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So... advanced cameras in the hands of "happy snappers" creating problems?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Yeats, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    I'm posting this, inspired by a couple of recent posts here on SC from folks who've bought pocketable, big-sensor cameras.

    There are many people who feel that the answer to a problem is to throw more money at it. Over the last couple of years, we've seen a new class of camera emerge, the pocketable, large-sensor consumer compact. The allure is that, for $500 to $3000, you can acquire a camera that can produce far better image quality than your pal's cell phone or your aunt's Canon Powershot. The issue is, to get the most from your new expensive toy, you might actually need to learn a few things about photography, especially depth of field.

    So, of course, for "happy snappers" who don't want to learn this stuff, comes the plaintive question, "I thought I bought the best camera, why can't it do everything for me?"... because, in that person's thought process, fully (mind-reading) automated = "best".

    This wasn't as much of a problem back in the days of 1/2.5" sensor cameras, where DoF was far larger, and there was a fairly finite line between what was a P&S and what was a "professional" camera.

    I guess the question then is, are cameras like the Sony RX100, Ricoh GR, Sony RX1, et al. actually fooling some folks with their consumer-friendly designs, by not consistently delivering the best results without more than casual input from the shooter?
     
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  2. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I don't think this is a problem -- it's that way with cars, etc. It's human nature and with our reliance on technology, it's even easier to believe you can buy something that makes YOU better, lol.

    Imaging is still something that requires "vision" to really make something beyond the ordinary. It's just another incarnation of "if I buy a better camera my pictures will be great" -- nothing new!
     
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  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    This may be the first time that it has become an issue in the digital era, but in years past your automatic P&S cameras boasted a 36x24mm "sensor". Back then however you wouldn't have used a film compact in dark conditions without a flash (surely the cause of most "not enough DOF" issues; the camera selecting too large an aperture).
     
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  4. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I assume most people who buy a high priced camera understand that their shots will only be as good as their understanding of the machine they use. But "most" is not the same as "all".

    Buy a camera that is capable of taking great photos still requires some knowledge of the controls. It would be a bit like a person who has never driven a car suddenly getting keys to a Ferrari. They may be able to get it started and possibly figure out how to make it roll, and/or stop, but they won;t be able to do anything resembling race car driving.

    And just because a camera costs more and is CAPABLE of taking better photos....even to use one in fully automatic mode requires the user to make a number of decisions. Most local camera stores offer a camera basics class and anyone willing to spend $600 or more to get "better photos" should take the class. Or hire a "professional" (and it needn't be an expensive one) for an hour or two of tutoring.

    The bottom line is that there is a learning curve, and a pile of cash and a cool camera does not accelerate the curve.
     
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  5. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    these people shouldn't be able to purchase cameras without having first passed some sort of test in order to prove they are good enough for the cameras.

    that would keep the riff-raff at bay ...
     
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  6. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    John, I don't think it's relying on technology as much as simply not understanding - or at least being able to account for - the basic physics involved. "Big sensor" compacts have introduced a new factor - depth of field - that traditional compacts (with small sensors) seldom needed to deal with. I think there are many folks who buy a Sony RX100 or RX1 that don't understand that - and some don't want to. These folks are, in effect, not buying the best tool for the job, but they don't know it, because they spend a lot of cash.
     
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  7. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Growing up in my house, the "family camera" used 110 film - far smaller than 35mm. :wink:
     
  8. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Exactly, and I think people genuinely get confused because a camera like a Nikon Coolpix A is a "Coolpix" - a P&S line.
     
  9. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    My God, what if the same applied to power tools??? I'd be sunk... :frown:
     
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  10. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    No, the use of power tools by people who are incapable of using them safely is a self-limiting activity and thus requires no extra measures. and it keeps the gene-pool hygienic
     
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  11. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Well said Luke.

    I think.. when the average consumer buys, they are actually purchasing possibilities. Possibilities branded with names they feel are capable of the results they see on those manufacturer's web sites. Many people might not realize the effort they need to put into photography itself to create similar images-- let alone understand that they really don't need to pay so much to achieve those kinds of images. Will a cell phone do it? No.. but you don't need to invest thousands either. But then as long as cars have been around, referring to Luke's words, man has compensated. And that isn't to toss out an old joke but to say that sitting in a Ferrari is a lot more exciting than sitting in Chevette AND... shooting the RX1 or Leica X Vario seems far more glamorous than some 200$ pocket camera. They hold "possibilities", or are at least perceived to.
     
