Re-imagining the Camera

The camera has come a long way since its origins in the 19th century. Well, actually, maybe it hasn't. Sure, the lenses have gotten sharper and the burst modes are higher faster, film was born and died and pixels are higher than the speed limit of a highway. Jump for moreThere needs to be a revolutionized way for normal consumers to interact with a camera; gone are the days where we carry a point and shoot and our other gadgets. The camera needs to go through an user experience change similar to the way smartphones did in 2007 when the iPhone came out - it can't be denied that the iPhone didn't change everything we considered a phone to be. I'm not talking about dumping a high resolution camera in a smartphone because a smartphone will never give you the results you want for a picture that lasts. While the saying 'the best camera is the one you have on you' applies to smartphones, the concept of combining a smartphone into a camera needs to be explored; instead of the current theory of combining a camera into a smartphone - a significant difference there. A story broke on Gizmodo this week about a creative agency that is exploring this exact problem with the camera industry, and if their prototype is any indication of things to come then the future is very, very exciting for consumers. The agency, Artefact is exploring some very specific questions about the way we look at a camera:
Why cameras today still look like they did 60 years ago? Why does my camera not help me on the way to becoming a better photographer? Why is it not possible to share an image taken right there and then from the camera over a social network? Why are our cameras not expandable through apps in the same way as our mobile phones are? (Via Artefact, Camera-Futura)
These are some fundamental questions that will need to be answered in the coming years as consumers want to stay connected socially through all their gadgets. Artefact has seemingly solved this problem with a prototype unit called Camera-Futura. Artefact even had a working demo of this product at CES2011 this year: If you notice towards the end of the video the viewfinder actually detaches from the lens and the lens wirelessly transmits the image/video to the viewfinder. While this technology currently exists in the market, there is not (to my knowledge) an all in one camera/wireless viewfinder available to consumers. It's hard to fathom the possibilities of this type of product entering the market, especially at a consumer level. Don't forget, that the unit is connected as a phone/social uploader. Imagine news agencies being able to use this product in the field and instantly upload it to social feeds for immediate news - not the semi-delayed news we still come across. If a newsworthy event occurred in my building I could instantly be reporting it with still and live hd video. Indeed this camera would shoot full 1080i hd video.  Is Twitter even ready for that? Since we're on the topic of tech specs, here is the listed tech specs of this unit by Artefact:
There is some serious horsepower in this unit, if the tech specs are true and accurate to a working prototype. In fact this unit has better features then my $2,000+ DSLR I purchased one year ago.  The (camera)Futura is definitely exciting, especially if it ends up seeing the light of day. Lets hope that a company picks up on how great this product seems to be and puts it in the hands of consumers for a fair price. In general, theres the likelihood this would be a $1500+ unit if it reached the market. However, if it were on a reliable cell network and the tech specs were on point to what the claim is, I could see consumers using a unit like this instead of a phone, and a camera. Here's to the (Camera) Futur(a). -Nb

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