Quality Conscious

Here's an idea: wouldn't it be great if camera manufacturers were to add an 'Optimise Quality' option to the range of shooting modes on offer?


Part of this optimisation would take into account the lens MTF data and then vary the exposure time and/or ISO setting to avoid the worst apertures.

In an ideal world each lens would pass its MTF profile to the camera: in practice it is more likely that the camera would be pre-loaded with typical data sets for each of the camera manufacturer's lenses. Updated profiles could be downloaded from the web to a PC and then copied to the camera via its memory card. Needless to say, only the camera manufacturer's lenses would be supported and if a different manufacturer's lens were to be fitted then a Mode Not Available warning would be displayed.

In days of old this is exactly the sort of idea that might have appeared in a camera from the Contax stable, which hosted innovations such as the micro-vacuum ceramic film plate to ensure perfect film flatness. Fortunately, the optimisation idea requires only data handling and an appropriate firmware algorithm so there is no need to employ specialist engineering. This means that any camera manufacturer could embrace this idea provided that the potential exists for the camera to be able to deduce the exact model of lens that is fitted.

To make things more fun, rather than having a separate Optimise Quality mode it might be better to display a bar-scale in the viewfinder where better quality settings are indicated by a larger illuminated bar area, and vice-versa. This would improve user-interaction and might even help to educate people about the effect that different camera and lens settings are likely to have on overall image quality.

So there it is; an idea that is offered freely to any camera manufacturer that cares to adopt it. Just remember where you read it first - and I hope I get sent one of the new cameras, with a range of lenses, to play with.


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