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Modern DSLRs - Too many features??


User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
23 Dec 2009 3:11PM
Does anyone share my view that modern DSLRs have far too many features?

I have been using a Nikon D300 for about 2 years and I have never yet used features like Live View, Active D-Lighting or Exposure Bracketing.

Has anyone used those features and, if so, to what advantage?

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timbo 12 592 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2009 3:24PM
Exposure bracketing has been around for years and was far more necessary when shooting film, especially important slide film as there was no histogram to look at.
I expect there are many togs who use every mode on their camera at one time or another. For me it is simply a case of shooting as i always have done - it works so why change it. Having said that maybe i'm missing out on something but i've yet to find out what.
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2009 3:27PM
I share some of your thoughts, especially on compacts as I often find I am fighting special scenery mode etc to get control. Now the sad bit I find I use the extra features.

Live view I use for tripod based work, macro and landscapes. I use it to precisely set the focus, and stopping down the lens means you can get a 10x zoom in view of the image stopped down (it takes about a second for the camera to ramp up the gain after you stop the lens down so it is not fast.. Also you can use the focus square to meter from so you can move it around the image to pick what you want to meter off.

Bracketing, well I use bracketed exposure only. I tend to use it to capture HDR images. So here is the next extra feature I use the 3 custom settings I have.

I set one custom function for tripod HDR and one for hand held. For tripod I have it set to go to live view, and wait 10 seconds after I press the shutter to damp vibrations then take 3 images in a row, one at -2, -1, 0 Exposure, then I offset the exposure and take another 3. ISO100, f11 on the lens.

The next custom function is hand held HDR, lens set to F8 ISO200 base and camera at -2, 0, 2. Maximum shutter speed, no time delay, single shot AF.

the last custom set up is for grab sports etc, ISO400 start, lens wide open, max frame rate, tracking AF. And normal is Av, single shot AF and Drive.

I know I read the manual, its sad. My excuse was I was recovering from an operation at the time so could not go out much. Smile
User_Removed 8 485 13 England
23 Dec 2009 3:28PM
I use bracketing, infact i bought my D300 for the fact that you can bracket for upto 9 shots, something i couldnt do at the time with my Canon 400D without a lot of faffing about with the scroll wheel. Its a great feature for HDR and i have also employed the active DLighting from time to time.

It's horses for courses i guess

rgds
Dave
franken Plus
12 3.6k 4 Wales
23 Dec 2009 3:49PM
More to come maybe?

You connect the camera to your computer from where it receives instructions on where to go and what to take.

You open your window and it flies away to do the pre-programmed tasks.
It returns later and lands directly into a docking bay next to your PC.

PhotoShop or similar opens up and it awaits your voice commands.

“Lighter, darker, bit more/less colour, remove rusting Fosters lager can etc!”

Many years and court cases later its still undecided as to who owns the copyright of the images, the person who programmed the camera or the camera!

Bit of fun or is it?


Ken
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
23 Dec 2009 4:38PM
I find the use of bracketing to enable HDR interesting. Maybe I am too conservative but I find most HDR images in the magazine grossly "overcooked".

On the other hand, I find HDR superb for "faking" the dynamic range that I used to get with film such as Kodachrome 25. But I can do it without bracketing exposures (which can only really be used with stationary images anyway). I find that a "correctly" exposed image, with the D300 sensor, has tons of data in what appear, at first glance, to be muddy shadows or burnt-out highlights.

What I do, in Lightroom (you can do exactly the same in ACR), is create a lossless TIFF from the RAW file, then reduce the exposure sufficiently to restore the detail in the highlights and create another TIFF, then increase the exposure sufficiently to restore the detail in the shadows and create a third TIFF.

I then merge the three TIFFs to give an HDR image in Photomatix Pro.

So I guess I am bracketing, but I am doing it in post-processing rather than in the camera. And, of course, I can only do it because of the amount of "hidden" detail captured by the sensor and contained in the RAW file.
strawman 11 22.0k 16 United Kingdom
23 Dec 2009 4:55PM
JJGEE 10 6.5k 18 England
23 Dec 2009 5:19PM
Probably, but since buying a digital camera / lenses earlier this year the biggest problem I have found is the feature that is missing ! ! !

Depth of Field scale markings on the lens barrel. Sad

My camera's equivalent to D Lighting only works in RAW when using the Company's own RAW converter software so does not get used as I use other software for RAW conversions.

But for jpg format it works quite well.

On the plus side and a really big advantage of digital cameras is being able to change ISO frame by frame, if required.

