The cost of automation

Posted by Tom on 2007-03-18

Very interesting point over on S/N:

Auto-mode vs. shooting manual

Is Hobo guilty of putting up another layer? Of blurring your vision? The answer can’t be a straightforward “yes”, because that road would lead back to hacking assembly-code by hand.

Many photographers like to develop their film by hand too. If Hillman Curtis did that with his movie, for every frame, he’d definitely get a richer result. He’d also never finish.

I think it comes down to a simple trade-off – every time you flick an “auto” switch off, development time goes up, but quality goes up too - people always do things better than machines. Which switches you flick is a judgement call that has to be made for each switch and for each project.

The interesting thing about Hobo is that it lets you, if you so choose, start with all the switches on. You can then switch them off one by one, gradually replacing the automatic with the hand-crafted.