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Too many buttons and dials

kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
8 May 2021 1:06PM
Interesting article from DPReviews, Do we need all those buttons and dials to take a good picture, do they actually get in the way, Are they too complicated, would fewer buttons and dials make life easier for us snappers,? lots of questions. One brand has already reduced the number of buttons on one of its cameras. Most of the buttons are for customizing the camera, we never had that in the 35 mm days yet people produced superb pictures without having to press several buttons before they got to taking the picture, Modern smart phones with picture capability are now taking excellent pictures with usually just the shutter pad to press.
Oldstoat Avatar
Oldstoat 9 81 United Kingdom
8 May 2021 1:54PM
I can see both sides of this argument, having started with film. We do have the ability to find tune the image before we press the button and that allows for greater composition. However if you want quick photography, whether itís a simple snap or something like street photography then maybe the excess of options is overkill.
Personally I like having the choice, even if I donít use all the possibilities.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
8 May 2021 2:13PM
Yes, agreed, I did a survey among many photo friends and people I met, many using DSLR's of various makes but most Canon and Nikon, I sneaked a look at the cameras, many had a function dial set to auto. I admit to using this myself on occasions but even then I usually use 'P' or 'A' for most of my photography and all other settings left to auto, Yes, according to DPreviews about 75% of a cameras facilities are not used.
saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 89 Norway
8 May 2021 2:33PM
One of the benefits I found when i moved from Canon to Fuji, was that the more manual approach - external dials for shutter, ISO and exposure compensation (and the ability to programme up to 9 Fn buttons) made me slow down and think more about what I was doing before pressing the shutter. I find photography an altogether more satisfying experience than I did before...

However, what there can be too much of are the innumerable menu choices and adjustments for everything under the sun...
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
8 May 2021 3:41PM
Find the DPreview article on this if you can, Yes, I played with a Fuji XT20 some time back and really reminded me of my old SLR days, very nostalgic, I was tempted to jump ship from my Sony A mount system but at that time it was expensive, might be good now on the used market. What I hate by most Digital cameras are the hidden sub up on sub files in the menu before I find the one I want then when you get to it there is a multiple choice on what setting you want, give up back to auto.

In my Canon AE1 SLR days, sunny day, with Kodachrome 25, 125 at F-8 most of the time, didn't need a light meter, give or take 1/3 stop either way on the comp dial. easy stuff., anything moving 250/500 at f-5.6 or F-4. Film was coded which set the light meter to the correct settings for the film speed/ASA.
saltireblue Avatar
saltireblue Plus
13 14.5k 89 Norway
8 May 2021 4:24PM

Quote:Find the DPreview article on this if you can,

I read it yesterday, in fact.
The example given of removing buttons from one model could be a case of designing/engineering down to a price.
ARI Avatar
ARI 20 602 1 United Kingdom
8 May 2021 8:34PM
Why do we keep going around this 'why do we need this or that and it this and that stops us from being real photographers' tree. I started with an inherited film camera, Yashica B. Totally manual, it had nothing. I inherited it as the owner found it complicated, trying to figure out f stops, shutter speeds, etc. I enjoyed it. I moved on to Canon Pelix and AE1. Magic, MAGIC, there was a light metering modes.... better pictures. Still totally manual with control over exposures. Still missed shots of moving fauna. Was inspired with Arthur Morris and his photography of birds in flight with a manual Canon and an FD 400f 5.6lens. Amazing pictures.
Digital came along, upgraded to a Canon EOS 5D with auto nearly every thing, if one wanted it. More MAGIC as there were more keepers, ability to experiment and play as pixels are free. The camera bodies got more complex and are seen as a thing with lots of dials and buttons which is blamed for getting in the way of 'real photography'. Who cares as long as a picture is made to reflect the author's intent.
So for me, the dials and buttons on the body enhance my ability and choices in capturing a better picture. One can turn the lot off and have manual everything and be a 'real photographer', if that is what one wants.
My passion is wildlife photography in the bush. There, you have little control over the subject andlight. You are dependent on being able to switch to required features instinct to capture/make a picture. Better to have features and choose to use or not use them instead of not having the desired feature, spend more money in an upgrade.
Imagine what would the likes of Ansel Adams would say about al the available bells and whistles that re on cameras today. He would probably have $ signs thinking of increased sales.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
8 May 2021 10:40PM
Quite so ARI, usually with more expensive models in a camera range you get more features and controls. I don't know what camera/s Ansel Adams used but I loved his black and white calendars.
ARI Avatar
ARI 20 602 1 United Kingdom
9 May 2021 12:14AM
Ansel used large glass plate manual cameras on heavy tripods with remote release that one had to mentally count down shutter release times. We are spoilt for chaise today. The only skill that is really needed is the ability to see a composition. To be a purest one can embrace all the variables in pure Manual mode or like the rest of us lesser mortals use the cameras' assistance to make the picture. Who cares as to how a picture was made. Entry level cameras have lots of features that are more refined as one goes up the model ranges. It is the buttons and dials is the cameras' assistance to better picture making easier and quicker, in my humble opinion.
GwB Avatar
GwB Plus
3 119 United Kingdom
9 May 2021 12:24AM
I use an Olympus e m1 mostly for wildlife and fungi xt10 for everything else, the problem with all the buttons I forget what I have configured them to, love the fugi don't use the buttons just the dials wheels and aperture ring.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
9 May 2021 8:11AM
Hi GwB, I had an OMD-EM10, mK1, but I found it a bit cramped to hold compared to my Canon DSLR, however it took some lovely pictures with that famous Olympus colour.

