Simple Cameras: Must be Leicas
Mike Johnson of The Online Photographer blog writing about simple cameras:
But camera manufacturers don't seem constitutionally capable of making a super-simple camera. They must be deeply convinced that the complexity of the feature set (which certainly does appeal to a lot of us) is an indivisible part of how they add value to their product, and the temptation to add more and more is something they can't forswear even for one product. I mean, with hundreds of cameras on the market, wouldn't you think they could make one that was super-simple, just for that segment of the population that wants it? And market it that way. You'd think. But no.
Leica is one manufacturer that does still makes simple cameras. The M9, M-E and the new Monochrom are uncomplicated devices with manual focus, a very easy one-sheet menu system and few bells and whistles. What they do share in oodles is quality and superb functionality. They allow the user to concentrate on taking photographs without unnecessary distractions. Although the new M adds video capability (something that was not necessary as far as I am concerned) and live view, it is still essentially a continuation of the tradition. And Leica M lenses, all manual, are a study in design for function, intuitive and with no electronics to break or become out of date. All this aids value retention.
Even the compact digital X2 and the new X-Vario remain simple cameras with full manual controls but with the addition of autofocus. Only when you get to the Japanese-made Panaleicas do you begin to see more features and options appearing in the menus. To me, simplicity is the essence of Leica. Spend your time learning how to take photographs rather than mastering the maze of esoteric options that come with most modern cameras.