A simpler digital camera

Started Nov 1, 2007 | Discussions thread
Leuf Senior Member • Posts: 1,131
Re: A simpler digital camera

Eric C in OK wrote:

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.

But your sister isn't "entry level", she's an experienced slr user. "Entry level" is someone who has only ever just pressed the button to take the picture.

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.

It's funny but in the course of buying some lenses for my K100D on ebay I ended up with a couple of old film bodies, an ME and a Super Program. I couldn't figure out what all the buttons and stuff on them were for. I just wanted to test the shutter and it beeped at me! So, I guess I'm saying it's all about ones perspective. I was much more intimidated by the controls on the old bodies than on my modern one, even though they were simpler.

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

You kind of lost me there because I don't see how this makes it like a film body. On my K100D I am in aperture priority mode 99.5% of the time, with a once in a blue moon bulb mode night shot thrown in. I would say get rid of the mode dial entirely - put a control dial there instead. What I'd really like to have is three programmable control dials. I would put aperture, exposure compensation, and ISO on them, but I'm sure others would want different things. But the crux of it is put the focus of the controls on just that related to getting the exposure and keep everything else to a minimum.

  • K-mount support for MF, AF and AE

  • One AF point (center)

I'd say three. I could live with one.

  • No pop-up flash

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

With you there.

  • No SR

Not with you there. There's a reason the K110D disappeared - nobody was buying it.

  • No mirror lockup

  • No burst mode

  • Radically simplified menu and functions

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

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

connector)

I think the K100D does a pretty good job of organizing the fuction menu, the main setup menu really needs help though. I don't see any reason to get rid of things like mirror lockup when they are pretty elegantly tucked away.

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...

I don't really see why they couldn't make a second version of the same body with different controls. So long as the body is mostly the same shell and same internal components it shouldn't be that big of a deal to manufacture. Call it the Limited. Offer it as a kit with the DA 40.

I know there are those that say Pentax can't afford to be putting out niche products, they should concentrate on getting out a pro body and filling out the lens lineup. But well they have to come out with a new body at some point and this just seems like minimal investment and a way to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

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