Dumbing Up On Sunday Afternoon

on October 16, 2016

Have you ever been bewildered by photography? I'm going to make a candid confession - I have - many times. The first encounter with a camera that required me to set the focus, aperture, and shutter speed and then advance the film and count how many shots I'd taken was a daunting one. It was at high school and there were girls watching and I was terrified of appearing to be an amateur fool.

I've conquered that fear now and have become a professional one. People consult me for fool lessons. I could fool for Australia in several fields...and I have also conquered the fear of complex cameras. I readily whiz dials, push buttons, poke screens, and pinch and swipe with the best of them. At any one time I have 18 different criteria set on my cameras - they function like Norden bomb sights.

But just now and then I succumb to an attack of the dumbs and want to do the least amount of thinking and controlling that I can. A Sunday trip to a car musem with the Fujifilm X-T10 gave me a chance to try out a new level of non-control. I switched on the AUTO lever.

This is a lever set under the shutter speed dial to allow the camera to take over nearly all its own functions and decisions. You cannot tell it to do much of anything in the way of ISO, shutter, or aperture and it will only agree to give you JOPEG images. But it shuffles through an amazing variety of pre-set program decisions to give a good result with no more than pointing and shooting.

The excuse Fujifilm gives for this is the idea that you hand the camera to spouses, children, or lesser mortals when you want a picture of yourself in front of the scenery. As you are not there to be fabulously technical, the lesser mortals have just one button - it is presumably all they can cope with. A very condescending lever...

Well I descended all afternoon and I am delighted with the results. I did put up the on-board flash of the X-T10 to fill some of the shadows, and I did make use of the fold-out LCD screen at the back for waist-level and floor-level shots but pretty near all the rest was just between the X-T10 body and the 27mm f:2.8 pancake lens. The percentage of keepers and usable illustration shots was over 90, and the only real danger for me was having no lenshood on the little lens.

It was good enough to encourage me to dumb it for more of the Camera Electronic equipment reportage events I do. Speed, discretion, and handiness are of prime importance for these things since any delay means that the snacks are gone before you can get to them. And I suspect that there will be a number of other cameras out there in the mirror-less or compact range that also have hidden control positions on their mode dials that allow them to run on autopilot very well.

Let " George " do it.