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Thursday, 02 May 2019


Mike, your completely correct here!

I recently had to shoot a video project with a Sony A7RIII camera. So, I had to learn the entire menu. But, even after a day learning everything (and I'm pretty good at this!), it was not fun or even comfortable using this camera. I don't think I'd select it even for shooting stills.

For stills, my Canon 5Ds stretches the limit for menus, but I use it pretty much with center AF point and aperture priority or manual mode and all is fine. Of course, the Photoshop expertise comes later, after you shoot the photos! God forbid I ever need to change image editing software!!!!

That said, for many, photography has always been a hobby about gear. And many simply enjoy this aspect of the sport. I enjoy it too, but just a little :)

After a ten-yeasr break, I returned to active photography last autumn, with the Fuji X-Pro2. Here's what I did.

First of all, I turned off all of the function buttons.

For exposure, for a while I took photos on aperture priority, in the matrix-metering mode. I experimented with the resulting RAW files in the editing software, to get a feel for the way the camera exposure translated into final images. Once I had that understanding, I switched to manual exposure (spot or centre-weighted). I have turned the compensation dial to "C", which means I get a traditional "needle" exposure meter on the left of the viewfinder, perfect.

For focusing, I experimented with full manual and various auto modes and found that with the Fuji, the best method for me is to set the camera to manual focus along with back-button AF, adjusting the camera's suggested focus manually where needed. I use the optical view finder and when I make the manual adjustment the viewfinder shows me the central area enlarged, with focus-peak highlighting. For me, that is as good as a classical rangefinder. I keep the focus area in the centre, reframing for the actual shot after I have set the focus.

Six months on, apart form the AF-Lock button most of the function buttons are still turned off, and they will stay off. I use the front control wheel for shutter speed and the back wheel is turned off. One button at the front is set to give me the EVF preview and the histogram, I find that useful to assess my manual exposure.

The LCD screen on the back is turned off.

That is the camera that I would have dreamed to have 30 years ago, now it is reality. Fantastic. No doubt occasionally I will experiment with some of the other functions, but basically I am set and I don't expect major changes in my work mode.

A golden era for traditional photgraphy!

Nobody uses more than 15% of the features of Microsoft Word/Photoshop/DSLR/Mirrorless/Phone. But everyone uses a different 15%.

And it's getting that way with cars.

The complexity/capability trade off has not gone well for photographers, and seems to be getting worse. I tend to find one mode of using a camera that more or less works and I stick to it, ignoring 99% of the engineering that went into the whole system. And the cameras I wind up using most often lend themselves to that kind of usage. Nikon has done well for me in this regard, as well as Leica. I am grudgingly being dragged along by Pentax and Olympus. But it's the sell-by date that really gets me about the current industry business model. I am fine with learning-how-to-learn, but not with having my time wasted. Argg. It shows a lack of respect for the customer's time. And time is the one thing none of can get more of . . .it is the ultimate finite resource.

My local camera chain, Mike's Camera, puts on a test drive day twice a year. They'll assemble a number of representatives from the brands that they feature and ask them to bring a selection of currently available gear that their customer base can try out.

I've been going to these events for years now and have always enjoyed trying out some of the latest and greatest gear from both my chosen brand (Nikon) as well as others. I used to particularly relish trying camera bodies out and seeing how they felt and how they reacted to my style of shooting. Slowly, but surely that pleasure has been waning as the cameras have gotten crazily complex with menu systems that are dozens of pages long (and often questionably laid out). Without fail, the previous user will have set something up that I don't particularly like and it takes me 5-10 minutes to figure out how to change it. The borrow period for the event is an hour. So taking 5-10 minutes to figure out one item takes a heavy percentage of my trial time away from actually taking pictures.

The most recent event was this past weekend and I tried some recent hot cameras like the Sony A7rIII, the Panasonic S1R, the Nikon Z's, the EOS R and RP, etc. I think I reached a tipping point where the complexity has reached a point that I'm no longer enjoying the experience. 1 hour is simply not enough time to get to know these uber complex cameras.

I will say that borrowing lenses is still a fun and rewarding opportunity. Favorite for this test drive was the Nikon PF 500mm f5.6. If I did more wildlife shooting, I'd pick one of these up in a heartbeat (assuming I could find one since they're always out of stock). The PF lens actually achieves what catadioptric lenses set out to do years ago — lots of reach in a small and light package — without the downsides of ugly bokeh and low contrast. A very appealing lens that I think I'll be content to rent every so often when I have a weekend at a National Park or something.

