Opinion: Do we really need all those buttons and dials?

Here’s an interesting opinion piece that I first saw on DPR that made me think for a while both about the use of AI in devices and also about ergonomics.  Cell phones are able to make truly remarkable images but the real frustration is that it takes so long to get your camera app open and to take the shot, and when you want to make slight adjustments it’s not all that easy to do so. So while modern cameras have possibly too many buttons, mobile phones have too few.   Mobile phones are smart enough now to recognize the probable subject and focus on it and adjust the image capture settings and filters accordingly.  DSLR’s…  it’s surprising how often they choose the wrong subject to focus on, and it’s so easy to leave in the wrong setting without knowing.   Most new cameras have 3 or more custom modes where you program your settings for different tasks.  Must work great for people who use it every day – but how many people even remember what they stored in C1, or C2?

For me, I’d much rather have a very simple camera with great ergonomics that starts up immediately with no wait.  I liked changing the aperture on the lens, setting the shutter speed for my purpose and just checking to see how my settings compared to the exposure meter.  I’m okay with the A, S, and P modes and use them sometimes, but mostly I leave my camera in manual. When you have great finder, you don’t need great AF, but if you have a tiny finder AF is imperative.   I don’t enjoy spending time in post correcting exposure and optimizing after the shot was taken. It’s great that you can, but why should you need to?  How often do you need to pull in the whites and blacks or adjust exposure with a cell phone image?

It’s odd that so many professional cameras lack smart functions, particularly when you consider the prices compared to a cell phone.

If camera companies want to truly compete with smartphones for relevance, they need to offer models that are as easy to use as a phone, but offer substantially better image quality.

Source: Opinion: Do we really need all those buttons and dials?


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