Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Noob Photography Class

DSC02382I recently attended a Sony Digital Workshop class. It was a Fundamental Cyber-shot RX Handling Course that came complimentary with my recent RX100 purchase. I had very high hopes and high expectations in terms of my learning outcomes from this course. The RX100 is a spectacular compact camera, and it would be really exciting to learn how I can take the best photos with it.

I was sorely disappointed. No fault of the instructor, of course. I think there was a misalignment between my learning objectives and what Sony had planned for their course objectives.

This was a camera handling class, not a photography class. But I had expected the class to focus on more advanced topics. Oh yes, the word “fundamental” is there in the course title. But really, the fundamentals can be picked up from the camera built-in help system or online manuals.

I am reminded about why I often hate to attend “tech” classes. Sometimes, there is too great a divide in skill sets or experiences. In this class, there was a gentlemen who was bragging about his vast arsenal of photographic equipment. So great was his inventory that he can’t even remember what cameras he has. Over twenty camera bodies, that’s the best he remembers.

Yet, he tried to blend in like a noob. This was his first Sony camera.

Then at the other extreme, we have someone struggling to understand the difference between zoom and aperture. Or figure out what the controls are on the camera.

At that point, I had a flashback to the times when I, a very long time ago, was giving “computer training”. I had customers who had no comprehension of what a printer was. They bought a printer in their computer bundle. But they did not know how the printer looked like. They point at the computer chassis and wondered if that was the printer.

There are worse. What is a keyboard?

My head starts to spin thinking about those times. It was amazing that I could even finish conducting those classes. I must have been an extremely patient person then. If it happened again today, I’ll probably politely tell people to go find a book or someone else to teach them the basics first, then come back to me with more challenging questions.

I think I’ve still got many more things to learn about photography, even working within the confines of an amateur camera. But I’m somewhat ahead of just grasping the basic understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It must be really challenging trying to impart knowledge to students who are still trying to grasp the names of the parts of their camera.

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