Three Perfect Shots

Take a subject you’re familiar with and imagine it as three photos in a sequence. Tackle the subject by describing those three shots.

The pictures are my living room, picture window, and snowy front yard between yesterday evening and this morning, all taken (finally!) on a teeny tiny Pentax Q7.  You cannot give this prompt to a photographer and not expect actual pictures. I don’t know if these qualify as perfect, but they come with an entertaining story of the continuing battle of human against technology. And, of course includes three pictures.

Taken by the light of a 40-watt bulb. Evening at home.

Taken by the light of a 40-watt bulb. Evening at home.

Weeks ago, I got a Pentax Q7, a tiny, light, compact camera which uses interchangeable lenses. Even shoots RAW, like a real camera. I had never used it, though it has been lurking in the office for a while. It was like an itch I could not scratch.

I got the Q7 on the advice of someone who has one and loves it. He got his in Hong Kong, but he was sure there’d be great deals on it soon. There were. I got it as a kit with 2 lenses for less than a point and shoot.

Spring hasn't come yet, but we live in hope.

Spring hasn’t come yet, but we live in hope.

It looks like a “real camera” that got put through a wash-dry cycle, and shrank to less than half its size. It’s tiny. Its lenses are weightless, but fast at f2.8.

So why had I never used it? It wasn’t for lack of trying. It was set to some weird color setting. Red. Hideous. I couldn’t figure out how to unset it. The manual, like most manuals for Japanese cameras, had lots of pages, but no useful information. How can they publish so many pages without saying anything? I could not find so much as a reference to “Bold Unicolor.”

I tried resetting the camera to its defaults. I went through every menu, every setting. I tried the White Balance dial and went deep into every possible variation on the many menus. Nope. It remained “Bold Unicolor.” I discovered I could pick a different unicolor. Yellow, blue, green, magenta. I could not turn it off.

We've got a bright blue sky and sunshine ... but it's cold out there!

We’ve got a bright blue sky and sunshine … but it’s cold out there!

I was positive the camera wasn’t broken. Also sure the Q7 is shortly going to be discontinued in favor of a newer model and may become abruptly hard to get — which would also explain its low price. Regardless, I was sure there was a dial, button, or obscure menu setting that would fix the problem. All I had to do was keep looking.

Finally, having reached the end of my patience, I turned it around and stared at it from the front. I talked to it and I think I wasn’t very polite.

I generally look at cameras from the back. When I initially get them, I check to see where memory chips and batteries go, where a USB cable attaches. I attach a strap, which I could do in my sleep. Unless I’m changing the lens, I don’t look at the front of the camera much. All the stuff I need is out back.

I sat there and looked. Realized I couldn’t see it very well, so I took off my glasses, turned up the light and squinted. Eureka! Tucked in next to the lens, near the bottom of the body, I spied a tiny dial with minuscule — unreadable — text. I could see there were settings on it (which I have not yet deciphered). One is a plain dot without text. I turned the dial to the dot and I finally had normal color.

I had been brooding over this for weeks. Longer, actually while watching my warranty run out. It haunted my dreams. Last night and this morning, I (finally) took a few pictures on this tiny camera. If you are over forty, bring a magnifying glass. And about that manual …

Categories: Cameras, Daily Prompt, Photography, Technology

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

41 replies

  1. The best camera for you is the one you have with you and use.


  2. Such nice photos, but for all that remaining snow. 🙂 Your living room does look so cozy.


  3. Love your home… Thanks for the tour! ❤


  4. Ha! Been there and done that … shortly after I got my Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot it got stuck into sepia mode and I could NOT work out how to get it back into full colour! Managed it in the end, of course, but you’re right; the manuals are useless for this kind of essential information! Just bought myself a compact system camera today so I’m going to have fun finding my way around that.

    I like your pictures, especially the wonderfully intimate warmth you’ve managed to create in that first one!


