After years of looking through view finders a fixed LCD screen on a compact camera as the only way to compose a shot to me feels wrong. Yet I’ll use my iPhone 3 at times to do exactly the same thing and it feels natural. Odd eh? I’ll rotate the screen on the G11 and use it like a waist level finder on a medium format or TLR camera without a moments thought about it feeling wrong or not.
Now make the display on that screen only option the size of an iPad and it takes on a whole new life. While walking through Tent City at St Paul’s a few days ago I watched a man taking pictures of the many posters that had been stuck to the surrounding buildings. With his iPad2 held at a relaxed arms length it was like he was holding a large finished glossy print. He’d move and rotate the device to get his ideal perspective and tap it, shot taken. It got me thinking about the optics on the iPad2 and iPhone 4S and how compact camera sales could be in for an even bigger knocking than I’d previously thought thanks to Apple and Google Android powered tables. My compact camera makers should be getting into the tablet markets? With network enabled dSLR cameras and software that allows viewing and shooting using iPhone and iPad screens maybe we’ll see dSLR usage change over time too with this large format live view getting onto the street. It’s already used in studios via things like Lightroom’s tethered shooting, so it’s only a matter of making it less dependant on a laptop or workstation sitting between the camera and display. Watch this space as they say..