The return of analog!

Leica just announced their v2 Digilux digital camera. The killer feature? It works just like a real camera. Oh for god sakes.

With the LEICA DIGILUX 2, Leica Camera AG, Solms, presents a high-performance digital reportage camera for ‘traditional photography’. It is the first Leica digital camera that can be operated like a professional analogue camera: the crucial photographic parameters such as focus, aperture, shutter speed, and focal length can be set using rings on the lens and a shutter speed dial, as on a classic reflex camera.

Erik makes some good points about complexity, or rather the notion of simplicity in product design. Along these same lines, wouldn’t you think the easiest way to overcome the complexity of a digital camera would be to design it in such a way that it acts just like a regular film camera? Now that would be a camera ANY photographer could use. But my digital camera has all kinds of goofy switches and knobs, 75% of which I never use. Oh to use film speed, apeture, focus and focal length to compose a shot.

Effectively, Leica is promoting the camera as a digital analog camera. Taking the word literally, “digital analog,” of course makes no sense. But from a product design standpoint, it makes perfect sense. Why introduce all kinds of complex knobs and switches when all photographers really want are classic features they already know how to use? Or thought about from the opposite perspective (that of manufacturers), how can we migrate photo buffs to go digital? ‘Hey I got an idea! How about we build a digital camera that works just like a film based camera?’ “By-joe Watson, I think you’ve got it!”