Okay – the DSLR is a great invention. We’ve seen a few cool new features bolted on to existing cameras like video, geo-tagging, live-view, etc. But where’s the beef?
The accessory market is more innovative than the camera makers. Things like the RayFlash are a prime example of innovation. The Lensbaby system is the most innovative lens I can think of. There are few other examples from my point of view.
The DSLR still looks like the SLR – why? There’s no need to keep the old body design. There’s no need to stick with the old paradigm. Why do cameras have to look the way they do? According to some electrical and mechanical engineers that I’ve interviewed, there’s no reason whatsoever the DSLR has to look like a conventional camera.
Why not experiment with different shapes? Why not look at incorporating more traditional photo techniques such as filtering as part of the capture process? Why not make all cameras more robust by changing the way they are built?
And then there’s the lenses. Other than VR, we’ve seen very few major enhancements to camera lenses in decades. Yes the glass is better and zooms work better, etc., but these are incremental changes. Where’s the real big deal innovation?
Lenses should be smaller and lighter. The form factor of a camera lens could also change in the future. New materials, technology and manufacturing processes are coming online that would make it possible to craft lenses that shoot both wider and longer while using faster apertures.
Innovation is one way the camera business can remain viable in a tough world economy.