Monday, 8 March 2010

CFO: Camera Feature Obsession

Camera Feature Obsession is a disturbing disorder of photographers, not just because it prevents them from focusing on their photography, but also because it drives their friends and family to despair with the amount of fiddling with the camera that follows when they have to take a photograph. The CFO sufferer seldom grasps the irony that the features are indeed intended to make photography easier and require less interaction from the photographer. Sufferers seldom seem to grasp that photography is actually a simple technology (having a history of over 100 years) and that creativity and expression are among the major reasons for its existence as well as the documentation of the beauty of nature.

the end of Winter


Aside from the obvious distressing signs of excessive reading of "Amateur Camera" or "Popular Photography" early signs can be identified by astute family by observation. Do you hear your relative using phrases such as:
  • shiftable program mode
  • creative zones or scene modes (and how many)
  • A-DEP
  • adaptive or evaluative metering modes
  • multiple zone (anything really)
  • Phase Detect or Contrast Detect
  • USM
  • EWV
  • megapixels (potentially signaling a pre-disposition to pixel peeping)
  • Intelligent Contrast Correction
  • Intelligent ISO
  • and well Intelligent camera anything really...

any one of these symptoms need not be alarming, and may go un-noticed by the unsuspecting family. However repeated mentions over dinner of these types of terms are a warning sign.


Ask the person if they can explain any of the following:
  • what is an aperture and what its effect on the photograph is?
  • what is a shutter and what does it do?
  • what is the significance of shutter speed on an image?
  • is there a relationship between shutter and aperture?
  • how does a camera focus on the photographic subject?
If the person can not answer any or most of these test questions after having owned a camera for some time and is engaged in taking photographs then identification of the above mentioned symptoms is a strong indicator of CFO.

Indeed if the person responds with a dismissal of the importance of such fundamental elements of photographic control, instead subverting their attention on features, then CFO is at an advanced stage. Statements such as:
  • I could never buy a camera that didn't have trainable Face Detect
  • no no, you should have put the camera into Portrait Scene mode and activated the "snow scene" feature
  • you can change that by putting the camera into "macro scene" which sets everything right
  • well, obviously you need to put it in "Sports Mode" to get Artifical Intelligent Servo Tracking ®


The disease is Mnemonic virus which enters the brain via the optic nerve, in the past sources of infection were optical stimulation by an assortment of photographic magazines, but recently a more potent form has been discovered using electronic sources, emanating from a number of www derived sources.


It remains unclear at this point of the disorder can be treated, however suggestions include forcing the sufferer to use a more simple film camera.

zenitHowever this may not work and the sufferer may secretly obsess over features in private or sublimate the behaviour to the Brass and Leather Syndrome (which causes sufferers to reject cameras made of the horrible plaaastick).

While this may seem a viable option, it does nothing to relieve the distress of the families of the sufferers and in potentially exacerbates the duration of camera setups and impromptu "family snapshots" in front of the tripod (often with a magnesium vintage flash). Under no circumstances should a BLS sufferer to be made aware of cameras such as Tachihara or Ebony (or god help us all Deardorff).

Perhaps the only effective offering is that the family be given appropriate support in dealing with the sufferer, and for them to understand that at this point there may be no cure on the horizon. With much of the worlds top medical facilities engaged in Alzheimer disease research, it will be some time before CFO receives the appropriate attention in the medical arena. Family are advised to keep the sufferer away from sources that would exploit them (such as large camera outlets). Its sad but true that there are only too many companies who knowingly exploit this terrible affliction.


Lens Bubbles said...

I actually would LOVE to havea shiftable auto ISO on the T2i. When set to Auto ISO, and aperture priority (that's what I always use), the camera decides what shutter speed/ISO to use, and usually low shutter speed like 1/60s for a 50mm lens (80mm eqv). Thi is usually not fast enough. I would like to be able to shift the shutter speed...But, most other features, I do not really care. As long as I have aperture priority/manual mode, I am all set.

obakesan said...

Hey, I'm guilty to an extent .. I've got shiftable DEP on my EOS film camera and love it.

I use my G1 in Av most of the time :-)

Anonymous said...

Ha! That was funny. Good start to my day!!

Best, JPSuisse