Relonch is a new camera now in beta testing that seeks to eliminate the two most annoying aspects of photography: disappointment and confusion.
Disappointment is what every photographer experiences when the photograph does not come close to what was seen or pictured in one’s mind. Taking a disappointing photograph that is less than what was expected is a common frustration in photography.
Confusion is what the photographer feels when confronted with the hundred-plus page manual of a DSLR. How to wade through the numerous controls, knobs, menus and settings in order to get that perfect shot? You know the camera can do better but you don’t want to bother with ISO, manual shutter, aperture, white balance . . . What the heck. Just set it on “Auto” and shoot.
Relonch, The Ultimate Point-And-Shoot
Enter Relonch. It has no controls other than power and a shutter button. The lens is a 30mm fixed aperture f2. The camera decides focus, exposure, ISO, white balance and everything else needed to get the shot. The photographer does nothing but push the button. It’s like the old Kodak line, “You push the button, we do the rest.” In this case, the rest means automatically uploading the Raw exposures for processing by artificial intelligence. The next day your processed photos are delivered to you as jpegs. Nothing could be simpler or less confusing.
The AI processing assures that you will not be disappointed with your photos. They will be manipulated in a way that makes the most mundane subject look like it was shot by a professional—the good ones anyway. The software picks only what it considers the best photographs and discards the rest. The result is that you only see the winners that have been processed to look as fabulous as they can be. Rather than disappointment, you will be thrilled with shots that make you look like the photographer you always imagined. You get only the best but not the rest.
What You Don’t Get
The camera is a stripped down mirrorless encased in a leather cover. There is no monitor. Just an electronic eyepiece viewfinder. There is no photo review so you can’t share your images. No oohs and aahs or chimping over the best shots with your friends. Want to see your photos? Wait till tomorrow. This avoids disappointment since you don’t see the out-of-camera images until the AI software manipulates them to perfection.
The photos you get are jpegs. There is no access to the RAW files the camera shoots on its internal memory. These are uploaded daily and not available to process yourself. You can Photoshop the jpegs but the idea is you won’t have to. Taking the digital darkroom off site and away from the photographer eliminates confusion. There are many photographers who don’t even own Photoshop or Lightroom much less know how to use them. Better leave photo manipulation to the pros or in this case artificial intelligence software.
There is no control over exposure, camera settings or lens. Shutter speed, aperture, focus, depth of field—all determined by the camera. Zoom? There is none. And the camera is meant to be exclusively hand held. There is no tripod thread. The camera adjusts ISO and shutter speed to allow hand holding even in low light. But if you want to take advantage of long exposure photography you’re out of luck. No mount means use of a tripod or an alternative like HandlePod impossible. But the typical point-and-shoot hand held photographer probably doesn’t use or even own a tripod.
And no flash, either built in or attachable.
The concept behind Relonch is camera-as-a service. You don’t actually buy a camera as much as you subscribe to a photo processing service that includes the use of a camera. Whether that service warrants a $99 per month expense remains to be seen. A beta system is in process and the full service won’t be available until 2018. But there are many photographers who would relish the chance to get perfectly processed photographs without confusing camera controls and complex imaging software.