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Do todays digital cameras have too many features?

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mikehit
mikehit  46102 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 9:30 AM

I guess it is another of those things that make a camera appeal to a wider market. As far as I can tell there is little additional hardware which means manufacturing costs are hardly affected and it relies mainly on software development which is easier and will not add much to the cost. So take video out I doubt there will be much price advantage so the end result is 'why not?'.

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digicammad
digicammad  1121988 forum posts United Kingdom37 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 9:33 AM

Anybody who accuses Conrad of being a troll has obviously never met him or even read any of his other posts/blog entries on this site. Smile

As to video functions on still cameras, I wouldn't expect them to be on pro level SLRs but I have occasionally used the video function on mine, especially now that I am singing barbershop and want a record of how we sound.

Ian

conrad
conrad  910873 forum posts116 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 9:47 AM

I suppose with many of these extra options it's a matter of it not being very costly for the manufacturer to put it in, and the manufacturer thinking that the more options the camera has, the more of an impression it will make on potential buyers.

samueldilworth
5 Jun 2013 - 12:19 PM

I think conrad nails it with his last post. Electronic features cost nearly nothing to add (amortised over a production run of millions of cameras) and they tick check-boxes that inexperienced photographers imagine to be important.

Feature-creep is actively encouraged by camera reviewers too. They often deduct points for ‘missing’ features. Even the DPReview reviewers, who are generally very smart and well informed, do this too often for my liking. Example: the first ‘con’ on the Conclusions page of the recent Pentax K-5 II review is “No dedicated movie shooting button”. Since I never shoot videos that is a ‘pro’ to me.

One paradoxical cultural phenomenon – and I’m generalising wildly here – is that the older people who are supposedly overwhelmed by feature-creep are often its greatest proponents. The concept of ‘less is more’ is embraced more readily by younger people, in my experience: people who’ve grown up with excess all around them and who now seek refuge in simplicity, tradition, quality over quantity, and even outright restrictions (such as fixed-gear bicycles). People who grew up in post-war austerity may forever feel more is more, and cheaper better, and restraints bad.

conrad
conrad  910873 forum posts116 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 12:34 PM


Quote: The concept of ‘less is more’ is embraced more readily by younger people, in my experience: people who’ve grown up with excess all around them and who now seek refuge in simplicity, tradition, quality over quantity, and even outright restrictions

You must move in different circles, my experience is different, but I find it a very interesting development!

petebfrance
5 Jun 2013 - 12:34 PM

No, not features enough on mine!

I've used most features, but do very little video with it because it's too primative. The idea of an all in-one-imaging-device is great, particularly now that efforts appear to be being made to bring the video side up to scratch on 'stills cameras.' Earlier, video cameras did OK video and rather questionable stills and stills cameras the other way round.

Having been taking photos for, well, nearly 50 years 'man and boy' I think the advances are great. Having various programmes available really helps. I tend to use mainly 'programme' (with shift / exposure compensation) and anti-shake (which balances the shutter speed etc. with the focal length but seems to keep the ISO as low as possible, despite what the reviews claimed....) with metering set to 'spot' for programme and defaulting (unfortunately) to 'multi-pattern' for anti-shake. The camera can think more quickly than I can for 'grab shots', and for people who do not take thousands of photos a year (i.e. me!) the various programmes help because they (well, we) don't meet and overcome 'tricky' lighting on a daily basis etc.

I must admit, though, that I'm glad that my ealier years were on manual cameras, and that the build-up of sophistication was something that I kept track of - new ideas like autofocus Wink, programmes and so on. At least I can keep an eye on what the camera is up to and correct it if it looks crazy, and none of the features are really that alien to me.

What I do think is a dreadfully backward trend is the lack of printed manuals being provided. It's great to pick the manual up and idly leaf through - if nothing else as a reminder of what the camera is capable of.....

Last Modified By petebfrance at 5 Jun 2013 - 12:36 PM
mikehit
mikehit  46102 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 12:52 PM


Quote: What I do think is a dreadfully backward trend is the lack of printed manuals being provided. It's great to pick the manual up and idly leaf through - if nothing else as a reminder of what the camera is capable of.....

+1

rwill19050
5 Jun 2013 - 1:07 PM

No, not at all.
My Canon EOS 550D has allowed me to progress gradually from 'point and shoot' infully automatic to investigating and learning manual control.
I am now happy to take a picture, check the histogram and adjust settings where necessary.
I am happy to use aperture to set a depth of field and shutter speed to catch the bird in flight or smooth out the ripples in a river
I had tried a camera club to learn photography, but my hearing is very poor, even with my hearing aids, so I felt very much out of it so to speak.
So, with the aid of numerous photography sites, and magazines, I feel I have very much benefited from 'all the bells and whistles' my 550D has to offer.

conrad
conrad  910873 forum posts116 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 1:11 PM


Quote: What I do think is a dreadfully backward trend is the lack of printed manuals being provided. It's great to pick the manual up and idly leaf through - if nothing else as a reminder of what the camera is capable of.....

