My iPhone 6 is better than my X100F

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
OP 57even Forum Pro • Posts: 11,909
Re: Neither, Nor.

em jo photo wrote:

57even wrote:

em jo photo wrote:

Three thoughts:

(1)

Shallow depths of field? If your friend can twist his X100F's aperture dial, he can open worlds of possibility, straight-out-of-camera, that his iPhone 6 can't touch.

(2)

Smartphone photographs all look the same.

I think that's great: the more smartphone AI processing converges on a single approach . . . the more room there is for other (human) approaches to distinguish themselves.

(3)

The X100F is a tool for art that gets attention, conversation, use in real life. It's for prints and books and big screens people gather around and share and make for each other, together. It wasn't designed to produce free "content" for Mark Zuckerberg's various advertisement scrolls. Neither were our lives, by the way.

My advice to your friend: shoot your X100F more, print your photographs, share them with friends you actually have to meet in person, leave your smartphone at home. Photography is a billion times bigger, broader, better out here in the real world.

I totally understand your frustration, if not your pessimism.

Respectfully: if you read frustration and pessimism, then you didn't understand my post. I might not have been clear, and for that I'm sorry!

I am neither frustrated nor pessimistic.

To the contrary: I am really pleased that we have a wealth of creative tools that are designed for ideas, projects, relationships, and lives bigger than smartphone screens.

What's more, #SmartPhoneLife won't last. There are already a thousand tech suitors for tomorrow, from Alexa to wearables to fabrics and flexible bands to god-only-knows. Whatever happens, we won't all be carrying aluminum-glass slabs in our pockets ten years from now--the culture will move on to other fixations and possibilities, briskly.

Smartphone-driven "social" media is already last week's annoying ad gimmick, anyway. Organic sharing has been in decline on every service for years. All of Zuckerberg's properties have reached peak ad load. Abuse and fanaticism are rampant and growing. And AR / VR has already been anointed by Google, Snap, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Zuck as this fall's pivot to "what's next."

My point is: by this time next year, smartphone cameras are going to be popularly understood as "augmented reality sensors." Passing VSCO-tinged still photographs on the 'gram is going to seem unbelievably passé. So 2013.

So my commentary is aimed only as a suggestion to your friend. If he wants to learn more about photography, he may want to have to look at what's happening in the art beyond whatever "the algorithm" currently sandwiches between the sponsored posts of his various advertising feeds. Photography is bigger than that, and it will be relevant long after the feeds are gone.

Maybe he should go to a gallery. Have a look through a few large-format books. Meet other photographers and go shoot with them. Join a club. Take a class. Smartphones and advertising feeds suck as a sum-total-replacement for the universe of creative visual art, but they're great at helping one set real, rewarding social and creative connections in motion.

Your friend bought a tool that was designed for creative work in the bigger, broader, more interesting social world beyond the 5" screen--that's where he needs to go to understand what it's really for.

My friend does not spend all day texting his friends, and he is interested in photography, but he just doesn't know anything about it.

I don't think that's unique to him. What frustrates him is that art, and science, are both difficult if you want to do them well. In that sense, he is hardly unique.

You're right, he isn't unique. So, you can help him be. You are a real connection.

Here's a start: show him what the x100 aperture dial does. It's just one dial--he can handle that. It'll open a new world of capability.

Before I can help him, he has to want to be helped. He is now disappointed that he can't immediately get better results, but I have changed his JPEG defaults and explained how the DR function and EV compensation work. We went through the discussion of aperture control, but he needs to experiment to understand it.

If he comes back, perhaps we can start the next phase. Right now, he is wondering if the salesman in the store saw him coming.

In some ways an X100 is not the easiest camera to learn on. In some ways, that makes it the best camera to learn on.

We also downloaded some software for his iPad that allows him to edit JPEGs. I can't remember what it was, but it was quite cool, very simple, and provides him with an online gallery. It allows him to change contrast, colour and sharpness, so I dialled the JPEG settings in the camera down a bit - it's better to add them than remove them.

I'll see how it goes. He is a long way off editing raw images because he never contemplated buying a PC or MacBook, but I did point out that the RAW converter thats free with Fuji is quite good if he wants to practice. A usable W10 PC is only about £500, which is well within his means, but isn't very hipster...

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