With my Medium Format camera this required more than one back loaded with the different ISO film and the hassle of remembering to change the hand held exposure meter to reflect the different ISO speeds
User_Removed 8 485 13 England
23 Dec 2009 6:06PM

Quote:I find the use of bracketing to enable HDR interesting. Maybe I am too conservative but I find most HDR images in the magazine grossly "overcooked".

On the other hand, I find HDR superb for "faking" the dynamic range that I used to get with film such as Kodachrome 25. But I can do it without bracketing exposures (which can only really be used with stationary images anyway). I find that a "correctly" exposed image, with the D300 sensor, has tons of data in what appear, at first glance, to be muddy shadows or burnt-out highlights.

What I do, in Lightroom (you can do exactly the same in ACR), is create a lossless TIFF from the RAW file, then reduce the exposure sufficiently to restore the detail in the highlights and create another TIFF, then increase the exposure sufficiently to restore the detail in the shadows and create a third TIFF.

I then merge the three TIFFs to give an HDR image in Photomatix Pro.

So I guess I am bracketing, but I am doing it in post-processing rather than in the camera. And, of course, I can only do it because of the amount of "hidden" detail captured by the sensor and contained in the RAW file.



yes poor tonemapping are the obvious examples of HDR, however i would bet money you have looked at HDR shots and not even known they were HDR. Most people, myself included have been guilty of pushing the tone mapping boundaries to excess, but i think a lot of people find a level they are happy with that can be satifactory.

As for the tonemapping you method you speak of, while that can be successful in some cases you are not getting the entire dynamic range of the scene you shot, merely pushing the boundaries of the single RAW file you took. In nearly all cases a single RAW will not capture the entire dynamic range of the scene.

There are some cameras now starting to appear with an HDR feature and i think over the next 5 years this will become a core feature for most manufacturers

rgds
Dave
23 Dec 2009 9:42PM
It depends - a feature anyone might find useful is exposure delay mode custom function D9. It is Nikon's name for mirror up combined with delayed action - useful on a tripod - and (fitting in with your point) easily missed among all the menu options.
I have been shooting dark trees against white snow to-day - D lighting is extremely useful for getting extra detail in whites and blacks at the same time - for examples see Flickr - Wensleydale Camera Club group.
Live View comes more into it's own for cameras with video - where video can only be recorded with the mirror up.
I doubt if anyone uses all the features on a D300 - but I am sure all of them get used by some photographers a lot of the time.
cameracat 11 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
24 Dec 2009 12:02AM
I make a point of being familiar with every feature on any camera that I own, Whats the point of having them unless you fully understand what they can or can not do.

You might just as well buy something with less spec, If you don't need all the gadgets & gizmos.

That said, Your not forced to use features that are available, The choice is entirely yours, Treat it like a disposable if it floats your boat......Smile
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
24 Dec 2009 12:24AM

Quote:I make a point of being familiar with every feature on any camera that I own, Whats the point of having them unless you fully understand what they can or can not do.

You might just as well buy something with less spec, If you don't need all the gadgets & gizmos.



I would like to agree - but there is a HUGE problem with that approach.

I may not want the gadgets and gizmos - but I do want the very best sensor that I can get, and the ability to use the very best lenses I can get (i.e. afford!).

But there is no manufacturer (as far as I know) that will give me a superb sensor, fantastic no-noise ISO range and terrific firmware - without also selling me the gizmos.

It's a bit like mobile phones. Why doesn't someone produce one that will make and receive calls without all the crap about texts, internet access and built in "cameras"? Do you actually know anyone over the age of puberty who has sent a text? (I almost said "sent or received a text" but my mobile phone company insist on sending me text messages about subjects I have absolutely no interest in. There should be a law against it!)

OK. I do know the answer to both situations - it is all about corporate profits rather than any serious attempt to ascertain and meet the needs of the customer. Nothing new there, then.
KathyW 11 1.8k 12 Norfolk Island
24 Dec 2009 12:38AM
I have to agree with you Eric - I too would like a digital slr camera that will produce the highest quality still images, but without all the other "must have" gadgets...

Oh, but I have sent a text... but it took me so long to work out how to do it and actually write out the message that I think carrier pigeon would have been faster & more reliable Wink
Coleslaw 10 13.4k 28 Wales
24 Dec 2009 12:42AM
But then what you think is gizmo might be useful for someone else. For me, live view and live histogram are godsent, I use them all the time.
You might want a phone that only makes and receives calls. But you have no idea how useful iPhone is!
IMHO, Denying those features is a bit like denying digital camera when it first came out. Maybe it is old people syndrome, they refuse to grow with the technology...lol Smile
KathyW 11 1.8k 12 Norfolk Island
24 Dec 2009 12:47AM
Watch it young man!

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