In-Camera Warnings and Suggestions: What Do Users Want?

Nikon DSLR Patent

Many recent camera models feature “tips” or “suggestions” on shooting modes and camera operation.  Nikon filed a patent application in June 2011 that shows off more of these kind of helpful hints.

I don’t know that these new warnings and suggestions indicated in the patent offer much more than what we already see in the latest entry-level DSLRs.  However, it got me to thinking about what would be good ideas to implement in these tips or guide modes.

Here is a sampling from Nikon’s recent patent application:

Nikon Warning Dialog

What do you think camera makers should be putting in these tips and suggestion dialogs to help new users become more acquainted with DSLRs and photography in general?

Fire away in the comment section below.



  1. Jim says

    How are you going to learn anything if you get “coached” before you screw up.
    I learned my skills by making mistakes, and then “remembering” not to do that
    again. If the camera does the “remembering” for you, you don’t remember it in
    your own brain. You’ll not learn to think intuitively from your experiences.

  2. forkboy1965 says

    In some regards I agree with Jim’s post. I think a photographer taking the plunge into a dSLR would be better served by taking a photography class at their local camera shop (if offered) or checking out any one of hundreds of online sites, all filled with a lot of great, useful and free information.

    Ultimately, our fancy dSLRs, when pushed into Auto mode, make plenty of mistakes as it is so I’m not certain why I’d trust the camera to offer tips, especially when it came to things like exposure, etc.

  3. says

    Obviously this is not a feature I want permanently enable on my FX camera.

    I fully agree with both Jim and forkboy1965 posts. Conversely, I understand why this feature would make its way into DX cameras: camera manufacturers need to differentiate themselves from one another and they need to continually convince beginners that they need a dSLR while at the same time make the dSLR less intimidating and “easier” to use. This is a marketing tool more than it is a rich feature that speeds or eases photography.

    These types of hints will not alone make a better picture. I can almost see the thought process now of a beginner photographer using a camera with this features: “I just took a picture and it is still just as flat and lifeless as all my previous point and shoot photos but the camera didn’t offer any hints. Why isn’t this photo any better?”