I personally think there are a lot of aspects that can be improved on the current digital cameras and they are not on par with modern technological trends. I am not saying that the cameras are not good enough – quite the opposite actually, as I have argued about camera sufficiency before. In terms of imaging performance the cameras indeed have made incredible strides but when it comes to user experience, handling, design (both physical and user interface), connectivity, peripheral device management and even storage itself, the camera can benefit from some drastic make-over. I am exploring these possibilities that could have improved photographer’s experience shooting with modern cameras.
1) Camera Design
The camera design is the same for a majority of the cameras out there, both for DSLR and mirrorless camera systems. There is that traditional hump (for OVF or EVF), the beefy hand gripping area, and overall stereotypical “professional” look. I am not questioning the functionality of the design, obviously the cameras are made in similar form factor because it works. However, aesthetics wise, all cameras do not have to look so similar. Take a look at what Lytro is doing (though the company did not survive), and the Hasselblad X1D, they both look different, more modern and appealing. They break away from the traditional camera template that has been used for decades. I think the cameras are due for a refresh when it comes to design, and we need sleeker, cleaner, more minimalist and modern looking cameras that are in line with the current times.
2) Too Many Buttons and Dials
I don’t need 20 buttons and 4 dials on a camera body. The less the better. The multiple button implementation gets clumsy and is not the right way to move forward. We are living in the age of touch screens, we sure can benefit from a large, bright touch screen on the camera – see what BMPCC (Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera) is doing, they have a 5 inch touch screen dominating the camera’s back. This should be the way forward, minimize buttons and dials on the camera, of course keep the shutter button but everything else can be controlled and operated via the touch screen. If a smartphone with just a touch screen can do everything (obviously a lot more than just taking images and videos), the camera having an LCD screen should be able to improve camera operations drastically, if implementation is done effectively.
Moving into 5G era with ultra fast internet, we should have a direct connection from the camera to cloud storage, allowing instant back up if necessary. Think of the convenience, and applications. You can submit your images immediately as you shoot, live to your clients (or news agency). On the other hand, bluetooth connection has advanced so much the camera can surely take advantage of bluetooth managing multiple peripheral devices such as microphone and headphones (audio monitoring). This can create a new ecosystem that is fast, efficient, reliable and more importantly, wireless. Newer bluetooth connections are also much lower in latency and consumes very little power. Camera manufacturers should utilize the full potential of what the current technology has to offer, the possibilities of advanced connectivity is endless. The current cameras still full like an isolated device and there is just too much trouble connecting to other devices.
4) JPEG is obsolete
JPEG is an outdated compression file format for images. We need a new format that is more efficient – smaller size yet retaining more data. Canon proposed HEIF (high efficiency image file format) but whether this will be the future is yet to be seen. Smaller size images means faster loading time for web pages as well as any social media platforms, and more information stored in the file allows quick image processing (basic corrections) without resorting to full RAW editing.
5) Monstrous Lenses
The trend of making larger and larger lenses has to stop. All manufacturers are guilty of this.I understand the obsession of pursuing technical perfection but sacrificing balance and handling on camera is not the way to go.
Do you agree or disagree with my argument? Are you happy with what the camera manufacturers are doing today? Do you think there are any other improvements that can be made in the modern cameras? What is the future of photography and imaging devices? Do share your thoughts!
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