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jaapv

The anti-modernism rant- controversy warning!

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Autofocus and Autoexposure almost never work for me. Most of the time, when using these features, I am either wondering why the camera keeps getting it wrong or I am manually overriding what the camera wants to do.

 

And then I often get a blank stare when I try to explain to the disappointed P&S shooter why his pictures of auntie and her poodle didn't turn out too well - although the guy in the camera shop had told him all he had to do was press the button.

 

I don't know if all the auto features should be considered a general disservice to photography, but sometimes I do feel sad that there is a whole generation of people who never get the chance to learn how photography acutally works. Because they never get the experience of what, let's say, an underexposure of one stop does to the picture they will never understand why autoexposure fails so often. It seems to me that to make the most of auto everything one actually has to be able to do it manually.

 

So, Jaap, I think I understand what your OP was about. But in my experience, those photographers who know, amateurs and pros alike, usually don't care; and those who don't will remain helpless - and never know why.

 

Thanks for posting, anyway. I enjoyed the controversy!

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Thank you JAAP for the provacative post. Unfortunately, I mostly just don't agree with you. Fundamentally, a photo is made up of its elements and how they are arranged on the frame. Being able to capture quickly without the time for focus can help obtain the image. As for exposure I tend to agree that full automatic is for people who don't think much but having an aperture preferred auto exposure, used judiciously, speeds up working and allows one to spend more effort on composition. Since I like to control DOF, this is my preferred way of working whether with the M8 or the 5D or my DLux 3 -- or the M7 before I went digital. And some of us are more intuitive when it comes to exposure than others and having a little help is not such a bad idea. The best meter system I've ever had was on my Nikon F5, whose matrix metering was uncanny and almost always better than what I would have picked. I don't consider a system that requires you to pick your aperture or pick your speed and then provides for a way to override the camera is "cheating". Still requires thought and still allows for human intervention. I have never used a machine gun motor drive so I won't comment other than say I am not impressed when someone runs off 100 frames without even thinking about what's in the frame and then says "aha" there's a great shot.

 

By the way, those Kodak Brownies I grew up with were "fully automatic" too. One aperture and one shutter speed. No need even for a meter. Ah for the good old days.

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Guest stnami
I do think that auto-everything cameras sometimes stifle creativity by automating laziness.
..... only for those that cannot be bothered with content

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Carstie and Shootie babes no ego dramas here I just write shit and you keep on reading it //////////////.........

.... and that's what annoys you guys doesn't it.. plus it doesn't help with you taking everything from a narrow perspective concocted by your dear selves

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..... only for those that cannot be bothered with content

 

Masterful! The cool thing about writing obscurely is that if you later decide that whoever argues with you is right, you can just claim that you were misunderstood!

 

Nevertheless... by fairly strict grammatical substitution, assuming the usual definition of "only", and omitting "I do believe", since clearly there is something you disagree with me about or you wouldn't be arguing, we have two propositions:

 

1. "Auto-everything cameras sometimes stifle creativity by automating laziness for those who cannot be bothered with content."

 

I interpret this to mean that those who don't care about content will sometimes have their creativity stifled by automatic modes. I agree with this. If you don't care about content, the scope you have left for creativity is abstraction, impressionism, and suggestion. The tendency of automation ot create a homogenized and rather literal representation of the subject by striving for sharpness, copious depth of field, and exposure which provides a full range of tones certainly works against non-representational (i.e. non-content-focused) creativity.

 

2. "Auto-everything cameras never (="do not sometimes") stifle creativity by automating laziness for those who can be bothered with content."

 

Nonsense. Completely idiotic statement. The camera cannot, of course, know whether the content-focused photographer wants, for example, high-key, low-key, or mid-key as an expression of the mood which the content (subject) creates in the mind of the photographer. Its choice can only NOT stifle creativity if it makes the right choice by accident.

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At the Modernism exhibit (that just ended) at the Corcoran in Washington DC, the one camera they showed was an early model Leica (I think is was a R1).

 

Bob Pierce

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Guest stnami

..no disagreement, a response to an open ended statement,not worried about this misunderstood caper, never crossed my mind to use it as a lever..

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Imants, Archimedes disguised as a photographer.....waiting waiting waiting for the right place and time to heft and hoist.

