Cameras too hard to operate?

Mack

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Friend once told me he thought a new camera might be good for his wife and the kids. His wife told him "Not to buy one as they are just too hard to operate. Easier to use my (her) cellphone."

Having seen the 600+ pages of the Olympus E-M1X Owner's Manual, and all in English, I think I understand where she is coming from. They do far more - and maybe too much - with the menus and setup configuration - that can turn some people off. I don't think my cellphone even had instructions for use of its camera.

My new Sekonic light meter has over 200 pages, all in English, on how to operate it. Ironically, it is called a "Speedmaster" (Sekonic L-858D-U) printed on the face of it. However, I'm not seeing it being "Speedy" yet. Bought it to do HSS flash readings which it does where the old one (L-478D) would not go above 1/400 second for flash readings, but "Good grief!" the menu, calibration, and setup is taxing.

 
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The E-M1X does not cater to the same market as someone who thinks their iPhone is a camera.

The E-M1X is a specialized tool, built to target a specific sub-set of the photography market. The iPhone is built to appeal to as many people as possible. People who use their iPhone as a camera that is "good enough" are not the same people that consider spending thousands of dollars on a camera body.

Is the E-M1X more complicated to use than an iPhone? Undoubtedly. However, the iPhone doesn't come close to doing what the E-M1X was built to do.
 

exakta

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Compared to film cameras, yes, a lot harder to operate. However they have a lot more features than film cameras where all you needed to know was how to load and advance the film, set shutter and aperture, focus and (if applicable) how to change lenses and the battery.
 

ac12

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A camera like the EM10, EM1 and most dSLRs have options.
You can make them almost as easy as a P&S, with the scene modes. This is how some of the kids in my yearbook class shoot.
BUT, you (or someone) still has to know how to set the camera to select the scene modes.

Or just get her a P&S.
Better to get her a camera that she WILL use, rather than a better camera that she won't use.

Story time:
Years ago, a pro photographer friend of mine had a daughter who was taking GREAT photos with her "Instamatic." This was the box camera of the 1970s.
So for her 18th birthday, he gave her a Hasselblad (yeah, drooool).
About six months later she gave him back the Hasselblad, and asked for her old Instamatic.
??? He was puzzled. ???
As it turned out, the Hasselblad was too technical for her. There is NOTHING automatic, it is FULLY MANUAL. The mechanics of using it was getting in the way of her artistic picture taking.

So for some people, simpler is indeed better.
 

Bushboy

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This is true. Most people got no idea how much of an elite group we really are... more highly evolved ..
 
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tkbslc

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There is no camera that will ever be as easy as a phone is to get punchy images with wide DR that are ready to share and use as soon as you click the button.
 

Bushboy

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yes, I got the iPhone 11 email the other day...
Phone camera heaven! Yes please for nearly everyone on the planet?
Not me though, I do things the hard way.
 

PakkyT

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All our cameras are more difficult to operate only when you need to use the more challenging or difficult features and settings. If you don't need anything more than Auto mode, then our cameras are as easy as a phone where you just push the shutter button... done! Likewise you can load in camera apps on your phone that open up settings you don't get with the stock camera, and that makes your camera phone as difficult as any other camera if you want to treak those settings.

That said, anyone who says anything is harder than their phone to use doesn't want or need anything other than their phone, so save your money.
 

macro

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Very simple and easy.

Number one is get rid of the darn instructions. Throw on a manual focus lens, use the top control to set manual. Set and lock ISO, use the rear knob to set shutter speeds and the aperture is on the lens. Just adjust the shutter speed as needed, or the aperture on the lens.

Bang, there ya go. Similar to an old SLR. Not much has changed .............. unless you want it to be. Whack on full auto if you want it real easy.

All the best and it can be as complicated or as easy as you like. Just seems nowadays people like it complicated for some reason. :)

Danny.
 
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yes, I got the iPhone 11 email the other day...
Phone camera heaven! Yes please for nearly everyone on the planet?
Not me though, I do things the hard way.
Exactly. Why let the phone handle everything for you when you can buy a device that does a single task, buy multiple lenses, take multiple exposures, then merge and edit those exposures in software you have to pay for on a computer you have to pay for?

I far prefer working harder, not smarter. /s
 

ac12

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Wonder how many pages of instructions a computer could have to cover the multitude of tasks it can perform :biggrin: i have no idea how mine actually works i just learn to do the bits i want to do.
That is no different than your car.
99+% of people don't know how their car works.
Just fill in gas and turn the key.
They get flustered when the windshield washer runs out of fluid.