Trying out new cameras will probably be something I do via rental from here on out, too. I recently took a Nikon Z7 on a road trip to Dallas and very much enjoyed that experience. With enough time to figure out how it worked and what it could do, I was able to coax some really nice photos from it. I think that's almost a requirement for each of the new techno-wonders out there. I'd guess that Leica might be the only brand left that one could pick up and start making good photos with in short order. It leaves me thinking that there's a niche opportunity out there for a company that wanted to build a simple but responsive camera with the latest generation of sensors.

Well, you really don't need to learn all of it to use it. Most of it isn't very relevant. Given that there are menu options that control the way that menu options are displayed, much of it really is entirely unnecessary. As long as I can focus on an object I really don't need ten ways to focus on that object as the things I'm focussing on generally aren't moving so I can forget about all the other ways I can do it.
The complexity is a real problem for beginners though, who buy a big, fancy camera because they think it is necessary for getting good pictures and then find themselves baffled and put off by the apparent complexity. In photo workshops I do I show them where to find the basic controls and tell them not to bother touching anything else because they don't need it.

Mike. Skim the manual, pick out a few features that might be useful to you. Now pick one of those and actually learn how to do it and take the camera out for a walk and shoot using that feature. Is it really useful to you? If so now you know how to do it. This can be repeated as many times as you wish but only for truly useful (to you) features. Now forget about all those other features and don’t be surprised if you forget how a feature works that you don’t use often and you have to redo. Just because the camera can do it doesn’t mean you have to do it.

Mike, you only need to know all that stuff if you are performing vernacular photography like the young 'uns do. If you are performing fine art photography like us geezers do, you only need to know how to set manual focus, manual ISO, shutter speed and aperture. And how to get the raw files out of the little card. And how to press the shutter release.

I don't find manuals that helpful these days. In general they tell you what something does, but give no idea what that means or how it interacts with other settings. Or more importantly the manual doesn't say how to accomplish something like say take a landscape in poor light. In the 80s I used to read the manuals for Excel and Word and I learned how to use those programs. I don't think I can do that anymore. BTW I've been on the planet a decade longer than Sir TOP.

Right on Mike. The only things I look at when buying a camera would be the reputation of the manufacturer and how it feels in my hands. They all have ISO dials, shutter speed dials and aperture controls. I supposed I am old fashioned or out-of-date, but the other dials, buttons, controls only take away from making an interesting image. I love watching some photographers on the street making adjustments, endless composing, more adjustments and finally after a minute or two snap the shutter. I cannot believe that the resulting image has an iota of passion or interest but it is probably technically perfect.

This is one reason why I admire Leica, despite the relatively crazy prices. More money buys simple controls and menus, first class viewfinders, and fantastic lenses; the things I prioritize. Some ‘features’ like IBIS might be sacrificed (instead occasionally placing OIS in big zooms), but the trade off is smaller size and old school simplicity.

As an example, the expected SL2 will be an alternative to the Lumix S1R (same L mount), with probably similar 47MP. It will cost twice as much, but will likely have the same 4 unmarked buttons on the back, just like the sleek S007 interface, which is shared with the current SL. It will also likely be smaller and sleeker than the S1R, without all the dials, buttons and endless options, and probably no IBIS. Some Leica users are already putting Leica lenses on the new Lumix S bodies; we’ll see if the Panasonic alliance (and Sigma) helps or hurts Leica.

Sometimes less is more, except for price. The good news is that prices drop dramatically when the inevitable new models are released. Staying a generation (or two or three) behind can be a more practical approach. GAS, not need, typically drives upgrades. Image quality is hardly an issue anymore.

I'm generally pretty savvy with tech, and my preferred shooting subjects (abstract shapes in architecture and nature) require nothing more than S-AF and a bit of exposure fiddling, so I don't push cameras hard at all. I've been using an E-M10 for years now, and my wife bought a PEN-F. As exceptionally similar as those two cameras are in interface, it still threw me the first time I tried using her camera, since I'd had my E-M10 in the same, comfortable configuration for so long. "Honey, which wheel do you have the exposure compensation on?" Ergh.

