The perfect camera, part 2

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by W.Boeke, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    Hi,

    Some days ago I started a thread about my displeasure with
    modern point-and-shoot camera's. Now I would like to elaborate
    on the proposal to use 3 release buttons instead of one.

    Suppose you want to focus on your main subject, which you want
    to be in the right lower corner of the picture. Thus you point
    your camera to this main subject, press the shutter half way so
    the auto-focus can do its job, move the camera to the left, press
    the shutter fully. If you want to make 10 versions of this photo,
    e.g. because the main subject is a child that makes a lot of funny
    moves, then you have to repeat this whole procedure 10 times.

    Owners of old-fashioned camera's had an easier life: they set
    the distance one time, and then only had to concentrate on pushing
    the shutter button at the right moment. So I propose to introduce
    a dedicated button to set the distance. This button should lock in
    lower position, and unlock if pushed for the second time. If this
    button is in upper position, then the camera auto-focusses as usual.

    How do you think about this? Are there other shooting situations
    that often occur and that require a different solution?

    Regards,
    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 9, 2006
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. : Hi,

    : Some days ago I started a thread about my displeasure with
    : modern point-and-shoot camera's. Now I would like to elaborate
    : on the proposal to use 3 release buttons instead of one.

    : Suppose you want to focus on your main subject, which you want
    : to be in the right lower corner of the picture. Thus you point
    : your camera to this main subject, press the shutter half way so
    : the auto-focus can do its job, move the camera to the left, press
    : the shutter fully. If you want to make 10 versions of this photo,
    : e.g. because the main subject is a child that makes a lot of funny
    : moves, then you have to repeat this whole procedure 10 times.

    : Owners of old-fashioned camera's had an easier life: they set
    : the distance one time, and then only had to concentrate on pushing
    : the shutter button at the right moment. So I propose to introduce
    : a dedicated button to set the distance. This button should lock in
    : lower position, and unlock if pushed for the second time. If this
    : button is in upper position, then the camera auto-focusses as usual.

    : How do you think about this? Are there other shooting situations
    : that often occur and that require a different solution?

    : Regards,
    : Wouter Boeke

    I can see where that could be a good thing for some people. But for the
    vast majority of "beginner" level people (who many of the P&S cameras are
    aimed at) adding one more button that can be bumped or accidentally pushed
    increases the number of tech-support calls from frantic consumers. This is
    the same reason that many of the lower priced P&S cameras make true manual
    control difficult to engage (if there is any manual operation available at
    all.

    On the other hand those of us who are a little more interrested in having
    manual controls available may tend toward SLR type cameras. And they DO
    have the ability to perform the operations you describe. I can take my
    DSLR camera, point the AF point at the subject, half press to engage the
    AF, slip the AF switch to manual (locking the focus), and recompose the
    image before fully pressing the shutter release. I can even lock the
    F-stop and shutter speed with a single button (or can set that button to
    lock one or the other). Or I can set the camera to Manual and manually
    select all the parameters that will then remain locked until I reset them
    or reselect another auto or partly auto setting.

    I guess that the problem is that the manufacturers of pocket sized P&S
    cameras are aiming their products to the vast majority of casual photo
    takers who have little (and want little) interrest in learning how to use
    the equipment to its utmost. It is assumed (maybe incorrectly) that if
    someone wants more direct control we will either pay BIG bucks for some
    extreemly complex pocket sized camera or move up to a DSLR.

    JMHO

    Randy

    ==========
    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
     
    Randy Berbaum, Oct 9, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. W.Boeke

    Bill Crocker Guest

    [clipped]
    If you want to make 10 versions of this photo,
    Send the kid outside to play!

    Bill Crocker
     
    Bill Crocker, Oct 9, 2006
    #3
  4. W.Boeke

    DHB Guest

    Wouter Boeke,
    As others have already stated, it's a
    nice idea but the added button would just be an additional hazard to
    most P&S owners who never learn how to get the most out of their
    cameras. Many often forget or don't know how or when to use EC
    (Exposure Compensation) even when it's very easy on most P&S cameras.

    Let's face it, technology has made the average person lazy.
    About 97% of Americans buy a vehicle with an *automatic* transition &
    *never* learn to drive a *standard/manual* shift vehicle.

    Now here's an idea that takes the best part of your suggestion
    & places it where it's very easy to repeatedly use without fear of
    pressing the wrong button(s). Basically you pre-program your P&S
    camera's "C" (Custom) mode to create a hyperfocal mode of your choice.
    Yes I know, not all P&S cameras have this feature but many do.

    This was not my idea, so I will give credit were it's due &
    post the web address where I 1st found it:

    http://albert.achtung.com/cameras/A80/index7.html#SNAP

    Note this refers to the Canon A80, however the basic principle
    will work with most newer Canon P&S cameras as well as many other
    brands & models with this feature. Because P&S cameras have a great
    deal of DOF (Depth Of Field), this works very good & can also be very
    useful in very low light situations where AF may have problems.

