mFT/camera industry: time to better adapt to smart phones?

Started May 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
OP sderdiarian Veteran Member • Posts: 4,229
Re: mFT/camera industry: time to better adapt to smart phones?

Some thoughts:

Pedal2Floor wrote:

1) Your phone is mostly subsidized. If your company is getting you a phone, you more than likely paying zero. Those screens and those electronics at the size your suggesting are not cheap and would not make cameras smaller but larger because we still need physical buttons to be efficient. if you want to pay another $600 + for your camera, then those big screens would be great

4.7" LCD Samsung Galaxy Camera 2's are $400, 4.8" Samsung S3's now $220, so the premium isn't as steep as you suggest. No argument that latest gen cellphone's are partially subsidized to bind you to lucrative 2 year service contracts, but you can still buy that 4.8" Samsung S3 without a contract for $220.

On LCD size, many here seem to feel the current 3" screen is somehow the "sweet spot" to allow for physical buttons. For myself, when viewing the diminutive GM1 which still maintains a 3:5 aspect 3" screen and physical controls, I can envision an E-M1 sized camera with similar physical controls alongside a 4" screen and control wheels/programmable buttons on the top plate. Perhaps even smaller with creative design of the tilt screen bezel.

Standards are creatures of their times. Wasn't that long ago that 2" and then 2.5" were thought to be wonderful screen sizes. Times change, and an entire generation of potential enthusiast grade camera consumers have been spoiled by larger camera phone screens.

To me, a larger screen simply makes sense for those who shoot using the screen (and there are many), for viewing your shot in the field to keep or delete it, and for sharing a photo with other photographers in the field.

On the Samsung NX, I think Samsung over-reached at 4.7", ballooning its size beyond what this mFT user finds attractive and largely eliminating physical controls.

All things are a balance, and even smart phones have now reached a point where many are questioning whether 5.5" screens drive size too large. LG has done an admirable job with the upcoming G3, keeping the bezel to a bare minimum to maintain a reasonable size, but it's still a bit big and heavy at 5.6 oz.

Same goes for mFT cameras. Size is one of their key attractions, and this plays into screen size. I think 4", or thereabouts, should be doable for those who like an E-M1 sized camera, and it would enhance my enjoyment of shooting and help sales with those upgrading from smart phones.

To quell an apparent misunderstanding, I also find a good VF indispensable, using my E-M5's EVF almost entirely for shooting, leaving the LCD for viewing the results. I eagerly look forward to my next camera having an E-M1 quality EVF.

2) Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS SHOULD be part of cameras by default. This would go a long way in allowing integration with cell phones. Just provide the necessary API and let developers do what developers do best.

I agree. I think camera manufacturers were caught asleep at the wheel here and are still too bound to their traditions/change averse to fully embrace the potential here.

3) Tethering -- really, why does Olympus not understand this very SIMPLY feature. Allow me to tether to my PC, to my Microsoft Surface, iPad or Android Tablet. Both wireless or via a wire. Why is this so hard?

Mark Chan wrote this has been accomplished with the latest E-M1 and E-P5 firmware updates. I'm not sure if the newer E-M10 already allows this.

4) Japanese camera companies -- all of them -- do not understand workflow of a photograph. They believe that everything should be proprietary and then do not put enough resources to make it better. If, like the cell phone companies, they create a set of public APIs then instead of using their limited resources and develpment staff, they would have a whole world of smart developers that would add value to the platform. This is a good analogy. Is the value of the iPad or iPhone or Android phones or Windows Phones the hardware/ Or it the 1 million + apps available for each of those platforms? Japanese camera companies SUCK a software, get out of the software business and create public APIs for independent developers to do their thing. I have personally had discussions with Olympus about this as I am software developer and they simply DO NOT GET IT!

Others responded such camera specific app's would be too low in volume to attract software designers. If so, maybe camera manufacturer's would better serve their users by out-sourcing this to those who specialize in it. It's simply an area where camera phones, which sell in exponentially larger numbers and so can attract such talent for free, have a huge advantage. The idea of being able to continually add and update features in my camera certainly seems natural given the smart phone world we now live in.

Just as mFT freed us from being slaves to the camera manufacturer's lens mount, this might free us from waiting for firmware updates that sometimes never come.

In short, there are some things the camera makers could learn from cell phones. But the Japanese camera makers only look to their own backyard for ideas, are closed minded and are living in the 70s -- their insular culture makes it almost impossible to make better products outside of the body and censor.

While all the camera companies continue to loose money, they all believe by doing the same thing that does not work will somehow make it better at some point -- that is insanity!

Upper management of Canon is largely in their 70's, not sure about the rest, but the industry seems to behave as though they are when it comes to recognizing how they can use lessons from cellphones to compliment their own products and maintain acceptance in a younger marketplace. Again, I no longer view smart phones and cameras as exclusive purchases, but complimentary.

Dave Lively wrote:

I get the impression right now these WiFi and the apps are regarded as pass/fail, that as long as the camera has WiFi how well it works does not matter. But it does matter. If camera companies do want to keep control of connectivity they need to start doing a better job of it. WiFi and connectivity are increasingly important features that people consider while deciding what camera to buy.

I couldn't have said it better, Dave.

Bottom line, cell phones have pulled the rug out from under basic compact sales, but they've also resulted in some wonderful innovation that higher featured cameras could take better advantage of. We're only at the beginning here, that's my sense.

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Sailin' Steve

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