Should touch screens come to all HDSLRs? Including pro level? Updated with demos

by planetmitch35 Comments

This might be a simple question, but I thought i'd find out what you thought. With the release of the Canon Rebel T4i on friday, we now have touch screens in the HDSLR world (yes, I remember the GH2 has one) – but I also wondered why the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which was released just 3+ short months ago didn't have it.

Is it because the technology is that new? I don't think so – the tech has been around for years.

Is it because it was decided that the 5D3 was a pro camera and the touch screen is only for consumers? (i sure don't know this one)…

so I thought i'd ask for your opinions. I know in the “what do you want in your next HDSLR?” poll, touch screen menus came in with only 1% of the total votes, so I'm really curious about your ideas here. Don't be afraid to sound off in the comments below too.

NOTE: Clarification – In the Canon Rebel T4i, the touch screen has NOT replaced any buttons or dials – so I would not expect future cameras to just have one mode – I am asking about touch screen in addition to existing functionality. [tentblogger-youtube d6wj6F0_T3A]

start this one about 2:14 in and see how she uses the touchscreen
[tentblogger-youtube Uk2s_wSFwRY] [poll id=”27″]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. I think this falls into the category of why? Just because we can do something doesn’t always mean we should. I have yet to really see how it would help. These cameras are and will always be mainly for stills, That being said they produce incredible video and have become big parts of what everyone does. But that doesn’t mean it has to add some new technology with every new camera release. New toys are great but they should continue to make image quality and low light performance exceptional first. Then when that is done, then they should make touch screens.

  2. I can’t say I have any desire for a touch screen. I’m usually adjusting my settings while looking through the eyepiece and navigating a touch screen during a shoot seems cumbersome.
    I’d also be concerned that my nose or anything that inadvertently touches the screen could change the settings.
    I love touch screens on many products, but I don’t want one on my camera.

    1. Author

      In the Canon Rebel T4i, the touch screen has NOT replaced any buttons or dials – so I would not expect future cameras to just have one mode – I am asking about touch screen in addition to existing functionality.

  3. While I don’t have any experiance with touch screen controls I am a long time iPhone user and apreciate its interface. The short answer is, skip touch control and move right into voice command. Menus can be very deep on cameras and voice control would make everything so much faster.

  4. i think it is an inevitable plus, however should canon risk being the first to do it on a flagship camera, or watch others fail at it first? There is probably some ramp up time to getting the touch screen correct for a pro photographer. For example, how to not let the user’s nose select and fire off commands because it touches the screen while looking through the viewfinder

  5. A touch screen is one more thing to get out of whack.

    My 5D2 has two control wheels — one for my index finger, the other for my thumb — that I can operate >>without taking my hands off the camera<>less<< convenient than the control wheels. QED.

  6. I don’t want to answer the question until I have some “hands-on”. I am not sure how it will work while I have my hoodman attached. I like the idea of being able to touch an area on the screen to set the focus point, but can’t see how that will work with the LCD covered. These comments are directly related to when I am taking video, not stills.

  7. Touching the screen will get it greasy, which obscures the viewing area.

  8. In addition to the above comments on being able to make adjustments without taking your eye from the screen, here is another reason. As a pilot I’ve had GPS’s since 2000 and as time goes on one’s fingers makes the screen get more scratched and less clear. Yes one can put a clear plastic film over the screen but that that brings in distortion. In addition having your controls on the screen will take more time to reach a setting then having buttons on the side. When I review an image I like to see it in it’s purest form in order to make decisions on deleting, reshooting etc.

    Buttons on screens are fine if you don’t look at your image in the same screen. Just like cars and golf club manufactures, Canon feels it as to offer something new and cool each year to get the people to buy their product.

  9. Who wants to have fingerprints all over your screen? And what about those who use mounted viewfinder magnifiers? I’m just glad they didn’t remove the buttons. Imagine if that was the only way to adjust things. If you want all touch screen, use your iPhone. I agree with Artemes, accidental adjustments would worry me too. I do kind of like the review scrolling feature though.

  10. This camera is geared towards the soccer moms, thus the touch screen for ease of use ability. It would be utterly ridiculous to add that functionality to a flag ship camera.

  11. I have a Canon XA 10 video camera that has a touch screen. I don’t like fingerprints constantly on the screen. It is one thing that is turning me off of the Sony FS100 and 700.

  12. At first I didn’t think it was a good idea, however looking at the video, and the fact it doesn’t replace any buttons, I think it looks like a good idea. The issue is of course with marks on the screen, but I find myself getting a few smudges on the screen already by just standard use.

    In the professional line, if they introduced touch screen, would be nice to see a lock button, so if you didn’t want that feature at all then it is as good as not there.

  13. I think Touch Screens for a consumer DSLR it’s a good thing, since its a little more intuitive than buttons. But in the Prosumer side… you can accidentally touch something with your nose… or maybe you are wasting processor power on the touchscreen instead of the Buffer. other is that it may not be weather sealed just now.

