Manual primes are just the best thing ever.

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
RetCapt Regular Member • Posts: 402
Re: Manual primes are just the best thing ever.

I am old, and my background in film goes back to the middle-late 60s. I converted to digital in 2009. The several film systems I used were prime-based with no zoom lenses, no automation. Everything was manual. Of necessity then, it would appear that I may have had to develop some minimal level of skill to muddle through and occasionally get a decent photograph (more on that anon). Until I first tried digital I had no experience with auto-focus, zoom lenses, or automated exposure beyond manually set aperture priority.

I read OP's post and concluded that OP's enthusiasm for manual primes is just fine, for OP, if he is getting the shots he wants, when he wants them. I was and am skeptical, but everyone is entitled to their preferences. In reading various responses, there are opinions on both sides of OP's position; agreement and disagreement. Photography is a hobby, so my attitude on the various approaches to pursuit of that hobby is live and let live.

But then (the anon reference above) along came enlightenment. One poster stated: "Automation is a crutch for those who can't develop the necessary skills." In all the years of film I had thought perhaps I might have developed some minimal level of skill, if for no other reason than necessity since such 'crutches' were not available. But I was wrong, and the level of universal omniscience (not to mention condescension) in that post makes that obvious, regardless of one's background.

But somehow enlightenment has eluded me. The photograph below is an example. During my film days I would have had to anticipate the opportunity for this photo would arise. I would have to have already set the exposure, setting a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion, but with a small enough f/ stop to give me a useful amount of depth of field and focus set so that the hyperfocal distance would be within the zone our dog was going to be in. But that was not the situation in this instance. My wife and I had walked to our nearby lake on a very calm early spring day. I wanted to photograph the snowcapped mountains reflected in the lake. Our Golden Retriever, who had been a service dog during his younger life until his mistress died, had never been around a large body of water unleashed. It took only a few moments for him to realize the instinctive relationship between Golden Retrievers and water. He swam around for a few seconds then bounded out of the water to let us know what a wonderful discovery he had made. When he first started swimming I ran up to the edge of the water, brought the camera to my eye and started shooting. Given the dynamics of the situation, I had no opportunity to check or adjust anything, just literally point and shoot, and hope for the best. This was the result. This is just a snapshot. But that look of sheer joy on the face of a creature we love so much is priceless (to us).

Without the 'crutches' of automation that we take for granted in digital photography I would not have gotten this photograph.

For me it is the photograph I make, regardless of how I make it, that counts.

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