With 2013 very nearly behind us for good, we've compiled a list of 8 key improvements we want to see from the major camera players in the new year
1. Nikon: Fix and upgrade the Wi-fi app
With the recent D5300 (pictured), Nikon has made a long overdue start into getting built-in Wi-fi into its cameras, finally freeing users from having to pay for (and remember to carry around) the WU-1a adapter. However, as it’s relatively new territory for Nikon, they’re still playing catch-up. We found Nikon’s Wireless Mobile Utility app to be overly basic, fiddly and still suffering from a few bugs when we tested the D5300. This year we want to see a truly streamlined, well-engineered Nikon app to complement the quality of the cameras – something like Sony’s ‘Playmemories’ would suit nicely.
2. Canon: Give us an entry-level DSLR at a fair price
We’ve got plenty on our wishlist for Canon, but on top is a fresh, renewed entry-level DSLR at a decent entry-level price. The EOS 100D released back in May was thought of as a candidate, but £649 with a kit lens isn’t quite a realistic price for a true beginner’s camera, especially given that you could pick up a 700D for no real extra cost. An intuitive but deep camera that costs no more than £500 when paired with a lens could be just the thing to get the current incredibly photo-aware generation into serious photography.
3. Sony: Sort out your image playback system
Our request to Sony for 2014 is to sort out the image playback system on their cameras. Currently it defaults to zoom in at 100% whenever you’re trying to review your images, and it’s just very unintuitive. A simpler, more natural playback system would generally improve performance of Sony’s products. Ideally it would be customisable, so that we could get the settings just the way we like them. A big aid to this would be an improvement in touchscreen functionality, which is something else we’d like Sony to address in the new year.
4. Pentax: Clear up that noisy AF
We have just one major request for Pentax – please sort out your AF. On the kit lens especially. It needs to be better quality, and most importantly something needs to be done about the horrible noise it makes. It’s an impediment to video for one thing, but otherwise it’s just generally not that pleasant to be composing images with the motor grinding away in the background.
5. Olympus: Another great OM-D, perhaps more affordable?
The Olympus O-MD E-M1 was a fantastic camera, the deserving recipient of WDC’s Camera of the Year Award. Our request for next year could best be summed up as ‘More of the same, please’. Rumours already abound concerning another O-MD, and we’ll submit our request now for an affordable, entry-level version of the camera. Given Olympus’s somewhat bizarre numbering system it’s anyone’s guess what it’ll be called – EM-10? EM-32? – but we definitely want to see Olympus building on the success of the O-MD series. And while we’re wishing for things, a version of the E-P5 with a viewfinder wouldn’t go amiss.
6. Panasonic: Improve the battery life
We recently finished our review of the diminutive Lumix GM1 (above), and while in many ways it’s a great little camera, it did provide a good example of an area where we feel Panasonic desperately needs to start improving – the battery life. It just doesn’t last anywhere near as long as you’d need it to. In our test we eked around 200 shots out of a single charge (not quite the allotted 220), and this is a problem across Panasonic’s whole range of smaller compact cameras. If Panasonic can’t improve the battery life without sacrificing the small dimensions, perhaps supplying an extra couple of batteries in the box would sweeten the deal?
7. Fujifilm: Give us an X-Pro 2
It’s been a good year for Fujifilm, with the X-A1 upholding the ongoing success of the X-series. In that vein, we’d love to see a successor to the X-Pro1, which was a great system camera in its day. An X-Pro2 with improved AF, better battery life and just a general all-around refresh would be most welcome.
8. Samsung: Android needs a camera that suits it
We like the concept of an Android interface on a camera and think there could be legs to it in the future, however the Samsung Galaxy NX wasn’t quite the right camera. A level of complexity that would deter the casual buyer, combined with an interface that puts off the advanced enthusiast and the pro, left the camera without a niche in the market. What we’d like to see in 2014 is the Android interface retained, but on a camera more realistically suited for it – something user-friendly, with a price to match.