In-Camera Filters??? Let's call them ICFs (As there are so many acronyms in photography already, another won't hurt!)
Mr Frustrated Photog., what are you talking about?
Well, let me explain. Over a year ago I sent this thought to Canon via there 'contact us' web link. I have had a stock reply thanking me for contacting them...Nothing else, maybe not surprising as this is perhaps the insane musings of a frustrated photog's brain. Anyway...
Filters, they're something extra to carry. On a photo mission maybe you have your standard zoom, a wide angle, perhaps even another zoom, (like a 70-200), to help you pick out details and composition in a landscape. So carrying filters as well, that's extra weight and something else to hang round your neck or pack in the bag. Not to mention more glass to try and keep spot and blemish free.
We know that most effects that filters give us can be applied in post-processing, though purists like to capture the scene in camera, by using filters:
So, carrying all of these?
The grads are less than perfect unless you have a completely flat horizon. Even with a soft filter there'll be some degree of overlap on hills, tree lines or what-have-you, maybe only visible to the pixel-peepers out there. The ND filters apply the same effect across the scene. E.g. to the river as well as trees.
The shots below of Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf in Wales were merged to allow me to use the silky water, but stationary tree detail. In the first you can clearly see movement in the trees, movement I didn't want. Of course, I blended these two images to make a composite.
How cool would it be if we could just affect the water in a single image?
Most enthusiast level cameras already have some 'effects'. They also already take and blend multiple shots in their HDR function. All cameras change an image with white balance or some form of picture styling (neutral, mono, landscape etc). Are ICFs just a step on? Most digital cameras now have a rear screen and many are touchscreens.
How about using all of this to apply a filter when looking at the live image of the scene in front of you?
Why stop there, why not apply multiple filters to different parts of the image, maybe even spot lighting via radial filters with feather control?
Maybe some bright spark in the R&D dept at Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Sony or whichever are already tinkering with the idea. With faster, better processors, could this happen? Holding back the ND grad from the leaves covering a waterfall could take a bit of clever thinking, but our digital camera are already pretty blumming amazing machines when you think about it. Why not?
The polarizer is perhaps the only filter that has to be a physical object, I guess that lens technology to ignore light coming in at a different angle would make lenses even more expensive and heavier. Grad filters; Ok, perhaps not as good in post-processing as when applied to the front of the camera, but is it so different?
ND filters, like the big stopper, can be imitated by applying blur to selections, though I find using the physical ND filter much better and smoother than the post-processing route.
Could in-camera filters mean we only need to buy and carry a polarizer in the future?
What do you think? 10 years? 20 years? Never?
Let me know, write a comment!
The Frustrated Photog.