Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Where Are Digital SLRs Going?
A conversation with Canon’s Chuck Westfall offers a glimpse of the future
PCPhoto: There has been much discussion of OLED technology. What will the benefit be for camera users?
Westfall: First, it's important to understand how current displays work, which is primarily an LCD with an LED backlight. These are two separate components, which require the LED to be on all the time, resulting in a high demand for power. In the case of the OLED, the pixels themselves are the components that actually emit the light. Because of that particular difference, when you have a dark part of the picture, you're not running power to that portion of the display, making it more energy-efficient. The OLEDs we're seeing are far brighter and display much more accurate colors than LCDs. The future for this technology looks very good.
PCPhoto: The brightness of clarity of OLED viewfinders may offer the possibility that there will be a shift from traditional optical viewfinders to high-resolution electronic viewfinders (EVF). What would this mean for camera designs?
Westfall: If you substituted an optical viewfinder with an EVF, the size, weight and cost of the camera would come down quite a bit. You'd be eliminating the need for a prism and a mirror, which currently limits how small of an SLR you can make.
PCPhoto: How would it change what the photographer sees through the viewfinder?
Westfall: If you start looking at it from the standpoint of functionality, you'd be able to superimpose a live histogram in the viewfinder, which would allow photographers to adjust their exposure more easily on the fly. You could also zoom into the image within the viewfinder to confirm focus.
PCPhoto: Wireless technology is rapidly finding its way into both consumer and pro-end cameras. How important will the ability to upload images wirelessly become in the future?
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