A simpler digital camera

Started Nov 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Eric C in OK
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A simpler digital camera
Nov 1, 2007

My sister has been photographing as long as I have. I got her a *ist DL but she's barely used it. We were at a party last night and she had her camera to take shots of people in their costumes. She just couldn't get the hang of it. She said she just wants her old ME Super as a digital. She has a good eye for composition, but she doesn't have the patience to learn what all the dials, buttons, and menus do.

Here's what I'm thinking as a true entry level camera, designed for my sister. I'm stripping the camera down to the essentials for taking a photograph and storing it on the card. All those features we like take up ROM space which costs money, but money savings aren't the point. Simplicity is. The thing about this camera is that if the Product Managers could resist the urge to twiddle with it, it could have the life of the K1000.

The marketing collateral would have to be designed to show that it's been designed for simplicity and image quality, rather than features (i.e. "the camera for the rest of us"). Otherwise the gadget-heads at Best Buy or Ritz would screw up the pitch to the customer. It can be argued that "simplicity" is a point and shoot, but I know a lot of people who know enough about photography to know f-stops and shutter speeds, but don't want to learn all that those of us here know. They want the image quality of the SLR, but they don't want to learn what all those buttons and dials do.

So, here's my spec sheet...

  • $399US Retail list price, street price around $250US

  • Built on *ist DL frame (6MP sensor, AA/CRV3 batteries) or smaller

  • Av, Tv, M, B, P, Autopict modes only

  • K-mount support for MF, AF and AE

  • One AF point (center)

  • No pop-up flash

  • Hotshoe supports TTL and P-TTL, 1/60 to 1/180 sync speed

  • No mirror lockup

  • No burst mode

  • No SR

  • Radically simplified menu and functions

  • No in-camera processing (sepia, rotation, etc.)

  • No output options other than SD card (PictBridge, TV out, USB connector)

Maybe it's a rangefinder with interchangable lenses, but it has to be affordable. What is the use of designing a Leica clone if no one buys it?

I know this is a dream, but dreams are fun sometime. In my world, I talk to our field engineers and our customers. I take their comments back to my engineers as requirements for the next version. I always ask "wouldn't you like a product that is better in terms of reliability with well-written documentation and lots of workflow improvements?" "Nope, we have to have X feature or we're screwed". So maybe this has all been an exercise to keep me from writing requirements documents for the last 20 minutes...

Feel free to throw in your €0.02 if you think that I'm not completely off base here...

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