Magazine Article


Tomorrow's Generics Today

Sony's first DSLR camera, the A100
Sony’s first DSLR, the A100, incorporates a dust-reduction system, an idea that may soon be ubiquitous.
Olympus Evolt E-330 camera
The Olympus Evolt E-330 had the distinction of being the “first 21st-century SLR”: it featured a live feed to the camera monitor, plus an optical SLR viewfinder, all in the same camera.

The Next 21st-Century DSLR?

So let’s tally things up so far. That’s two DSLRs with internal image-stabilization, three definite and one likely with dust-reduction, and three definite and one likely with a live-view viewfinder alongside an SLR viewfinder. That’s what we have so far, and photokina is still ahead.

That is, by September we’ll definitely have at least eight DSLRs, most if not all priced under $1k, with these radical, seriously useful, almost-overnight new features.

At this moment, we know of none that have all three of these new features—the two viewfinders, dust-reduction, and image-stabilization combined—so we should expect some interesting spats between an assortment of camps. Spats about subjects that didn’t exist at the turn of the century. Spats about subjects that seem bound to expand. For if a half-dozen manufacturers argue about which is the most useful—dual viewfinders? dust-reduction? stabilization?—what argument remains for whomever has none of them?

“Oh yeah, those things. Forget ’em, they don’t matter.”

The next 21st-century DSLR will be the one that brings all of these features together. Maybe it will even add more that nobody’s thought of yet, just as nobody had thought of the present three features a few years ago.

How soon before these new features, their tribes increasing, become generics that, like autoexposure and autofocus, are finally worked into all cameras? How long before the next 21st-century camera makes anything less look hopelessly 20th century?