16 April 2014
Modern camera body design
Camera design - their user experience - is an interest of mine. This interest arise from the fact that sadly enough, it seem that this small box is getting more and more complex when all sign should point to the contrary. The current technology should, and already help us take the perfect picture as we can see that on a smartphone. But nearly all advanced body are getting in the other direction, suffering from the terrible featuritis illness.
The basic of photography can be defined as a simple relation between aperture and speed, followed by a question of focus. Aperture is an easy parameter to handle, depending only on the opening of the lens. Speed is itself a bit more involved since it depend on the length of time we expose the captor to light, and the sensibility of the captor (or iso). Focus is tricker to define since it's entering the realm of composition - but targeting something and getting it sharp is mostly a solved problem.
But this doesn't seem to be enough - the tinkerer will require more control, and since the manufacturer doesn't want to push away potential customer, they want to cover everything. We can try and theorize on what's relevant or not - it will be like getting down in the rabbit hole, a loss of time. The only hope we have is to simplify - let the photographer be in charge in all meaningfull way, but assume the correct (opiniated) option if we can.
In fact, most options, except those directly relevant to the basics should be out of the way. Not merely hidden, but not even here if possible. Automation are good - but do we need the details of them ? No. Even with the advanced control needed by photographer, we can devise simple control. Leica has prooved it again and again. Good design is not adding stuff for a short term feeling of convenience - good design is functional, intuitive and make the product useful. Featuritis creep is not giving that the customer, but can fulfil a marketing page...