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Old Jul 20, 2004, 2:56 PM   #1
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Panasonic and Leica have the right idea, but in the wrong price range.

Imagine if you will, a Canon A80 with a lens that is always extended and has a simple zoom ring (a MECHANICAL zoom ring), add to that a non-dedicated hot shoe which can handle old thyristor auto flash units like the Vivitar 283, A mechanical focus would also be nice, but possibly expensive if you have autofocus, so I can live without that (I very rarely use manual focus on my Minolta Maxxums, but it should have some form of focus lock). Make it run on AA batteries and include NiMH and charger (NO propietary batteries, big deal if they last longer, but have you ever seen the price to replace one). Allow as much control over exposure as the Canon but reduce the lag time to near film camera levels. If they can produce that for $400 I want one.

One more thing, let it look like a camera, don't make it shiny and pretty, simple black will do, with real buttons and dials rather than menus.

I know I just described the new Panasonic (or the Leica) but I can't afford the premium prices of these models, give me a budget camera that works as a camera, not just a P&S.



Anyone have anything to add to the "simple camera" wish list? BTW if this camera exists let me know.



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Old Jul 20, 2004, 3:16 PM   #2
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Simple? You mean you don't want the new AutoPic models?.

You know, the ones that automatically take photos for you, based on sophisticated scene analysis and user profiling -- so that it already knows your likes and dislikes? Why be bothered with manual controls, when you can simply wear your new camera and let it do the work for you?

Have you not seen the new features recently added to these models, so that they can transmit photos taken based on your profiles to friends and family members, so that they get the ones based ontheir user profiles, too?

Don't you think the new "self learning" modes are great, so that you can "fine tune" the process as you keep the camera longer - with less and less user input for getting the greatest photos?

Of course, some standardization is needed. Epson's new BIM (Brain Image Matching) standard is not fully compatible with Adobe's PEI (Photo Emotion Index) standard.

So, if you aren't careful, an automatic photo taken by your camera with one standard, set to give you a smile when you see it; may cause an outburst of laughter when interfacing with a system using another standard. However, you can get an Photo Emotion Calibration tool to make it work better.

I'm sure it will continue to improve, so that you'll never need to be bothered with touching any controls again!

Also, how would you ever learn to get along without the built in interface to weather radar systems? If it weren't for that, you may find your camera taking photos in less than optimal conditions for what you like in a photo?

Darn.... I just don't understand how you'd get by! :?


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Old Jul 20, 2004, 3:21 PM   #3
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I guess I'll have to wait for the retinal implant and forget about cameras altogether!!
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Old Jul 20, 2004, 3:28 PM   #4
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The ironic thing about it, is that it used to cost you more to get a camera with more sophisticated features (like autoexposure).

Now, it costs more to get a camera with manual control.

Such is the world we live in.


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Old Jul 20, 2004, 3:35 PM   #5
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BTW, if you missed the press release on it back in March, Epson is coming out with a new model that may be worth takinga look at (although, it'll probably be "pricey" -- especially with an APS-C size sensor):

http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/ep...04_rd1_pr.html

Of course, the glass you'd want will probaby "break the bank", too.
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 6:56 AM   #6
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I've seen the Epson plan, looks like it will be way out of my price range.



I think the issue that bothers me most is that these collapsible lenses take so long to extend that they reduce the performance of the camera significantly, and power zoom is required because of the collapsible lens "Catch 22". Someone needs to remember that there are photography enthusiasts out there who cannot afford a DSLR and would be thrilled by a simple $300-$400 camera.

1. Why does everything under $500 have to fit in a pocket?

2. Why is fake shiny metal so popular?

3. Why do we need menus to select features which were so easily done with separate knobs and buttons?

4. Who does the funky design work on most of these consumer models?

5. Why must we be constantly inundated with new words like "prosumer", I would rather be called an advanced amateur?

I don't care if the camera is a viewfinder model or an EVF, but stop making that lens crank in and out. Take the Fuji S5000 as an example, why make the lens retract when most people would probably keep the filter adapter on all the time anyway, with the S3000 they actually recommend that the adapter be left in place to protect the lens mechanism. These cameras do not fit in normal pockets anyway so why carry on this pretense. Sony, Minolta and Panasonic (Leica) are the only companies that havefixed lenses with manual controls even at the higher price point.



Ira, whining again

BTW my Pentax Optio 33L takes great pictures, but only on its own terms, I want to take pictures on my terms, 27 years of using a Pentax K1000 will do that to a person. I now use Minolta Maxxums as my film cameras but the digital Maxxum looks like it will also be a high end camera, not like a Canon 300D.

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Old Jul 21, 2004, 7:53 AM   #7
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Why are so many photographers in love with black?
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:16 AM   #8
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Edit - quotes fixed.

