Shutterbug Reviews DP1

9 05 2008

George Schaub at Shutterbug has reviewed the DP1, and it is the first time I’ve seen a mainstream review where the reviewer really gets it. Schaub starts the review with an anecdote in which he asks a DP1-toting stranger how he likes the camera, and the stranger says “the picture quality is terrific, although it does make you think.”

There you have it. Aside from image quality, that’s the biggest differentiator with the DP1; it’s a “photographer’s camera” and it demands that you think a little bit about what you’re doing. Some people probably think that’s a bad thing, but as someone who developed my photographic eye long before cameras became “smart” (and, correspondingly, photographers became stupid), I’m enthusiastically in favor of that idea.

No, seriously. Technologies like face recognition and auto fill flash take away from the experience of photography. While it is true that they raise the technical quality of photographs taken by those who know nothing about photography, it also means those people will never actually learn about or understand what they are doing. As more and more photographs are composed and lit according to the machine’s decisions, we become saturated and overwhelmed with a deluge of boring sameness.

Forget that. Take control. Learn! Make your own decisions! The DP1 certainly has some usability flaws, but the best thing to do is keep the settings as simple as possible and learn how to use things like focus lock and exposure lock. Learn, understand, and take back control of the making of your photographs.

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