At the advanced age of almost 45, I fear that I have now become Too Old For This S***. I think my next camera (assuming the E-M10 shuffles off this mortal coil at some point) will have to have two wheels on the top: One I can actuate with my middle finger and set for exposure compensation and one I can actuate with my thumb and set for aperture. Any other configuration seems likely to turn me into a grumpy old man right quick.

"Have cameras finally become entirely their own hobby?"

As has all the tech surrounding it. Yes, it's always been the case (to a degree), but the digital tech craze has exacerbated it exponentially into its own living breathing creation complete with: videos, fanboy celebrities and all their related social networks and commercial enterprises.

And I'd welcome all of it, if they could only demonstrate the improvement of their applied tech hardware and technique on the making of actual photographic "art." Unfortunately, when I'd actually get around to viewing their resulting creations- I simply marveled at how much new and improved produced the same ol' crap. Granted- with easier, faster and bigger consequences.

I think that camera sensors today are like film was. I liked Kodachrome 25 and Fuji-Chrome 400 in days gone by. Today I like the Fujifilm 24mp X-trans sensor and the Sony A7ii sensor. It helps if the body handles nicely but all the crazy tech in the bodies is more product marketing than anything really useful.

Tomorrow morning I hope to get out to photograph the start of lobster fishing season. I will be taking my two favorite films (X-H1 and A7ii) and a selection of manual focus primes which will be comprised of a Takumar, Zeiss and Nikkor.

Crazy fast auto-focus, blue tooth, etc might be on the bodies I have but I know I don't need them. As long as the bodies contain my favorite "film", then that is all that matters to me.

The best high-tech feature that has come along in recent years is the ability to use a $25 adapter and get access to some of the nicest and affordable lens designs.

I read this stuff, glancingly, and I notice a smile upon my face as I think about my growing collection of M42 mount lenses and bodies, and fixed lens rangefinders, assisted by my Gossen Luna-Pro -- and how I just walk out the door to check out their performance and characteristics. Life is quite fun and simple when you can focus on what's essential.

Not all that is so new. Think back to your old Konica Minolta 7D. Yours and mine had a bar graph in the VF that showed the degree of your shaking. Sony carried the feature into Alpha cameras- did they discard it? I thought it was a great ergonomic feature that led to better technique.

As for the quote about counting the mental toll of brutal TV "dramas," that explains why I've watched none of 'em. Probably I couldn't- I tend to experience vicarious violence as actual physical pain. And so last weekend I attended a silent film festival, in a multiplex where every other screen was showing Avengers all day and night, beginning at 7 am.

As Bart Simpson once said, "How are you gonna stand all the violence if you don't expose yourself to it?"

As I overheard one questionable photo workshop instructor tell an attendee who asked questions on how to operate their new DidigalWonderCam.
"Just put it on "P" for Professional and all the pictures will be good."

I find it's interesting that age is a weak predictor of whether or not people can take advantage of all of those features. One might think that young people are more likely to want to (and be able to) figure out the complex new technologies. I don't think that's the case at all. Most people (regardless of age) seem to figure out only what they need to get by, and ignore the rest.

I'm exposed to lots of young people in my day job and I'm astonished at how generally dismal their mastery is of tools like Microsoft Word, let alone their cameras. There's a reason Apple makes the most successful camera that exists today...

Partly as an antidote to the trend you're describing, I took up large format film photography again during the last year. One of the great pleasures of large format film photography is there is no new technology!* I don't have to worry about what's going to be released at Photokina this year, or whether or not I should wait for an updated version of my camera. It is what it is. This is actually quite refreshing.

The other neat thing about large format is with very few exceptions, all the lenses from all the major brands are excellent. Nikkor, Fujinon, Rodenstock, and Schneider -- all terrific. Just buy some and make pictures.

* Granted companies like Intrepid are making "new" cameras -- but the only thing new about them is the materials. You could give the latest Intrepid to Mathew Brady and he'd be good to go.

Have cameras finally become entirely their own hobby? Mike you need to get out more often, this has been going on for >10 years. After Amazon purchased DPReview (2007) gear-geek fora started to accelerate towards the bottom. About the same time Tony N., and his ilk, took over YouTube.

