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'Proper' Camera

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by Roy5051, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    According to Andy Westlake, a 'proper' camera is a "sophisticated interchangeable-lens model that most AP readers primarily use".

    That may very well be the case as far as Andy is concerned, but after using 'proper' cameras for nearly 40 years and being a AP reader for almost as long, there comes a time when something a little lighter is required. I am afraid to say that AP no longer caters for the likes of us older amateurs, who either do not want or cannot carry an interchangeable-lens kit anymore. Whilst I recognise that there are very few cheaper compact cameras around nowadays, there are still some quite capable non-interchangeable-lens cameras on the market, of which I own the Panasonic TZ70 and aspire to something with a little larger sensor when funds allow.

    Personally, I take about 700-800 pictures a year with my Panasonic, but never print larger than A4 (although I do have some excellent canvas prints at a larger size), do not use Photoshop or Lightroom, never take RAW mode pictures (even though the TZ70 is capable of these) and get by quite well with FastStone Image Viewer and an old copy of Elements 2.0 (for image distortion).

    Apart from the £600-£1000 supercompacts, I cannot remember the last time I saw a test of a compact camera in AP; or indeed any articles on image processing which do not follow the Photoshop/Lightroom avenue.

    There is more to photography than using SLRs and CSCs, and many more older amateurs that want something smaller in their advancing years. So how about it, AP? More articles on 'less-sophisticated' cameras and image editing programs, and less on over-expensive 'sophisticated' kit.
    William Parker likes this.
  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    It's just his opinion albeit a bit pompous. I doubt if it represents editorial policy as evinced by the recent review of the Pixel 2 smartphone./camera - hardly a 'proper' camera...

    As for your comment on compacts the lack of reviews is hardly surprising when you consider how few basic models are now on the market and how rarely new models are launched...

    You have a fair point on the PS/LR bias though. A bit more attention to alternative editing software like Affinity, DXo Photo and similar would not go amiss.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    This was promised at the beginning of the year I thought.
  4. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I noticed Andy's comment in the TZ200 review and expected someone to comment on here. In fact Mike Rignall picked it up in letters to the magazine an then Roy commented here. I consider my Sony RX100m3 a proper camera, what it lacks in functionality compared to my Nikons, it makes up with portability.
    I also consider my Nokia 3330e to be a proper phone. It does not have a camera but is good for telephony and SMS. The battery also lasts a week.
    The latest upmarket smart phones (I am tempted) seem to combine the features of a proper phone, a proper camera, and a proper albeit quite small tablet computer. It is quite proper that the home page of AP website contains this link Huawei P20 Pro vs Huawei P20 .
  5. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Indeed the current TV ad barely acknowledges the P20 Pro as being a phone...:rolleyes:
    Learning likes this.
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    The limited availability of prison ready phones would suggest that the phone bit of phones is very small. They exist and are little bigger than the battery. Could manufacturers of big heavy 'proper' DSLRS either include a phone module or have a plug in module. Goodness me if the plug in phone module was in the WR10 then you could control your camera and flash from anywhere in the world, as well as talking to your locally recruited lacky on the phone bit. It would bring safety to foreign reporting in dodgy places.
    SqueamishOssifrage likes this.
  7. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Hmm, Fuji X100 series not "proper"? How odd. Any freaks still using a Rolleiflex TLR? Ricoh GR series?
    William Parker likes this.
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I still expect there to be a divergence of function rather than a convergence. Smartphones are phones, these days, primarily so they can connect to a network in the event that wifi isn't available. Given 'phone' functionality is entirely available as apps over the Internet, the survival of a 'phone' network as a primary voice carrying mechanism which supports data is limited. An increase in wearable tech, the introduction of functional and rich heads up displays, the improvement of voice activation and sub-vocal control, will mean the 'phone' is going to go away. Trust me, the camera will outlive the smartphone. It might end up being tiny if lens manufacturing enters the world of strange new materials, but the camera will be around longer than the current style of smartphone. I'd bet money on it. Not my money obviously. But I'd bet someone's money on it.
  9. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    I think the reason behind Andy putting the word "proper" in inverted commas was to show that this is a popular conception of the different types of camera, rather than his or AP's own take on the subject, In fact I don't just think that, I know it - and it's quite clear from his explanation in the letters page.
  10. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    I don't think I can agree with you there; Andy qualified his description of a 'proper' camera by writing "sophisticated interchangeable-lens models". Whether he is right or wrong in his description is open to debate - were, as mentioned by Learning above, Rolleiflex cameras not 'proper' cameras, or the Fujifilm X100 series or the Ricoh GR? Would he not consider the GX series of Canon compacts to be 'proper' cameras?

