A simpler digital camera

Started Nov 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
TheLastMan Regular Member • Posts: 417
Re: I agree with the concept ...

I have thought about this for a long time. I think my wife must be the OP's sister! She has an ME Super and gets rather frustrated by my K100D. She wants the control, but also hankers after the ease of use of our old Sony P&S digicam.

I am determined one day to sit her down and go through how to work the Av and Tv modes. She loves to manual focus, but hates the tiny viewfinder of the K100. She keeps turning a phantom aperture ring on the lenses and looks at the top panel for the shutter speed dial. Being a very short-sighted spectacle wearer she can barely see the in-viewfinder information. She much prefers the top panel LCD. She does not have a clue about WB, ISO, or capture mode. So the Fn button does not get used. I just tell her that as long as all the settings are on "green" when she presses Fn she can ignore it.

The characteristics of the ME Super that she misses are:
1. Size - much smaller than the K100D
2. Robustness - solid aluminium body. Has been dropped on rocky ground.
3. Enormous viewfinder view.
4. Aperture ring and speed dial.

I think she will get used to the Tv and Av modes in time but the above points could be addressed more directly in a new model.

My take on the problem is slightly different. The camera does not need to be particularly cheap, it just has to be simple - and with a super fast processor / memory to make RAW mode less of a drag on performance. It can have some discrete "digital" buttonry, so long as the old "analogue" type controls are the most obvious items. I have in mind the Epson RD1 rangefinder or the Pansasonic / Leica SLRs as getting closest. Pity the latter are so large, heavy and expensive. Pity the former is a rangefinder.

I see an ME Super with all its dials, but with a few extra buttons and a preview screen.

Could someone please bring out a camera that is:
1. Small, about the size of the ME
2. Solid aluminium / magnesium alloy body with weather seals.
3. Prism viewfinder with standard extra magnification eyepiece (+25%?)
4. Shutter speed dial with "Auto" setting
5. ISO ring with "Auto" setting
6. Default RAW + Super-fine JPEG (memory is so cheap these days).
7. AWB that works in all conditions, including tungsten lighting.
8. Keep the AE-L and Av compensation buttons.
9. 8mp with the low light performance of the K100Ds 6mp.

Would an aperture dial (with Auto setting) be OTT? It would be new for any SLR. Personally I am quite happy with an adjustment wheel, but the wife isn't, and in the absence of that, how do you deal with lenses that have no aperture ring?

The back buttons of the new camera can be similar to the K100D. She is quite happy to ignore buttons, provided the dials she does need (Aperture and shutter speed) are very obvious.

The cost, I imagine, would be about the same as the K10D - maybe a touch higher, but not much. It will need to have a real feeling of old-world quality and craftsmanship if it is to sell though.

Personally I am really getting into the post-processing malarky. Currently I am playing around with RAW files in Photoshop Elements and considering Lightroom. My wife does not have the time or patience, so a standard RAW+JPEG output would leave her to browse the JPEGs but would mean I can PP to my hearts content on the same pictures.

One thing that I have wondered about is why most cameras do not have a "default" settings selection on the mode dial. So often I have handed the camera over with WB set to tungsten, or ISO set to 1600 and she is oblivious to the fact and comes back with lots of blue, over-exposed pictures! We both hate the scene modes as they produce over-saturated, over-contrasty pictures that cannot be post-processed.

We can all dream!

 TheLastMan's gear list:TheLastMan's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR
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