Five of the Most Overrated Camera Features

Cameras are really good these days. Whether your choice is mirrorless, DSLR, full-frame, or APS-C, the quality of modern cameras is rather outstanding. But there are some features that are particularly overrated, even needless. Here are five of them.

If you're looking at buying a new camera, or upgrading to a better camera, or making the switch from one brand to another or, heaven forbid, going from DSLR to mirrorless, the place most people often start is the specs and features. Nowadays such lists can appear endless because these incredible little pieces of marvelous, modern technology are just being packed with more and more cool things. But are they all really that necessary? And will they make that much of a difference to your final shot?

In this short video, Mattias Burling runs us through five camera features that he thinks are overrated. What's important to note is that he doesn't say they aren't nice to have, nor that they shouldn't be included, just that they're somewhat over-hyped and their importance is overinflated by many camera makers, reviewers, and users. For me, I most agreed with his position on "in body image stabilization" (IBIS). Having never owned a camera with IBIS, I have to concur with him and say that it's never been a problem for me. My lenses, flashes, and tripods have always done the trick and I've never come away from a shoot feeling that anything would have been better if only I'd had IBIS. Would I like it if it magically became a free firmware update? Sure, but I'm not losing any sleep over not having it, nor is it high on my list of priorities for my next camera.

Give the video a look and let me know if you agree or disagree with the list, or even if you'd like to add any more to it. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

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stuartcarver's picture

IBIS is a bit like England playing at a tournament, the first week was ok but now we are just sick to death of hearing about it.

Iain Stanley's picture

Rugby league? haha

stuartcarver's picture

Haha yeah if only:)

Larry Clark's picture

Oh darn. I didn't realize that you had to carry all of your lenses with you all of the time. I guess I need to decide whether to get a big rolling trunk, or sell most of my lenses.

Leon Kolenda's picture

When you were speaking of Digital Viewfinders, in your video there was a shot of what looked like a snap-on viewfinder on a Canon camera. Was this only for Canon cameras? I would like to find something like that for a few Cameras I have.

Clay Wegrzynowicz's picture

That was the Canon XC10, which had that loupe as a solution to not having a dedicated viewfinder. You can probable purchase some universal hoods with magnifiers as well. Hoodman is a company that comes to mind

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I suppose the writer would reconsider IBIS if he bought a camera and used it.

What suprice me is that nobody is claiming autofocus is nice to have, but not needed. Yes you can take pictures with manual focus. You can take pictures with no IBIS and you must not have in lens stabilization. You don't need redundant storage in your camera. But on the other hand you can. If your camera offer it. And why would anyone not have it?

You want to use a camera lacking these key features, fine. But please, there are no logic to it besides brand loyalty.

I seriously think this is a totally lame and stupid argumentation. Please.

Jonathan Brady's picture

Gotta love a video full of projected personal opinions predicated on an incorrect statement of fact. In case you missed it the incorrect statement of fact about camera features was: "99% of the time, it's not something really needed."
Here is the substance of his omniscience...
1) resolution - nothing more than low double digits (8-16) mp are needed. In fact, he says, color aesthetics suffer due to additional mp. Despite this, he uses a 30mp camera.
2) IBIS - just not needed because most of us have a stabilized lens, tripod, or flash. Note: this is primarily a mirrorless feature.
3) Speaking of unnecessary mirrorless features... evf - because this guy apparently hates mirrorless cameras as he would prefer manufacturers to put a hybrid viewfinder on a DSLR so "we can all get back to longer battery life (not an issue for 99% of mirrorless users - see what I did there?) and 'fast autofocus'" (because, you know, something like the A9 is painfully slow). Again, oddly, he uses an R.
4) the number of lenses in the lens lineup. His assertion, apparently, is that all users must buy all lenses and carry them with them all the time for this argument to make sense.
5) dual card slots. At this point in the video, I'm beginning to imagine this guy staring out the window, foaming at the mouth, at the kids on the sidewalk selling lemonade and I'm tuning out what he's saying.

Personally, I think the content of this video was just a case of psychological projection. He's saying 99% of the time, these great features are unneeded for the population at large and we'd all be better off with DSLR and he's saying this like DSLR have disappeared - despite the fact that DSLR are still the highest volume selling ILC today. News flash Mr Egotistical, CAMERAS are unnecessary. People were born, lived, and died for tens of thousands of years prior to cameras. They're a luxury and totally unneeded. Yeah, even for pros, as they could simply do something else.

