I’m in London for a long weekend, and spending a lot of time in tourist areas while I’m here. As you might well guess, this means there are lots of people walking around with digital SLRs around their necks. In the past year or so, dSLRs seem to have really moved into the market that digital point & shoot cameras used to occupy.
I’ll tell you a little secret, if you promise not to be too terribly shocked. I’m a gear snob. When I see cameras, I check them out. What kind of camera is it? Is it old or new? What lens is on it? Does the user look like they have any clue?
I’ve seen several low-end dSLRs on this trip, but I’ve also seen quite a lot of higher-end ones. 40Ds and 50Ds seem to be surprisingly popular. I’ve seen spotted a 5D Mark II. I pay more attention to Canons than other brands simply because I’m more familiar with the product line, but I’ve also seen plenty of Nikons and a few others. Almost all of the cameras I’ve seen have tended toward the newer end of the spectrum.
Since I started writing this blog, I’ve also gotten into the habit of glancing at the exposure mode dial on top of the camera. What I’ve seen makes me both angry and sad.
Nearly every camera I’ve seen this trip has been in some sort of automatic mode. Most of them are on green boxes, or on one of the silly picture modes. I even saw someone with her camera in flower mode while I was standing in line waiting for theatre tickets. About five seconds after I noticed this, she picked up the camera and took a picture of a statue on the other side of the square. It will probably work out sort of OK for her, since a bright sunny day gives some exposure latitude, but it’s far from optimal.
I did see a few people with their cameras in aperture priority mode, which is what I would choose if I was walkabout in a city. See f/8 and be there for more discussion.
I’m sure that a lot of these people will get home and wonder why they spent all that money on a camera that takes sort of OK pictures. That makes me sad.
Oh, yes. Remember the guy with the 5D Mark II? He had close to five thousand dollars worth of equipment around his neck, and the camera was in green box mode. That just pisses me off! If you’re going to drop serious coin on a high-end camera, learn to use the bloody thing.
And if you ever see a pink-haired woman on the street checking out your camera, make sure it’s not in green box mode. You’ll make me happy.