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05-02-2013, 12:17 PM   #1
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Is modern photography fairly well idiot proofed?

I am actually slowly losing interest in photography because its looking like as the DSLR's automated features get better and better, you literally can just hand any idiot a camera, give them 5 minutes of pointers on composition and they will be able to produce a frustratingly large number of fairly good shots, especially standard shots like recording a family event.
We aren't obviously to the point just yet where automated controls have replaced a pro with manual controls, but they are good enough that an amateur just leaves the camera on A now and its embarrassing how often even pros just leave things on auto in their everyday photography now.

Now add in photoshop. Not even the really detailed manually controlled kind of photoshop, but the auto level, highlight and shadow recovery, fix the screw ups automated sort of photoshop and many of those fairly good shots become really great shots.

I actually watched a Nikon sponsored mini series from Korea where they basically handed a Kpop group 4 mid range DSLR's (basically Nikon K30 equivalent as I recall) and had a mini photo contest among them. They actually did surprisingly well for having no training and only automatic functions on a mid level.

This is really more of a venting at this point but I find myself reverting all the way back to darkroom developed black and white from a K1000 just so I can say "HA lets see you do that!" and stay interested.

I'm actually seriously tempted to sell the K20D and pick up a WG3 since it would get used WAY more and I could keep the film stuff for the real photography. I'm not so sure about the battery tech used in it or I would have done it already.

05-02-2013, 12:20 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Is it idiotproof for snapshots? Sure.

Is it idiotproof for professional shots under difficult circumstances (fast motion, low light, modeling, etc)? I sincerely do not think so.
05-02-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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A Mode????? What's THAT!!!
05-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #4
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I think photography has been "idot proof" for a long time...

05-02-2013, 12:28 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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To throw some armchair psychoanalyzing at you that might be completely off-base, you seem to have that competitive instinct where you think everything in life is a competition and if you can't be the best (or at least stand out) or "the idiots" are doing better than they deserve (cause they're idiots) then it irks you to no end. None of which has to do with enjoying an activity for its own sake. (Do you also stop liking songs/music that you used to once they become too popular, and that kind of thing?)

If so, you've got to put in a real effort to become not just decent/competent (since the auto controls are catching up to you), but to become an absolute master and then you can still be king of the hill, or at least clearly superior to the idiots. If photography is your business, and the idiots are encroaching upon it, that might be your only option.

OR, you can learn to enjoy it for its own sake, whatever your level, and not worry about what the idiots are doing.

OR, give it up and take up rock-climbing or something (or rock-climbing photography) where no novice can compete without killing themselves...

Last edited by vonBaloney; 05-02-2013 at 12:34 PM.
05-02-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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Photography is not camera equipment. Nor is it software. It is about the image created. If you think otherwise, please convince me.

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05-02-2013, 12:43 PM   #7
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Idiot proofed, yeah from a technical standpoint. A good eye is still a good eye - and even with a cell phone a good eye is readily apparent. The difference as noted above will come in difficult conditions, and squeezing anything out of a situation beyond what the firmware thinks you should do. It is interesting once in a while to select green mode to see what the camera thinks is optimal, which is usually pretty good in broad daylight.

You start using long lenses, unusual wide angle lenses, dark or rainy conditions and you'll find the idiot isn't extinct. If the idiot learns a few things, though, I can't but think that's good.
05-02-2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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I would agree, photography is fairly idiot proof these days, however, I don't think that anyone with a camera can take good photos, a good photo requires composition, contrast, good focus, etc,. Moreover with the advent of AF lenses, makes it all the easier. But I think you can really see a degrade in image quality when you compare an image taken in 'M' mode rather than 'A' or greenbox mode. You just have to look close enough to see the flaws in it. Personally, I hate DSLRs for the very reason that it makes it too easy, however in recent times I've had to switch over to digital as it is far more cost effective, and I am kinda a fan of the slightly more 'automated' Adobe Photoshop, it give people who otherwise wouldn't be able to learn everything about it the change to more quickly and easily learn how to use the programme, and the more they use it the more they play around with different functions, and slowly do things more manually. At least that's how I have been learning how to use photoshop. The only time I shoot on 'Program' mode is when I am using my old Rikenon-P 50mm (I don't know why but when I am in manual mode with it and take a shot at say.. 1/1600 at f/5.6 it is dark but in program mode it uses the same exposure and is perfect..?) but 9.75 out of 10 times I am in full manual mode.

05-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #9
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A fair assessment vonBaloney, I don't need to be the best in anything but when I stop to consider it I do tend to have less interest in activities that don't require as much skill.
I think photography is more about creativity than technical ability at this point though and its only going farther in that direction. Perhaps that is not a bad thing.
Its interesting when you look way back in photographic history, many famous photos could have been taken in far better quality with even a modern point and shoot, but wouldn't even be given a second glance if the identical shot were taken today. They were only special because of the limited technology of the time.
You really have to go the extra mile to stand out nowadays since I think most technical aspects are fairly well taken for granted when someone looks at something. I blame photoshop more than the cameras for that.

EDIT: I just realized another thing that gets to me, more than even DSLR automation. Photography now is almost more about the processing these days than it is about the image itself, test that theory out if you don't believe it. The ordinary easily becomes extraordinary with a little PP and the extraordinary looks quite ordinary without it to people used to seeing images perfected in post processing.

Last edited by PPPPPP42; 05-02-2013 at 12:56 PM.
05-02-2013, 01:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
as the DSLR's automated features get better and better, you literally can just hand any idiot a camera, give them 5 minutes of pointers on composition and they will be able to produce a frustratingly large number of fairly good shots...
Mmmmm... no. I know a lot of folks who if you gave them a camera that only had one button on it, and focused and exposed every shot absolutely perfect every time, they'd still get blurry photos from camera shake, photos of chopped off heads, poorly composed photos, etc etc...

QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
...especially standard shots like recording a family event.
Personally, I think it's awesome that people can take decent looking pictures of their families and kids. I can't imagine why anyone would be frustrated at someone else of being able to adequately preserve memories of their loved ones.

Sure there are more automatic features on new cameras... but photography shouldn't be an elitist pursuit. There's absolutely no reason to be cranked out of shape that others with a lesser technical knowledge are enjoying photography or anything else. Do what you do, let others do what they do and don't worry about it. It's like being ticked off because since the advent of the automatic transmission, any "idiot" can drive a car.

And you're only assuming those who use auto modes are less knowledgeable. Sure, some are... (but again, why would you care?) As for me, I started out on a 35mm camera without so much as a meter. I learned how to guess exposure, and I got fairly good at it. I know how to set a camera manually, because for about 20-some years manual cameras are all I had. Nowadays I use either Av or Tv modes the majority of the time, because it doesn't stop me from thinking about what I'm doing, it only stops me from having to tweak the shutter speed or aperture ring which if I'm to trust the meter in the camera, would be adjusted to the same place anyway. And when I don't want to trust the meter, I can easily override it.

All the auto modes are to me is a bit of a time saver, and I'm glad they're there. I suspect that is the case for a lot of us. There are some shots I might have missed if I would've had to take the extra time to twist an extra setting. It's called progress & it's a good thing.

And you know, if a soccer mom wants to buy a big fat pro DSLR, glue the knob to the "auto pict" setting and click away and have fun feeling like a pro... that's great. Glad she enjoys it. She can do her thing, I'll do mine, and everybody's happy... well... 'cept maybe you.
05-02-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bcrary3 Quote
But I think you can really see a degrade in image quality when you compare an image taken in 'M' mode rather than 'A' or greenbox mode. You just have to look close enough to see the flaws in it.
Assuming we're taking about using the in-camera meter and same metering technique, how would taking a photo in M mode at 1/125 sec. and f:4 be "better" than if I set the camera to aperture priority and the lens to f:4 and let the camera set the shutter speed to 1/125th sec? Or using shutter priority and setting the camera at 1/125th sec shutter speed and letting the camera set the f-stop to f:4?

As long as it's correct, exposure is exposure.
05-02-2013, 02:10 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Photography is not camera equipment. Nor is it software. It is about the image created. If you think otherwise, please convince me.

M
This is an interesting question that I have been thinking about before. I absolutely think that the story behind the photo is a part in making it special. Thus photos that are harder to make tend to appeal more to me.

Take for example this picture and this picture. If judged only for the final image, they are both quite blurry and unspectacular in just about every way. It is only when you know that these are actual pictures of American troops landing at Omaha beach on D-day that they make an impact. And such an impact that both have become some of the most iconic pictures of the 20th century. If they had been produced in a studio two weeks ago nobody would even raise an eyebrow.

I can fully understand the "final image" viewpoint, but for me it's interesting to know if the photo is a product of photoshop or what was actually in front of the lens when you pressed the shutter. It probably boils down to personal preferences in photography and what you find interesting.
05-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #13
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Compelling and thought provoking discussions...
Photography to me is simply about manipulating light and freezing time. Yes, a good DSLR in "A" mode and some good P&S cameras can take nice photos with good exposure and color in the hands of an amateur, and I think that is great for capturing those simple family moments. However, those with the fundamental understanding of photography equipment, composition, and the knowledge of how to manipulate light can capture those "Wow!" shots with a DSLR or even a P&S. I doubt many inexperienced photographers could take a DSLR or P&S on automatic and capture a clean low light shot, sharp action shot, moon shoot, BIF, macro shot, silky running water shot, and so on...
For now, I think skill and experience (the art) will still surpass improvements in technology (the science) in the hands of an inexperienced button pusher. With that said, I wonder how long DSLRs, as we know them, will continue to exist as video sensor technology continues beyond 4K resolutions. I foresee a time in the near future when you can use a video camera to shoot high resolution video with the ability to later extract multiple high megapixel frames taken at several FPS to find that best frame. Of course that will require better sensors, huge bandwidth and storage improvements, but I do think that will be available in the near future. That will be a real game changer when the price is within reach of the mainstream. That "idiot" will then be able to push the record button and walk around the scene and move up and down at various angles and then go to their computer and find that perfect shot! You still wouldn't be able to capture every type of shot, but just imagine what you could do with that and how photography as we know it now would change...


Mike
05-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by PPPPPP42 Quote
EDIT: I just realized another thing that gets to me, more than even DSLR automation. Photography now is almost more about the processing these days than it is about the image itself, test that theory out if you don't believe it. The ordinary easily becomes extraordinary with a little PP and the extraordinary looks quite ordinary without it to people used to seeing images perfected in post processing.
PP has always been there, only thing digital did was made it less toxic, bit faster, more preciese and add an undo button.
Ansel Adams tweaked the hell out of his photo's to make them perfect.

PP is easier these days but the bar is also higher now concerning photo's. It's easier to make a good picture but it's harder to make a great picture.
05-02-2013, 02:47 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brazeal Quote
I foresee a time in the near future when you can use a video camera to shoot high resolution video with the ability to later extract multiple high megapixel frames taken at several FPS to find that best frame
There are DSLR that can do 12fps and can do that for 3 seconds long.
So if you still need to time it a bit but you can easily take 20 to 30 photos of a moment and pick the right one.
Some sport photographers rely on this tactic... It only makes you respect more the ones who can judge the players and the game to make a good photo most of the time.
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