In a recently published patent application, Samsung disclosed an invention that puts shallow depth-of-field capabilities into tiny, point and shoot cameras. Samsung gets there by using dual lenses in a single camera and using that second lens in a rather novel way. [Read more…]
Camera manufacturers design point-and-shoot cameras for the specific needs and wants of consumers the same way that they target their DSLRs to different professional markets. While we as photographers will always sing the praises of how awesome our DSLRs are, the general population will opt for a “nice” point-and-shoot. We know many of these people and they make come to us asking camera questions. Here’s a round up of cameras for the different personalities in your life. If they’re a student, link them over to my post on Back-To-School digital cameras.
Author’s Note: The camera’s above are a special series of Canon Powershots that Maria Sharapova designed with Canon. They were available in a contest.
1. Digital Zoom
Digital zoom is a feature found on many point and shoot cameras and is essentially a crop of the image, which results in lower resolution and quality. Camera manufacturers continue to confuse consumers by plugging inflated zoom ratios into camera specifications. Digital zoom is about the biggest crock of a feature that has ever been put on digital cameras.
Fortunately, consumers are coming around and several manufacturers have dispensed with this “feature” altogether. Look for “optical zoom” as a camera feature, which does not crop the image or reduce the quality.
2. Too Many Pixels
Unfortunately, this spec still continues to attract a number of consumers. And, if camera makers can market to consumers tiny camera sensors with ridiculous amounts of pixels, you better believe that they are going to keep stuffing them inside point and shoot cameras.
High megapixel point and shoot cameras simply don’t make sense from a practical standpoint. When the pixels get too numerous, the tiny sensors just can’t make a clean image. That’s why most of these 10+ megapixel pocket cameras produce grainy images.
Hey Canon, Nikon, Sony! Can’t we go back to 6 megapixels or so and have some nice, clean images with the great processors you’re putting into these cameras now? It’ll save us all some hard drive space and help us have nice prints up to 8×10 or so. And, if we’re printing something bigger than that on a regular basis, we’re going to buy your DSLRs anyway. Save the 10+ megapixel range for sensors that can handle it.
3. High ISO
This one goes hand in hand with the last. There’s no such thing as high sensitivity on a point and shoot camera when you’ve got 14 megapixels that you’re cranking out. Stop. Seriously. If I see another ISO 10,000 spec on a point and shoot camera, I’m going to throw up.
Give us something clean with lower megapixels up to ISO 800 or 1600 if you can. Above that, you’re wasting our time. Don’t put increased sensitivity in a camera because ISO 3200 sounds cool. Make it work as high as you can and then stop.
4. Smile Shutter
I actually thought it was cute when I first tried it out . . . that was the only time though. Smile shutter purportedly waits until people smile and then captures the image. The fact of the matter is that you have to tinker with the settings for so long that the moment is lost by the time you get it set or by the time everyone finally smiles together.
“Say, Cheese!” still works pretty well for me.
5. “Authentic” Camera Sounds
The “ksh-clik” sound that point and shoot cameras make to sound like a “real” camera is just plain silly. While it’s not intrusive to image quality like some of the other features, I could do without the extra manufacturing cost for a little speaker in the camera. Additionally, the “authentic” camera sound just irritates the heck out of me.
It’s funny that serious DSLR users are concerned about the camera making too much noise. Camera makers even offer quiet shooting modes to make DSLRs more friendly in quiet environments like weddings. Not so with point and shoot cameras though. It’s the first thing I turn off whenever I get a new point and shoot camera.
What Do You Want to Trash?
I’ve said my peace. Do you agree or disagree?
What other features would you like to see die in point and shoot cameras?
Sound off in the comments below.