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Do You Want It All To Be Instant?

I’m sure you can see the writing on the wall. As more and more apps appear on cell phones, and point and shoot cameras, the immediacy of being able to edit images has become a large trend in every area of photography except perhaps DSLR shooting. Even then, tablets tethered, via a wire or wirelessly, to a DSLR and creating a hybrid system for taking an image and instantly manipulating it.

The question I have for you is; Do you want editing controls in-camera?

The popularity of Instagram and other apps like it is starting to bare out a desire in consumers to be able to instantly manipulate images after shooting and sometimes even before saving them. But we have seen trends like this before in digital photography. Think of the craze of HDR (more specifically, overdone HDR) and how it seemed rampant and has since cooled. Like many fads. (Note: I am not calling HDR a fad, it’s not. The desire to overuse the effects of HDR had a noted increase, peak and has since decreased in perceived popularity among the general populace).

Is this desire to add a toy camera filter to an image or apply Fuji Velvia like qualities just a passing fad?

For my own take on the debate, here are some things I would like to see added to DSLRs (before we simply switch over to neural implants, which surely are coming in a matter of time):

  • Instant dust removal. This shouldn’t be too hard and is something most manufacturers support in their computer-based software. Move it into the camera but also include the edit data so it can be backed out if it turns out to be a bad edit.
  • HDR. Actually, no. Not really HDR, because that is, realistically, a short lived stepping stone. The idea behind HDR is that the digital sensors today has around 8 stops of dynamic range, depending on which site you read and which camera is used. The human eye, at one point in time, can handle about 14 stops, again depending on what you read. The technique is to use multiple images at different exposure values then combine them via a computer program to gain a larger dynamic range than the sensor alone can accomplish. I expect HDR to be eclipsed by simply better sensors to the point where they surpass the human eye and brain’s capability to ‘read’ light. So while HDR editing in camera may come, it will eventually go in its current form.
  • Greater sharing. We all love to share, to some extent or another. Many point and shoot cameras already have wifi capabilities coupled with access to Facebook and Twitter accounts. Why not DSLRs?
  • Edit via phone or tablet. Wirelessly connect a phone or table with a camera and have the ability to edit the image and save the edit back to the camera. This coupling would also have the ability to save the adjustments as presets, on the fly in the field, and then save that preset to the camera to be applied to future shots.

If you’re reading this post you are more interested than the general populace when it comes to photography. You have an active interest and that’s why I am curious about your take on the ability to instantly control images in-camera. Not only let us know if you want more control in-camera, but also let us know what controls make sense in-camera and which are still best left to a larger processor and screen.

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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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