Random Thoughts

Games digital camera manufacturers play

Written by Gail Bjork

Why some buyers are sitting on the sidelines until manufacturers give us back features on our favorite digital camera that they’ve removed.

CautionI upgrade my digital camera at least once a year. I’m currently in the market for a new compact camera but will be sitting on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.

There certainly is a wide variety of camera models on the market but, to quote a photography forum participant, camera manufacturers have “gotten stingy with the features, and there isn’t one in the bunch that does what I want.”

Exactly my sentiments as of this writing!

We photo enthusiasts are not looking for the perfect camera. We’d like a few advanced models to choose from that have a majority of key features readily available today: Image Stabilization, decent high ISO capability, a hot shoe, a wide to long telephoto zoom range (how about 28mm – 300mm/equivalent). Some want a twist and tilt LCD and a RAW file format too.

These requests are reasonable and doable.

I happen to be a member of the crowd that believes camera manufacturers are dragging their feet for a reason. They want us to buy the more lucrative digital single lens reflex cameras and spend money on interchangeable lenses.

But there are many who don’t what to lug around a camera and a bag full of lenses.

Bits and pieces

So some continue to sit on the sidelines, tired of seeing good features taken of “this” digital camera and put on “that” one.

Take the Canon G7.

Canon G series cameras have a loyal following. As the camera has evolved it has features users have come to expect, such as RAW file and a twist and tilt LCD. The new G7 has neither. But the less featured A640 has a articulating LCD, but Canon forgot to included a hot shoe.

The Canon A700, announced February 21, 2006, is a moderately priced digital camera with a 6X zoom. It has no Image Stabilization even though another Canon camera announced the same time, the Canon SD700, does.

So what does Canon do six months later but announce the A710-IS. And we all know what IS stands for. The A710-IS has a megapixel more than it’s predecessor, some minor improvements and got a face lift. Feature wise though, it’s about the same camera as the A700!

I certainly don’t mean to be picking on Canon. Other manufacturers do this too. But I’ve owned several Canon cameras so am most familiar with the brand.

Digital camera shipments growing

According to Lyra Research, digital camera  shipments will exceed 130 million in 2010. Surely the majority of purchasers will be new digital camera users. But the research also found that large numbers of current digital camera users upgraded to new models.

As buyers of second, third and fourth digital cameras become more of a force to be reckoned with, maybe manufacturers will start listening. I wish they would do so now.

Until then, many remain on the sidelines.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.