A Computer With A Lens

August 24, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Digital cameras become ever more sophisticated.  They have reached the point where I consider them to be computers with a lens attached.

The Olympus E-M1 is feature rich. That enables every photographer to customize the camera to his or her liking and way of working. For the new owner, all of these options seem overwhelming.

The other day I met with a group of new Olympus E-M1 owners.  They wanted me to guide them through what button does what, and where in the menu you change things. There were several benefits to this impromptu photo shoot.

First, each photographer knew something about the camera (and more than they were giving themselves credit for) and were able to share tips with each other.

Second, I structured our outing to “build from the ground up” by having them set their cameras on “manual everything”.  That made them the decision-maker about everything from exposure to depth of field, making them think about the effect of changing shutter speeds, aperature and ISO.  It put them in control.  At coffee break we talked about various features like focus peaking and about how to set the camera up for their style of photography.  I suggested we head out and do more photography and that if they were still feeling overwhelmed, they could set the camera on P and let it make the decisions and see how that worked for them.  Nothing doing!  They liked using manual and the features that they had set up.  So we headed out again and everyone came back with impressive images. They made a huge step from viewing their camera as a complex piece of technology toward using it as an artistic tool.

posted by Ted Nodwell

photo credit: Evelyn Nodwell


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