It used to be a truism that a new camera cost you a year. I must be atypical, about the only real difference between a Nikon F and the Canon EOS 1D was single-point auto-focus and PSAM. Something I was able to learn in a few minuets—no big deal.

Do you take this into consideration before buying a new camera? Yes I do. Cameras are tools, not a hobby—therefore I buy the least-pro camera. In the past it was Canon xxD. Today I'd buy a Canon RP. It has all I need, PSAM and Custom Functions.

Today, there is little to master. Sit down, RTFM and set C1, C2 and C3. Easy-peasy—now your ready to shoot! For snaps, just use P. On the R/RP use Fv exposure mode (a more professional P).

Reify??? An I thought that I was the only one to like/use two-bit words 8-)

"RTFM". That's a good one, except the manufacturers don't provide usable manuals anymore. Instead, these days the camera buyer has to fire up the "manual" on his computer and figure out how to navigate through the damned thing, making it even harder to master the camera.

"But...good lord. Have cameras finally become entirely their own hobby? "
Next thing you know there will be entire magazines devoted to the things as though they were cars or guitars or the like.

Anyway, I recall that the "mind of minolta" kepr spewing crazy cameras like the Minolta 9xi http://www.jwhubbers.nl/mug/card.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minolta_9xi, so this is not a new thing.

Too bad that Minolta always had such insane cameras that kept me from ever trying the lenses that had such a great reputation.

When I watched a jillion YouTube videos on the EOS R at its release, I noticed that there was very little talk about the quality of the pictures (I mean, it's camera, you'd think that would be important). Mostly it was about features, primarily video, with lots of fault finding. They acknowledged very nice photos while not really liking the camera.

Martin's approach is pretty much the same as mine. Turn everything off that you can turn off and only turn it on when you find the need to use it or the desire to try it.

Really, RTFM? I thought no manufacturer bothers to write a manual nowadays. My mother still can't believe her Android phone didn't come with a manual explaining the touch-y swip-y smartphone world.

Honest question: Does the Panasonic G9 come with a good manual?

Yeah, that was on my list of reasons for buying a lightly used EM1 II instead of a new G9 (at around the same price). After years of using Olympus my mental energy is much less figuring out the new model. It "only" took me a couple hours and several internet searches and some frustrating videos to find how to set it the way I like.

I am becoming a bit of a digital curmudgeon as I get older. I'm still not sure if the focusing systems on mirrorless, as fancy as they are, offer any real improvement over a good dslr.

I have been in Micro 4/3 since the Olympus E-M5 came out. I have worked through numerous subsequent Panasonic and Olympus bodies. When I recently got an E-M1 II to go along with my E-M1 I I had no troubles learning the new camera, or, should I say, fighting a familiar fight with the Olympus menus. I also have a G9 and a GX8. The much simpler Lumix menus made them a cinch to get to know. So, I have those 4 bodies plus an E-M10 III for travel and an original E-M5. The biggest change has been to the 20mp sensor, which is smoother and has a better dynamic range. I still love pictures from the older 16mp sensor. I do not feel that any of these cameras will be obsolete, for my use, in the foreseeable future.

I shoot in daylight, no birds, no sports, and rarely make prints larger than 11x11 (I shoot square). I believe, as I write, at age 72, that this system will be what I use for a long time.

I'm convinced this is one reason (beyond the unique image quality) that photographers put up with the annoying quirks of Sigma cameras, at least the Merrill series that I'm familiar with. You can learn the simple, perfectly logical interface in about ten minutes and then start concentrating on making pictures.

I skipped over DSLR from a bridge camera to mirrorless eight years ago. My first was the Panasonic G3 then I switched to Olympus. Over that time I’ve had the OMD EM5 & 10 MKI &II. I currently shoot with the MKII of both models. Every once in a while I think of trying Fuji, Sony, etc. but the thought of the learning curve is too much to contemplate. I have two great cameras set up almost identically. I can grab either from my bag to take advantage of an unanticipated opportunity. At some point I may upgrade to the EM1 MKII but have little interest in learning an entirely new menu system. Even looking at the Panasonic line up makes my head explode, trying to see the difference between all of their current offerings.

Mike, you could always just set it to manual mode.

I was thinking the other day about the sunny 16 rule while musing about claims the moon landings were faked. (The lack of stars in the lunar photos supposedly prove this.) If I brought the sunny 16 rule into the explanation of why this isn't true, how many people would know what I was talking about? Hardly anyone needs to know the rule to get a decent exposure nowadays.

