Camera companies can learn quite a bit not only from keeping a watchful eye on one another, or taking notes when I suggest things... but also from the fringe or neighboring industries.
What do I mean, exactly? Well... take the cinematography company Arri, who are arguably one of the most popular cameras in cinematography (Read: Most of what you see in the movies is shot on Panavision or Arri or Red cameras.) Arri, have given their users a leg up on getting acquainted with their gear. And It's such a great idea I'd love to see makers of DSLR's go the same route, and afford us the same opportunity to virtually take their gear for a spin.
They have a really cool setup on their website, a full menu simulator, so you can get a feel for what's possible when setting up the camera. They have one for each of the three cameras in their Alexa camera line. You can learn the ropes so to speak before you even get your hands on the real deal.
It's only a menu simulator, and there is no provision for recording a scene and seeing what the effects will be. However, while I'd imagine the limitations of technology kept that from being a reality as of yet.. I can't imagine that a company whose made a menu simulator...hasn't at least fantasized about offering even more 'simulation' sexiness in the future, complete with sample frame rates, styles..etc etc...They have one for each of their cameras. You can check them out for yourself. Hit the photo for the jump to their page and give it a spin.
And if you think thats cool You should see their idea of a camera manual! Check that out here: Arri Pocket Guide
Everything they do ...they do with an incredible attention to detail. Take a peek at this feature video for one of their softbok LED lights. Which is an amzing bit of kit!
What an amazing light. And as if the lights and cameras they make weren't enough.. the software they make to support them rocks. Check out their Apps So yes....I am a bit jealous. I would love to see still camera companies step up their game.
And before you chime in the difference in price in the gear offered, and hence the expendable revenue to put towards such niceties...Ill simply say this... I'm well aware of the cost of this gear. And yes..it doesn't exactly make for a level playing field with still companies (Apples and oranges really) but....I still would love to see companies like Nikon, Canon and heck even Profoto...start to take a few notes, and implement what they can, when they see fit.
Onwards and upwards. The moral of this story...you can learn from everyone.