[re-blogged from my Multiply 8/29/2009]
I read a small note somewhere in Multiply [it’s exact location I shall not divulge], that a photographer is better if he doesn’t use his AF often, doesn’t use the LCD that often and so on. I thought I’d write a little thing for this morning before I start doing the groceries and cooking lunch.
Most lenses for DSLRs that come out nowadays are, or at least, have some kind of AF function. For that reason, kits come with AF-lenses, and it is not suffice to say that these lenses are not cheaped out on. Well at least for Nikon, whose 18-55mm kit lens is one of the best things to go with their D40/X/60 line. Great for walking around, and can do pretty much everything except be fast and fly. Going back, focusing manually does not really show any kind of edge above other guys wielding the same stuff. It might show that you have more experience, but still not by much, because that argument can be countered with the point that the man probably has no other lens available to him – which could be the case if he just bought the body and slammed a 50mm f1.4 on to it.
I also used to shun AF, and thought that purely manual lenses are more superior. Well, the short answer is that they just both outweigh each other, and wholly depends on how you’ll use them and what you’re used to. For example, the kit lens would be perfect, if only it had from f22 to f1.4, and had a manual aperture ring, which again, I am so used to. It is much faster to choose apertures with such manual rings than with today’s G-type, body controlled mechanisms. But then again, the AF function of the kit lens makes it so much more convenient to focus and place shots. Coupled with the AF-lock function and it’s ability to provide you with a rudimentary light meter, it makes your life as a photographer a lot easier.
They both have distinct features, drawbacks and benefits that serve me – or cause me to scratch my head. This is the reason why I always pack the 50mm f1.4 and the 18-55mm together whenever I go somewhere. I can no longer say that Nikon products are better in the past. Maybe their construction has become a little less polished than the metal bodies of the past, but then, I buy lenses for their optics and not for the fact that I can smash heads with it.
For me, a photographer would be said to be more skilled if, let’s say he has mastered the intricacies of lighting, and that dreaded white balance thing.
A lot of times, people would find me using a prime lens more. Why? I treat my D40 as a body only, then the lens as something separate. It’s something like I use that body so I can take digital photos which I want to see now. Also, I’m after certain characteristics of the 50mm – if I had an AF-S with f1.4, I doubt I’d be using the nifty fifty.
Another thing that I discovered is that PP is not a bad thing. Well not entirely a bad thing. It has become a fact of life in our digital photography. Using or having some degree of PP doesn’t mean you’re a bad photographer. It’s just a way of enhancing, your photos, and or making some improvements here and there, as befits the whims of the photographer. I realized that almost all publications out there feature models do use PP – sometimes huge amounts of them. PP now is quite the same as having a dark room in the analog age – although I don’t think old school developing would have had an equivalent to the so called Gaussian thing.
Personally though, I prefer less or no PP because I like my photos raw. Although these days, I find myself tinkering more and more, I still don’t find anything wrong with it. It is still the same photo I took with my camera, albeit with enhanced contrast and saturation and whatever I pulled out of my sleeves.
Want no problems with PP – go back to film and process as is.
Still at the bottom of it al, I can’t and don’t want to turn photography into something like a sport that pits people against each other. What I see are experienced and not-so experienced photographers. The eye is just as important as the heart, and put with the right moment – an awesome picture will unfold.
Our ideas are all different though, like our techniques. But the moment captured with our cameras, that is all that matters. When such moments come, you don’t think about your lens if it’s manual or not – you just take the viewfinder to your eye and press the release. Because when the moment passes, it may never come again.