I agree, but I'm not sure I find the menu systems to be a turnoff. I never really use things that I would need to go into the menus to find. I change iso. I change AF modes. I change aperture and shutter speed. I change frame rate.

There might be some gimmicks in those menus that could be of interest, but I really don't bother with any of that. I use the camera to take pictures. Lots of pictures.

There is technology that interests me very much. The increasing quality we are seeing at high isos. The incredible ability to use continuous focus to track the eye of a subject has completely changed the way I shoot since moving from Nikon D5 to Sony A9 a couple months ago.


I'll see your hard and soft developers and raise you one.

In the late 80's my star printing client shot mostly 2 1/4 TXP, and used a lot of natural light. The contrast range he was able to
wrangle onto film was impressive, but would sometimes be more than any of the papers could handle, so my normal procedure for him would be the two developers. That would tame the highlights while still giving me the poppy mid-tones and strong blacks that he liked, and that TXP did so well. Interior setups shot under hot lights printed well with the hotter soup.

That usually worked fine, but not all the time. My Plan B was to go to a multi-contrast paper (Ilford), primary exposure with a midrange filter and then burn the hell out of the highlights with a very soft filter. Then cook in two soups to taste.

The extra developer tray and the in-between rinse tray made for a very crowded sink, had to move the archival washer into another room.

This was during the period when some of the commonly used films and papers were suddenly disappearing. One primary client shot pan-X and printed only on Portriga, both of which were discontinued within a year of one another. TMax 100 was a reasonable film replacement, but there was no substitute for Portriga. The irony was that there was still an Agfa paper that claimed to be Portriga, but it had been reformulated to such an extent that it was no longer at all like the real thing. Oriental Seagull, which I used for my star client, disappeared too.

"Do you take this into consideration before buying a new camera?"
Yes. That's one of the big reasons (there were several others) I have made my purchases as I have. That said, it's only been with the last 2 that it finally worked, in 2014 and 2016 or 17. Part of that has to do with these cameras being best in class in all the ways that I need. I still have both, and don't see much point in swapping out. So, now with both I'm getting a real feel for them, but more importantly the results I want. I use few of the total functions. I appreciate them and occasionally use them, but these days I'm shooting a lot in manual mode. Why not, when you can chimp?

Had an XPro 1, using XPro2 now and will buy the new XPro3 this year. Only use manual exposure and autofocus. Love that the lenses have f stops on them and I can shoot by feel. I expect a small learning curve on the new camera. . These days my only mechanical thing i have is a wind up watch which goes for 2 days and my wife is always charging her iwatch,,,strange to have a watch that you charge up at night. Progress ? nope.

Mike, my guess is that most of us have a pretty good idea of what goes into the mix of camera settings that will produce a well exposed, in focus and generally pleasing image. Both the exposure and focus are subject to personal taste and one man's blur is another man's blurry, while too dark is too light for others. It then comes down to ergonomics, placement of the buttons, dials and overall 'touch/feel' in our hands. Going from one camera to another is not as difficult if we have our visual concepts in place. F4.0 at 1/125 with an ISO of 200 is pretty much equal from one camera to another. Changing our aperture, shutter speed or ISO on the fly comes naturally. Getting those settings may differ slightly, but our motor skills are up to the task. Some of us don't record video, some only use RAW files or Jpeg, or both. Many preferences are set-up once and are rarely changed. When it comes to a using a 'tool' we all want that familiar feeling, but also are curious and eager to try that new saw, drill, backhoe, camera...and happy when it all works out better than we expected.

I felt that way when Canon bought out the T90...if I need auto I have my iPhone (and no manual required)...

Probably after a 3 beer evening I pulled the trigger on a like new Sony RX10iii that was selling 1/2 the new price. Yeah a bridge superzoom that is just too much fun. Menus are whacked but when set on "A" priority there is a feature called rich smooth B&W. Camera snaps 3 quick shots and melts them together into really nice B&W images. When I want out of that I do the pro thing and move the dial to Auto and the camera does everything right in color. Why get headaches right?

PS I just had a new sensor installed on my 57 Yashicamat. It's called Pan F 50. I'll report the results.

I moved to Baltimore after watching the Wire and just FYI it’s a lot like that.

