At the Chicago lakeshore

Ice cream on the lakeshore
Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
2021

Margaret and I spent a long weekend in Chicago not long ago. It was our first stay in a hotel since the pandemic began. But we hardly spent time in the hotel; we walked all over the Loop and up to Navy Pier, and out to Lake Michigan. We spent a lot of time at the lake on this trip.

I brought my Nikon Df along. I’m still getting to know this camera. It’s funny, I can pick up pretty much any old film SLR and make good images with it on the first try. But I have had to spend time learning the nuances of every DSLR I’ve used. The Df seems to bias toward shallow depth of field, which I frequently don’t want. There must be some menu setting someplace to adjust that. Meanwhile, I’ve tended to shoot in aperture-priority mode rather than program mode to control DOF.

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Photography

single frame: Ice cream on the lakeshore

An ice cream shop on Lake Michigan in Chicago.

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5 thoughts on “single frame: Ice cream on the lakeshore

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Jim, you’ve never had a truer statement! I have professional digital cameras (Olympus) I’ve owned for 5 years I can’t get anything I like out of, can’t even muddle through most of the manual, and the only way to used them is shoot RAW and spend hours making it seem like something in PhotoShop. None of them work the same. And yet before digital even came along, I had been a thirty-five year pro that could walk into any studio and pick-up any camera I was given and make professional photographs with it.

    Part of this is based on the idea that in the olden days, they built professional cameras that were adopted by interested amateurs. Now they build cameras for amateurs, with one of the marketing pushes being number of features, most of which a professional would never use. The Olympus stuff has such convoluted menus, and so much stuff to wade through that I would never use, that I just put the damn thing down after a while. There’s a reason that a digital Leica that cost 8 thousand bucks, has very few settings on it! Bad engineering controls the world, and I’m sure it’s almost impossible to talk who’s ever in charge to leave 90 percent of the settings off a camera when the difference between building the streamlined chips and bloated chips in the camera would be a nickel.

    As an example, I had an early series digital Nikon pro DSLR camera that had sharpness settings, of which most were unacceptable! Only two or three of the nine settings were “acceptable”, and the others were unacceptable, and the one closet to what you would expect with film, was not even near the center of the scale! Why? And most of the settings could not be differentiated on a computer screen! You would have had to shoot samples and print them out at each setting to judge, which I actually did!

    Believe me, photography is not alone in this. I do some audio recording for documentaries, and I get a few audio production magazines; and the reviews on after-market program add-ons that model sound quality, that contain unusable settings that no one in their right mind would use, are savagely trashed! It’s can be so bad, that some of the magazines have had editorial articles admonishing design engineers for building this confusing program garbage. Just because you can design it, why would you offer settings no one would use, it just makes everything more confusing! Reel-to-reel recorders worked virtually all the same, but modern digital recorders can function differently between brands, and contain operational quirks that could render files unusable if you didn’t know what you were doing!

    BTW, even in the film days, when it came to auto exposure programs, the only pros I knew interest in shutter priority programs were sports shooters. Most pros were not interested in anything but controlling the correct aperture for depth of field! Programs that change to shutter speed and aperture? Virtually useless for a pro.

    • The camera manufacturers are scrambling to get sales, I swear, and are selling their souls to do it.

      I’m hardly a pro but I know enough about a camera to lean on aperture priority when I need it!

    • I agree: they’re building ‘amateur’ cameras and expecting pros to use them. The default settings lean towards what is ‘popular’ in photography these days, and if you want good results you have to correct things in some sub-menu. Fujifilm is probably the only exception to this, with their crazy overload of film simulations.
      I have one camera which allows me to shift the program settings along the scale easily. Unfortunately the lens is lousy so I never use the thing.

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