Prune the fluff

One of the main reasons I use Leicas and smartphones is that they are pretty simple to operate. In the case of phone cameras this is very much the case. I've always been mystified as to why people want something complicated and that requires ploughing through some poorly written manual. Mirrorless manufacturers had this notion a few years ago that their cameras would attract compact camera users wanting something better. They totally missed the point that those users were used to framing the picture and pressing the shutter button. They probably felt somewhat intimidated by the amount of options mirrorless cameras offered, as indeed on occasions so have I. And there simply is no need for the vast majority of it, plus I've encountered menu items I simply don't understand. Yes some photographers might want to achieve certain things, but why not put all of that into an optional custom menu?

I don't know about anybody else, but I use a very restricted set of options when I'm out photographing. ISO, PASM - Aperture (sometimes), Shutter speed (sometimes) Manual (rarely). Most times I have my cameras set on full Programme mode, since these days most cameras get it right. The point for me is get the image on the card ASAP. If I'm using a MF lens I generally set the aperture and pretty much leave it there. Or I'll set a shutter speed and let the aperture and ISO adjust accordingly. Fiddling with a camera means I'm not looking, I'm not composing images and I'm not taking pictures. I also have my cameras set to 1 AF point in the centre. I hate auto AF programmes because they don't know what I want to focus on.

And all the professional photographers I know pretty much feel the same way. There are far more important things to consider than different modes and pressing buttons, turning dials or trying to find the right menu option. Most of us shoot RAW anyway and post processing is far more important in getting a picture right than using some camera designers idea of what that might involve. It's geek city with a lot of cameras and it's seriously annoying. Olympus are the worst, with an incomprehensible menu structure and cameras that 'do their own thing' if something gets accidentally pressed. But Sony, Fuji and Panasonic aren't that far behind. 

Camera 'fluff' only impresses the impressionable and gear / gadget lovers. And it clearly doesn't manifest itself in better images. The dross that gets published on the photographic internet is testament to that. Is it really any wonder that people are switching to using their smartphones more and more? They are simpler, quicker and easier to use and they let the user concentrate on whats important, the picture. As someone who has shot entire weddings with one lens and never making any adjustments to my camera other than attaching a flashgun I know that most of these overcomplicated additions to the basics of photography are pointless. I've done the same for all my commercial, advertising and editorial clients and no-one has ever complained. Quite the reverse. 

I don't imagine cameras will get simpler, so I've made my choices. Leicas and phones. Apart from anything else its far more enjoyable (and productive) when I'm working, to be able to concentrate on what I'm doing rather than swearing at an unresponsive camera. And to those who embrace all this unnecessary complication, all I would say is you are welcome to it.