    Rather then explain it all here, I'll let you got to the link
    where it's explained in detail. You need not make it a true
    hyperfocal mode where the picture is in acceptable focus from x
    distance to infinity. You can program in a manual focus distance that
    will yield good focus from x distance to x distance.

    That's what works best for me because I don't care if the
    background is in focus & in fact, I would rather that it not be.

    A last example of the average P&S camera user is how very few
    ever use exposures longer than 2 seconds even when shooting night
    scenes of stationary objects like illuminated buildings. Most Canon
    P&S cameras will automatically employ *Dark Frame Subtraction* noise
    reduction for any exposure of 1.3 seconds or longer. This feature
    works very well & can make the difference between a grainy night
    picture & a very clean picture than many would think came from a DSLR.

    If you use this feature I would suggest the following:

    <1> Set the camera on a tripod, bean bag or anything that's stable.
    <2> Set the ISO to it's lowest, ISO 50-100 on most P&S cameras.
    <3> Set the self timer to avoid camera movement.
    <4> Set MF (Manual Focus) for some situations.
    <5> Use EC if needed to get the best exposure.
    <6> Set a manual WB (White Balance), Tungsten often works best.
    <7> Check the result & adjust & repeat if & as needed.

    Note: The P&S camera's "C" (Custom) mode could be used for
    this function instead of using it as a hyperfocal mode.

    Enough said, I hope some of this is of value to somebody.

    Respectfully, DHB


    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918
     
    DHB, Oct 9, 2006
    #4
  5. W.Boeke

    Mueen Nawaz Guest

    As others have said, DSLR's can do this. More importantly, lots of
    digital non-SLR's can do this. Some may have a quick way of focus
    locking. Otherwise, one could switch to manual focus, and choose the
    focusing distance, and it'll stay at that setting. My 5.5 year old
    Olympus camera does this.

    --
    Cartoon Law: Any violent rearrangement of feline matter is impermanent.


    /\ /\ /\ /
    / \/ \ u e e n / \/ a w a zanl
     
    Mueen Nawaz, Oct 10, 2006
    #5
  6. W.Boeke

    DHB Guest

    True enough, I can do that on both of my DSLR cameras but
    rarely do because neither has a very good manual focus screen. Don't
    get me wrong, I am as guilty of using technological tools as the next
    person.

    Sometimes we have a choice & other times it's a virtual
    necessity. My only point was to illustrate that the vast majority of
    us will almost automatically choose the easier path when it's not a
    necessity & it may not even be the best choice.

    Little things like:

    How often do we automatically take an elevator *up* even if
    it's only 1 to 3 flights or worst yet, ride it *down*?

    Walk 1 street away to visit a neighbor or take the automobile?

    Walk up or down 1 flight of stairs or use the escalator?

    Ask a question here *before* we RTFM or do an Internet search
    for the answer?

    I'm sure we can all think of many things we just got used to
    doing when we are in a hurry & like any habit, they can be hard to not
    do them even when we have the time to make a better choice.

    Sorry if I sounded arrogant or as if I am not often guilty of
    also taking the path of least resistance. As an E.T. (Electronic
    Technician) I just tend to notice certain things that others might
    not. My biggest fear is that DSLR & P&S cameras will both become
    overly automated with too many bells & whistles the way most cell
    phones have.

    My niece's latest cell phone is also an mp3, digital camera,
    plays games, has a removable micro SD flash card & etc..........

    If we live long enough we may hear the next generation say
    "you actually had to type on a keyboard, wow that must have been a
    royal pain in the backside"!

    Scotty said it best in response to the computer voice in the
    turbo-lift in Star Trek after it thanked him. He responded "Up you
    shaft"! Must admit to having said a few choice words on the phone
    after the 9th or 10th layer of automated voice recognition questions!

    Respectfully, DHB


    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,
    or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong,
    is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable
    to the American public."--Theodore Roosevelt, May 7, 1918
     
    DHB, Oct 10, 2006
    #6
  7. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    Indeed it is remarkable that the relatively heavy, expensive DSLR's have
    less, but also more usefull features than the small P&S camera's that are
    aiming at the casual, less-informed customer. If you want to have a small
    camera that fits in your pocket (so you don't have to carry it on your
    belly and look like a stupid tourist) and still want to have something like
    manual distance control, you are bound to 'some extreemly complex pocket
    sized camera'. But the fact is: I don't want to have a complex camera, I
    want to have a useful camera. It should be possible to design a small
    camera for the well-informed photographer and still make a commercial
    succes of it.

    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #7
  8. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    How can a camera know that I want to focus on the closest of a number of
    areas? Maybe I want to focus on a different area, for instance because that
    is the place where the main subject of my photo is located. What is the use
    of a tool that I can't control?

    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #8
  9. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    You are right, however sometimes you have to play a dual role: father
    AND photographer.

    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #9
  10. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    Sure this is a good camera, having some useful and also a ton of very
    irrelevant features. Maybe its designers wanted to make everybody happy,
    or they wanted to impress people with an abundant number of features.
    The first is not always needed, and the second is something I do not want
    to lend myself to.