Or what happens to me.
My wife's friends call ME up to figure out a problem with their computer. I have become their IT department.
Computers are fine for the younger generation, who are brought up with it.
But they can be intimidating to some of the older generation who were brought up and worked using a typewriter.

What bugs me is, some stuff is just plain difficult. Cuz the SW vendor is not making as easy as it could be.
If you want MS Outlook to talk to you gmail account, that is NOT a simple click and done setup. You have to specify in-bound / out-bound server names, security options, port address, etc. Try walking a 75 year old non-techie person through that, on the phone.
Out of frustration, I gave up doing phone support. I have to be on the keyboard doing it.​
Apple (iPhone) has proven that it can be almost a click and done setup. So the MS guys are the ones that are not making it easy on the consumer. And guess who has the most computers out there?

This is a market that Best Buy's "Geek Squad" is aimed at.
The people for whom the technology has left them behind.

As for manuals. RTFM is not part of the world of kids.
A teacher friend of mine told me, even if they have manuals, the kids ignore it. They learn to use the computer/phone by just using it (learn by trying), and talking with their friends.
This is very different than my generation, where RTFM was the rule, not the exception.

One danger is, you have to design stuff to deal with the people that learn by trying.
They won't read the "WARNING, do this first," or "Do in this order," that is in the manuals.
And the on screen text has to be CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS.

The UI has to also be designed to be foolproof.
In MS explorer, the file "delete" is right next to "rename." I can imagine how many thousands of people hit delete, instead of rename.

It is not only the kids. Years ago, I had to deal with people in the IT world who were like kids.
One "complaint" came from someone who did NOT read the upgrade instructions, but just put the CDs into the computer to start upgrading the software. Then he was upset that the upgrade did not work seamlessly and easily, as he expected it would.
That WAS frustrating to me. Even the techies who should, did not RTFM.
 

ScottinPollock

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Great photos can be taken with any camera... but great cameras don't ensure great photos.

Best to let someone choose what they are most comfortable with.
 

Hendrik

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Friend once told me he thought a new camera might be good for his wife and the kids. His wife told him "Not to buy one as they are just too hard to operate. Easier to use my (her) cellphone."
My wife, too, except for the fact that she has lived with and around cameras her whole life. She bailed to her phone camera long about the iPhone 4. We tried an Olympus Air but it proved too fiddly. When we went on our honeymoon in the early '70s, we took along her Canonet. She later moved to an Olympus XA and from there on to several digital P&S soap bars. Her parents kept buying cool, nerdy cameras as if they were going out of business and tried to give some of them to her. Early on, I accepted one, a Topcon SLR, but I soon went my own way with the OM-1. She stuck with her Canonet. She's a fine, seat-of-the-pants photographer but for her purposes, that sort of thing is sufficient. Neither is she a Luddite – she lusts after every new development in computers, phones and tablets. The cellphone camera has prevailed simply because the manufacturers have identified and filled a broad consumer need. Face it, not everyone wants the photographer's job. Most simply want to take pictures, simply.
 
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It wasn’t easy but I think I found a solution ...


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:biggrin:
 

tkbslc

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Looks like you did! :rofl:

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Simply adding 4k to a Lumix camera produced a bunch of options for focus stack, 4k burst, 4k photo, crop/zoom video to HD and the like. It can definitely cause discomfort at times as the new features invade our cameras - but as noted, one can resist and keep things pretty easy - other than extra menus we must search to find what suits us!

Complexity brings complications; grab a 5-year-old camera and enjoy the (relative) simplicity :) my GX1 still fits nicely, both hand and brain.
 

exakta

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Throw on a manual focus lens, use the top control to set manual. Set and lock ISO, use the rear knob to set shutter speeds and the aperture is on the lens. Just adjust the shutter speed as needed, or the aperture on the lens. Bang, there ya go. Similar to an old SLR. Not much has changed ..............
Other than MF, that's what I did when I got my first good digital camera and the pictures were terrible. I had to start thinking about WB, DR, EC, gradation, blah, blah. To be honest, setting the camera on the full auto mode yielded better results until I started to figure out what I had to do differently because it wasn't film.
 

Taurahe

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proof that features ell camera more than performance. I have always said that if someone would make a FF camera with the necessary basic features, and a top shelf sensor, and focus on IQ, and make it at a price point that is affordable, they would not be able to build them fast enough
 
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