Sony has applied (opens in new tab) for a patent on the technology for controlling a camera's interface and controls using voice commands. You could be forgiven for jumping to the conclusion that this is a silly idea - I mean, who really wants to talk to their camera? What's more, given the patchy accuracy of in-car voice control system, should we really expect a camera's speech recognition accuracy to be high enough for such a feature to be truly usable? But I reckon there is some merit to the idea, providing Sony implements sufficiently advanced speech recognition algorithms. With high-end cameras getting ever-more complicated and feature-packed, tracking down the feature, function or command you want can be a frustratingly time-consuming endeavour. And heaven forbid you need to resort to the user manual for 'help'.(opens in new tab)
Now, talking to your camera is nothing new. I verbally express my displeasure to a camera on a regular basis, should it not do what I want. But a more constructive camera/voice combo has been Nikon's Voice Memos feature. Though not voice control through speech recognition, this feature allows you to record a voice note to accompany an image - useful for making a quick reminder about the circumstances in which a particular images was captured. Voice Memos are nothing new, either, being a feature on cameras as old as the D2x, and it's still implemented on cameras like the Z6 II.(opens in new tab)
It's especially appropriate that Sony, of all camera manufacturers, should be applying for a voice command patent. Though I'm sure passionate Sony Alpha users will rave about the simple and logical layout of Sony's menu interface, I personally find the menu structure used by Sony mirrorless cameras to be less than intuitive. I should stress that I hold no particular camera brand preference - the biggest variable in camera performance is the fleshy mammal pressing the shutter button - but in my opinion, Canon's menu layout is the most intuitive. But should Sony leverage its considerable technological might and make a success of camera voice control, memorizing menu structures and going to the trouble of assigning frequently used functions to custom buttons could be a thing of the past.
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