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AP Reviews

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by BOB-R, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. BOB-R

    BOB-R Member

    Why do reviewers from Amateur Photographer consider USB charging and Touch Screen to be such a big deal? A couple of years ago you got a proper battery charger independent from the camera. Now many cameras are only shipped with a USB lead to connect the camera directly to a wall plug, leaving the battery in situ when charging. This not only means that the camera is unavailable whilst charging, but any fault with the battery could destroy the camera. This does actually happen you know!
    Also, does everyone really have to have touch screen technowledgy? This can be hit and miss at times, and leave you often with a monitor covered in smears. To me this is just another fad that has been incorporated by manufacturers just to get an edge over the competition. And whilst on this subject, WiFi is another unreliable hit and miss feature with very little real appeal. If you must put a picture on you smart phone or tablet, then why not use the thing to take the picture in the first place.
    Sometimes I think we are losing touch when it comes to making real cameras for real photographers.
  2. ZenTog

    ZenTog Well-Known Member

    If you want to take happy snappies of your dinner or kitten for posting on social media - that's why they put a camera in phones! Let cameras be dedicated to taking photos. PUHLLEEEZE!
  3. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    Seems to me that "soshal medja" is the new normal use for photography.

    It's the people taking pictures to put on the wall or enter into competitions that are the odd ones out. Photography is so easy these days that it's pretentious to call yourself "a photographer". Like all technology, the skill set has degraded as the technology advances. Back in Mathew Brady's day, being able to produce a decent print required a whole series of abilities: chemistry, mechanics, optics and a good standard of carpentry were pretty much essential, just to get started.

    Me, I'm just glad I no longer need to work in a darkroom. Print developer always gave me a rash.

  4. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    The problem for reviewers of any consumer good, you see similar with cars, hi-fi, etc., is that where you have any item (several in a group test) that is as good in its sector as anything else on the market you have to find little differences so that you can show a 'rating' score difference. The fairly blunt tool of rating scores that some magazines have set up don't help things along. You are also battling against a lack of an attention span &a busy lives problem. It's tempting for readers to rush to the summary to check scores rather than sit & read the full review for 15 minutes.

    The snappy (npi :rolleyes: but have a chuckle anyway) little judgements that you highlight are a very tempting resource for tester journalists.
  5. Richard Sibley

    Richard Sibley AP Deputy Editor

    Please explain what a real camera and a real photographer is?
  6. Richard Sibley

    Richard Sibley AP Deputy Editor

    And to answer the original question (which we usually address when we mention it in a review) touchscreens make selecting the focus point incredibly easy. Anybody who has pressed, up up up up up left left left up up left left up etc.... or had to hold down a button for a few seconds whilst the point moves across the screen, can't argue with the fact that a simple touch to select the point of focus is much easier. Finger marks on the screen? With older screens, yes this was a problem, but most screens are bright enough in all but the sunniest conditions that it isn't an issue - it is the bright sunlight and the brightness of the screen that is an issue, not the fingerprints.

    And USB charging is now a standard, across numerous electronic devices. One lead can carge all my devices. I can find a USB port in virtually any hotel room (check the back of the TV) and most modern cars. Think you are going to need more than one battery? Then charge it before you leave the house (you would normally have to do this anyway), and if your battery runs out on the go then you can charge with a USB battery pack. One pack I have can charge by camera battery 5x. Add the new Ansmann Powerline Vario (a universal charger than can charge most camera batter via USB), or the Freeloader (which does the same, and can also charge via a solar panel) and you needn't worry.

    It also saves on environmental waste - less old chargers ending up in landfill.

    As for the battery charging destroying the camera in the event of a malfunction, there has also been cases of charging batteries via the mains setting fire and destroying whole houses. Not sure you can really cite that as an excuse not to use them though
  7. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    That's easy isn't it? It's the one with the biggest lens, obviously :p
  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    It's the one with the biggest advertising budget, silly!
  9. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    A real photographer is one who is carrying at least two bodies round his neck plus a bagful of lenses to cover every eventuality* - like what I sometimes does...

    *or is that a real schmuck as our American cousins would say....:D
  10. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    I was wondering why it was always a minus point that a camera did not have one, I thought it was about extra camera control options on screen... my Lumix G3 has one and my nose selecting the focus point all the time is not annoying at all... Mostly because when I am taking pictures, the screen is swivelled inwards toward the body because if not my nose selects an incorrect focus point.

    I can see this being the next AP Poll - Do do you select your focus points when taking pictures?

    Answers could be:

    Yes, all the time every time, I wish there were focus points between my focus points I would be lost without focus point number 48, it's my favourite.

    Yes, when my camera is bolted down and I want to focus on something that is not under the central point.

    No, I focus on the main subject then let continous subject tracking keep it in focus as I recompose.

    No, I focus and recompose without using subject tracking.

