Wednesday, June 8, 2011


You would think that getting a new camera to replace the old one that died would be a cause for rejoicing.

Well, it's turning out not to be.

I've actually had this camera for a couple of months and have been using it in its perfectly satisfactory "AUTO" mode...aim and shoot! And I've been telling myself that this is enough. But I admit that I have missed all the stuff I could do with my old non-digital Canon T90 SLR that has served me well through two years traveling in Turkey in the early 1990s and since. But this is now the digital age, and as I saw my kids and grandkids all using their digital cameras I decided I should make the move into it with a new camera for myself. The one I chose (like the pretty blue one above) was on sale for a little over $100 and I snapped it up. Since then I've used it a lot - but all in the automatic mode.

I knew it had a lot more capabilities than that, but first I would have to download the User Guide that told me how to do all of it. Do you know there are 136 pages in this guide? Every page has instructions on it. I nearly fainted. And what is worse, almost all of it is written in a language I don't understand. No, not a foreign tongue; it's just that I don't understand what these writers are talking about. Every single button or lever has a multitude of functions that are activated by doing something else with some other button or lever first. Somehow I have to memorize all these things.

Do you know why the old Brownie Box camera was in use for so long? All you had to remember was to aim and then shoot. I hate to admit it but the directions in this new guide assume you can remember the first, second and then third steps for every procedure. What the guide doesn't do is take into consideration that not every user has grown up on digital this and digital that. What is easy for young people to remember is all but impossible for an older person. Heck, I can't remember what I was going into the kitchen for; how can I remember the series of functions that I have to perform to get the "flash" turned off and then back on again when I need it.

Anyway, I printed out the User Guide page by page. I put it in a binder with dividers between the chapters and now I have to start at the beginning and practice each function under discussion until I "get it." I am not sure I'll live long enough to really get everything lodged in my memory. But I've got to try.

When I was younger and had to tackle a difficult problem that was taking an inordinate amount of time to learn, I always consoled myself by thinking that when I first started typing I wasn't very fast either but that eventually I got it down and could do 75 wpm in a flash. But I don't think that explanation will hold up anymore. I just don't have much confidence that I can learn everything I want to about the workings of this camera, because I think my brain is too old and worn out. And I find that sad.

However, I'll keep the User's Guide and the camera out on the footstool by my chair and every time I have a free minute I'm going to practice, practice, practice. I can use Jerry or the cat for models. The one redeeming thing about all this is that I won't be ruining film in the process; the cost of learning is going to be much cheaper than it was when I was learning how to work my T90.

Surely I should be able to learn something more than I know now. But once I get this all down pat, I have another project of the same type lined up. And that is to learn all the functions on my cell-phone that I don't know how to use either.


marciamayo said...

any user's guide that must be kept in a binder is not for me.

Stacey said...

Grandma...I only use the auto setting on our digital camera too. :o) Jonathan uses the other setting sometimes, but most of all the auto setting is our friend. :o)

Olga said...

Ah, for the simple life...

Dee said...

I am enjoying catching up on your blog posts. I have been away from my blog longer than I thought and it will take me time to read them all. I have been wanting to upgrade my little point and shoot camera but hesitate because I am not sure I would be able to follow the manual.There is so much here on the computer that I do not attempt. I do think it is age and also that I like simplicity.