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They're just tools, people! Use 'em or don't, your choice. Doesn't make 'em bad, and neither does their use devalue the photography made using them. To each his own!

 

Shall we suppose that fine woodworkers whined when power saws became available, threatening to ruin the craftsmanly nature of their art? You wouldn't use one in place of a fine carver's chisel, but definitely better for some jobs.

 

In the end, it's about the images (and Jaap, I think your work holds up fine, auto or manual.)

 

T

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Now that Rangefinders seem to be on the upswing I have gotten to thinking about the return to the basics that implies, and I came up with a few disservices the Industry did to serious photography:

1. Autofocus. This may be a practical tool for the journalistic side of photograpy, and don't get me wrong, it takes a lot of photographic talent to take a gripping newsphoto, but those are meant to convey a record of reality.It is also useful for the great unwashed of mediocre photographers, as it makes it feasable to have a photograph of Aunty Minnie and her poodle where one can actually distinguish the two by their respective facial expessions, but in many cases it either compromises one of the most potent symbols i.e. the plane of focus by putting it in the wrong place through automation, or alternately, composition by keeping one of the AF fields in the right spot. Especially, I might add, in situations where focus tracking is needed. It is a guarantee the right focus will be in the wrong place or the wrong focus in the right place. Or both.

It is interesting to note that Leica was one of the first to develop the technology, and then decided not to use it.

2. And,- this is linked to AF-, motordrives and high FPS numbers. Again, there are "jounalistic" (in the broadest sense) exceptions, and a winder enabling one to keep the camera smoothly to the eye is a good thing, still it makes one miss the decisive moment more often than that it manages to capture it. Put simply, if you are taking a cr*p photograph it will help you to take a large number of them, if you a taking a brilliant shot, you need only one of those.

3. To a lesser extent, Autoexposure. True, it can be corrected more or less in the (digital) darkroom, but with things like judging highlights, accomodating for the dynamic range of the subject or generally setting the mood of the photograph it only gets in the way. Manual is the only real option there. It also puts an end to exposure compensation complaints

And the combination of the lot, Autobracketing, is of course the nadir of it all.

 

how come i didnt notice.

 

is my summicron sharper than your summilux?

 

blablabla

 

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Still the basic question remains - and I'll try not to provoke this time

:

Over the last 150 years we have simplified -democratized- photography to a point where anybody who is interested can use it - no more donkey to carry your camera - no emulsions to pour - no black cloth over the head to focus - infrastructure to help you get optimal results. But more and more things are changing, evolving -automation has taken over the most basic parameters of the medium. Are we not on the slippery slope to make photography from -well, an art form might be to presumptious- a means of expression, into an image-machine in a chain of communication without human input?

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Are we not on the slippery slope to make photography from -well, an art form might be to presumptious- a means of expression, into an image-machine in a chain of communication without human input?

 

No.

 

"With the slogan "you press the button, we do the rest," George Eastman put the first simple camera into the hands of a world of consumers in 1888. In so doing, he made a cumbersome and complicated process easy to use and accessible to nearly everyone." (From Kodak's web site.)

 

For as long as I can remember, it hasn't been very difficult for anyone to take a picture.

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Still the basic question remains - and I'll try not to provoke this time :

Over the last 150 years we have simplified -democratized- photography to a point where anybody who is interested can use it - no more donkey to carry your camera - no emulsions to pour - no black cloth over the head to focus - infrastructure to help you get optimal results. But more and more things are changing, evolving -automation has taken over the most basic parameters of the medium. Are we not on the slippery slope to make photography from -well, an art form might be to presumptious- a means of expression, into an image-machine in a chain of communication without human input?

 

 

I have previously posted on this thread. My current point is not about the controversial premise (my position is clear- I mostly agree that rangefinder photogs know more of their craft than P&S who rely on technology, but that is not the point of this response), it is about the responses here to the subsequent statements. Please read all the posts objectively and see just how nasty some of you guys are to your fellow members! I have made previous posts about how mean and hateful you guys get when someone suggests that non-Leica glass can acutally be used, and this thread (as are others) is further proof of that. Certainly not all of you, perhaps a small number of you, are rather malignant in your comments about someone else's opinions. One can easily spot those prima donnas with insulting comments and opinions who even attack the originator, not the thought of the thread. The originator of this thread gave his opinion, and the rabid dogs among you have attacked. There are many threads where someone asks/presents a thought out of the Forum mainstream (All things Leica, worship Leica, if you don't own Leica you are an amateur who dares to join our fourm.......) and the select few of you all just tear into them.

