Peripatetic wrote:It's funny how cameras for people who don't understand how cameras work have to be more complex than cameras professionals use. Someone new to photography would have no idea what to do with your fm2n despite it's simpler design. It takes a while to get a feel for how to get good exposure using a manual camera.
ah, yes, but you also don't have to trick the camera into making a correct exposure when it wants to make an incorrect one.
it sort of forces you to learn the basics, and not how to use the camera (which is relatively simple). cameras today require a lot more skill to use, so you end up learning that first. and the principles that really affect the simple cameras affect the complex ones, too. you still have to meter and focus the same way -- you just have to do in the confines of a more complex camera.
truth be told, "simplicity" was a factor in my decision to get the d200, instead of a more amateur camera. the more controls that are actually at my fingertips, the better. many of the lesser cameras have the idiot-modes and feature buttons placed too prominently, but the important controls buried.
i've got a dial on back the controls the shutter speed. i'm using manual-focus lenses, so i've got aperture and focus rings. i've got three buttons on top that control ISO, WB, and Quality. and i've got a shutter release. there are some fancier controls, but the important stuff is right where it needs to be. it's got a lot more features, but i can use it the same way i used my fm2.
Peripatetic wrote:My current camera, a Canon S3 IS, has a fully automatic mode for day, night, indoors, sports, and other situations. And these suffice most of the time.
see, i don't even get how these work. the camera doesn't "know" what's being shot. they're pre-programmed banks of settings that someone has figured out for you in advance. technically, all they're doing is controlling aperture and shutterspeed, and a few other less important settings. why not just have those controls? even if you want an "auto" mode, professional cameras have a "P" (program) mode that more or less encompasses all the situations those would, except the "night" settings (which involves a certain flash mode). i don't have those on my camera, and i've never once missed them.
Peripatetic wrote:But, since automatic settings have assumptions about what's being shot, I have to switch to full manual occasionally for odd shooting situations (like the recent lunar eclipse or a cityscape shot of St. Louis with a 10-second exposure to smooth out the river). I still have to take several pictures when in manual mode to get the settings right by trial-and-error.
the switch is pretty standard. the camera isn't the photographer -- you are. it doesn't know what you want it to do by telepathy. all it knows is what it's programmed to do. and it does certain things well, but it can be tricked very, very easily.
i shoot pictures of people's junk for an ebay store. i'm constantly shooting either a dark object on a light background, or a light object on a dark background. my camera's meter, advanced though it may be, doesn't know what do with that situation. no camera's meter EVER has. even with the fancy "matrix" modes, which in theory should know, the camera still wants to aim for neutral 18% gray. so white backgrounds underexpose. black background overexpose. it's far simpler to stop and think for a second, say "every picture i ever shoot here is under the same lighting conditions" and set it for that on manual, and never look back.
alot of people do that, btw. you make a single test exposure off of a gray card, throw it manual, and take the camera's "brain" out of the equation. it tends to overthink things, constantly twiddling with an exposure that should be constant, because of the colors and shades of the subject.