10 Predictions About The Future of Cameras
2012 - Predictions time!
Well, not exactly. I want to talk about the future of photographer technology, ideas that (a) could happen and (b) should happen. I've tried to keep things rooted in tech that is around now, so I'm not dreaming up mind-reading photography or anything like that.
1) Cameras Should Change Format
Why in the digital age our cameras should follow the old film format shape I have no idea. My MkII still has a left hand bulge where the film used to go!!
But the whole format could be changed. So here's something's I would like:
a) Something that I can hold in a balanced fashion in one hand with a comfy strap. I used to own an Canon Epocha which was brilliant.
b) A couple more wheels near my finger, so I can adjust focus, zoom, aperture, iso, or whatever by spinning wheels with my shutter finger - without having to take the camera away from my eye to make the changes.
c) A proper touch panel interface on the back - more on that below.
2) On-camera software that does not feel and look like it was designed in the '80's.
The iPhone has shown how great interfaces can be designed for difficult things. A similar interface would make the many functions of your camera so much easier to get to.
We are starting to see these things on compacts, but I want them on a pro DSLR.
I was very interested to see Nikon purchasing HP's webOS. Could be lots of exciting possibilities there.
3) Open interfaces to hardware and software
Your DSLR is about as clever as your smartphone, but where are the apps for it? I want to be able to download apps for my camera that will either add functionality or give me different tools that would be fun or serious.
How about an app for time lapse? An app for tagging images as you take them. Geo-apps, star trail apps, idea apps, inbuilt notepad, read shoot notes. Ooh, how about training apps that show you how use to use the functions of your camera live with it in your hands?
4) Just better software
The compact cameras are really showing the way here. Why can't my DSLR do face detect, smile detect, auto panoramas, preshoot roll, post to Facebook, apply effects, remove red-eye, etc. etc. etc.
5) New lens technology.
What is it with these massive lenses? The eyeball manages with one ball of jelly. Lytro has built a camera that lets you select the focus point AFTER you've taken the picture. There must be better ways of building lenses these days.
6) Integral Wi-Fi
£600 squid for some proprietary format Wi-Fi-fi system for a DSLR is just a rip off. Wi-Fi should be integral on-board in the camera. Components must cost all of a fiver and are present in every phone you buy.
I want the Wi-Fi to download whenever and wherever it can. When I'm not in range it keeps the pictures on card until I am.
I know the Eye-Fi system sort of does this, but its only available in Micro-SD format - not Compact Flash format used in most DSLR's, but also it's kind of missing the point - Wi-Fi should be built in.
Oh, and it should be two way as well. You ought to be use the Wi-Fi to control the camera settings and setup remotely.
Even better if you could control the lens as well, imagine using your iPhone or laptop to zoom, focus, review and shoot without handling the phone. Same applies for video as well.
Now imagine coupling live video control with a Wi-Fi controlled dolly, pan and tilt system - complete motion capture - that would be just so cool.
7) Integral flash meter.
Ok, this is quite specific to my work since I spend all day in the studio, but pro-DSLR cameras are aimed at pro photographers who do spend hours in the studio using flash. Why cant the damn things have a built in flash meter?
8) DSLR Video needs a re-think
Ok so it's been this years big thing, and I like that I can use my DSLR for video and good quality video at that. But it's pretty limited. Where slo-mo? Time-lapse? Professional frame rates?
Crucially, and it's back to the top of my list, the form-factor is just not ergonomically sound for video, but it could be a lot closer.
9) Better audio
So of course the visual guys that design cameras haven't really worked this out, but you can watch bad video with good audio, but you can't watch good video with bad audio.
The whole hardware and software chain for audio needs a good going over. The first guys to be able to capture really audio, with an easy to use camera, in pro- and YouTube format output could make a killing.
10) Instant print
Still my all time best accessory purchase has been a little Canon Selphy dye-sub postcard printer. One of those coupled with being able to print from my pc, iPhone, DSLR, compact by Wi-Fi-fi for friends and family would be terrific. Even better if it was battery powered as well.
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