For the past several years, there’s been some common battles going on between camera manufacturers. You know what I mean. “This camera has the fastest and most accurate autofocus ever!” “This camera has a whopping 62 megapixels!”
And sure, that stuff is important. Well, kinda.
But it’s time that camera manufacturers get back to innovating in a way that hasn’t been done in years. Not through increasing resolution, making autofocus faster than ever or making lenses smaller and smaller. No. It’s time for camera manufacturers to embrace fun.
What do I mean by fun?
Client work vs. hobby
As a professional photographer, I have a lot of tools that I use with my clients. I have specific lenses I rely on. Heck, I have a specific camera I use for client shoots, vs. what I use for when I’m just out and about.
Why do I have two completely different camera systems, you ask? Well, simply put, they do different things.
Take my Sony a7 III. It’s a remarkable camera, especially in low-light situations. I’ve needed that recently with nighttime outdoor events, as I’ve had to crank up my ISO to 12,800 and higher. But as great of a camera as it is, it’s missing a few features for me.
That’s when my Olympus OM-D E-M1X comes in handy. Features like Live Composite and Live ND let me experience photography in ways that no other camera will. I can take several minute long exposures of star trails without worrying about overexposure or having to screw on filters. I can create a long exposure effect when I’m at the beach. At the same time, I’m overly cautious to not crank up the ISO because of the smaller sensor.
Simply put, it pushes my creativity.
Bring back the fun in photography
If there’s something we’ve all learned during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s that having fun with your hobby is more important than ever. It’s an outlet when you might not otherwise be able to experience one. It’s a way to express yourself.
So why are camera manufacturers focused on pushing the numbers, vs. actually making photography fun again? While the numbers might mean something to professionals, I guarantee it doesn’t mean anything to them when they’re off the clock.
Sony tried this a few years ago with its Play Memories app. But it expected you to buy certain “fun” features for your camera. The problem with that model is that by forcing users to buy features, it means that as a company, you don’t see it as a worthwhile feature. That’s ultimately why the Play Memories app shuttered. And it’s why I can’t capture a Live Composite-like photograph without a filter (or multiple exposures with blending modes in Photoshop) on my Sony camera.
So camera manufacturers, do you truly want to sell more cameras? Make me a professional camera with the numbers. But also put fun features inside. Give me a combined a7 III and E-M1X and I’ll be over the moon. I’ll line up to buy that camera as soon as it’s announced.
Because if there’s one thing camera manufacturers have failed to remember, it’s that all photographers started out as hobbyists. They had fun with their craft. And it’s about time we got back to that.