Surprising Omissions


Every so often I am surprised at something that the photographic manufacturers come up with – the 360 degree camera for instance. And equally surprised that they do not do something else that would seem obvious. Here are a few missing links:

a.  The folding-reflector electronic flash. In the flurry of speedlights that have HSS and TTL and BO, I would have expected someone to remember the folding fan flashgun of the film era. It provided a wonderfully wide flash illumination and then folded down to nothing in the bag. Tiny flash tubes are made in a semi-circular shape that can charge effectively from 2 AA batteries – they would form the perfect light source for this historic, yet flattering illumination. And no hot bulbs shattering onto the subject.

b.We have hot-shoe flashes in auto, manual and TTL form. We also have thumb rests that slot into the hotshoe to help steady a camera. But we do not have the two combined. I want just that. Surely it cannot be difficult…

c. Some time back I played with a gyroscopic stabiliser for cameras that had been in the shop inventory for decades. It was heavy, noisy, and frightening as it spun a flywheel at high speed to steady cameras. Giant battery, 1950’s electrical switches, etc. Totally outclassed by the modern IS, OS, VR VC and whatever anti-shake systems. Great things if they are built into the equipment you own, but many of us have entire systems at present with no body or lens stabilisation and would pay for a smaller and cheaper version of the gyroscopic one. Niche market for the Asian makers…

d. extendable lens hoods. Leica have them, and lots of film lens makers have incorporated them in the past. Nearly everyone else could, but nearly everyone else does not.

e. Totally sealed – charge by induction – output by wifi – cameras that are bigger than the GoPro action cams. Put a fixed lens into a sealed body with an APS-C sensor and toughen it to the point of allowing people carry them wherever and irregardless. Not a fashion item – a picture block. Call it the Argus…

f. Disposable digital. Shoots 8 or 16 Gb…once. Downloads via wifi…once. Then you turn it into the shop for a new one at a slightly reduced price – and the company resets the thing. Plastic, Man. Plastic body, plastic lens, plastic everything. No thinking any more, ever, Man…

g. Rentapod services at every tourist airport. You fly in, pay a deposit, get a tripod or monopod for your holiday. Return it at the airport as you fly out. No baggage worries, no airport arguments.

h. Digital Benser cases. Look up Walter Benser and his modular Leica cases and bags. Do them again in cheaper materials but the same drop-in drop-out modular system. If people collect Tupperware they will collect Benser cases.

I. Internal colour filters for TTL flashes that operate in the actual computer system and adjust what the tube puts out to match the ambient lighting. They can make a power zoom in a flash as standard these days, why not a filter? Save having a massive add-on holder and cage.


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