Once again in the last few weeks I’ve realised how for me, with photography especially, less is more.
The Pentax K30 DSLR I used throughout July is a cracking camera.
The ways I was using it was already greatly dumbed down, compared to its full capabilities.
So I decided for a few reasons to seek out an older Pentax DSLR, and bought a K100D for just £26.
The K100D has a mere 6MP sensor, and it’s CCD rather than CMOS, which has in my view a far more appealing look.
It has a good enough viewfinder to compose, and an LCD screen on top to show your main settings, as well as in the VF itself.
All the controls I use often are in easy reach of my right thumb and forefinger – shutter button, depth of field preview (just rotate the on/off switch a further notch, itself a collar switch around the shutter button), AE lock, exposure compensation and the main control wheel.
With my eye to the viewfinder, I can operate everything I need to with the K100D without having to remove it from my face and look down.
Well designed, for sure, but more importantly just simply designed, keeping those core functions at your fingertips so they quickly become second nature.
I’ve been shooting it at its native ISO200. I don’t even know what it goes up to, perhaps 1600, but I don’t care as ISO200 is fine for me.
Compared with the K30, the K100D seems just the right amount of enough.
I don’t need the K30’s 16MP sensor, ISO up to 12800, 11 colour modes (all customisable), and eight digital filters (ditto!).
Neither do I need High ISO Noise Reduction, an electronic spirit level, or GPS. It’s all overkill for me, a collection of proverbial sledgehammers to crack nuts.
But even if I don’t need all of these functions, I still have to wade through them to switch them all off, or set to them to neutral.
The K100D took me all of about one minute to set up, and aside from the core functions mentioned above, I’ve just got on with shooting.
I love it.
But why do too many choices befuddle me with photography, and start to diminish the pure and simple immersive natural escape it can be?
Perhaps because when we have fewer decisions to make, we have more time and space to ensure they are the most intelligent choices we can make.
Furthermore, perhaps then we are more committed to those better thought out choices, and give them more of our energy and focus to make them work. Rather than try something for five minutes, find it a bit difficult, then abandon it for another option that seems easier.
Fundamentally in photography, they’re aren’t many major decisions to make.
We decide what to include in the frame, where to focus and what depth of field and freezing (or not) of action we want (via our aperture and shutter speed choices respectively).
Some would argue there are only two choices to make – where to stand and when to fire the shutter.
Pretty much any decision beyond this takes us away from that beautiful, pure, immersive experience – the same experience photographers have been enjoying for 150 years.
Cameras with too many features and functions just force us into making decisions we don’t need to.
In photography, for me, there’s great happiness in less.
Fewer choices to make, means a more direct and rewarding route to the fundamental experience.
Which is what it’s all about.
How about you? How have you simplified your photography? How much choice is too much for you?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking.
Share this post with someone you think will enjoy it using the buttons below.
See what I’m up to About Now.