Quote:
I've seen the Epson plan, looks like it will be way out of my price range.
I did some more research. It's going to be extremely pricey! It looks like it will be a limited production run of 10,000 units and will sell for around $3,500.00

Quote:
I think the issue that bothers me most is that these collapsible lenses take so long to extend that they reduce the performance of the camera significantly, and power zoom is required because of the collapsible lens "Catch 22". Someone needs to remember that there are photography enthusiasts out there who cannot afford a DSLR and would be thrilled by a simple $300-$400 camera.
Not all power zoom lenses are slow. I've got a little pocket camera (Konica KD-510z) with a sliding cover and extending lens design that starts up in 1.3 seconds. You can also go from full wide angle to full zoom in a hair over 1 second.

Quote:
1. Why does everything under $500 have to fit in a pocket?
LOL --- Well consumers want smaller cameras. So, the manufacturers oblige. I like a pocket camera for convenience (so I can carry one with me everywhere in a pocket). However, they do have their drawbacks (brightness of the lens, ergonomics, control layout, flash range, redeye from the flash being located close to the lens, higher noise from smaller CCD sensors, etc.).

Unfortunately, there is no "free ride". If you want something small enough to fit in a pocket, then you'll need to live with the drawbacks.

I went to a wedding Sunday. I took my little pocket camera, along with a Nikon 35mm SLR. The lighting conditions were quite harsh for the main ceremony (under a large Gazeebo in shadows overlooking the water, poor light and raining out, backlit ceremony due to light coming in from the openings in the back of the Gazeebo, etc.), and I used the 35mm for that, with ASA 400 (or rather, umm, ISO 400) film.

Otherwise, most pics were taken with the little pocket model.

I personally wouldn't want to have a larger camera around my neck ALL the time, and the pocket camera will take superb pics in most lighting. It's only when you increase ISO speed that noise can become objectional to my eyes. For some uses, I'd prefer a larger camera, but the convenience of a smaller camera is nice.

Quote:
3. Why do we need menus to select features which were so easily done with separate knobs and buttons?
Well, it's probably much more expensive to design a digital camera with mechanical knobs and switches.

Quote:
4. Who does the funky design work on most of these consumer models?
Good Question! There are some strange designs.

Quote:
5. Why must we be constantly inundated with new words like "prosumer", I would rather be called an advanced amateur?
Interestingly, Steve refers to the entry level DSLR models (Canon Digital Rebel and Nikon D70) as "Amateur DSLR" in his "The Best Cameras" list now, which is a more correct way to label 'em:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/best_cameras.html

Yes, it is a strange name (Prosumer). Marketing Hype! When you buy a "higher end" small sensor camera, then I guess it makes people feel like they are a "PROsumer" LOL -- It probably helps to sell more cameras.

Quote:
I don't care if the camera is a viewfinder model or an EVF, but stop making that lens crank in and out.
Actually, the Optical Viewfinders are still superior to me. EVF's are getting better, but they still introduce delay.

Quote:
I now use Minolta Maxxums as my film cameras but the digital Maxxum looks like it will also be a high end camera, not like a Canon 300D.
Well, speculation and rumor (from those claiming to be "in the know" has it that it will be priced along the same lines as the EOS-10D (or it's replacement). Some of the Minolta users (especially those with a large investment in lenses) are pretty excited about it. Rumor has it that they will announce full frame model as well (eliminating the crop factor you have with the APS-C size sensors).[/quote]

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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:25 AM   #9
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P.S.

Give it some time. We're already we're seeing some smaller DSLR models (like the new Olympus E-1, using a 4/3 system).

As technology advances, prices will continue to drop. The sensors are the most expensive part of a camera. Once larger sensors drop in price a little, I imagine that you'll start seeing more "affordable" models with manual controls.


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Old Jul 21, 2004, 10:31 AM   #10
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I will be waiting for the Maxxum digital, hopefully there will be a Digital Rebel class coming later. Hopefully the shake up at Minolta (sorry, Konica-Minolta) will not cause to many problems, in recent years Minolta has produced the best featured entry level 35mm cameras out there, if that philosophy carries over into DSLRs there could be something in my range. I have every focal length from 19mm to 210mm covered right now, with a cheap Phoenix 500mm mirror lens for the super telephoto end (actually not a bad lens in good lighting with a tripod, but no award winner, except for price). My lenses are mostly first generation Maxxum so they are well built with constant aperture zooms, but they are heavy.



As for digital, my Pentax Optio 33L takes very good pictures, all it lacks is greater manual control and an optical viewfinder. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I need to adapt to the technology, since it is not likely to adapt to me (at least not at a price point that I can currently afford) I include an image captured by the Pentax just last week.



Thanks for the interesting discussion.
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