Tuesday, February 17, 2015


We see a lot about how the right camera for you should just feel right. Ergonomics and haptics (the latter word seems to be showing up more recently, more proof that pundits just copy one another, as if more were needed) are so very important. The camera must be an extension of the photographer, used without thought.


Certainly it is true that a camera or other instrument can be somehow almost magically difficult for an individual to use. I have used oscilloscopes on which, in defiance of the laws of probability, I turned knobs the wrong way virtually 100% of the time. Certainly you should avoid cameras that somehow defeat your fingers.

A camera can be too big, or too small, or too light.

But past that basically anything is fine. You needn't be able to make a dozen subtle adjustments without thought and in an instant. That's just rubbish. If you need to set the ISO, the shutter speed, and the white balance in an instant, you've already failed. You're an unprepared idiot and the gods of photography are not going to smile on you today.

There's no way an 8x10 view camera is an extension of the photographer's soul. It's a big unwieldy brute and that's just that. And yet, somehow, loads of people seem to have made some pretty OK pictures with them.

What you DO need to be able to do is make basic adjustments relatively easily and reliably. But you're allowed to think about it and poke a few buttons while frowning at the back of the camera. You do this in preparation, as conditions change. You step through a doorway from outside to in, you pop the ISO up a couple clicks. Whatever.

When you're actually shooting you shouldn't be worrying about any of that crap.

Any camera will let you adjust the one or two controls you need to adjust on the fly, easily and intuitively. Just figure it out and do it.

This "the camera and photographer need to be one, like the samurai and his sword" crap is just an excuse to fart around with more gear.

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