Back in September, Fotostrasse was invited by Canon to see everything that was new in the camera world at Photokina in Cologne. As the world’s largest photography trade show, this was heaven for anyone that loves cameras, photo gear and apps. But I came out of the place with a sour taste in my mouth. But it wasn’t the overpriced food in there. I was disappointed how most camera makers I visited and talked to at Photokina weren’t fixing one of the problems I have now. I share this problem with a lot of photographers and the problem is speed.
We’re in 2016 and the speed of the world is fast. If I take a picture with my DSLR in the morning, I want to show it to my friends and followers in minutes. I might publish it on EyeEm, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook or Twitter but I want to be able to do that fast and without any problems.
This is one of the reasons why I use my iPhone camera so much. It’s easier to take a picture, edit it and share it in a couple of minutes, without any hassle. But, doing the same with a proper DSLR is a headache that most people avoid and camera makers seem to being unable to fix. Let’s talk about how could we fix this.
A SIM Card in every camera?
The first solution that come to my mind is to add a SIM card slot in the camera and make it possible for users to share the pictures anywhere without many problems. But, after thinking about this for a few moments, it seems like the worst solution for the problem.
Data plans would make it impractical. Also, I don’t know anybody that would pay for another SIM card just to upload pictures online straight from the camera. It seems like an idea that would make sense but it might be the worst user experience move ever.
Samsung tried this before with its Galaxy Smart Camera, an Android powered camera with wi-fi and a SIM card that was so good that I never met anyone with one. Even if you research about it on Samsung’s own website, you won’t find that much about it now.
A SIM Card for DSLR would be useful but it’s too complicated and there are better ways to fix this.
What about Bluetooth?
Bluetooth might be a cool solution for this problem but I believe it’s too slow for good quality pictures. It might be faster if you ignore some picture quality and it seems that people are willing to do that. In the end, our social networks are not made for huge pictures with amazing resolution. They exist for us to share cool pictures even though the resolution might not be the perfect.
We’re not opposed to high-quality pictures but most people consume and create photographic content with a completely different focus.
A 8K camera?!?!#canonphotokina #photokina2016 pic.twitter.com/vITaiGYi4W
— Fotostrasse (@fotostrasse) September 20, 2016
Is Wi-fi the best option available?
I believe that most big camera manufacturers believe that wi-fi is the answer for this speed problem. Most of them have been shipping cameras with built in wi-fi for a couple of years now and it seems to be working, except when it isn’t.
At least this has been my experience with a Sony camera I use quite a lot and a new Canon I got a couple of months ago.
The problem with using wi-fi for image transfer is that it works in a bizarre way. So the camera poses as a wi-fi hotspot and you can connect your phone to it. You go to your phone settings and you connect to it. If something happens to the wi-fi connection, you have to find your way around it. Often this means leaving the app, trying to reconnect the camera and opening the image transferring app again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is not the best user experience and I believe that camera companies can do better than that.
Another thing that bothers me with the wi-fi is that, when I connect to my camera wi-fi, my phone assumes that it will be my internet connection as well. So, if I want to share the pictures I just transferred from my camera, I need to disconnect one more time and there are too many steps here. I’m just looking for something easier and simpler and it seems like nobody is trying to fix this problem.
In the last few years, photography has shifted its direction to become more and more about sharing on social media. This is how users see photography. Camera makers must know this but I don’t see them trying to fix the problems we have as users.
At least, this is what I saw at Photokina. It was the biggest celebration of photography i ever saw in my life and, yet, I didn’t see much evidence of camera makers trying to fix the problems we have as users. There were a lot of really cool and new things there but my problems are not yet fixed. Maybe, in two years, I’ll visit Photokina again and see how it goes. But I really hope there is a fix for this way before.
Photokina 2018 will happen between 25 and 30 September.