Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:
Part 100: Prehistoric Or Why I Love an OVF. Digital cameras just keep getting cheaper and better, and well not cheaper per se but you’re getting more and more for your money.
The digital landscape seems to have calmed a little. Even Sony waited a while before following up on the A7Rii.
As well as slower release times, the tech you’re paying for seems to have disentangled itself from the things that you once had to shell out big to own.
Once upon a time, lots of megapixels meant lots of cash. Physically big sensors meant lots of cash.
Now you can buy a FF camera that costs less than a M43 one. Or a 20+ megapixel M43 body or a 12mp FF one.
High ISO performance was once the preserve of Southfork sized sensor real estate, but these days the crop sensor cameras can hold their heads high.
I’m not trying to suggest that camera tech is stale, no way. But these days the camera’s size and shape, lens range and cost seem to guide our choices far more than “you must have a FF camera”
Progress cannot really be dampened, and R&D budgets seem to go into ‘soft’ features these days – UIs and AF, Wi-Fi and apps. Progress tends to find a way.
As photographers, we’ve really never had it better. It’s never been easier to take and share a photograph.
And as much as modern cameras can be complicated souls, I’m fairly sure if we took one back in time to the pre-digital era, it wouldn’t take long for yesteryear photographers to start understanding how to shoot with a modern camera.
I wonder what they’d find the most amazing feature? After all, a great many digital innovations have their roots in analogue cameras. Sure they won’t have seen AF and ISO like that before, but these won’t be new concepts to them.
Back in the days when a supercar topped out at a pedestrian 130mph, it wouldn’t be beyond the imagination of people back then to conceptualise today’s 200+ mph supercars
If you were to expose a yesteryear photographer to a modern digital camera, I think one area that would truly deliver the ‘wow factor’ would be the EVF
What You See Is What You Get. WYSIWYG. We see that phrase a lot.
It’s a truly wonderful invention.
I love it, but I also love an OVF.
I can imagine a world some day (some soon day I think) were all cameras have EVFs…
….5K OLEDs with 250fps refresh rates.
Indistinguishable from reality, and able to show you the photo you’re going to make before you hit the button.
And with this tech, we’ll truly see the picture before we snap it.
And this is fantastic, sincerely it is.
But (how did you know a but was coming?) when we shoot like this are we not effectively performing analogue to digital capture, before we’re even taking a digital image?
Call me a dinosaur, call me a fossil, say I’m stuck in the past, that my view (finder) point is about to disappear into a Chicxulub sized hole – but isn’t observing reality part of the point of photography.
I’m not claiming I speak for all, NO WAY, but when I shoot I’m happy if I capture a mood or imbue the resultant image with something I saw in the scene in the first place
I just have a belief that the more we remove ourselves for the real world, the less we’re observing the real world.
I don’t think that photographs look real. OK some do more than others and OK some assignments and genres demand reality (fashion/product for example). But the way our eyes work, the way we subconsciously selectively focus and selectively determine highlight and shadow data isn’t replicable within a 2D photographical image, which means it isn’t on a teeny-tiny OLED screen either.
This is one of the biggest draws of the X-Pro (and X100) range for me. The Hybrid viewfinder.
Whether it’s the original X-Pro1 with it’s thick easily visible framelines and icons, combined with an EVF that’s so old school it’ll virtually demand that you spend time with the OVF
The X-Pro2, with it’s far less legible OVF content, but the framelines actually move with the focus and you get the sometimes helpful option of using the ERF and all combined with an EVF that’s modern and fairly decent.
Because WYSIWYG is very important. Without it there’s only chimping or the darkroom.
But… well…. just my opinion…
I once read an interview with a chap who had a film made about a portion of his life. He was a little worried about it. Apparently one of his friends had warned him, something like they’re going to take six years of your life, blow it up so that it looks super exciting, then crush it down into two hours
In a certain sort of way, isn’t this what we do when we take a photograph?
We take something immense and natural and organic, and we trim it down into a photo, maybe a big print, or maybe a 100kb image on Facebook. But the result is never exactly the same as reality.
Sure WYSIWYG is the second step of that process, sure WYSIWYG is a part of the image process that’s paramount to success – it lays the very foundation for the image you’re about to create.
But do you know what the first step is?
The first step is seeing it for real.
Don’t skimp on the first step.
Imagine by some miracle you encountered a real life dinosaur. Better yet you had both a camera and the presence of mind to use it.
Without the reality of the spectacle to draw upon for the shot, well the end result could end up looking like a plastic toy.
And that would be a shame.
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