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Do todays digital cameras have too many features?


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capto Plus
8 6.4k 20 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 10:05AM
Did any of the "Bells and whistles" on your camera persuade you to buy? How many features do you find a use for?
Newdevonian 8 466 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 10:19AM
I needed the Nikon D7000 for the focussing motor. However 75% of the menu items are not needed.
davidburleson 13 3.0k 3 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 10:22AM
In my experience, i've recently been using a fujifilm x100 and it has made me feel that digital cameras have gotten far to complicated and feature-creep. However, the x100 is much more stripped back. I particularly like the analog adjustments for aperture and shutter. Much nicer then going through menus and staring at a screen.
mdpontin 16 6.0k Scotland
31 May 2013 10:34AM
To some extent, it's probably driven by an unholy alliance of marketing-led decision-making, plus the huge range of options made available by the technology. It's all too easy, I suspect, to fall into the trap of adding more and more features in an attempt to have a more impressive checklist of options than your competitors. All well and good, but the downsides are that cameras become unnecessarily complicated, and also that they become unnecessarily expensive. When the needs and wishes of the end user are taken seriously, the difference is usually obvious.
conrad 16 10.9k 116
31 May 2013 10:36AM
I'm inclined to say yes to the OP's question. I've had my current camera for a year now, and I still feel overwhelmed by the many features and settings in the menus. I get lost!

(It's an interesting subject, I was actually thinking of dedicating a blog post to it.)
weseeyou 9 112
31 May 2013 11:01AM
yes I definitely think cameras and all our techy stuff is far too feature laden and complicated these days.

I think that our technology has advanced to a level where the majority of us are incapable of fully utilizing it let alone understand it.

Bridge cameras are a case in point . Manufacturers seem to be chasing ever higher numbers and trick features to attract the accolades and fool us simple punters into a purchase.

I started with a Fuji HS10 which was a fantastic camera for me. It really fostered my interest in photography to the point that I would say it is one of my top 2x hobby interests.

It has taught me lots about manual settings and bif bof dof evf af mf rot wb e+- etc etc but in the 3x years that I have owned and used the camera daily I have barely scratched the surface in using all of the features crammed into this camera or the various settings. Its crazy.

The latest model HS50 has even more technology and features stuffed into the camera with a huge 16Mp crammed onto a EXR 1/2in CMOS II sensor.

Don't get me wrong I love the camera to bits . With a manual focus , 42x zoom lens with IS and superfast AF RW and startup (0.5 secs) it has to be the best bridge birding camera out there at the moment and the IQ of my images have leapt in quality since buying the HS50 however I would trade some Mp for a larger sensor and less features
davewaine 13 141 3 England
31 May 2013 11:10AM
I'm afraid that the days of the Nikkormat, Olympus OM-1 and Pentax K1000 are over. They were all basic, but well-made, manual cameras that accepted the very best in lenses and, thus, were capable of producing the finest results in the right pair of hands. Apart from the built-in metering, they were mechanical in operation. They were built of brass, not plastic. Therein lies the rub. When they were on sale, you could pick up a body for not a great deal of money and spend the bulk of your budget on lenses. Of course you had to apply things like knowledge and skill if you were to produce pictures that anybody would want to look at. That was then. Today electronics rule everything. From the manufacturing point of view, it costs next to nothing to festoon your wares with features that will rarely, if ever, be used. They are all controlled by chips and the makers can charge more or less what they like for them.

That is the disappointing thing about modern cameras in my view. My son is a media graduate. While a student, he bought himself a Canon 550D, which was probably the best modern camera he could afford at the time. He hasn't equipped it with new Canon lenses though. At University, he was taught to focus and expose manually at all times. He trawled Ebay for months and amassed a nifty collection of Olympus OM Zuikos and a Zeiss Jena Tessar for knock-down prices, all of which fit the Canon via adapters and work manually. Looking at the sheer engineering that went into these lenses - they are all a good deal older than his 22 years (more than twice his age in the case of the Zeiss) but look and feel brand new - and comparing them with the cheap plastic apologies that were thrown in with my modern DSLR is a sobering experience. They produce the goods optically as well.

Thus it is still possible to go back to basics, but it tends to be all the way back. Personally, I would rather retain the fully automatic diaphragm and full aperture metering.
llareggub 10 825 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 11:20AM
I use "most" of the features on my Canon 50D in fact I have added to the feature list by installing magic lantern for additional goodies. Naturally there are features that I use less often and some features I do not use at all but not everyone shoots like me and I am sure some shooters use features that I do not.

