Is Simple Better?

With modern design trends trending1 towards sleek and minimalistic, many devices are losing tactile buttons and knobs in favor of touch screens, laptops with alternative/function keys (or less keys at all) or other visually simpler controls. Compare the remote controls from a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, to those of a cable box. Yeah, simple is on the rise.

Cameras are striking in their resistance to this trend. Sure, in the world of consumer point-and-clicks, you get simple one-button cameras, but from the professional level up, knobs and buttons all the way. It’s easy to judge a camera by The more knobs it has, the nicer, and pricier, it probably is.

In my opinion, the best controls of a camera are the ones you don’t need to look at. Despite how visual cameras are, it’s a pain to have to look at them. Professional DSLR’s have wonderful features that can keep the eye focused on the world around them, like HUD’s2 in the viewfinder that report the current exposure settings. This way one can adjust the settings (with knobs that give tactical ‘clicky’ feedback) without having to take their eye out of the viewfinder.

Good cameras, like any good tool (or weapon?), becomes extensions of the body. Using them should be seamless and flawless.

When you get a new camera, take time to read the manual. Learn how to adjust all of the different settings, and learn where in the submenu’s all those settings are.

Cameras should be interacted with, but in a secondary nature. One’s primary focus should be on the world around them. Watching, looking, observing, even listening. A good camera will train you to pay attention to the world, not to it’s confusing submenu’s.

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