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Long-sightedness and a steep learning curve

mrswoolybill

I make no great claims for my photography. But I do try very hard not to be boring.
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Long-sightedness and a steep learning curve

1 Jan 2016 9:23AM   Views : 592 Unique : 373

A New Year, a new toy. I have been thinking for a long time about getting a compact camera, something neat and convenient, to fit in my handbag. I've seen Bill with his Emergency Lumix, and how he gets pictures that I miss out on. The D7000 is serious luggage, not a pocket-filler...
I am deeply wedded to SLR photography in its various manifestations, partly out of habit but also for practical reasons. I am extremely long-sighted, and camera manufacturers to a man cater for medium to short sight. My vision means that in order to compose on a screen, change settings via a menu, even fiddle with dials if the results aren't clearly visible through a viewfinder, I need to fish out my reading glasses. Which then means that I cannot see anything else, including what I am photographing...
After a lot of research I took a fancy to the Panasonic LX100. It's substantially built, it seemed to have a satisfying array of proper knobs and dials for the important settings, and a decent viewfinder. But I wanted to check it out in the flesh, so to speak, and since the tragic demise of Jacobs, the possibilities in Newcastle are limited.
The purchase alone was an eye-opening experience, in various ways.
First port of call was John Lewis - I like their free extended warranty on electrical goods. They had a demonstration model. In the course of half an hour, neither we nor the charming but clueless young lad who was serving managed to get it to produce Shutter speed priority, Aperture priority, a single moveable auto focus point, or control over ISO. These seem to me to be fairly basic requirements. The controls were there, quite clearly, but they just didn't do anything. The lad was rather inclined to assume that if he couldn't find something it wasn't actually available...
After strong coffee, the next visit was Currys PCWorld. I hadn't checked their website, which was a mistake; but there's usually a lovely gentleman of more mature years and considerable photographic experience on the camera counter.
He wasn't there, instead I got the pushy young man with the perma-grin and improbable hair. We rapidly established that they don't stock the LX100 (he tried to insist that I was inventing a non-existent model until he found it on his computer). He then wasted far too much of my time trying to sell me a Fujifilm compact system camera that he just happened to have dangling casually round his neck, swearing that it was identical in every particular. It was not. Full stop.
That exhausted Newcastle's possibilities. D&P in Gosforth used to be good but they have been taken over recently. On a whim we headed for Jessops at the Metro Centre.
Another lovely young man was also entirely unable to persuade the display model to do any of the things that I was asking for; but he did understand them, which was progress. He suggested that if we gave him a little while to tear his hair out in privacy he would sort it - and he did. One thing I learnt - all LX100s are pre-set to Idiot Mode Everything, there are various tiny little buttons and until you find and disable them you can do pretty well nothing apart from set the date and time and select format. All this is new to me - I'm used to setting Aperture priority, selecting an aperture, and the camera wags its tail and obeys. I hadn't encountered cameras that act dumb and expect you to guess where they have hidden the slippers.
I bought it, and I am gradually winning. After around three hours of tearing our own hair out, it is starting to understand what I want. A big improvement was shifting the zoom control from the extremely awkward little lever at the front to the proper lens ring - why isn't that set up already? And why do I need to assign a function button to ISO in order to be able to control it easily? (And what has happened to White Balance, which was previously on that lens ring for some reason?)
Unlike me, Bill is well used to non-DSLR devices. So, presumably, are the sales staff. So why is a camera set up so that even they cannot find their way into the settings?
It is far too easy to jog one of the seemingly numerous Idiot settings and bugger the whole thing up. I am seriously tempted to disable the Intelligent (I love the dry irony) Automatic button with super-glue but Bill won't let me.
I shall master it because I've paid for it. And also because Bill is itching to take it over when I give up.
Oh and if you go to a Jessops store the LX100 is 50 cheaper than anywhere else, including John Lewis (and yes, that takes account of the 50 cash-back currently offered by Panasonic). Go to Jessops in the Metro Centre and ask for Daniel, he now knows how to make it work.

Tags: Jessops Long-sightedness Panasonic LX100

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Comments

KarenFB Avatar
KarenFB Plus
17 6.0k 185 England
2 Jan 2016 6:13AM
Yep, been there, done that! It's really annoying when the shop guy pretends to know what he's on about and looks at you as if you're a moron!
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