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Canon Readies First Touchscreen DSLR

Gordon Kelly


Canon Readies First Touchscreen DSLR

I'm surprised it has taken this long, then again DSLR users aren't the greatest fans of change...

So potentially jolting professional photographers' surgically steady hands this week is Canon which has filed a patent to produce the first touchscreen DSLR. And yes, the images do look like they were drawn by a four year old, or me.

The Photography Bay made the crucial spot and also broke down the patent to discover the touchscreen will not just be for navigation, but for adjusting settings with gesture controls. Primary to these will be swiping vertically to change aperture values and horizontally to adjust shutter speed. Focus detection area, flash adjustment correction, photometry mode (metering mode), Drive, ISO value, auto focus, white balance and exposure correction will also all be finger friendly.

Potentially this all sounds swell, though I can't help but think a) gesture control simply isn't as precise as buttons and dials and b) it represents change so DSLR users will instinctively hate it. Still, the move was inevitable and I suspect we'll see the first touchscreen DSLRs within the next 12 to 18 months. I best whisper this gently to Cliff...


via Photography Bay


December 4, 2009, 3:59 pm

I can see touchscreen being quite useful for navigating menus and things, but not really for adjusting photo settings. I'm just amazed this hasn't been patented before - perhaps canon were amazed too and just wanted to get in there first?

Jay Werfalli

December 4, 2009, 5:08 pm

I agree, I think this has real potential. For a start, swiping to preview images and pinching to zoom in and out of them sounds intuitive to me.


December 4, 2009, 6:07 pm

Jay - is it really any more "intuitive" than simply rolling a dial or pushing buttons/switches? Either of the latter methods only requires one finger while pinching a screen takes two; plus unlike touchscreens you can operate buttons/dials while wearing gloves.

That said, I do see possible advantages - if done properly it could be a great way of selecting focus or metering points - but I'd still want good manual controls as well.

Incidentally as a dSLR user I don't hate change; I welcome change - when it provides actual benefits and does not come at the expense of basic functions and useability (and higher prices).


December 4, 2009, 7:09 pm

I wonder what it'll be like when it's pressed up against your nose, I suppose they'll have some sort of proximity sensor to deactivate the screen. I can see this making big waves in the amateur market, ie. below the **D market.

I'd be very surprised if this tech makes it over to pro bodies in any capacity other that flipping the screen for picture review, and even then I wouldn't want that as the screen would get mucky. Pro's need buttons - lots of lovely, intuitive, well placed buttons!

Geoff Richards

December 4, 2009, 9:45 pm

I'm skeptical about the usefulness of this, as Gordon highlights. However, if it means a display the size of an iPod touch on the back, with no buttons at all, THEN it starts to get interesting :D


December 4, 2009, 10:09 pm

Geoff - yes, very interesting when you have to take off your gloves in sub-zero temperatures to operate the camera, or are unable to do anything until you've wiped the easily-smeared screen :P

Jay Werfalli

December 5, 2009, 5:06 am

On my Canon 1D Mark II I had to use a button to zoom in and then two dials to move around preview images in only two axes (two fingers and a thumb in total!) - all in pre-defined steps dictated by the contact points on the dials and the programmed zoom levels of the button. It all depends upon how well it is implemented. However, I agree that using the screen while wearing gloves will be an issue, so I'd still want the original dial/button options too! I don't think relying solely on a touchscreen at the expense of all buttons will gain acceptance on pro bodies at all

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