    No, I choose a number of points and let the camera Auto Focus choose from those as to which is the best point to use.

    No, full Auto, all the points all the time!

    No, full Manual, none of the points all the time!
  11. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    Touch AF does end up being a bit less useful when using an eye-level viewfinder, compared to when you're using the LCD. However there's an alternative way of solving your particular problem:

    Custom Menu - Touch Settings - Touch AF - Off

    The other option is to fold the screen out away from the camera and use the touchscreen that way.

    Andy Westlake
    Technical Editor, Amateur Photographer

  12. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    I think the responses are well made. The current review of the Pentax K3ii points out that the lack of touch screen makes navigating through menus more cumbersome. I find the simple use of the four arrow buttons and the OK button for the (similar) menus in my K5 to be perfectly quick and adequate.

    The touch selection of autofocus point makes perfect sense although why anyone would need 80 odd of them and hence touch screen selection is beyond my comprehension.
  13. Sejanus.Aelianus

    Sejanus.Aelianus In the Stop Bath

    I agree with that.

    I've set all my cameras to use the centre point for focus, where I can. Also, where available, I use "one button focus" instead of letting the camera focus when the shutter button is depressed. I doubt it would suit everybody but it works for me.
  14. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    With modern CSCs, it's not so much that you have lots of AF areas to choose from, as that you can position the focus point freely within the frame to match your subject. All you have to do is set up your composition, then tap the screen to select the subject. With SLRs that have a limited number of focus points in a small region of the frame, there's a certain temptation to match your composition to where you can place your AF points.

    Also, if you shoot with fast primes, centre-point focus and recompose is inherently inaccurate, so being able to specify exactly where in there scene you want to focus is genuinely beneficial.

    Andy Westlake
    Technical Editor, Amateur Photographer

  15. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    I have eleven autofocus points and it is very easy and quick to select any of them with the arrow buttons. I can keep my eye to the viewfinder and reselect a point very easily with my thumb for a change in composition. I do it all the time. It would actually take more time to withdraw from the camera and use a touchscreen.

    For compositional purposes 11 points deals with pretty much anything I need to compose.

    I still really don't get why the above is such a disadvantage.

    Can a touchscreen which therefore seems to rely on zones rather than a particular point be accurate enough anyway where absolutely precise focus is required - such as the eye of a small bird?

    I guess I'm just too old.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  16. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    I find touch screens great for quick access to settings, but it gets a bit annoying for focus points as I end up moving it to some weird spot by accident half the time (I usually turn this off).

    I find it very valuable in review mode as the pinch to zoom is far quicker than multiple button clicks, as is moving about the shot zoomed in, especially when shooting macro stuff. When I go back to using cameras without it, I find myself wishing they had touch ability.
  17. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    Unless, of course, the camera allowed you to select the AF point using the touchscreen while still holding it up to your eye, as certain Panasonic models allow. This is genuinely quicker than using any physical AF area selector control, especially when moving the AF point some distance between shots.

    As camera reviewers, we get to play with all of the latest technologies from all of the different brands. This means that we discover all the time that functions and controls can always be improved, even if they already work pretty well. In the case of menus, using a 4-way controller and OK button works fine, but using a touchscreen is almost always quicker. Pentax's onscreen function menu would be an excellent example.

    Absolutely. In fact CSCs allow you to use much smaller AF areas than SLRs, and place them *precisely* where you want within the frame. This means you can use AF entirely practically in situations where you wouldn't on an SLR, such as for macro.

    Andy Westlake
    Technical Editor, Amateur Photographer
  18. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    In review mode I use the camera's rear wheel, which I operate with my thumb, to zoom in and out. This is quicker than pinching and I can do it without releasing my grip from the camera. Moving around the image is with aformentioned arrows and again simple enough.

    If my camera had a touchscreen I could honestly imagine no use for it.
  19. MartyG

    MartyG Well-Known Member

    Probably just as well you're not designing cameras :D :D
  20. ZenTog

    ZenTog Well-Known Member

    I am not immune to the lure of new tech and will readily admit to being severely tempted by shiny buttons and flashy lights and that gadget that does something really clever but which you have no real use for ... BUT ... most of the time tech is actually useless. When it comes down to it, what I spend money is tech that does something I need it to do. Sadly most of the time that means I don't get to spend money because I can't see a use for a thingy that does that special thing I never use.

    This applies to wifi and touchscreens in cameras. IF I was a journo / paparazzi type person I could somewhat justify wifi (even if it only actually works in those parts of the world where wifi is ubiquitous which it is not is most of the world).

    If the menu is so damn complicated you need a touch screen to avoid pressing a button too many times then it is a bad menu - teching it up doesn't make it a better design ie applying a high tech solution to a bad design doesn't make the design better. Redesign the menu, don't apply a fancy shmancy gimmick to work around.

    As for AF points? Seriously? Set it, leave it. Done.

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