So, time to dismount that awfully high horse and perhaps devote your time to developing a more considerate and open-minded understanding of the world. 99% of us would appreciate it.

Lawrence Jones's picture

For those of us whom age age or disability has taken a toll on our ability to steady a camera. IBIS or some other sort of stabilization allows us to continue to photograph even on the not so good days which tend to become with time more and more frequent.

Raymond Bohn's picture

I rely on IBIS for a few reasons. At my age, tripods in the field become too painful to carry. I enjoy using legacy lenses. Always ready to concentrate on subject and create an image no matter the light level.

Xander Cesari's picture

Yep it's pretty awesome to do a handheld 1-1.5 second waterfall long exposure without a tripod.

Iain Stanley's picture

that's a very good point and one I hadn't really considered. Thanks

Clay Wegrzynowicz's picture

I may be in the minority, but I personally agree with the whole dual card slot thing. I've had cards fail, sure, but I also have recovery software that takes care of that, and I personally haven't had a card fail in the last 6 years. I also don't care about ibis because that's what big, motorized and stabilized gimbals are for, not a few puny magnets and rubber bands around a sensor. Just my two cents, and honestly, I work with photogs that need that ibis for run-and-gun, and those photographers who just need that peace of mind. It all comes down to the individual.

Iain Stanley's picture

Opinions are always subjective, but they are a good starting point for discussion. You don’t have to agree with all, or any listed here. IBIS - I can’t say it’s something I’ve ever considered but perhaps in the future....who knows?

Xander Cesari's picture

Looks like he's invested in Canon gear so probably never had the option. Kinda interesting how often you hear photographers say IBIS is overrated and it turns out they shoot a brand that doesn't offer it :)

Jaran Gaarder Heggen's picture

If the Nikon D850 had IBIS it would have been so close to perfect that a camera can be... for me...

Kevin Harding's picture

However you can't have the same model both with one slot and also with two slots (for those that don't want two - and you don't have to use two if you don't want to of course)!

As for Wedding / Event / Sport togs you get one go around, if the card fails (and Yes card failures do happen, the perfect simile being car crashes when someone says 'I've never been in one' so I don't need a seat belt) .... well I'd rather you try to explain to the bride why she doesn't have a wedding album.

Cameras aren't made to satisfy an individual, the features they sport are made to satisfy the requirements of as many photographers, covering a diversity of genres, as possible.

David Pavlich's picture

"As for Wedding / Event / Sport togs you get one go around, if the card fails (and Yes card failures do happen, the perfect simile being car crashes when someone says 'I've never been in one' so I don't need a seat belt) .... well I'd rather you try to explain to the bride why she doesn't have a wedding album."

This!! I've had one card fail that could not be recovered and that was enough for me. I've not had it happen since, but a two card slot camera is a must for me.

Deleted Account's picture

Reading the comments, I am once again reminded that people conflate their personal value with their gear.

Despite the heavy disclaimers, people are still getting upset. I am inclined to reflect that Mr Burling collects, uses, and makes content about older digital cameras, and is therefore qualified to make such statements.

Iain Stanley's picture

It’s only a 5 minute video, and he says repeatedly that such features are indeed nice, but perhaps overrated. Alas, it’s an opinion, not the constitution

Cesar Gabriel's picture

Even if 99% of photographers have the same equipment and shoots the same as Mattias, many will disagree. My 2 cents on IBIS: if all your lenses are stabilized, you always carry and use a tripod or flash or own the expensive camera that have digital IS that is almost as good, yea you can say IBIS may be overrated. Otherwise, IBIS is truly a great and very useful feature that has the ability to stabilize 99% of all lenses used with it. I think it actually is a little underrated. Peace.

Iain Stanley's picture

your second sentence describes me pretty perfectly so that's my reason for shrugging my shoulders at question is this: before IBIS came along did skilled photographers consistently miss out on getting sharp photos?

michaeljin's picture

No, but they often had to use higher shutter speeds than necessary, resulting in higher ISO settings. Also, lens stabilization only works for the lens it's installed on. IBIS works for every lens including vintage lenses.

Neither type of stabilization will help with subject movement, but not all of us have steady hands and IBIS means that I can finally shoot my 50mm at 1/60 or even less rather than 1/125 and get a sharp image. So for me, its definitely NOT overrated.