    There is so much snobbery where cameras are concerned; anyone not using a "sophisticated interchangeable lens model" is looked down on in some quarters, but I had hoped that this was not the case in AP.
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  11. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    In my book the definition of a proper camera is simple: the camera that gives you the picture you want when you want it.
  12. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    For those who haven't yet seen this week's issue, it's worth pointing out that what sparked this whole discussion was an AP review of a new Panasonic camera which is neither a CSC or a DSLR.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    An " interchangeable-lens model" is probably a fair description of, well, yes, what most AP readers primarily use. "Proper camera" is a bit more open to dispute, as indeed is "sophisticated". For me, the latter means "full, easy manual control, including focus". On the other hand, there's no disputing that small-sensor cameras with inferior lenses are adequate only for undemanding use. My criterion has always been that a "proper" camera and lens should be able to give a good image across a double-page spread, i.e. A3 or thereabouts. This includes plenty of fixed-lens models and excludes many with interchangeable lenses and "kit" zooms. Yes, it's a demanding standard, but if you ever want pictures published it's not a bad one.

    If I wanted a smaller, lighter camera than a DSLR I'd be looking at a high-end "rangefinder style" camera, Or indeed at an actual rangefinder camera. Yes, Leicas are serious money. But they also offer serious image quality. "Over-expensive" doesn't really mean very much: anyone who expects top-end quality from a camera costing much under £1000 is not being very realistic nowadays, hard though it may be for our more elderly readers (including myself) to accept that £1000 today is the equivalent of about £60 fifty years ago -- and what would £60 have bought you in 1967?

    Yes, the low-end consumer electronics end of the market delivers astonishing;y good quality, but it's still cheap, disposable consumer electronics, and reviewing more or less interchangeable low-end cameras could easily fill the entire magazine and bore an awful lot of people; many of whom would then complain that we'd omitted their personal favourite marque.


    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
  14. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Roger - well thought out and presented.
  15. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    ...and a fascinating little piece of equipment it is too. Remember when underwater photography meant lugging one of these brutes around? http://www.divingmachines.com/Diving_Machines/Housings.html
  16. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    Except that's not what I said at all. Instead, I was explaining why I placed inverted commas around the word 'proper' in the conclusion of my TZ200 review. I was using the word as a shorthand for 'interchangeable lens camera', simply because in a printed magazine, we never have quite enough space to use all the words we want. There's an important difference here.

    Well, we ran a group test of tough compacts in July last year, and have reviewed every compact camera with a 1in sensor on the market, along with the APS-C models. But the main problem, as you yourself said, is that there are really very few cheaper compact cameras with smaller sensors on the market any more; they've essentially been made obsolete by smartphones. So now we're trying to give more coverage to smartphones instead, and have covered the likes of the Google Pixel 2 and Huawei P20 Pro this year.

    We're also actively covering a wider range of software now, so look out for upcoming reviews of some interesting programs.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  17. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    You're reading far too much into one word that I placed in quotation marks. If you actually read my reviews of camera such as the Fujifilm X100F or Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III, you'll understand that I treat them very seriously indeed. Indeed if you read the whole of my conclusion for the Panasonic TZ200, you'll also find this line:

    "there can be a perception that this isn’t the right kind of camera for ‘serious’ photographers, but I disagree; it’s purely down to personal needs."
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2018
    EightBitTony likes this.
  18. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    "Except that's not what I said at all. Instead, I was explaining why I placed inverted commas around the word 'proper' in the conclusion of my TZ200 review. I was using the word as a shorthand for 'interchangeable lens camera', simply because in a printed magazine, we never have quite enough space to use all the words we want. There's an important difference here."

    Verbatin - "'proper'....it's shorthand for the kind of sophisticated interchangeable-lens model that most AP readers primarily use" is what you actually said in your reply to Mike Rignall. I may very well have read more into that short statement than you really meant, but it is that sort of generalisation that really gets my hackles up! Please just say "interchangeable lens models" instead of "proper" in future.

    I look forward to seeing more articles on other image editing software in the near future.

    Thank you for your replies.
  19. Andy Westlake

    Andy Westlake AP Staff

    For the second time in this thread, by only partially quoting my reply to Mike Rignall's letter in which he stated that the TZ200 should be considered a proper camera, you've misrepresented what I actually wrote. So for the benefit of those who haven't read the latest issue of AP, it was in fact:
    "You're right, the TZ200 is a very capable camera in its own right. But this is why I used the word 'proper' in inverted commas: it's a shorthand for the kind of sophisticated interchangeable-lens model that most AP readers primarily use."
  20. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    *wades in unnecessarily*

    I have a biscuit tin what takes proper pictures.

    *wades out*

    swanseadave likes this.

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