Like many of the other respondents, I use only the features on my E-M1 and E-M1.2 that I need. It took a bit of thought (and time) to setup, but now it’s done. Both cameras are set the same way.

For walkin’ around, small center spot focusing and recompose if needed; rear dial aperture, from dial compensation, Auto ISO, Auto IBIS. Manually adjust focus and compensation as needed.

Optionally change to C-AF and low speed exposure if needed using the convenient level.

All of this is set with mode C1.

Landscape even simpler: ISO 200, IBIS off. This is C2.

Change film to B&W is a simple rotation of the dial to C3. Otherwise, the same as C1.

I borrowed a Sony A7-something at an event last year for a couple of hours. I never really got it set up even close to what I minimally needed, even with Sony experts standing by to help. I think those who resist the learning curve when they acquire a new tool are doomed to never use it to their best advantage. And while I (like many others) never use many of the features of each camera, I suspect we all use a different small subset. So while I fulminate over idiotic menus like everyone else, I don’t reject the customization possibilities that let me build -My- camera.

Apple revolutionized the Phone by making it more software than hardware. Nearly all electronic devices have followed suit.
As camera sensor technology matured, or plateaued, virtually every new 'Hardware Camera' is more than sufficient to accomplish almost any photographic task or need.
That leaves software as the battle ground for manufacturers, and since software features have very little additional cost, we get the 'feature creep monstrosities' most camera software has become.
Just as with any powerful computer software that has been around a while, the applications get to where virtually no one uses all the features.
So like Photoshop, most folks have learned to use the 15 -25% that provides the results they seek.
It's the new software reality.

But just like Mike was told back in college, we need to master Just what we need to get the results we want.
It's been that way for quite a while.

I mentioned yesterday that my daughter shoots weddings and events, people are paying 5-7k for results with no possibility of a 'do over' She has settled on Nikon D3s cameras because they provide everything she needs, and operate flawlessly.

If making great pictures is your first priority, they you buy a camera that appeals to you, set those features you need use and like to occupy the forefront of the UI, and ignore the rest.
It is nice that the features are there, and you can always decide to put new ones 'into rotation', but in my view we need not worry about features we don't need or use.

In my own case, I bought a Canon 1DsIII in 2007, (my dealer had a waiting list for an $8k camera), used it exclusively until 2016 when I added a 5D IV, I appreciated the newer better sensor, and the integration of radio remote flash (which I use for perhaps 5-10% of my work. Other than that, I set them up the same.
I love the lenses, and I know the cameras. I'm happy with what I have.
My dealer gave me an Rs for 5 days, I thought it was a very nice camera but did not buy it because I disliked the move from rear wheel to the touch strip or whatever it's called.

I suspect that lots of people both amateur & Pro have somewhat similar feelings. This translates into a lot fewer sales of new cameras.
Ironically, the only simple, straight forward interfaces are on the most expensive cameras.

There's only a few features you need to use.

One of the reasons I switched to Fuji X cameras was the buttons and dials and controls on the camera and lenses. I've used Sony, and Nikon and Canon, and Olympus and Panasonic cameras and I was just tired of working with what felt like a computer.


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

Darius Foroux said: I think that’s also true for the opposite of excellence. Mediocrity is a result of mediocre habits. Well, duh—sorta sad that you need to say the obvious, but many people would miss the point if you didn't.

Eric Kim said: The more stuff you possess, the more stuff which possesses you.

So many features and yet such little regard for usability...

I'm with Thom. Until or unless the manufacturers address the overall workflow the market for dedicated cameras will continue to decline. I personally won't by another one until it's as easy to get the results onto my computer as it is with a phone. I suspect that will be a long way off or maybe never.

Just buy a camera that has the controls you need in old fashioned dials and buttons. Then you are set. That, and the lenses, are why I swapped from Sony to Fuji.

Jeff sounds like me, a contented Leica users with enough lenses accumulated that every four years, when a new model appears, it is only necessary to sell one body and buy the new one. "Never sell a Leica lens" is a valid life rule. And there is a raging but civil debate among Leicaphiles about whether the two wheels that are now standard should be accompanied by four buttons or only three on the back. I'm currently shooting mostly with an M10-D -- no screen on the back, one wheel and three buttons, uses all of those lenses. They added a faux winding lever to give something extra to hold onto, but the furor over that has died down, and a few are even asking for it on hypothetical new models for the 2022 season.

