Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > General Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 29, 2004, 12:49 PM   #1
BB
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 39
Default

Has anyone else thought it would be neat if the camera manufacturers were to incorporate an open operating system allowing 3rd party developers to expand a camera's capabilities by creating add-on software that could be loaded into your camera?

What first got me thinking about the idea was this site:
http://digita.mame.net

While this is not the best example of usefulness (i.e. being able to play Pac-Man and Donkey Kong on your camera), it is good enough to get the general idea.

For example, a developer could create an application that allows a 802.11b CompactFlash card to be used to upload images to the internet directly from your camera. Say you're on a trip and run out of storage space-- you could just stop by the nearest WiFi hot spot (Starbucks, the hotel you're staying at, etc....) and unload your card-- no laptop PC required.

As much as a like the quality of the Japanese manufacturers products, I believe this type of functionality is unlikely to ever come from them. Take a look at the manfuacturers who have used a more open OS in the past on their products: Kodak, HP, Pentax-- all American-based companies. The Japanese electronics houses seem to view everything they make as a CE (consumer electronics) device. That is, no user modifications possible, and no software upgrades allowed-- i.e please throw it away and buy the new model instead. As often discussed on these forums, the attitude most camera manufacturers have towards offering firmware updates demonstrates this all too well.

Is there any hope in sight? Are there any current model cameras that are embracing this philosophy?
BB is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 29, 2004, 1:14 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 438
Default

They are camera companies, not computer companies,and want you to buy a new one when yours gets obsolete.
luisr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2004, 4:58 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Mikefellh's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 1,707
Default

And you have to remember that in the early days of computing (the home computer wars of the 80's) every computer company had their own OS and non-compatible hardware...it's only because companies like IBM and Apple were sloppy and lazy with their hardware designs and used off the shelf chips that we have clones (unlike the other companies who used custom chips that were copyrighted).

Personally though, I'd rather have every company with their own standards rather than one standard...otherwise we'd be stuck with poor cameras just like we are stuck with poor IBM clones, Macs, and Linux BOXES, rather than having the choice of a superior design!

I admit I'd like to see a camera with built-in bluetooth if anything...it's useless to put in a networking card as you'll have to take out your memory card to do it! ;-)
Mikefellh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2004, 5:21 PM   #4
BB
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 39
Default

luisr wrote:
Quote:
They are camera companies, not computer companies, and want you to buy a new one when yours gets obsolete.
Uhhh, I believe computer companies would very much like to sell you a new one when yours gets obsolete as well! It's just that consumers have come to EXPECT computing hardware to have upgradable software rather than being stuck with only the software that originally shipped with it.

With digital cameras, no such expectation seems to exist since it's not the norm. However, if a big name like Canon were to offer such capabilities and promote it in a truly useful manner, this expectation might change over time.
BB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2004, 8:55 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 438
Default

You would need cameras with hardware designed to be upgraded easily. Computers are designed from the start that way.
luisr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2004, 9:32 PM   #6
BB
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 39
Default

Quote:
Personally though, I'd rather have every company with their own standards rather than one standard...otherwise we'd be stuck with poor cameras just like we are stuck with poor IBM clones, Macs, and Linux BOXES, rather than having the choice of a superior design!
I wasn't arguing in favor of a single standard per se. I was thinking more along the lines of having the ability to improve the usefulness of camera hardware by having an OS with a documented API allowing 3rd party developers to install software, much like the Digita OS does. Offering this does not at all necessitate everything being the same.

Quote:
I admit I'd like to see a camera with built-in bluetooth if anything...it's useless to put in a networking card as you'll have to take out your memory card to do it! ;-)
Well, a number of cameras already have two card slots:
Fuji S7000 (CF & xD)
Sony F828 (CF & memory stick)
Olympus C50x0 (CF & xD)

Or the camera could come with Bluetooth or WiFi built-in, just like many PDA's.
BB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 29, 2004, 9:34 PM   #7
BB
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 39
Default

luisr wrote:
Quote:
You would need cameras with hardware designed to be upgraded easily. Computers are designed from the start that way.
No you wouldn't. Take for example PDAs: The hardware of a Palm Pilot is not user upgradable, yet it supports enhancement of the product via the addition of loading 3rd party applications into the unit.
BB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30, 2004, 11:14 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Mikefellh's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 1,707
Default

But the camera hardware is designed only to do what it needs to do. The internal ram in a camera is the expensive, high-speed variety...usually just large enough to hold the highest resolution, largest filesize.

Anyway, if you want to play with coding you should get an Olympus with the Olympus SDK. That allows you to control the camera via the computer (although it seems that Olympus is putting that behind them...due to the limited amount of space for the flash update, the Olympus SDK code is being replaced by PictBridge code; used for direct printing from camera to printer without a computer). The only company that really took advantage of the SDK is Pinetree...I've played with it, but it's been over a year. Check it out at:
http://www.pinetreecomputing.com/camctl.asp
Mikefellh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30, 2004, 1:51 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
BruceMcL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 106
Default

1) Not all camera users replace their cameras when they get out of date. It is routine for manufacturers of very expensive digital cameras to issue firmware updates which enhance the features of the camera.

2) I have replaced the firmware in my camera with firmware for a different model, and the camera still worked. The features were about the same, but the images looked different. I think that, rather than adding features to the camera, completely replacing the firmware is a better idea.

3) Most computer users do not buy their operating system and their hardware from the same company. Microsoft, which sells Windows, does not even make computers. Eventually I think cameras will work the same way. "I have a Nikon XL-12 running Symbian 3.4," will be how photographers describe their cameras.

4) I can see how some camera manufacturers would benefit from having an open source camera OS. Then they don't have to worry about competing with other camera companies on software. They can concentrate on building the best hardware and can advertise that their lenses, sensors, body, etc. are the best around.

5) I think digital camera software could use a lot of improvement. I think the manufacturers are still trying to catch up in this area. To a degree they are stuck in the analog mindset. Allowing the community at large to write firmware would lead to big improvements in user interface, useability, and exposure control.
BruceMcL is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 1:12 AM.