    • It was just infuriating and I was too embarrassed to ask for help. I couldn’t believe I was stuck like that. I used to be a tech writer. I can’t understand why, with all the money they put into these cameras, they can’t spend a few grand and hire a professional writer to create a usable manual. We work cheap enough!


  5. The living room looks very comfy. I’m almost nodding off just looking at it.


  6. What is fun is reading manuals translated from another language into English by non English speaking translators. You can have a giggle while trying to understand what they are trying to say. Then you can swear and curse at it. Great photos from it though.


  7. I appreciate the info. I’d like a smaller camera.


  8. Great photos and how I know that feeling when something is a mystery and suddenly bingo, you find the solution. Those cameras can be very sly with their hidden values, but we always get there eventually. It lays in our genius for solving problems – we are golden oldies and we are woman, what more could you want.


  9. Amazing pictures but I can understand the frustration of not reading the tiny print. Now that you have found the solution I am sure you will have fun clicking some quality pics. You have already shared few.


  10. Pentax are my all time favorites. Although these days I mostly use a Nikon


  11. Great pictures. I’m glad you finally found the simple, but hidden solution to your “Bold Unicolor” dilemma. I suppose only a true photographer would even understand why such a setting exists.


    • I AM a true photographer and I do not understand the point. It isn’t a function I have ever used or am likely to use. To put it up front like that makes NO sense. If it made sense, it wouldn’t have taken me weeks to dope out what was going on. I feel stupid for not asking for help, but I was not going to be beaten by this little tiny camera. Now that I’ve finally gotten to take a few pictures with it, I understand why those who own one love it so much. It takes very impressive pictures.


  12. Always the last place you look . . .


  13. That’s frustrating. I’m glad you found the solution! The pictures are amazing!


    • They are, rather. These are the very first pictures I’ve taken with this camera. I could have cried out for help from the people who have websites dedicated to the Q7, but I was damned if I was going to be beaten by a compact camera. I know. Pride goeth before …


  14. “Bring magnifying glass” made me laugh, seems to happen to me more and more often. When did they start to print everything in small?


    • I do not think I could read that text EVEN with a magnifying glass. I’m not sure anyone could, much less a senior citizen. And would it break the bank to hire a tech writer? We work cheap. Surely they can shell out a few bucks to make the learning experience less nightmarish. In the end, very lovely camera, but seriously deficient in useful information.

      The started making text tiny when they started making devices tiny. And if they keep making them smaller, text will disappear completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m most impressed with the quality of the photos, especially the interior by 40 watt. Even more impressive is that you found that tiny dot on the front of the camera. I’ve always been far-sighted, but when young could see astounding up close detail. Now? GeezLouise, if there is microprint I’m SOL.


    • I was desperate. I couldn’t bring myself to admit I’d been beaten by a compact camera and frankly, I still can’t read whatever that dial says … I am just glad I found it.

      The quality is astounding because the sensor is so small. The guy I know who has one is totally in love with it. He has almost abandoned all his other cameras (he has many other cameras!) for it. It gives amazingly high quality results and very pleasing color. The LCD screen is not wonderful. It pixelates, makes it difficult to see what the picture will look like and there is no viewfinder. They make a hot shoe viewfinder, but it would cost more than the camera and lenses. Not happening. What IS great is its size and quality. I have been wanting a small, do it all camera for a while. I have a huge Panasonic that does everything, but it’s really BIG … bigger than most DSLRs. Heavier, too. Otherwise, I have three Olympus Pens with 5 lenses for them and though they are small cameras, I don’t have a telephoto OR true wide angle for it because they are so expensive, I could buy three cameras for that price. Especially wide angle … AND the wide angles for the Olympus are very slow.

      This whole “tiny print” thing is frustrating. In this case, I guess there was no choice. The button is so small, the text must be 2 points. Maybe less. Too small for anyone over 12 to read! But the camera, now that I finally have it working, is going to be a lot of fun.

      Liked by 1 person

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