Noticed the recent explosion of touchscreen cameras? Manufacturers have started to discard all buttons in favour of touchscreen controls. Is it just me, or are they completely out of touch with what we want?
Let me start this off by being very clear on something – I love my touchscreen phone. It’s a joy to use, the apps are brilliant, and I’d sulk if I had to go back to a traditional keypad phone.
But there’s one thing I loathe on my phone – the camera function. Try as I might, I cannot stand taking photos on a touchscreen. That’s why I end up rolling my eyes when more and more camera manufacturers end up releasing touchscreen cameras.
Touchscreen cameras march on
Ok, so scrolling through your photos with the touch of a finger is fun. And spot-focusing, where you tap the part of the screen you want the camera to focus on as it takes a shot? That’s a neat trick. But would I swap a responsive array of buttons and dials for a modern touchscreen? Absolutely not!
Yet that’s exactly what Panasonic has just done with a new model, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2. Its predecessor, the GF1, had a function dial on the top and plenty of buttons on the rear. These features have now been stripped away and replaced with a touchscreen on the GF2.
Now, to access the cameras functions, you have to delve into the screen with your finger – this is nowhere near as intuitive as flicking a dial or pressing a button.
We’ve also tested compact cameras that completely lack buttons on the rear. Some of these even expect you to zoom using the touchscreen, which I’m sure you’ll agree, is far less intuitive than using a regular zoom toggle.
The downsides to touchscreens
I’ve written before about how frustrating LCD screen technology can be when you’re taking photos, but with a touchscreen, things get even worse.
Not only does the screen pick up greasy smears in no time at all, but the drain on battery life is considerable – as any iPhone owner will attest.
Personally, I suspect that manufacturers are only putting touchscreens on new cameras because one, they’re in vogue right now, and two, they’re getting cheaper to produce.
Maybe I’m out of touch myself – but if I wanted to take a snap in a second, my finger would rather reach for some actual buttons than a touchscreen any day.