When I was at Best Buy yesterday looking for the TV antenna that's been out of stock for weeks, at least I got to see the Canon Rebel SL1 (a.k.a. EOS 100D) for the first time.
It might be an impressive exercise in miniaturization, but it's the opposite of elegant. A lumpen, stunted little beastie. It might come close in size to the sleek Fujis and Panasonics and Sonys it is meant in some pathetic way to answer, but has nothing of their exquisite proportion and style.
And yet—predictably perhaps—I would hit the Like button. It's...friendly. I'll bet it's easy to take to...and easy to take along with you. Easy to take, period.
Close in size, maybe. But light years apart in stylishness.
Illustration courtesy Camerasize.com.
—And it's nice and simple, too. It made me want to play with it.
Now, as you might know, I have an unerring sense for the next trend. I have a sixth sense for the Zeitgeist. My thumb is on the very pulse of pop culture.
It's really quite amazing. For instance, the first time I saw an adult wearing a baseball cap backwards, I'm sure I stared in amused amazement. It was a look my friends and I had outgrown by twelve. With one deft fashion move, the guy had made himself look not only like his emotional development had been arrested at approximately age ten, but also like his IQ had recently been lowered surgically. Quite an achievement for one twist of a hat. I remember thinking smugly to myself, well, I might not know a lot about fashion, but that's one fashion that's never going to catch on. It was as plausible as a craze for wearing vests backwards or a boot on one's head.
I still think it looks dumb on grownups, but it developed into a fashion that has been a wee tad more popular than I once imagined.
And ditto for intentionally messy haircuts and four-day beards (although the beard itself is a natty fashion move that will never go out of style).
Next up: "Lunchables." Combine tiny amounts of the unhealthiest possible foods in elaborate, wasteful packaging? Worst food product idea in history. Won't last ten minutes.
Way back when Cher got a tattoo? Impossible to reclaim the shock effect at the time. Only sailors and truck drivers—no, only old sailors and old truck drivers—had tattoos. But beautiful singer/actresses? Beyond daring. And I was dead certain it would never spark a trend.
—And then after it did, I remember thinking, well, at least no black people will be getting tattoos!
In my youth I had a job that took me all over D.C. in a pickup truck. I was sanguine about its usefulness, naturally—the giant tub in back could carry anything up to multiple sheets of 4x8' drywall, and yes, that was a lot better than trying to strap said drywall to the roof of, say, a Beetle. But as a vehicle I could hardly imagine anything more horrible to be stuck driving. To my teenaged self, the BMW 2002tii was perfect. Spacious, light, economical, comfortable, responsive, quick—it was like they could stop trying to improve cars right there; they'd done it. My employer's pickup truck was its antithesis. Somewhat earlier in life, I also had to drive a Ford Bronco with a small-block V8 delivering medicine all over Ozaukee County for a pharmacy. Granted, its 4WD might come in handy in a pinch—but it was a crude little pig of a truck that drove like a very fast forklift. Then, inexplicably, a few weirdos started driving Jeep Wagoneers and Broncos by choice, as normal everyday vehicles to get around in. Just flat odd, I thought. Takes all kinds. I honestly believe I snorted the first time I heard the term "sport utility vehicle." Misbegotten and lame! Like they were going to get the men and women of America to drive around in trucks, after the oil crisis. Yeah, right! That would never happen. And no one would ever in a million years drive a pickup truck unless, of course, they had to.
Ahem. Now I drive an SUV. Granted, the one I drive is still the only SUV I've ever been behind the wheel of (true), but still.
Prescient, I tell you. Thumb on the pulse.
So anyway, I'm calling it: the next trend in cameras is going to be simplicity. How minimalist can they be? How few controls can a camera have and still have all the controls it needs? The most radical, up-to-the-moment cameras are going to be the most sleek, most svelte, most intuitive ones. Companies will vie to see who can make the simplest, most responsive, easiest-to-learn cameras. Each one will be more beautiful and elegant than the last. The public will lap them up.
It will be a Renaissance, I tell you. A high point. I should know—I have a feel for these things.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Mark: "As far as I am concerned sports photographers started the backward baseball cap trend. The cap being backward is a wonderful thing. The cap keeps the sun off your head and the bill helps to shade the back of your neck. Plus it keeps the bill from getting in the way when shooting verticals. Any time I am shooting either an event or a sport outdoors, I suddenly become a backward-cap-wearing late 40s fashionista who does not feel at all stupid thanks the the cameras around my neck and shoulder which make this look justified."
Mike replies: So you're saying it's photographers who are responsible for...a fashion faux pas? Say it isn't so. [g]
John Krill: "The new Leica M is probably the best example of this trend in simplicity. Talk about few, if no buttons, the Leica is a sure leader."
Mike replies: You're right, Leica is the leader in this. I really hope it catches on. May they lead the way.
Joe: "Have to disagree about the four-day-old beards—it's in the retired guys' Bill of Rights. After shaving nearly every day of my working life, I've earned my four-day-old beard!"
Mike replies: You'll learn. After you're retired for a while, it will just be a beard, one that you trim once a week. We don't need no steenkeeng shaving! Go Joe.
(Exception: guys whose wives do not approve beards. I know several.)
Edward Taylor: "Well, I finally got my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera yesterday, and it is incredibly simple—very few controls. And how did I feel? Limited? No, I felt strangely liberated. With only a few controls, I knew what every button and control did within minutes. I think the concept has some staying power."
Tbannor: "I love the SL1. It's tiny, unobtrusive, especially with the kit 18–55mm STM lens, and quiet, even when not in silent mode. Silent mode pretty much is anywhere there is background noise. Image quality is just fine. I'm not a huge EVF fan, so it works for me. I don't care much what a camera looks like as long as it works."
Hugh Smith: "Before I became a poor pro photographer, I worked in a camera shop. There I predicted with your accuracy that no one would invent autofocus...Bell and Howell tried with triangulation. Then, with equal precision, I predicted digital would never replace film. I'm right up there with you, Mike."
Auntipode: "As a camera curmudgeon, I hate complex controls and I distrust automation. My phone's camera never gives me what I want. I like the images from my OM-D E-M5, but I hate the littered protuberance of potato-eye buttons and the Byzantine menu system. Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!"
Mike adds: Yeah! Get off her lawn!