 

I sit back and wonder at the personal pathology some of have, easily seen in your postings. Most posters are great and have wonderful things to say, and all bulliten boards/forums have their "nuts and extremists"; of all the BB that I have been on, this one has the most elitist of all. Holy cow! I hope it doesn't scare off newer members from joining. I have learned to just read this forum and glean the objective and great information, and for the other crap I just shake my head. No insult intended, but some of you need to get a life. It's just a camera, and these are just opinions.

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Still the basic question remains - and I'll try not to provoke this time :

Over the last 150 years we have simplified -democratized- photography to a point where anybody who is interested can use it - no more donkey to carry your camera - no emulsions to pour - no black cloth over the head to focus - infrastructure to help you get optimal results. But more and more things are changing, evolving -automation has taken over the most basic parameters of the medium. Are we not on the slippery slope to make photography from -well, an art form might be to presumptious- a means of expression, into an image-machine in a chain of communication without human input?

 

A human has to view it to give it meaning as they do with all art and expression.

 

It's the meaning to the viewer that counts not how you got to the image.

 

Think of a kaleidoscope.

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Jaap,

 

I don't think the problem rests with the tools as much as the access they provide. The shear volume of photos being produced simply adds to "information pollution" that makes it more difficult to identify what you believe to be worthwhile. Of course, the Internet, every sort of printed material and broadcast radio and TV simply add to the explosion of information overload. In the end, I'd rather deal with that problem than any sort of restriction -- implied or codified -- that might be imposed.

 

Larry

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A human has to view it to give it meaning as they do with all art and expression.

 

It's the meaning to the viewer that counts not how you got to the image.

 

Think of a kaleidoscope.

 

Sure? The camera decides exposure, focus and timing. Framing is left - but face recognition is starting to be implemented. Next thing : auto-framing, auto-composing. Point your machine, set the jog-dial to HCB for street shooting or Eva Besnyo for the kids and sit back whilst the computer builds the perfect shot...Where does that leave us?

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Almost every enterprise or discipline has those who dabble and those who pursue it earnestly -- whether it's painting, writing poetry, playing an instrument, or finishing furniture. The fact that anyone can do them in no way threatens the excellence a few manage to attain.

 

I'm actually more concerned about the way photography is now presented. I mean mass online display in photo forums, etc. As inspiring as they can be, so many competing images makes only the loudest get noticed. Oversaturation, extreme manipulation, and other "artful" treatments are the order of the day. There's little place for subtlety or time for reflection in this "hey, look at me" click, click atmosphere. I think this is having a much greater impact than auto-everything technology.

 

John

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Next thing : auto-framing, auto-composing. Point your machine, set the jog-dial to HCB for street shooting or Eva Besnyo for the kids and sit back whilst the computer builds the perfect shot...

 

Just to throw in here (at my peril) automating phototaking to this degree will force dedicated photographers to seek uniqueness by applying their talents in ways the automated cameras can't. Or, force those who relied on automatic options to hone skills in new ways with manual features, as available. (Where I am at the moment.) Thanks. --Will

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Sure? The camera decides exposure, focus and timing. Framing is left - but face recognition is starting to be implemented. Next thing : auto-framing, auto-composing. Point your machine, set the jog-dial to HCB for street shooting or Eva Besnyo for the kids and sit back whilst the computer builds the perfect shot...Where does that leave us?

 

With still the most important thing of all, where to point it.

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Sure? The camera decides exposure, focus and timing. Framing is left - but face recognition is starting to be implemented. Next thing : auto-framing, auto-composing.

 

Those automated functions *can* help capture the "decisive moment", you know. And without the depth-of-field limitations imposed by relying on hyperfocal / zone focusing in a street-shooting situation. Sure the Leica has its own advantages – not least of which is unobtrusiveness – but seriously, you can use a D200 or similar at f1.4 and STILL get the picture in an instant with the automation...

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