Also, there are many historical photos that would have been sharper with stabilization. For some good examples, see the work of old photojournalists, particularly conflict photographers.

Iain Stanley's picture

As I said, for me, and my circumstances, IBIS is not a thing to lose any sleep over. For others, perhaps like yourself, IBIS is a wonderful addition to technology advancements. However, I still find it odd when I hear people insist that they simply couldn’t even countenance getting a body without IBIS....

michaeljin's picture

Why would you find it odd? If IBIS is important to you, why would you even consider a body without it in a market where there are plenty of excellent cameras that have the feature?

It wouldn't make any sense to consider a camera without it at this point for me because I have a plethora of equivalent options that do have it.

Mike Ditz's picture

"my question is this: before IBIS came along did skilled photographers consistently miss out on getting sharp photos?

Yes, I did when using longer shutter speeds... And I also use AF too, another dumb feature?
Why then are so many lenses IS now if image stabilization is pointless..?
I have a bunch of legacy glass like Canon, Nikon and Contax all MF and no AF , but with IBIS I now have lenses that are 20-40 years old with IS. :) still not AF.
If you understood what IBIS does you may change your opinion.

Iain Stanley's picture

All fair points and well taken. For my circumstances, any time I need to use longer shutter speeds I use a tripod. And I didn’t say stabilization was pointless. Indeed, the reason IBIS is not high on “my” list of priorities is that almost all my lenses are stabilized. For those with older legacy lenses without IS, then IBIS may be a wonderful thing.

Mike Ditz's picture

Sometimes a tripod is not convenient , in the marginal range or 1/25 to 1/8 If I can shoot without a tripod it can save me a few minutes of set up. When I have a shot list of 20 to 40 images that 2 or 3 minutes to use the tripod can add up.
Anything that makes it easier for me to do my job, I like it.

Iain Stanley's picture

certainly can't argue your last point. In time, I certainly look forward to using a camera with IBIS for an extensive period of time and comparing it with my use of current cameras. Shooting in the water inside a housing is what I'm most looking forward to.

Kevin Harding's picture

What a disingenuous reply that flies right over the point being made.

Jørn Tv's picture

I feel that this video (like most other “gear is overrated” videos) ignores the diversity in photography. Personally I agree that high resolution sensors are not needed, and when I looked at upgrading my D750 I didn’t buy the D850 because the higher resolution body would lead to a lot more data that I wouldn’t need. But for a wildlife photographer? That camera is basically a crop and full frame camera in a single body, it’s amazing!

The same can be said about most other features listed. If the video was named “Overrated camera features for [specific genre of photography]”, it would probably be spot on. But for all kinds of photography I can’t see how this adds any value.

Iain Stanley's picture

yeah I could see how IBIS might be great for wedding photography, in particular.

Mike Ditz's picture

At least there wouldn't be much subject movement.

Jørn Tv's picture

IBIS is actually one of the features I have found surprisingly useful in most kind of photography. When I bought a mirrorless this was a feature I didn't care too much about, but now I am so fond of it.

michaeljin's picture

The EVF is not the only benefit of removing the mirror in a camera.

BTW, this is all really rich coming from a guy using the Canon EOS R instead of a DSLR as his primary camera.

dale clark's picture

Silly subject matter IMO. Basically filler for clicks (it works, I read it). Take away the term camera and insert any object.

Iain Stanley's picture

But this is a website related to photography...?

Francisco B's picture

I don't have ibis, but doesnt it give you the equivalent of at least two extra stops of shutter speed? Thats hardly an overrated feature if you do a lot of handheld photography

jeff schwartz's picture

For those who say IBIS is overrated, and I would also include in lens stabilization, have never tried handholding something like a 200-500mm or other extreme telephoto lens. Not everybody shoots portraits or similar events.

Iain Stanley's picture

Thanks for your comment. I own the Tamron 150-600mm and use it for surfing. It's an almighty whopper of a lens but I couldn't ever imagine handholding for more than a few minutes. It's just too heavy. I only ever use a monopod with it on the beach but there might be situations where you couldn't use a monopod. Though I'd probably look like Popeye at the end of it all!

Robert Teague's picture

I went mirrorless this year .... Nikon Z 7, and very happy I did.

Leon Hascal's picture

Umm... What? Is this satire?

Liviu Popica's picture

of course, the biggest overrated is the camera itself, why the hell would you buy one?

Paul Shuttleworth's picture

What a cockwomble.