Sony dumb and dumber
I see that Sony's new SLT-A57 camera boasts an Auto Portrait Framing mode. It's not crystal clear yet how this works but it appears that it uses face detection and the "Rule of Thirds" then crops the image accordingly.
I hate this.
Why? Because the "Rule of Thirds" is dangerous nonsense.
Am I overstating my case here? 'Dangerous'? I don't think so. The Principle of thirds is a perfectly acceptable way to frame a picture and can work well for some subjects, although even this is based on a simplistic misreading of the classical compositional principle of the Golden Section.
What is both dangerous and nonsensical is to tout it around as a Rule, and especially when it’s presented as the only rule.
I’ve said plenty about this in an earlier post (it appears more recent than it is because I've only just imported it from my old blog). I just want to add that building the “Rule of Thirds “ – ROT for short – into a camera like this is just another way to sap the initiative and individuality of the photographer.
Sony isn’t the first to do this but this is one of the first cases I know of in an SLR or SLR-like camera. It’s particularly sad because Sony’s SLT cameras are genuinely innovative, and they have a decent viewfinder which enables photographers to make their own decisions.
Of course photographers using these cameras have the choice not to use this particular mode, and I hope they will. But still it sends a message that there’s a ‘right’ way to frame every shot. And that's wrong.
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