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Thread: How much does technology work for you?

  1. #1
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    Default How much does technology work for you?

    Multi-mode metering options, automatic TTL flash-exposure, etc. Nowadays, these features are quite standard in even entry-level cameras. My query is, in light of all these technological advancements, how critical is it to still know the basics of photography? Like exposure settings? (I know it's still important, but just how important?)

    Many a times I hear that beginners are told to get a manual camera so that they can learn the basics before moving on. I personally feel this is quite old-school thinking, and when one becomes so concerned about the mechanics of the camera, photography becomes more of a science (which is nothing wrong, btw), rather than an art.

    For me personally, I'm happy to let technology do the work for me because when I take a picture, there's already so much I have to consider about how to compose the shot. Maybe it's my simple mind, but I find it exceedingly daunting to think about camera settings and the scene at hand. I don't know what the "sunny f/16" rule is, or how to make 1/3-stop adjustments. I just read the manual, fully understand what each button and knob does, and it's go for me.

    What do you think?
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

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    Fine sentiments if you don't want to progress beyond happy snap level. The simple and most fundamental truth in photography is that it is both an art and science and you need both to be a good quality versitile photographer.

    The reason I say this is that no amount of technology will cover 100% of photographic situations, and sooner or later you'll run in to a scenario where reliance on technology will mean you won't be able to make a good shot.

    It's one of the reasons why most photographic schools and courses insist on manual exposure and camera operation in the majority of their exercises.

    Ian
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  3. #3

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    I think technology is there to aid photography...making it an easier job to get good photos even from entry-level compact digital cameras.

    But when u r talking about compacts...there's not much settings u can play with...more of a point-n-shoot kind...
    But if u r talking about higher end models...having some basic knowledge can dramatically improve the photos...

    I believe picture composition plus aperture/shutter speed knowledge is more important than worrying about other details.

    A good photographer can shoot something and make a good picture but a better photographer can shoot the same thing and make a great picture.

    For myself...I'm totally dependant on technology...when i'm taking pictures...I usually tweak only the ISO setting, aperture n shutter speed settings...then i shoot in the RAW mode.

    After i download the pictures into my PC then will i adjust all the settings like white balance or exposure or sharpness or color saturation etc etc....

    Dat's how i do it......juz my 2 cents worth....

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    Right, Ian.

    I guess the question is "what do you want out of photography?" Knowledge in all aspects of photography is crucial for one to succeed at the highest level. But there is this one guy, he could talk my ears off about hardware and settings and all, but his pictures were merely ordinary compared to another point-and-shoot lady ("don't ask me about settings"), who obviously had a superior sense of composition.

    Maybe my question should've been: Which comes first - knowledge in the traditional sense, or the art of seeing? There are probably different approaches to learning photography. But one thing's for sure: It's just like chess, in that it's easy to pick up, but takes a lifetime to master.

    (I'm crap at chess, though. )
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  5. #5

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    Without knowing the technical aspects, you will just be a slave of the camera alogrithms and matrix/ev metering. There will be cases where the metering is bound to fail and if you do not learn to recognize that you will end up with a bad shot. Nowadays, with digital you can chimp your way to satisfaction but you may not have the opportunity to reshoot in all cases. Moreover, there are still certain special effects and tricks that you can achieve only if you understand the fundamentals in the first place.

    The eye for seeing is indeed important, but one cannot be truly good if he ignores the technical aspects as he would not know what steps to achieve to create his vision.

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    Of course, any enthusiast should have at least some knowledge about the basics of photography. For me personally, I'm content letting my camera do the work. But in exceptional scenarios whereby manual over-rides are needed, that's where the knowledge would come in useful. Yup, the camera can only do so much...

    Thanks, Zerstorer!
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman
    Right, Ian.

    I guess the question is "what do you want out of photography?" Knowledge in all aspects of photography is crucial for one to succeed at the highest level. But there is this one guy, he could talk my ears off about hardware and settings and all, but his pictures were merely ordinary compared to another point-and-shoot lady ("don't ask me about settings"), who obviously had a superior sense of composition.
    I always find it amusing that people confuse being able to talk 'hardware' (ie camera specifications, lens performance and so on) yet who know little or nothing about the actual technical side of photography at all, let alone the artistic side. This phenominon is probably due to a popular misconception (esp amongst Singaporeans) that knowledge of camera hardware is the same as knowledge about photography. Sadly it isn't the case as photography is a practical application of science in the most technical sense, while the artistic side is interlinked.

    The art of seeing (properly called 'visualisation') is something that you are either born with or not as like timing and any other talent it's innate, though to a certain extent it can be taught. However, if a person doesn't have the innate ability they will only ever reach a certain level of artistic understanding. This might sound contentious but it's based on 30 years of observing other photographers at work.

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman
    Maybe my question should've been: Which comes first - knowledge in the traditional sense, or the art of seeing? There are probably different approaches to learning photography. But one thing's for sure: It's just like chess, in that it's easy to pick up, but takes a lifetime to master.

    (I'm crap at chess, though. )
    Essentially a person learns by what ever means is best for them (there are only about half a dozen ways to learn by the way, but that's not relevant to this discussion).

    Generally speaking most people learn both the technical side and artistic side in tandem as you quickly find out that to achieve your vision of a shot you need to compensate for the limitations of the medium you are working with (print/digital, colour/black and white etc). Once people realise there are some nasty practical limits imposed on their ability to translate what the human eye sees ( in to the limited range of paper and film then they tend to get a lot more serious about learning the technical side of photography.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  8. #8
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    a couple of my favorite cameras are the Yashica FX-3 Super and Praktica MTL 50. Both are fully manual and the only technology so to speak is the built in centre-weighted metering system. Besides that, there's nothing else.

    maybe it's my education as an engineer, i've always believed that in order to understand how an engineering formula works, one has to go back to first principles, only then will one appreciate and grasp the concepts of the formula.

    my approach with photography is quite similar, learn the basics, e.g. composition and exposure, and once you've got a good handle of that, it won't matter what kind of gear you use, as these skills won't change, only the equipment will.

    just my 2 cents...
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