I have always been intrigued with the Fuji concept of less is more and user in control as it used to be in the 35mm days.
Might look around for a used XT20. These digital cameras have certainly made us into technophobes and in the early days to me is was the 'Black Art'. I say that with tongue in cheek.

Yes indeed, I agree composition is what its all about, I'm sure I have walked past scenery that would make a good picture and not recognized it. Most of my picture taking is classic car shows, steam rallies, air plane museums and landscapes, I usually get things right most of the time. I am a lazy photographer as I mostly use Jpeg with a few PP tweaks on the PC, I just do not have the time to play with RAW.
ARI Avatar
ARI 20 602 1 United Kingdom
9 May 2021 1:44PM
My cameras are two EOS 7D mk1 and a EOS 5DsR. The 5D is a complex but very capable and versatile machine, has a pedestrian fps rate but I do not need that. It is a wonderful wildlife camera in all other respects. However what I use is the AE mode controls, magnifier, AF buttons and dials to change settings on a regular basis. This makes my photography experience enjoyable. People have been overawed with the camera when they first pick it up and I have set it up as a pure 'point and shoot' mode. This is fine for most aspects but require tweaks to cater for circumstances, the easy reach buttons and dials become ever so handy. This comes with understanding photography and understanding what you want to portray. The camera is just a box of dial and button controls that does your bidding, even from the beginning of photography.
Imageryonly Avatar
Imageryonly Plus
3 203 11 United Kingdom
13 May 2021 8:19AM
Personally, I feel that " buttons and dials " are driven by the Photographer and not the designer in most cases.
When is the last time anyone read a review that gave a perfect score on ANY camera ? Or gave a perfect list of Pros and no Cons.
A camera, like a wood plane, is a tool, and the finished article is down to the skill and vision of the Craftsman. On a camera, all the menus etc are for the use of the photographer and it is their choice which they use,
Me? Most are wasted ! I shoot only in RAW , use A or S and exposure 95% of the time, so most of the menus that relate to jPegs are redundant.
BUT!, and this is a really big BUT!, There are little settings in most menus that many of us do not understand properly, and finding them is a gem that solves a problem.
I have had my Panasonic FZ 1000 for some time now, and had 2 minor niggles all this time, one is noise on low light images and the other is sharpness out of camera, annoying, but correctable post capture.
Yesterday, browsing YouTube, I found the answer to both, one not explained clearly in the full manual, which is " How to set Focus lock and how it works! " now set properly, one hopes, and the other is using a setting in the camera that actually causes noise, namely setting the limits for exposure control.
So hooray for the dials and buttons in these areas.
kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
13 May 2021 10:27AM
Hi Dave, I use a Panasonic FZ 330, love it, but recently I have been using manual focus which has proved to be very accurate for my subjects. I'm the opposite to you, I mostly shoot Jpeg and add a touch of PP when needed, I occasionally use RAW, but I don't have the time these days to PP RAW. There are a couple of custom setting I use, but many of the features are for Video which I'm not into , I'm just stills. My Jpegs are very sharp out of camera, but there is some sharpening going in camera along with other skulduggery with the soft ware. Not experienced much noise but then RAW will always show that up till PP. For my work I keep white balance as low as I can get away with, to reduce noise.

kodachrome Avatar
kodachrome 11 789
13 May 2021 10:29AM
I meant to say keep ISO as low as possible


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