Digital Photography Is NOT Your Friend

I swear this entire digital photography thing is simply a scam. A scam meant to separate folks from their money and create headaches bordering upon migraines.

Camera body. Software. Lenses. Flashes. Picture formats. Media cards. Tripods. Photo hosting web sites. Blogs about photography. Magazines. Geo-tagging. Pixel density. Full frame versus non-full-frame. Image stabilization (lens- or camera-based). Batteries. Chargers. Filters. And accessory after accessory after accessory after accessory.

Shit.

It has been difficult enough coming to terms with which system to purchase. After all, whatever camera you buy has a direct impact on what lenses, which flash, what accessories, etc. you will undoubtedly accumulate over time. However I now have to consider whether or not to use filters, and then what filters to use, and should I buy the right size for my lens or buy step-up bezels and buy just one filter for that size for use with all my lenses, blah, blah, blah.

And which software do I use to work with RAW images (which I’ve never done before and I confess the idea slightly terrifies me)? There is the software which came with the camera. There is my copy of PhotoShop Elements 6.0, which I haven’t yet installed on the ol’ computer. And how about the program I downloaded for free from PhotoOne (free with the purchase of my SanDisk media card)? Which is the best? Which will most intuitive to use? Which will render the best results with the minimum of fuss?

Should I keep my home-built desktop PC or buy a Mac?

It’s simply not enough that I have to obtain a better and more full understanding of the BASICS of photography, but I also have to be technologically savvy to deal with computers and software. I swear…..it’s almost enough to make me think that my Canon A630 point-and-shoot was more than enough camera for me. It has full manual controls, great battery life and solid (but not great) image quality. If it weren’t for the horrible results that come with the flash, rubbish results at anything above ISO 400 and the sluggish response after pressing the shutter release (a curse of all point-and-shoots) I would leave dSLR behind and enjoy the simple pleasure that comes without thinking and just taking pictures.

But that doesn’t give me anything to bitch and whine about, now does it? 😉

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3 thoughts on “Digital Photography Is NOT Your Friend

  1. Absolutely, totally, 100% agree. But (and isn’t there always a but?) the other side of the coin is that its a whole new world with lots of new stuff to learn, lots of new kit and gadgets to play with… and its fun!
    Of course, there’s always the small matter of having to find the cash to get all this extra new fun gear but hey, it gives us something to aim for, drool over, and daydream about.

    But on a more practical note… working with RAW. Despite serious urgings from a friend that I should try to get into the habit of working in RAW (for very good reasons) I resisted the transition for quite a while. Not so much because I was nervous about it as for the more mundane reason that the file sizes are so much larger. And that can be a serious concern unless you’ve got a high-spec computer (i.e., with lots of RAM) able to handle them in batches. The machine I use has 512Mb RAM and that struggles periodically.
    Nevertheless I persevered and now (unless I’m using the point & shoot which only produces JPEGs) I work exclusively with RAW files, only converting to JPEG at the very last stage, and I don’t really anticipate ever wanting to revert.
    Software-wise, I’ve found Adobe Lightroom to be about the best so far. On the downside, its not a freebie, and the interface takes a bit of getting used to… its not especially intuitive.
    As far as I can determine it incorporates all the same functions as Photoshop Elements plus a few really nice extra features.

    Failing that, you may find the best bet is to stick with the software that comes with the camera. I had RAW utilities come with both the Canon and the Samsung. Although neither are quite as feature-rich as Lightroom they’re both adequate for the job, and on the plus side neither of them are quite as resource-hungry as Lightroom, so they’re a bit kinder to lower-spec computers.

    And a final thought about the “digital con”… got no stats to back it up but my impression is that a benefit of the technology has been to render photography far more accessible to greater numbers of people who would otherwise have missed out on… um… the chance to have a good bitch and whine 😉

  2. Um… gotta add a postcript to my last. I said that Lightroom incorporates all the same functions as Elements but that’s not strictly true. I was referring specifically to basic editing/manipulation of RAW files.
    Haven’t yet discovered the facility to work with layers in Lightoom. It might be there and just that I haven’t tripped over it yet (as I said, its not particularly intuitive to use). I don’t doubt there are features it possesses that I still haven’t discovered yet. For example (having been using it now for a few months) I’ve only just discovered how to copy settings from one file to another!
    Then again, I’m not particularly adventurous when it comes to exploring software. Once I’ve found the functions I’m going to be using the most I tend to confine myself to just those.
    But all that notwithstanding, I still rate it highly for the subtlety (perhaps finesse is a more appropriate word) of its manipulations and quality of output.

  3. And while I love to fiddle around with software I don’t have the dosh for CS3 or Lightroom and instead must make do with Elements and other freebies.

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