This is something that comes back once in a while: A camera gets reviewed at Neocamera, we give it the best rating possible and someone writes telling us that this is a truly wonderful camera and that we are completely wrong about all the bad things we said about it. The bad things they are usually referring to is the list of Cons.
No camera has an empty list of Cons, even the best one. Why is that? Because I am a critic. It is my job to look at each camera and report findings. Now, I’m not looking for flaws or to torture the camera, I simply try to take good pictures. In doing so, and because I have tried so many cameras, I know how efficient and comfortable each operation can be. No manufacturer has implemented the most efficient way for everything the camera can do. I wish someone did, but that has not happened yet. Some manufacturers are extremely good at ergonomics and implementing functionality and most manufacturer have innovated somewhere and implemented something great that helps photographers take better pictures more efficiently.
Bringing back beautiful photographs of whatever subject is the most important. That is what drives a camera’s rating first. Image quality is king because it cannot be compensated for. Ergonomics and such help greatly with the usability of a camera but do not prevent it from taking great pictures.
Here are innovative features from several manufacturers that make photography more efficient :
- Canon Rebels have a mode called A-Dep which uses distance information from all focus points to select an appropriate aperture so that the depth of field covers the distance to each focus point.
- Pentax introduced a TAv on the K10D mode where the photographer selects both shutter-speed and aperture while the camera ensures a proper exposure by selecting an appropriate ISO.
- Nikon DSLRs have details control over the behavior of Auto ISO. Both the Auto ISO range and minimum shutter-speed can be selected to let the photographer decide the point at which shutter-speed would be too low for a subject.
- The eye-start sensor on the Sony Alpha A700 not only controls the rear LCD, it can also activate autofocus to reduce the time it spends focusing when the shutter is pressed halfway.
- Olympus has spot-metering modes that let the photographers select what brightness corresponds to highlights or shadows in the final image, instead of having to select the mid-tone which is often more difficult.
- Fuji created a sensor with two photosites per pixel to capture more dynamic range in a single exposure than any other digital camera.
- Konica-Minolta invented sensor-shift image stabilization. The technology was passed on to Sony but has become so important that it is now used in cameras from Pentax, Olympus, Casio, Samsung, Nikon and Fuji.
- Konica-Minolta also pioneered the eye-start sensor which appears in camera’s from Sony, Canon and Nikon.
There are many more such innovations. The point is that each of these innovations improve some aspect of photography and that no camera does all of them. So, criticism should be taking as it is, a description of some of the things that could be better. Each point should be evaluated in terms of how it affects your photography. Not all cons are equal and the same con is not equal to itself when faced with different situations.