I don't think this Rantatorial goes far enough. Michael has criticised various camera manufacturers for producing cameras with usability issues (menu systems included) with remarks along the lines of "Do the people that design and manufacture these cameras actually try to use them?"
If I look at the two leading brands of cameras then their advancements in the last 5 to 10 years can be summarised as:
- more megapixels
- more autofocus points
- more frames per second
The single interesting development during that time has been "live view" and being able to focus almost anywhere inside the image. Otherwise, the way the camera is used and operates is almost exactly the same as 1995! PASM up top. A few custom modes. Nothing that didn't exist before. Focus on a subject, compose and shoot. Almost exactly what we do today except that "immediate review" is available. This makes me think that whilst the people that design the software that runs on your camera have actually been made to use it (and thus have started to show they understand what it takes to make a camera useable), they display a very poor grasp of how and where technology and digital cameras can intersect. Apart from replacing film with electronic sensors, that is. Is it too much to ask that they actually go out and shoot complex scenes so that they understand problems faced by landscape shooters?
For example, what ever happened to "A-DEP" (DEP)? (http://luminous-landscape.com/dep/
) How/why would this be important you ask?
It complex scenes and especially those with subject matter close (< 10m) to the camera, it can be a challenge to get everything in focus if you're not wide or ultra wide with the lens. With touch screen cameras what I should be able to do is push a button to start focus point selection on the screen at the back, use my fingers to select (and zoom if required) areas in the image for the camera to focus on, push a button to tell the camera that I'm finished and then let it work out what the required depth of field is.
Why don't I use the depth of field displays on lenses? Because they're useless. The scale is so compressed that it is almost impossible to use (hint: this is why cinema lenses have comparatively huge throws for focus.) Do you think you know where the true infinity point is for any zoom lens at all focal lengths just by looking at the markings on it? Think again. If the distance to the point in focus is known, why not show it on the live view screen? And/or record it in EXIF and make it available on in-camera image review? None of these type of advances have been made. We're still expected to use a lens with its distance/focus scale like it is 1995. Enough of that already!
To go even further, why can't I just select a mode where the camera chooses an f-stop that gets everything in focus, regardless of aperture? Yes, that would make it work just like a P&S or phone camera that have almost no depth of field, but for a lot of landscape photography, depth of field relates more often to how high the grass is than it does subject isolation. Why don't I just use a P&S then? I've paid $2000 for my DSLR, likely 10 times as much as a P&S: don't tell me that the more expensive model can't do something that the cheaper one can. And yes, this is something that we couldn't do in 1995 and just because we couldn't do it with DSLRs in 1995 doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to do it now.
A critical part of both of these is that "minimum aperture" is no longer an answer due to diffraction and circle of confusion at the pixel level.
To further expand upon the "Lets get rid of 18% grey", the AEB modes should all work around that but be more programmable. When working at the right edge of the histogram, the selection of frames that I might might be ETTR+0, ETTR+1/3, ETTR-1/3, ETTR-2/3 and ETTR-1 (just in case there are highlights of desire.)
And on the subject of programmable, why can't we load in LUA scripts to our cameras that allow us to run "photographic programs" that might do advanced metering (see above ETTR list), allow entering in the number of seconds for bulb, etc. Yes, making cameras able to run LUA scripts or similar would totally bring them out of the 1990s and into the 2010s.
Until then, we're forced to use 3rd parties like Magic Lantern to the extent possible with each camera to make up for the short comings of the camera manufacturers.
If camera manufacturers are wondering what do do about smart phones eating their sales then the answer is easy: put a slot in your camera for a nano-SIM and let me use the touch screen on the back as a keyboard. Just like a smart phone. Then I can program the camera with details for web sites such as flickr, instagram, facebook, etc, so that when I chimp I can upload to social media at the same time. Maybe to a predetermined album, maybe something else. Don't make me carry around a smart phone and use WiFi or NFC from the camera to the phone - that just makes the task more complex by involving two different pieces of technology that are likely from two different manufacturers that have nothing in common and probably care little about making the other work well.
What about "weather sealing body designs" that are compromised by needing antennae? Tell that to the sub-25 year old market that whip out a smart phone in the rain with a single wipe before they snap or their friend that has the small inexpensive crop mode DSLR that they expect to work in the same environment (it doesn't go in a bag as they walk around.) If that DSLR failed because of the light rain then I'm pretty sure their backup up "camera" would be the smart phone "in the other pocket" that similarly doesn't care about getting rained on and a DSLR that will likely not only not be used but a camera type that will also be ignored in the future ("it only rained a little and my camera stopped working but my friend's phone was fine so now I don't use them any more 'cause it is a waste of money.")
And one final bit to add to my rant about what camera manufacturers don't get: how to use the lens's focal length. Putting it in EXIF is nice, but on a zoom lens, it is also very handy to know what it is "NOW", not when you're doing post. That way it makes it easy for me to check what it is and make a note of it so that if the camera/lens gets bumped and the zoom setting changed, I can easily put it back to what it was. Put it in the live view information and at the very least also the information included about an image on review. The camera won't tell us what the lens is zoomed at, despite it knowing (how else does it get put in EXIF.) Again, the way cameras work with zoom lenses, it is like we're still in 1995.