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  12. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Darwinism, indeed :D
     
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  13. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    Or, after spending that kind of money you invest in quality time on this forum interacting with others here to help improve your camera handling and photo making art.

    I can't tell you how much this place right here impacted my desire to learn more about each. Two years ago this January I participated with many here on a photo a day with the same camera and focal length. It changed me.
     
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  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    When I was heavily into cycling, many old vets laughed at people who came into the sport during the Armstrong boom (before the fall!) - stockbrokers and dentists and lawyers who just walked into a bike shop and said give me the "best" bike. In many cases it was the wrong tool for the job, but the funny thing is that MOST (surely not all, but a LOT) of those folks liked riding that "best" bike enough that they kept riding it and riding it and damned if they didn't turn into decent and even good cyclists over time. A new bike wouldn't make you faster, but it might just cause you to ride more and THAT would make you a better cyclist. Same thing with cameras. Some people get waaaaaaaay more gear than they need and some never learn to really use it, but some are turned on enough by the possibilities (like Duane said just above) that they DO learn to use it and get damn good in the process.

    On top of which, if you buy a new Ferrari or a new high end motorcycle or gun and you don't know what you're doing, you could hurt or kill someone, maybe yourself. Too nice of a camera is HIGHLY unlikely to have such potentially dire consequences. So if someone want't to jump in over their head, I say no problem - go for it...

    -Ray
     
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  15. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Go for it, indeed. And when the pictures aren't automagically amazing, I'll give them $1,500 for their mint RX1. :biggrin:
     
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  16. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    But wait... the Camera Police will be coming for my D40 if that's the case! I had it 5 years before I took it off Auto! (but at least I realized I needed to find the bleeping menus and get it off auto to get the pictures I wanted!)
     
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  17. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    I can't remember the ad - or if I saw it posted here or on some other site - but there was a very strange ad made. The spokesman went up to people using DSLRs and asked them if they'd ever taken their cameras off auto. (The ones used for the ad) all said "no." Instead of encouraging them to learn to use the camera they already had, the spokesman basically said, well, if you're going to leave your camera on auto, THIS mirrorless camera will shoot just as high quality a photo, and it's a lot lighter and more compact. It left me shaking my head.
     
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  18. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    Yes, the mere fact that someone is posting and asking for advice here is evidence that they're willing to learn - always a good thing, especially when you have a nice camera to learn from!
    I haven't been here long enough to see "several" such posts but I did see one today. Part of the poster's problem many have been the need to turn image stabilization off when the camera is steadied . That's the sort of info that doesn't just leap off the page of the manual!
     
  19. TheRubySusan

    TheRubySusan SC Top Veteran

    646
    Sep 2, 2013
    Henry, IL
    Ruby
    It's late, and I'm tired, so I'm going to go with my gut. Depth of field is where it's at, man.
    But it's something you have to think about, and maybe even invest in a tripod or at least think about your camera handling technique. Some understand from the beginning that if you have the "best camera" you will have to grow into it. Some catch on that they have in their hands the opportunity to learn. Some never do understand why their photos don't "pop" when the just sit back and let the "best camera" do its stuff.
    It would be the same for me with cars if I needed to do anything but get my regular maintenance when my father-in-law reminds me. If I had to deal with anything under the hood to get the car to perform, I'd have to move to a city with mass transportation!
     
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  20. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Maybe they purchase the "top of the line" because they think buying "the best" will make the experience better.

    I've certainly done that in the past with ham radio equipment only to discover that it ain't necessarily so.

    I think perhaps sometimes folks confuse "image quality" -- of which there is a lot of discussion on the various forums -- with taking good pictures.

    Probably factored in here is the diminishing number of local camera shops whose proprietors could provide sage advice to the outright newbie who is about to purchase the photographic equivalent of a Formula 1 car.

    Cheers, Jock
     
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