Thursday, 4 September 2008

What do we need in a digital camera?

Following the rant in my last post, what is it that we really need in a digital camera? Why don't we start from the basic cameras and work up.

How about a camera along the lines of the old manual cameras, something akin to the Olympus OM or Nikon FM? Or maybe the basics of the rangefinders. Maybe not fully manual, let's throw in auto exposure.

So, four controls: aperture, shutter speed, ISO (the 3rd variable in digital) and focus. For AE, a highlight priority indicator that shows if we've blown the highlights - maybe a little histogram screen but could also be a Leica-like needle indicator. What more is really needed? If the camera records RAW only, then we don't need image manipulation (including WB), we don't need a review screen etc etc. From the outside it could quite happily look like a film camera - no screen, limited knobs and dials. No massive manu driven control systems, with enough options to launch a spaceship.

Why such a simple thing? Travel. The great bug bear of travelling photographers who may be weeks from electricity is the utter reliance on batteries. If we stripped out a lot of the fripperies, kept it simple, a camera that gets 2000+ images on a single charge should be easily possible (yet another area where current cameras are not progressing). Not too many megapixels (say 8-10 MP).

So there it is, my counter-rant against the trend for ever more complex camera control systems.


  1. I love it! I'll be Leica will produce this camera and it will cost twice what a D3 does even given the simplicity.

  2. I like the new Nikon Coolpix P6000, 13MP, 28-112 4X zoom, nice size and price.


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