Every new camera release sparks a conversation about features, with today's biggest concerns often being the number of card slots and the crop on the 4K. The presence of a flip-out screen also seems to be near the top of the list and while it seems to be critical for vloggers, just how important is to the rest of the camera-buying public?
Much of the chat surrounding the recently-announced Sony a6400 was the flip-out screen or lack thereof. Rather than giving users a fully-articulating screen that flips out sideways, Sony presented the world with what many users regard as something of a bodge: a screen that flips up vertically, ready to be obscured as soon as you attach a gun mic to the hot shoe.
The perfect vlogging camera still seems a little way off, certainly until later this year when we finally discover what Sony has in mind for the a7000, if this camera is in fact real (some suggest that it's purely the optimistic fabulations of those running the rumor sites). Given the rapid advances in technology, the chatter is enough to make you question how this perfect camera doesn’t already exist: affordable, lightweight, 4K 60, mic input, in-body stabilization, solid autofocus, all coupled with a small, ultra-wide lens with a huge aperture so that you can film at an arm’s length while making the background nice and blurry. At every turn, there’s a drawback: the 4K crop is too severe, the recording limit too short, the autofocus too shoddy, the mic-input omitted in order to nudge you towards more expensive, heavier bodies — the list is endless. Just as one manufacturer seems to be on the edge of delivering what we need, it drops the ball.
Given the furore around every new release and just how articulating its screen is, you wonder why a company is yet to meet the demands of the baying public. To me, this begs the question: do manufacturers know something that we don’t? Does their research suggest that this apparent yearning for this magical screen is actually misleading, a bubble blown as a result of the noise created by vloggers who dominate the camera news and reviews? An articulating screen is useful for shooting at strange angles, but I’m starting to suspect that the need for it to flip-out is not as huge as everyone might think. Admittedly, my only real evidence here is simply that manufacturers haven’t given it to us yet. (Ironically, I’d love to have a flip-out screen on my shiny new Sony a7 III. Come on, Sony, do better!)
If simply to satisfy my curiosity, I’d be grateful for your feedback. Please vote in the poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments. Just be careful: if the majority say that a flip-out screen is not really that important, the manufacturers might take heed and we then risk upsetting our favorite photo industry vloggers for the next decade or so. And let's be honest, while the Northrups can probably keep it together, Camera Conspiracies is grumpy enough as it is.
Lead image by Sandeep Swarnkar via Unsplash.