5 Camera Features You Think You Want But Are Actually Bad Ideas

5 Camera Features You Think You Want, But Are Actually Bad Ideas

Camera geeks are a needy bunch. They all have their opinions and won't hesitate to shout at manufacturers to include their pet requests. But that doesn't mean all those requests are good ideas. Here are five commonly desired camera features that are better left to the trash heap of design.

EVFs on tiny cameras

If I had a dollar for every compact camera review with "doesn't have a viewfinder" listed as a negative, I would be a damn rich man. Electronic viewfinders are great, but only when they are good electronic viewfinders, and only when they exist on a camera big enough to put up to your face. Sony's recent RX100 Mark III made a big to-do about listening to their customer feedback and cramming an EVF onto the tiny body. The problem is that the EVF isn't very good, and the camera is awkward and ridiculous-looking when held up to your eye. Sure, it helps sometimes in bright sunlight, but the premium you are paying for that small advantage isn't worth it.

Silver bodies

There is one proper colour for a camera, and that's black. You can't blame someone for wanting to look stylish with their new camera, but really, the only good style is black. Silver cameras are meant to stand out, exactly what you want not to do as a photographer. Unless you are rocking a film camera more than 30 years old, there's no reason to have a hunk of shiny silver slung around your shoulder.

Interchangeable lenses on tiny cameras

Tiny cameras are great because they're tiny. Interchangeable lenses make them very, very not tiny. A camera like the Panasonic GM1 is a cool concept, but once you put any other lens on it besides the pancake kit lens, its main advantage is no longer. Then you have something like the Samsung NX Mini. It's a tiny camera that has a whole system of tiny lenses! Cool, except people that people who buy the NX Mini — geared towards beginners in almost every way — don't want the hassle of buying and changing lenses (which aren't very high quality to begin with).

Optical viewfinders

People cling to optical viewfinders religiously. It's true that they provide unrivalled clarity over electronic counterparts, but that's pretty much it. They make a camera heavy and bog it down with complex mechanisms. More modern EVFs found in mirrorless cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 or Sony a6000 allow you to shed the weight while giving you the ability to see exactly what your exposure is before you take a picture. The most recent generation EVFs have astounding resolution and clarity, making it easier than ever to ditch the pentaprism.

Old-school dials

Retro styling has come to dominate camera design in the last few years. Some of these are just gorgeous, but when it comes to controlling your camera's settings, brands like Fujifilm can get a bit carried away. Take their recent X-T1. The classic looking dials just don't provide the super-fast access that lets you change settings efficiently. Just because it worked on a 40-year-old Leica, doesn't mean it suits a modern digital device.


Comments

    What I want is - physically larger sensor. We have enough megapixels, now we need to increase the size of each pixel to allow more light, effectively reducing noise.
    To help our ultra-slim mobile phones, or just the slim pocket size cameras, I want... a bellows. Like on the older 1930s large format cameras. Remember: they didn't have optical viewfinders either.

    In all honesty, I think the author makes some interesting points but there's a lot of problems with his points.

    1) The reason why the EVF is there on the RX100 MK3 is that people actually requested this feature. Plus also, it's handy when you can't really use the large screen to do so. If you want to be pedantic, then you'd probably include the Nikon 1 V2, the Fujifilm X-PRO1 and as well as the Panasonic GH-4. Those are small, have EVFs and unpractical but people use it.

    2) Silver bodies are reminiscent of the old days when you had metal bodies. Sure, it's painted plastic but that doesn't mean we should stick to just black. Heck, Sony produced all colours of the rainbow with their NEX and I haven't had anyone complain about its colour.

    3) Compact System Cameras or CSC is taking off much quicker due to the size and having a decent camera on you. In some situations, my DSLT isn't suitable to use so I'd also stock on my NEX as well.

    4) This I agree with. However, you also need to note that EVFs aren't exactly perfect either such as extreme high speed sports. It's getting there but until we've perfected it, it'll be easier to stick with a pentamirror/pentaprism.

    5) I like having old school dials on some cameras. Why? It suits the functionality of it. Just because someone doesn't like how it works, doesn't mean that others will do so. I've played with the Fujifilm X-T1 and it's a wonderful camera to use. There are a lot of professionals these days also using the X-T1 and it'll be interesting to see how they'll remark.

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