+1

I agree - not being able to leaf through a printed manual is something I miss. Somehow I don´t open a file or start a dvd as easily as easy as I open a printed booklet - even though I work with a computer all day, and am quite used to this sort of thing, it´s still not the same as sitting down with a printed manual and having a look through it.

strawman
strawman  1021997 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 1:26 PM

As long as the camera has basic direct controls you can use I am ok with it having lots of features I will never use. I get frustrated by compacts that force you into menu items looking for basic controls though.

mdpontin
mdpontin  106016 forum posts Scotland
5 Jun 2013 - 1:29 PM


Quote: One paradoxical cultural phenomenon – and I’m generalising wildly here – is that the older people who are supposedly overwhelmed by feature-creep are often its greatest proponents.

That's an interesting point, although I'm not sure whether it's older people as a group who embrace feature creep. I suspect it may be true that the less familiar you are with a subject, and any "gadgets" which relate to it, the more like you are to fall back on feature checklists as a way to try to differentiate between a number of options. I think understanding how to make the best use of that multiplicity of features is a separate issue.

Either way, I still feel that the tendency to enable more and more features just because it's possible to do so at relatively low cost, is generally - although not in all cases - a negative point, not least because of the potential for complicating the user interface unnecessarily. I'd rather see a bit of focus (no pun intended) on features which are genuinely useful to the end user, and as a result have a product that's easier to learn how to use properly. By all means, sell a version which does everything including cook meals and answer the door, but don't force everybody to accept that degree of complexity.

weseeyou
weseeyou  3112 forum posts
5 Jun 2013 - 1:35 PM

you and strawman make a good point.
It surely wouldn't be too difficult for manufacturers to develop their software so that there are 2x menu and settings ,basic and full function.

It would make a lot of stuff much more user friendly than it is currently.
just look at the latest Corel Paint or Photoshop etc .Try doing a bit of basic image editing if you are not familiar with the software. I retain Corel 6 and 8 which amazingly still work in Win7 !

mikehit
mikehit  46102 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
5 Jun 2013 - 1:45 PM


Quote: It surely wouldn't be too difficult for manufacturers to develop their software so that there are 2x menu and settings ,basic and full function.

My Canon DSLR and Panasonic MFT both have custom function buttons and quick menus - and on the Panny I can select which functions are displayed leaving me free to completely ignore the rest. What's so complicated?
If I want to try something new I have a whole world of untried applications to keep me busy and interested.
My car has a 'stability' function to control power to the wheels and make driving safer. I can turn it off if I want - I have no idea why I would but I have the choice and in no way do I think the car has 'too many' features.

weseeyou
weseeyou  3112 forum posts
5 Jun 2013 - 2:02 PM

well good for you Mike !Wink

You have mentioned 2x products that suit you, out of many millions .
Other folk might hold a different view than you, which doesn't make you wrong....or right .Grin

Thats why we are discussing the issue with an open mind to see if we might learn something we didn't know , as opposed to coming to a discussion with a limited viewpoint and closed mind.Wink

petebfrance
5 Jun 2013 - 2:15 PM

Well, I guess some people do go for 'feature count'. I do check the features available. I am still dithering about getting something better than my bridge camera, but there are certain features that I use regularly that I would miss quite badly with my current methods of using the camera - which of course, is not to say that they are essential if there is another way of going about it. But of course, if different people are looking for different things then an all inclusive list may catch more of them, and, well, there are always the 'nice to have' features that I may use one day....
And, of course a standard 'chip' (?) probably makes for lower cost production.

Perhaps the biggest problem is how these things are implemented. Logical and quick access to the functions that a particular person (are we all the same?) wants to use would help. On my current camera most settings are easy to get at except metering which is somewhere in the menus and a right pain in the butt. The 'metering' icon that tells what metering is being used but is so naff that I can't tell whether it's spot or multi-pattern, so I have to go back to the menu to check anyway (failed to get a decent picture of a rather interesting - probably a female orange-tipped white - butterfly yesterday as metering was set mistakenly at multi and I could not get rid of blown highlights before the thing flew off).......but it isn't that there are too many features, it's just that they aren't implemented how I'd like them to be.


One thing I have noticed on some potential 'buys' which I don't like at all is relegating choice of programme to a menu instead of having it on the top dial. Here, of course, a dog portrait, cat portrait, sport, night, person portrait, in the woods, at the beach, snow, Mars landing, lunar explorer, hang-gliding, eating-curry-with-friends etc. programs would make for rather a large dialTongue Really messes up the 'user interface'.....maybe too many features?

Last Modified By petebfrance at 5 Jun 2013 - 2:18 PM

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