These days everybody is making its list of the best and worst gear 2020, as well as best and worst trends of 2020.
And it’s on the latter one, the “trends”, that I would like to focus on today.
Because it is clear: one of the hot trends in the photography industry is putting selfie screens on cameras.
And guys, we have to talk about it!
I Am NOT a Selfie Screen Hater
To be clear: I do not hate selfie screens.
And in fact, during the various COVID-19 lockdowns, I often have to teach online and record my lessons, and the selfie screen is a true blessing!
A fully articulating screen is not the photography-evil of our times. It still works fine, it’s still flexible, and I have rather rapidly learned to accept it on my Fujifilm X-T4, sometimes even to love it (especially during my online lessons).
So, if you are one of those, who loves the fully articulating screen, I get it. Maybe I don’t love it as much as you do, but I could totally accept a selfie screen on cameras like the future Fujifilm X-H2 for example.
But it’s getting a bit out of control, with selfie screens just popping up on so many cameras, that we have to talk about it.
And why is this happening?
“Selfie Screen? Pleasing Youtubers is Higher Priority than Pleasing Customers”
“I have no count as to how many shots I missed becauseof the Selfie Screen”
Let me start by quoting Tony and Chelsea Northrup in their video here:
It’s actually amazing the amount of power product reviewers have. Whenever we imagine something or want something to appear, it seems to appear […]. The priority is to please youtubers/influencers. […]
Now every camera has a flippy screen. Some people are mad, but it doesn’t matter. Why? Because youtubers and influencers are happy. For some camera companies pleasing youtubers is even higher priority than pleasing the individual customers, because that’s what pulls people into buying in the first place. […]
A lot of people make entire careers by vlogging or making product reviews [meaning they film themselves and hence need selfie screens]
The lack of selfie screen would result in Vloggers highlighting this as a significant negative aspect of the camera, and since camera manufacturers would like to avoid that kind of negative press coverage, we get more and more selfie screens on our cameras.
…. let’s look at selfie screens from another perspective. The one of people, who stand behind the camera, and we do it by quoting Jonas Rask.
In fact, nobody put it into words better than Jonas in his X-T4 first look review, when he wrote about the X-T4 selfie screen here:
Whereas you could swiftly pull down the X-T3 screen for quick action low angle shots, with this new screen you have to switch hands, flip out to the side, twist around and THEN you can shoot! I have no count as to how many shots I missed because of this. I ended up leaving it flat on the back treating it like a non-flip-screen X-Pro2. Pretty far from ideal if you ask me.
I think Jonas hit the nail with this comment.
In my case, I even keep the screen always flipped inwards and use the viewfinder only (except when I work on a tripod or go really low angle with my composition). In fact, when flipped inwards, the X-T4 looks even more vintage, and I love that most of the selfie screen. Also, when I flip it out, I immediatly see the screen and don’t have to twist it first. This speeds things up a little.
The Myth of Selfie Screens being Better for Video Work
There is a myth that vloggers are spreading: selfie screens are better for video production. And I can understand that, because from their point of view, it really is this way.
But what is true for them, is not true for the vast majority of people, who don’t really film themselves.
Whenever you stand behind the camera, may it be for video or for stills, a 3 way tilt screen is superior also for video work, and here is why:
- LCD stays always nicely centered to the camera
- never in the way to eventual cables you have attached to the side-ports
- not in the way to any camera rig you have mounted on the camera, keeping full flexibility of the screen
- no risk to accidently touch and move your screen with your wrist
- if you have a neck strap on, you won’t be constantly annoyed by the strap covering your LCD screen
In fact, my favorite 2020 video production I saw on youtube, was filmed on the 3-way tilt screen of the X-T3. And it worked wonderfully! A selfie screen would not have given any benefit to the guy, filming the project.
But to be fair, there are cases, where a selfie screen is better for stills and video:
- you want to film yourself
- you want to take a selfie
- you want to take a group shot or family image. Put the camera somewhere, flip out the selfie screen, set the self time, and take a nicely framed family shot without problems
It’s up to you to decide, which kind of flexibility you want in a camera. Do you regularly take group photos or film yourself? Then go for a fully articulating screen. But if you mainly or exclusively film or photograph standing behind the camera you might be better off with a regular tilt screen.
And What about Fujifilm X-E4?
Let’s end this talk by touching on a camera, that I really look forward too: the upcoming Fujifilm X-E4.
TO BE CLEAR: At this point in time, I have no idea which kind of screen the X-E4 will have, but here is my personal preference ranked from best to worst:
- X100V “invisible” tilt screen – keeps camera compact
- fixed screen – keeps camera compact
- 3-way tilt screen – increases camera size, but still OK
- X-T100 screen (filps up and down nicely centered to the camera, but also goes in selfie mode)
- X-Pro3 hidden screen – I would not mind it at all, even be curious to try it out
- selfie screen – no-go, for the reason Jonas Rask mentioned above
For me, the X-E4 must be simple, small and straightforward. The less you fiddle around with the screen, the faster you can operate the camera and get that shot. Especially in street photography, where you might have just a fraction of a second to get the image.
Ok… to whoever made it until here, congratz ;).
Love you all, stay safe, and see you soon on FujiRumors!
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