    I hate that Canon made this “t4i” with tons of new feature, but without the ability to choose Thirds of a stop on the ISO setting! for me that’s no HDSLR.

  14. I think Canon should give importance to the most important failure in DSLR Video which is Moire and aliasing.
    5D Mark III Solved that problem but T4i has more moire than previous models, so from my view point I’ll like to see a 8D or 70D without moire, touch screen is secondary to none

  15. Seem like planet 5d only wants pretty comments, well sounds natural, Canon probably is the sponsored of this blog, don’t buy trash Canon thinks Japan is the only wise and the rest of the planet are stupid consumers

    1. Author

      FYI, if I only wanted “pretty comments” then I wouldn’t approve any comments unless they agreed with me – and that obviously isn’t true. I’m ok with constructive comments as long as there isn’t any bashing.

      Now as to the Canon comment – I disclose all of my relationships and I am not paid by Canon – tho they have been an advertiser on this site. I am a Canon owner – I currently have a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

  16. The T4i, like all other cameras, is a tool to tell a story. Tell an engaging story and it won’t matter if the camera had a flip screen or a touch screen. Having said that, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera has a touch screen and that has not been a deal breaker in terms of interest. In fact, under the hood, it seems far more what we digital cinematographers were expecting with the 5D3.

  17. The touchscreen feature is a feature just like the articulating screen: It will receive a warm welcome from consumers and people looking to purchase a entry level DSLR with smartphone-like functionality but it’s not something on Pro Photographers list of “wants” in my opinion. I see people mentioning “Moire and aliasing.” I challenge you to ask any one you may know who owns a T2I, T3i or even a 60D what Moire and aliasing is and they’ll probably tell you it’s an Italian song about the moon and a pizza pie. If the feature ever makes it to the pro level cameras, I’m sure it will be great feature but will also be like Live View where it’s used every once in a while. Great discussion in here.

  18. Consider this…

    If you’re making a “serious” film (as opposed to the motion picture equivalent of snapshots), the camera will be on a sturdy support and manually set for the appropriate exposure, white balance, etc, at the beginning of the shot. The only thing likely to change during the shot is the focus point. (I assume you know what a “focus puller” does.)

    Under such shooting conditions, what possible advantage does a touchscreen offer?

    PS: Moire patterns were not discovered by Irving Moire, any more than litz wire was invented by Marvin Litz. The word is not a proper noun, and is not capitalized. It comes from a French word (ultimately Arabic) for fabric having a “rippled” appearance.

  19. What’s your point Felipe? Everyone can see the t4i has moire and no one is denying that fact. If you think the camera is garbage, there’s many that wouldn’t disagree with you.

    1. The point is that I was expecting a T4i without Moire just like the Mark III, IS ALREADY 4 generations of cameras with the same problem. Any way I’ll buy soon the Mark III and I wanted
      a usable cheap back up body

  20. I never use my camera outside the house without Camera Armor, which includes a protective screen for the LCD. *

    You can’t operate a touch screen with this protector covering it. So what’s more important? A tiny (and questionable) bit of convenience? Or keeping the LCD from being damaged?

    * You don’t have to use it, if you don’t want to.

  21. Really? You expected a non-flag ship consumer model Canon [email protected] $850 to have the same technology inside to reduce / eliminate moire as a flag ship $3200 (body only) Canon DSLR? You’re dreamin. Nothing wrong with dreaming, but that’s totally unrealistic.

    1. Not so unrealistic Panasonic GH2 did it 15 months ago, actually is an $ 800 camera with top image quality and no Moire. Soon will release GH3 with even higher quality for
      $ 1000. In fact since I have a bunch of Canon lenses, I think I’ll get the Mark III and for a back up body the GH3 with a lens adapter for Canon lenses, Technology is right there just Canon didn’t want to use it in the rebel line, Is a pain to have to mix brands but no alternative, GH3 might even have better image quality than Mark III, and don’t say not, say let’s see.

  22. In fact check the Zacuto next episode where GH2 Beats
    Mark II in every aspect

  23. That’s a good point, as I did sell 2 Canon 5D MarkII’s and bought a hacked GH1. Picture quality, this hacked GH1 beats the 5DM2, but that’s subjective and only my opinion.

    Perhaps Canon has backed themselves into a corner were if they could add that to this t4i, imagine all the pissed off people, not to much a complete depletion of sales on many Canon models.

    Not only did that GH2 beat the Canon 5D MarkII, I read it placed third behind an Arri Alexa and a Sony F65.


  24. Yes Steve that is the world we live in, Great quality products for very low prices , and the more it happens, also the more the concept moves to our jobs where clients will require better and better quality for lower and lower prices.

  25. Anything that makes life easier when shooting with a DSLR like the 60d, or 5dmIII is welcomed in my opinion, but I personally do not need a touch screen. I mostly just need an on and off button.

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