    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #10
  11. The closest focus could be achieved by searching for sharp areas within
    the image (or region you control) and choosing to focus on the nearest
    distance which gives a peak in sharpness.

    The camera shows you in the viewfinder the region it is using (or you have
    told it to use), and some cameras allow a magnified or sharpened view of
    the image to confirm the focus. I find it easy to put the subject in the
    centre, press the shutter release half way (or whatever) to lock the
    focus, and then recompose.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 10, 2006
    #11
  12. With cameras, it can be helpful to try them out in the shop to see how
    well features like the switch on the lens housing actually work in
    practice. I have used a Panasonic FZ20 with a lens housing switch, and
    automatically zoomed viewfinder while the focus ring is twisted, and it
    works very well. Try it and see.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 10, 2006
    #12
  13. W.Boeke

    Bill Funk Guest

    More likely, the designers wanted to design a camera that would sell
    well, and thus make a profit.
    The camera you seem to want would be a very limited-feature camera,
    that would appeal to a very limited market segment. The cost of this
    camera would, of necessity, be very close to a camera already on the
    market with those features, and many more features also, because those
    features are so insanely cheap to include.
    It seems to me that you are rejecting cameras that have the features
    you want because they also include features you don't want.
     
    Bill Funk, Oct 10, 2006
    #13
  14. W.Boeke

    Bill Funk Guest

    Where are these "well-informed photographer that now buys a
    no-nonsense SLR"? I don't see them.
    But, as I thought, you reject the cameras on the market that have the
    features you want, because t :-/hey also have features you don't want.
    Most of us just ignore those unwanted features.
    :-/
     
    Bill Funk, Oct 10, 2006
    #14
  15. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    You are right more or less. I do not want sound, movies or predefined
    scenes that are useless for me. I want to have an easy controllable
    camera where I do the thinking and the camera supports me with all
    the techniques that are available today. That includes autofocus
    organized such that it is useful in real life circumstances. I think
    that a lot of people are interested in such a camera, provided that it
    is supported by a good, inforamative advertisement campaign. I suppose
    that the well-informed photographer that now buys a no-nonsense SLR
    camera would be interested in a small point-and-shoot camera that offers
    the same quality but isn't that bulky. The hardly-informed masses can go
    on buying feature-bloated, handsome-looking little wonders but I do not
    want to be part of them.

    Kind regards,
    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #15
  16. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    That's interesting ... apart from the fact that modern auto-focus techniques
    are available now that operate faster and more accurate then manual focus.
    For manual focus you would have to enlarge the part you want to focus on,
    because the normal monitor screen is much too small to see the details,
    however then you loose the overall picture. I believe in auto-focus, only
    it should be organized better.

    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #16
  17. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    Thanks for the tip. This camera is much too big and feature-bloated for me,
    but maybe the same automatically zoomed viewfinder is available in a smaller
    camera as well.

    Wouter
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 10, 2006
    #17
  18. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest

    Sorry, this is a case of misinterpretation. I meant to say that I don't
    want to be impressed by the big NUMBER of features. Actually, I knew the
    Panasonic Lumix LX-1 already, I had it in my hands in a photo shop.
    To be honest I rejected it because of the high price, I needed it for
    a holliday in a rough mountain area. I bought a cheap camera instead,
    with the result that nearly all outdoor pictures were (technically) perfect,
    and all indoor pictures (without flash) were unsharp because of slow shutter
    speed. If I had bought the Lumix, the indoor pictures also would have been
    perfect because of the provided optical image stabilization.

    Even the cheap camera had an abundance of features. I tried all of them,
    and did not find them useful. I kept the feeling that for the same price
    a much more useful camera could be made, if only the camera designers
    would concentrate on usefulness and not on gimmicks as prescribed by
    marketing people. Or so I suppose that things are going in the camera
    business. No person from this business is reacting in this thread or in
    this or another newsgroup, so I can't be shure.

    Regards,
    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 11, 2006
    #18
  19. W.Boeke

    W.Boeke Guest



    I compared my 150 euro point-and-shoot camera with the 800 euro DSLR of
    a friend if mine. Both camera's were purchased recently. My cheap
    camera had a lot more features then his expensive one, and still he could
    make technically perfect photographs in circumstances were I could not.

    So I started thinking about how a point-and-shoot camera would look whose
    single purpose was to enable the making of good photographs by a customer
    like me, who is willing to read a manual and change his photographing habits.
    That was the intention of this thread.

    Regards,
    Wouter Boeke
     
    W.Boeke, Oct 11, 2006
    #19
  20. There is good chance that all those useless features actually cost less
    to produce than optical image stabilization.

    So you voted with your money: you bought the less expensive camera with lots
    of useless digital features over the more expensive camera with useful analog
    features.

    And because just about everybody is doing that, the market stays the way it
    is.

    Companies don't care so much about what people say they are going to buy as
    they care about what people actually buy.
     
    Philip Homburg, Oct 11, 2006
    #20
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.