I do not think that cameras are overly complex, I bought the best camera for my needs within my budget, sure some of it is overkill but in some areas I wished it did more (hence magic lantern).
mdpontin 16 6.0k Scotland
31 May 2013 11:21AM
This tendency to use added features as a selling point pre-dates the digital camera era, of course. I can remember buying a 35mm film SLR. I compared two models in the range: the base model was clearly aimed at people who were more accustomed to compacts, so was auto-everything, with limited capabilities for taking manual control. The next one up in the range had what I needed, but also included a range of clever ideas which I knew I'd rarely use. These extras pushed the price up too, of course. Sad
DOGSBODY 11 1.4k 30 England
31 May 2013 11:28AM
Modern cameras have become far too complicated and are packed with features that are of virtually no interest to the majority of us. My first digital camera was a 5mp Minolta bridge camera which was simple to use and was capable of producing decent A3 prints providing that you filled the frame with your picture. The cameras that I have owned since show only small improvements in picture quality, so it begs the question "what features are important to us?"
For me it is
1. Good picture quality with accurate exposure.
2. Fast and accurate focussing.
3. Easy to use manual overrides.
4. Portable but with a good range of accessories.
5. Not much else.
I have probably forgotten something important but, at the end of the day, simplicity is paramount.
mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 11:44AM
Yes, modern cameras have a shed load of functions that I will never use.
Is it too complicated? No. Because I don't try (and don't need to try) to use all of them: but occasionally I do find one that makes me think 'Wahay! I will find that useful'. But then again I find the ergonomics of my Canon DSLR and Panasonic MFT to have good interfaces.
Having briefly used a Sony NEX, the interface was a nightmare (to me) and I would say that it was overly complicated, not because of the features but because of the way the interface was enacted.

In the old days adding a new feature often required additional engineering. Nowadays the new features are little more than a bit of coding at very minimal cost so why not add them in to widen your market base?
conrad 16 10.9k 116
31 May 2013 12:00PM

Quote:Yes, modern cameras have a shed load of functions that I will never use. Is it too complicated? No. Because I don't try (and don't need to try) to use all of them

Trouble is that even a basic function can be hidden in a forest of functions that prevent you from seeing the tree that you're looking for. The other day I needed the help of the forum members to find the setting that would enable me to use manual focus, which I consider quite a basic function. I did find it, but it was hidden deep in one of the many submenus, and that's one of the disadvantages of having a myriad of functions and settings on a modern digital camera.

Having said that, I don't know if I would go for a very basic model, I may not want to do without an advanced option or two. But I still haven't reached the stage where I'm completely confident that I can use my camera exactly the way I want to, even after a year. It looks like it will take me longer to reach that stage.
cameracat 16 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
31 May 2013 12:02PM

Quote:Do todays digital cameras have too many features

That is a maybe question, With a maybe answer....Smile

Fact is that " Gadgets " today have more tricks than ever, Mobile phones for example, Just how much junk do you need to make a simple phone call....Grin

However, As with all things and gadgets, Toys, Televisions, Cars etc etc etc......You do have the choice to use " Whatever " component/trick/knob/Bell/Whistle that you want to, Just because you have a truck load of options, There is no requirement to use them all, No one pointing a gun at your head, So you just choose & use those settings/Options/Knobs that fit your needs/requirements, The more adventurous may even try a few of the gimmicks on offer who knows, But the bottom line is that " The Choice Is Yours ".......;D

Yes folks, Having a choice is something we take for granted, Until that choice is removed as in " Viewfinders " the sort you look through with one eyeball, Was the viewfinder ( Be that optical or electronic ) one of those annoying extras that camera makers thought we could well do without, Hence the many new models from all manufacturers, Where you have NO choice...!!!

So to the posted question, I'm inclined to say No, But add the caveat that whilst having the choice to use or ignore the gimmicks, We should make it clear to the manufacturers that removing features such as " Viewfinders " is NOT popular with everyone, No matter how small/Thin/Narrow the camera, While we are at it, Removing things like viewfinders, Then offering them as expensive extras, Is also a No no.....!!!

So how do you get the message across to those who decide what we get and what they decide we want...???

Simple, Just don't buy them, Do not compromise on your list of requirements, Do not stick your head in the sand and just buy the same old brand over and over again, Buy the one that offers exactly what you want, Any extras can be ignored, You do still have a few choices, We are the money they want in order to survive, We have the power, So use it wisely.....!!!!!!!

mikehit 11 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
31 May 2013 12:18PM

Quote:and that's one of the disadvantages of having a myriad of functions and settings on a modern digital camera

That is why I like the ergonomics of the Canon and Panny: the functions I use quite regularly (typically exposure compensation and changing AF/MF ) are easily accessible so the buttons are 'as advertised'. With the Oly (and especially the NEX) I would have to remember where I mapped them to. I am looking forward to comparative reviews of the G6 and the specs of the yet-to-be-announced GX2 (in-body IS...) because they may well keep me in the Panny camp and not have to swap to the OM-D (brilliant camera that it is).
kodachrome 8 723
31 May 2013 1:41PM
I think the Olympus O-MD E-M5 [fab camera, shame about the price] is a good case in point. for me at least there are functions and gimmics I would probably never use, although this doesn't mean other people won't either. However, a budget version is long over due where some of these extra features and may be even the weather proofing can be done away with to bring the cost down. For my land scape work, I doubt I would ever miss them.

Its also a bone of contention at least for me it is about these super duper DSLR's and M4thirds cameras that are being sold as all things to all people such as the movie feature. If I wanted to do movies I wouuld buy a dedicated cam corder. There is a good hands on review of the G6 on the 4thirds forum. I wasn't that impressed with the colour rendering, but I never have liked Panasonic colours.

So my answer is YES.