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06-05-2014, 10:29 AM   #1
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Handing your camera to a non-photographer

Have you ever had this happen? You're at a party or an event, snapping some photos of your friends. Then someone points out that you won't be in any of the pictures. So they ask to take your picture with your own camera. You hand them your camera and realize either then or later that your camera is customized in such a way that it's hard to explain to a non-photographer how to use the camera.

The main thing I've forgotten is how I've customized autofocus. On my K-3, my standard setup is now to autofocus only with the AF button and leave the camera in AF.C mode all the time. That lets you focus-recompose or do a continuous focus without any settings changes. But it's hard to explain how to use this to a novice. If I don't make any changes, it's essentially like having no autofocus.

Or on my Ricoh GR, I forgot that I've got the full press snap focus mode on. So normally it will focus on a half-press of the shutter, then take the picture at full press. But if you just press the button in one quick motion, the camera snaps to a fixed focus distance that is preconfigured. This is to allow for quick street photography or where autofocus is difficult. This can also create problems if you don't explain it to the person taking your picture.

And with my Sony RX100, I have a pretty convoluted flash setup. I have the first version with no hot shoe. So what I've done is put a tab of tape on the flash head as well as a little piece of white cardboard. With my thumb and middle finger, I can pull the flash head back to bounce the flash off the ceiling. And with my index finger, I push the small bounce card forward for some forward fill and a nice catch light. This is awkward to explain to anyone.

So how do you guys handle this? Sometimes I'm inclined to switch to full auto mode, but that not always optimal when you're using a non TTL flash and want to balance the ambient light.

06-05-2014, 10:40 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Just switch to Auto and hope for the best. I usually just hand over the Q with very little customization.
06-05-2014, 10:54 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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I just tell them I look better *behind* the camera...
06-05-2014, 11:04 AM   #4
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I have Live View set to Face Detect. Turn LV on and tell them to wait for the yellow box around a face.
In low light, I set to Center Point AF and just tell them to put the VF centre over somebody and then recompose so everyone's in the shot.

06-05-2014, 11:12 AM   #5
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I have my settings saved as U1, and when I hand it off I switch it to green mode.
06-05-2014, 11:21 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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I hand them my cell phone, it would take too long to explain how a real camera works. And to be honest, they will get a better picture with the cell phone.
06-05-2014, 11:22 AM   #7
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Liveview, put the focus point where I want it and tell them to look with me where the focus point should be so I ensure compisition is good.
06-05-2014, 11:22 AM - 1 Like   #8
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And I'm not handing $1,500 worth of camera gear to the waitress no matter how much she wants to help.

06-05-2014, 11:24 AM   #9
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Haha yeah! Not to mention if you happen to be using a manual lens or even a prime (they always try to zoom it!) And somehow the focus is always off! But I treasure such moments - they show me that even though I might not consider myself to be a good photographer, I have come a long way

Last edited by Na Horuk; 06-05-2014 at 11:54 AM.
06-05-2014, 11:30 AM   #10
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That's one of the reasons I'm trying to get the pawn shop special *istD working. I would just pull that out of the bag and hand it over on green mode.
06-05-2014, 11:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
And I'm not handing $1,500 worth of camera gear to the waitress no matter how much she wants to help.
Ha ha!
06-05-2014, 11:56 AM   #12
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The Live View with face detect is a great suggestion! I'll remember that one!
06-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #13
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For just a couple of shots that I have to be in (Family, groups, etc) I just hand it in auto or semi-auto mode and make them wear the strap around their neck. I do need to remember and make sure it is in single shooting mode. Last time I handed my K5 to “non-photographer” for a group picture in a sporting event it was on Continuous (Hi) - She took about two dozen shots.
06-05-2014, 12:29 PM   #14
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Yes I have had this happen, and it's frustrating.

My wife one time had a quick photo op, and was keen enough to grab the camera and switch it to Autopic mode. She did well.

Maybe they should relabel the "Autopic" or whatever it's called, to "Guest" or "Friend" mode. That would help put a more positive spin on a feature that most DSLR owners want to distance themselves from.
06-05-2014, 12:41 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
And I'm not handing $1,500 worth of camera gear to the waitress no matter how much she wants to help.
This reminds me of a less-than-honest technique for building your camera collection. Bring an impressively large but actually worthless broken camera to a tourist trap. Pretend to take some photos. A couple on vacation will invariably ask you take their photo and hand you their camera. Drop your junk camera and run away with their camera
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