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December 13, 2006

Usability in Photography

Category: Daniel Hinderink Daniel Hinderink

I got a new camera a few days ago, only to discover it does what my old one did, but better. In this game the usability of the camera is to photographic possibility like a lens that substracts any amount of light from 100% to hit the sensor (or film). Why am I telling you this? Because it makes designing a great product easier to measure.

My granddads first dictaphone's manual. No kidding.

Let me quote one mad man of photo technology, Ken Rockwell (and boy is he in need of TYPO3!):

"Good cameras are designed by people who understand photography. They know what adjustments are important. They know how and when those features and adjustments are used. They make these features easy to access, and add new features to help solve common problems.

Good cameras have a button dedicated to each important control. Bad cameras require multiple button pushes, shared buttons or use a dial to choose which to adjust. Awful cameras hide these adjustments in menus. Useless cameras lack some adjustments.

Bad cameras are designed by committees, electronics companies and people unfamiliar with serious photography. They may read books or copy other cameras to learn what features to include, but don't understand them well enough to prioritize them properly. They may forget critical things, like a shade white balance setting. If they don't understand what's important, they may do something stupid like hide white balance back in a menu along with file numbering or language options.

File numbering and language preferences are set once. They belong in a menu.

Pros adjust things like exposure, ISO and white balance every time the light or scene changes. This can be for every shot! I set quality high for shots I plan to use, and set it low for record shots of things like the signs marking a location."

This is exactly what counts for any kind of tool, including a CMS like TYPO3.

If it does what it takes with less clicks and puts less obstacles in the way of getting things done from the perspective of the content author, the reviewever, the publisher, the administrator and the developer, then it is on route to becoming a favourite.

Thanks to Ken Rockwell for letting me use his text snippet from "What makes a great camera" While you are there, be sure not to miss this article to put things into perspective. If you are looking for serious camera reviews, be sure to also check out


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