Digitial Camera User Interfaces

With all the talk of mobile phones and touch screen interfaces, it was nice to come across a fairly complete look at existing camera interfaces, which typically do not get much coverage. Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan, not only gives a great “visual tour” of the top players in camera devices: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Casio, Olympus and Fujifilm, but also a nice round-up on what the various makers are doing right and wrong.

I personally have the Canon PowerShot SD750, and have gotten used to much of its quirky and modal buttons (I probably use about one tenth of the capabilities). Depending on what setting I’ve picked on the slider at the top of the camera, I get different menus when using buttons at the back of the camera. Needless to say, this has gotten me more than once. The things that I love about my Canon are the big, wide screen, the rollover sensor on buttons that presents hints on the display, and of course those easy-to-select automatic settings, such as snow, beach, kids and pets, etc.

Overall, I’m happy with the UI and buttons, but do wish the iconography was a bit more straightforward. I completely agree that the complexity of these menus and mechanisms will only be challenged further as cameras continue to be further overloaded with features. However, I also have hope that simplicity will prevail as industries continue to pay attention to the need for ease-of-use.

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