I received a e-mail from my dear friend after I posted a post with several Black and White photos on July 27. We discussed about wet technique on Black and White film-processing.
At the end of his last email, he comes up a feeling that digital camera make all the hard way of his day easy to the young generation of these days. I am by half-and-half agree with his opinion.
Today a young folk tries to make his point on the wonderful focusing speed of USM function of Canon EF70-200/2.8 winning the heart of Journalist as the Journalist need that speed. He labeled me as "Human God" as I told him even manual focus can be fast enough to meet the Journalist demand and proved it with my confidence and successful experience on sports photopraphy. He argues that not many journalists now can do manual focus as I do.
Oh my God. Let's remember that there was no AF camera in the old time and journalists still need to take sport photos. Moreover, even there were AF SLR and USM lenses, but a lot of skilled photographers still prefer manual focus because the AF system had not yet mature and so not accurate during the film age. There were a few top professional able to capture jaguars in the past. What's the big deal to have a serious amateur to MF sports? I would say that journalists nowadays can't do MF well because they are just dependent on AF and never bother to practice MF skills. But are they world-class professionals whose boss can rely on to any challenging task? I wonder. A professional fails the task just because of accidentally-broken AF system, how reliable is he?
Although digital camera make photography sound easier, there are some aspects of this new era may worth thinking about.
How many pages is there in the official Nikon FM2 manual? very-simple-plus-a-lot-of-large-picture 49 pages. FM2 has been almost the top of the line of its age. how many pages for Nikon amateur's D70? Amen. I have never tried to read it. Of course not to D80, either. I also don't have much memory on reading manual of my first digital - Olympic 370UZ.
When I first time have my camera to take photos, I was a blank page to camera. By that time, camera was something only my dad and mom could touch. But I took a few minutes to read several pages of FM2 manual, I had already knew how to operate the camera and knew the basic concept of using different shutter speeds and apertures. The next thing to do was doing experiments with combinations of shutter speeds and apertures. A lot of time was spent on observing light and targets.
What's about newcomers on digital days? After a few days, I still hear new buyer of DSLR fighting on understanding all buttons, tens of options on menu, ISO, and so and so. A lot of technique and art theories we used to build it up gradually when we buy and use different films and gears. They now all "menuized" (menu + ize) and become a ocean of options on DSLR. Taking photos becomes fighting with menu. Even an experienced amateur like me still feel busy to take photos. Is that photography? Where is my effort put to?
After using FM2, FTN, F-100, D70, D80 and other Portable Digital Cameras, I found that it was F-100 make photo-taking the most relaxing among the above-mentioned cameras, but I still always border by the weight of SLR system.
What is photography? Observing light and target, then capture it?
I start loving my Contax G2 very much, and also start understanding why there are so many people like LOMO and Holga. Holga is a cheap 120 camera. Someday I may get one.