OK, the prices are 2X the competition's, but everything lasts at least 2X as long, usually more.

IIRC, your old Konica Minolta had a "degree of shake" indicator, too.

I sometimes wonder about exactly who the photographer is for whom the modern camera is designed; must be one amazing mother to need to cover so many extremely different and difficult situations. All I ever need to cope with is focussing on the right part of the subject and getting the exposure reasonably correct - I used to go as far as using a meter during my working years!

Looking at the work of one of my favourites, Peter Lindbergh, he used to use manual Nikons amongst other cameras and types, and in all recent making-of vids he still uses Nikon, usually a D810 this weather. Funny thing: his work looks exactly the same as ever it did... pretty damned good. Obviously his old film Nikons all had experimental, testbed gadgets mine didn't. So yeah, Nikon was clearly working on digital back in the 70s.


Just K.I.S.S. them all to Death!

And all of this a major part of why the mass camera market is tanking. Why get something as shittily designed and hard to use as a modern digital camera. After all, any smartphone is so much easier to use and, for the average user, produces better results for less effort which are easier to share. particularly now that multiple lenses have arrived.

Where I diverge from a lot of the commentary is that I don't see a significant space between the two runaway trains of imaging (Smartphone and Instax) for a mass market digital camera. Phones do ephemeral, shared, better than any standalone camera ever will. Instax does tangible momento with that same immediacy.

I live in East London, and looking around, I still see kids with digital ILCs but they are outliers and might be outnumbered by the late-hipster kids rocking 35mm SLRs and compacts.

Hi Mike,

Impossible to not agree (what, a double-negative in the first sentence?) that digital cameras have become so vastly complex that not even the companies' own engineers have mastered every aspect of their products. Learned that at an Oly E-M1X rollout event when two engineers had a sidebar conversation in Japanese to answer a question I had posed. This is no brag FWIW, just indicative of how uniquely we customers each use these complex machines and how very much of the design goes into attempting to please everybody as much as possible. "You wish to shoot trains? We can accommodate this wish, gladly."

I am two years into steady E-M1 mkii use and while I'm at home with it there are more features than I can count that I have yet to even try, much less master. And the E-M1X raises that already lofty mastery bar into cloud-scraping territory. The English E-M1ii manual tallies 196 pages, the E-M1X--683.

Of a dozen or so digicams I've owned, just one is bone-simple--the Sigma DP-1. It has almost zero customization and scant few controls and settings. Because its performance envelope would not hold a penny, some of the settings can safely be ignored because, for example, you simply do not want to use an ISO north of 100. One learns a camera like this very quickly. One masters it only after a lot of serial disappointment or possibly, never (Foveon).

Somewhere between these two extremes, one ponders camera "perfection" then realizes it's better to just go shoot something with whatever is in the car's back seat.

It takes a year to master a new camera. It also takes a year to find out, that the new camera is not suitable for you. I bought a mirrorless last summer. Now I have to upgrade it to something with a mirror. I photograph events and sports and can't do anything about their lights. For fun I photograph birds and butterflies. With a mirrorless and its evf I can not see the position of the wings of either of them. The evf is "too slow".

I have a Nikon D7200 and an older full frame. I enjoy using them except for their weight. My hands start to shake when holding the camera up for a longer time. I want an IBIS and a lighter camera. Been using one for a year and now giving it away (selling it?). A new mirrorless with IBIS is coming. But I need a year to find out, that a new camera cant fill my needs. So, next year I know, if my new coming mirrorless is suitable or not.

I wonder how many of all those functions a normal photographer needs and/or uses?

It quickly becomes apparent that many (all?) of the cameras sold today were designed by people who don't actually use them. Few of the modern digital cameras come even close to the "usability" of their obsolete film cousins.
My "most-used" camera is a Sony T100 (originally designed by a photographer at Minolta), and seldom use my Sony RX100/6 -- better in every way except actually using it to make pictures.
It ain't unique to cameras, either. My 2009 Prius was a masterpiece of engineering and design. My completely redesigned 2016 Prius is even better engineering, but is an ergonomic nightmare, for example, although is a hatchback I can't even put a bicycle in. (I have just ordered a Subaru Forester for replacement.)

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