Just bought a Panasonic GX1.. where to learn it best?

Started Dec 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
torrilin
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Re: Wrost advice I can think of.......
In reply to tedolf, Dec 18, 2012

tedolf wrote:Trying to teach yourself any specialized skill is about the slowest, most error prone way possible to learn.

Also, when you finally get some good instruction you have a lot of bad habits/information to unlearn.

Not entirely sure I agree, not entirely sure I disagree.

Good instruction is definitely worthwhile. There are a lot of good books available on both the technical side of photography and cameras, and the composition side of art. And most community colleges offer photography and drawing courses which are very helpful if you do the homework. I would not have had as easy a time learning photographic composition without all the work I'd spent on drawing and painting... and a large share of that was with an art teacher assigning me problems and study exercises that weren't necessarily fun, but would teach me a new idea in a concrete way. While I haven't yet taken a formal photography course, it's on the list. I'm sure I'd learn things from formal coursework.

But I've also found that it's not just homework that makes me good at drawing or photography. I genuinely like them both, and so I do them for amusement. I like looking at what I've done and spending time figuring out what is especially pleasing to me and what is really kind of icky. Liking an activity enough to keep in practice is in some ways more important than formal study.

A third element is that digital cameras offer a lot of carefully constructed automation. When I started working with my point and shoot, it felt like it just magically did things right. After a year or so, I could see that it wasn't magic. It was carefully programmed to work in accordance with a lot of the "rules of thumb" that have been developed in photography over the last 150ish years. I didn't always agree with what the camera's designers chose, and by understanding the "rules of thumb" I learned ways to force the camera to work a bit more towards one extreme or another. So even if you're starting off as ignorant of the mechanics as I did, you can learn quite a bit from your camera's automation. The more I've learned about how photography works, the more impressed I am with the amount of thought and care that went into the design of my little point and shoot. It's not a perfect camera. But it works astonishingly well, and gets astonishingly good results given how dumb I was when I started out. I've had to do a lot of reading and studying to understand some of what went into the design, and it's really elegant how many of the design decisions reinforce each other and constrain the camera's design.

So I don't really think things are as bleak as your post describes, even tho I do agree quite strongly that formal instruction is helpful. Most of us have if anything a huge excess of formal instruction :).

And now I need to go for a walk so I can do some arguing with my G3's jpeg processor and the sensor. Hopefully we can come to an amicable agreement on color saturation soon.

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