the world of the unexpected. With drawing, packaging, typography and graphics we went through similar basic programs. It took a whole year, but among the lessons learned: your personal concentration and accuracy are essential. Not only for the result, but also for the fun.
Modern cameras take away a major part of all that. And there are less surprises. Can be extremely boring.

Will Durant said: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

FDR said: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Chuck said: Maybe it's time to replace your fear habit with a positive habit. I was a three-pack-a-day smoker, but I haven't smoked in 35 years. So it is possible to replace bad habits with good habits.

Mike, think positive—everything should be OK.

Mike, every day people around the world take million of pictures but only a small percentage of them are taken by digital cameras.
Definitely the quality of pictures taken by mobiles phones cannot be compared with those taken by cameras however people keeps on taking them by mobile for a very simple reasons: it is fun!
To take a picture by a mobile phone you do not need to read any manual, you can see the imagine in a 6" screen, double the one in a camera, you can edit, cut, and publish them on a social with few simple gestures.
If camera makers do not understand this simple facts and continue producing cameras in their traditional way I am afraid that their sales will continue shrinking and photographers will risk to become an elite of very capable romantic artists, as painters are nowadays.

Oh I understand but disagree. My current camera has dozens of adjustments which I looked at once and mostly decided I didn't need. Helpfully it does have easily accessible controls for aperture priority, speed priority and manual (or whatever they are actually called) along with a very easy to access auto bracket and EV adjustment. Tied to a great viewfinder and wickedly good autofocus I don't need more. I don't need to look at the manual (I haven't even downloaded it! I don't feel the need to master every feature in the camera right now as it does what I need.

I must admit though as an old-time darkroom junkie I still enjoy post production at least as much as the capture side.

I relate to this. I bought a Fuji (X-E2) largely because it least resembled a computer/spaceship and most resembled the camera I trained on and most enjoyed shooting with (an SRT-101, but substitute practically any 35mm SLR). I thought it was perfect until I realized all the neat things about it demanded a bunch of careful customization and careful attention not to upset settings.

Then I sent the thing in for service and it came back factory reset. I had to learn the book all over again to turn it back into "my" camera. Later my girlfriend's X-T10 suffered the same fate because we left it tucked away on a dead battery. Point being that you can suffer this fate even when you haven't intentionally taken the plunge and moved on to a new camera.

It's not just the features that differentiate the camera from a '70s SLR, either. I picked up an EOS Elan 2e at a flea market the other day, and although it does have a table of custom functions you can configure (small enough to fit on a business card), it's largely a delight to use.

You forget all about battery life because it's not doing anything even if you leave it switched on.

You pick it up, it focuses fast through whichever focus point you stare through. It makes exposures with a focal plane shutter just like my Fuji. There's mirror flip, but it must be pretty well damped and balanced. It's not bothersome. The built-in motor drive is present but not annoying. I will never have to update its firmware. I will never leave "the right cable" at home. I will never be without the right charger. Can't leave with—oops—a full card in the slot.

Other than the mess of chemistry and the frustrations of dust, you walk away wondering "what was so wrong with this, anyhow?"

I do hope some manufacturer finds a way to bring this back in digital cameras and scale down the featuritis. I thought it was going to be Fuji, but I think it would require a break from how they've been doing it so far.

Become a 25 year-old again and you will have photographic fun with many cameras

I respectfully disagree. The features are there because we all want a simple camera with a few features, but we all want different features. I was shooting some landscapes this afternoon on my E-M1. ISO 200, f/5.6-8.0 (depending on the scene), 2 second timer on the tripod. The only “modern” feature I used was the tilting LCD, AF, and magnified manual focus. Oh wait, that’s almost the way you would shoot with an 8x10: focus using a magnifying loupe on the ground glass. Or a Rollei TLR: flip out the magnifying spot over the ground glass.

So what’s the problem? You only need to know what you need to know, and you do to need to know most of the features in these camera.

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