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Started Apr 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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John King
John King Forum Pro • Posts: 14,941
Re: The "ISO-less camera" argument

Gidday Cat

boggis the cat wrote:

John King wrote:

Even if the results have been spectacular failures; and there have been many of them! Digital is far cheaper to make many spectacular failures - thereby creating a far more immediate and thus better learning environment, IMNSHO. Unfortunately, digital also creates an environment where far too many people have the attitude "I'll just fix it in post processing.". This goes equally for composition (using the wrong lens or framing); exposure; subject matter ("I'll just add in/subtract whatever I want/don't want later.").

I find it interesting that many people seem convinced that it is easier to take bad shots, or use equipment that has unpredictable behaviour, then 'fix' the photo in post.

I too like predictable behaviour in anything I use. Cameras and lenses are no exception ...

Yet these same people will then happily claim that using an auto-exposure mode is abdicating responsibility and thus not 'legitimate' photography (Program or Program-shift is what I tend to use by far the most, due to what I tend to shoot most).

This is just sloppy, regardless of the level of the camera being used. We have the wonderful choice of fantastic tools at our disposal so that some people can be just plain sloppy in their use of them.

He stresses the exposure triangle of ISO, aperture and shutter speed and how to use these exposure parameters to achieve the desired aesthetic results. Although I have little to learn from anything he has written (the book belongs to a friend, and he lent it to me to audit), it is terrific looking at his wonderful photos. He is also a very clear communicator. I like to have read a book before recommending it to others ... and I could not recommend his book too highly.

Have you noticed that there is a bit of a push to argue that 'ISO' is no longer a valid concept?

That was one of Newman's favourite fight starters ...
I agree with Bryan Peterson's continued use of the "Exposure triangle" - ISO (sensitivity of the recording medium), Aperture (the hole in the diaphragm in the lens) and Shutter speed (how long the recording medium is exposed to the light source). Seems so self-evident, and has been used by photographers ever since photography began. No less valid today than it was 150 years ago ... . All other decisions are aesthetic decisions, and just as important in their own right. They are just not exposure parameters, per se. They are determined by the meber of the exposure set chosen. Peterson stresses this constantly.

There was a thread in the Open Talk forum where this was being discussed.  I jumped in here:

but did not get a reply to my argument for ISO in that thread.

Am I missing something obvious?  I don't see how a sensor can have limitless 'sensitivity', so therefore we have to always consider that third element (even if we have an ever increasing latitude).

I agree. So does every photographer and author on the subject I have ever had anything to do with. Even auto ISO is still applying a value to the sensitivity of the recording medium. It's just blather to suggest otherwise, IMNSHO.

It is also interesting to note how relaxed he is about a whole lot of subjects and how both the particular aperture and shutter speed chosen don't matter a lot of the time, as long as they are "correct" for the lighting situation, but sometimes they are at the crux of the photo taken. Again, I agree.

Absolutely right.  The downside of using 'auto' modes is that you may sometimes miss an opportunity that you may have seen if you had been using aperture priority, then you note it after the fact and realise that it could have been a great shot.

Everything is a trade-off, of course, and for people who believe that capturing a shot 'in camera' is not that high a priority perhaps they get more satisfaction from fiddling in Photoshop or what have you.  I just get confused, lose track of what I am trying to get to, 'fix' one thing only to obliterate other more important elements, and end up going in circles until the shot looks 'OK' (but not what I had hoped for when I started wasting time chasing the concept), then compare to the OOC JPEGs and find that they're better... 

Of course. And that too. Except that my OoC JPEGs are never better than the images I get from any RAW file, no matter how crappily I have taken it ... .

Down at the beach the other day, I was discussing composition and PP with a woman we had met there on a doggy walk. I mentioned that I almost never cropped in PP, exceptionally rarely; and that I considered it an admission of failure on my part if I had to (yeah, I do know that sometimes it is unavoidable - who doesn't?). She said "You're being very hard on yourself". I replied that it was the only way I could force myself to be disciplined as far as composition, lens choice, etc went; that composition was one of my weakest areas, and that to improve (as I am told I have), I have to be hard on myself. She then said "Fair enough".

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Regards, john from Melbourne, Australia.
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