Author Archives: Jeff Bauer

Nikon Introduces Camera With Android OS: Is It A Game Changer?

Nikon Introduces Camera With Android OS: Is It A Game Changer?

Nikon Coolpix S800c

About two months ago I wrote a little article called, “What DSLR Cameras Can Learn From Smartphones,” and at the time it seemed like nothing more than wishful thinking. Then last week Nikon took a logical first step by introducing a new camera touting the full Android 2.3 operating system (Gingerbread). The Nikon Coolpix S800c may be the first of its kind, but I guarantee it won’t be the last.

Looking over the camera reveals a modest set of specifications including a 16MP CMOS sensor, a 3.5 inch OLED touchscreen, and 1080p 30fps video capabilities. To me though, the more interesting aspects of this camera are the built in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. While it may not seem like that big of a deal, especially those of us using a smartphone, this was a smart decision by Nikon. Also with the ability to run full applications such as Instagram and Photoshop Touch, it can be argued that Nikon has a possible hit on its hands. 

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. We still have a long way to go before I would consider this to be anything other than Nikon filling a growing niche. From a business standpoint it was an inevitability, but from the creative side, it’s quite a letdown. In my opinion, the best camera you can have is the one you have on you. In any normal case, this is my smartphone, and I can truthfully say that 99% of the time, I am more than content with this as my go to camera. I know I definitely don’t need another device so similar in my pocket.

Now I understand Nikon may not be catering this camera to me, but then who are they catering to? What this actually does now is further fragment the already crowed marketplace with just another point and shoot… now with Facebook. This is not going to be a popular camera for enthusiasts, and it certainly isn’t going to convince the average consumer to toss their smartphone, or for that matter, carry around two cameras with them. While the launch price is somewhat inciting ($349), it’s really nothing more than the Nikon Coolpix S6300 with Android tacked on.

I know I might be coming off as a little harsh, but why tease us with something as pointless as this? The compact camera market has seen market share drop over the years and is now stuck playing catch up to more innovative products. Stop beating around the bush and give us something we want, or even better, something we didn’t know we wanted. Unfortunately I can’t see this being any more than a typical Wal-Mart or Amazon impulse buy for uninformed customers. Yes, you can play Angry Birds on it. Awesome.

It’s not all bad though. I have to give Nikon props for a least trying something new, even if it is a baby step. The camera does contain two of the three things I suggested in my original article for a successful transition into the future of cameras, but I wouldn’t have thought they would waste their time going after an already crowded and dying market. 

What we really need is at least a prosumer / mid-level DSLR style camera with those features and support for faster transfer speeds out of the camera. That’s not to say that Nikon doesn’t have a prototype sitting around in an R&D lab somewhere, but it’s getting exceedingly frustrating to see all these companies continue to squander innovation at our expense. It’s the independent filmmakers, the aspiring photographers, and the technologically savvy that they should be catering to. They are the most dedicated, the most informed, and generally the most loyal. However, if camera companies continue to ignore their most avid practitioners and decide that hitting a quota is going to advance their brand they are dead wrong.

With Photokina right around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these Android based compact cameras. It will be interesting to see what other companies can bring to the table. (I’m looking at you, Sony and Panasonic.)

What are a few of your favorite Android Camera Applications? Would you be interested in the Nikon Coolpix S800c?

Thanks to Planet5D for the original announcement. You can view their original post here.


Thinking Outside The Box: Lighting A Subject

Jeff Bauer contributes “Thinking Outside The Box,” an ongoing series of short columns covering a wide range of topics within the video world and how to use creativity, ingenuity, and problem solving to achieve unique results across all mediums.

There are so many different ways to light a subject that it would be impossible to list them all out. It depends on aThe Fountain wide range of technical factors such as the the size of your location, the time of day, types of lights, and creative factors like the story genre, and production design. Now if you spent enough time in pre-production, a lot of these details should be available, making a decision on a lighting style much easier.

Once you have enough details from the production, you’ll want to start planning out lighting basic diagrams and figure out where lights should go. I recommend that you watch films in the similar genre that you really like or that were critically acclaimed. Take some notes, scribble some basic diagrams down, and maybe try to recreate a scene that stands out to you. Then watch a few movies from the same genre that you hated or were received poorly. By analyzing the positives and the negatives from each film, you will have a better idea of what what you want to do and how you’ll do it.

Next, it’s important to think about the direction of the scene light and the different types of lights you want to use. If you don’t have any lights to use, you will have to rely on natural light and reflectors to achieve a proper exposure. The classic way to light a scene involves what we call a Key Light, Fill Light, and a Back Light. This describes the main source of light, the complimentary light, and the separation light. Of course how you arrange these lights with determine the type of look a you will get.

Finally choosing hard light or soft light can dramatically effect the way a scene looks. With gels and diffusion, you can create light that is more evenly distributed and softer looking, where as a plain light will cast hard light and in turn hard shadows. There are so many ways to mix and match and combine these techniques into something original, and only with practice will you get better. Go out and shoot something!


To get hands-on training on filmmaking and lighting, come to our Canon camera classes. The schedule is listed on the right side of this blog.