Working Round The Work Arounds

Working Round The Work Arounds

People who read photographic columns sometimes get the wrong idea about the writers of them. Despite what we try to pretend on this side of the pencil, we do not know it all. Some of us know very little of it. And bits of what we do know sometimes get forgotten.

Fortunately real life can remind us. There is plenty of real life like a situation of sudden movement or sullen lighting that calls us back to the basics of photography.

I’ve featured the  DSLR bodies from two major manufacturers to remind myself of this. I am regularly in a situation that has both sudden fast movement and bad lighting – stage dance shows – and I have on many occasions desperately wanted to be carrying a new DSLR.

It’s not heresy to the mirror-less movement to say this. Everyone who has tried to overcome the two burdens I mentioned has found out that their efforts have to be both extraordinary and guarded to try to cope with the limitations of the mirror-less. I do cope…but only to certain extent. It is determination and frugality that keep me on the same pathway in spite of these factors.

I cannot say why the mirror-less cameras are slower to lock focus than their DSLR counterparts – you must ask Ernest or one of the industry reps for those details. But I can readily understand why the cameras that rely upon the electronic viewfinder frquently fail to capure peak action – the screen image we sight with is always a little bit behind the real action out front. We make allowances for the timing – sort of a temporal “Kentucky windage “. We try the cameras with the optical viewfinders. We peer over the top of the camera, leave a lot of air around the subject, and hope for the best. The DSLR user just sees clearly whatever the lens sees and fires when they see what they like.

The dim-light focusing should also be just as good on the mirror-less as the DSLR,  and all the reps will tell you it is, but it isn’t. Unless the lens is a pretty wide-open sort of device, you can miss focus a number of times. When I have the two opposing problems of low stage light and rapid action – which CAN be frozen in the shot once you finally press the button if I am using a flash light – I go to manual focus and deliberate zone focusing. The camera is faster and the percentage of hits is higher.

As the mirror-less systems develop they will overcome these burdens. I can stay the course that I have started by employing alternative methods and wait for the great black and silver hope to arise. If I was dedicated to photographing only the world of the fast and dim, I would choose differently.

Note: Don’t fight over who got feature picture today – and don’t nit-pick about the two different size sensors depicted. Both Canon and Nikon are good in both small and full frame DSLRs.

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