Why do compact digital cameras have “rounded corners” these days?

If you’re a long-term user of compact digital cameras, you may have noticed that very few manufacturers can keep their designers from changing at least sixty-four details of the physical camera housing of their brand new and shiny models. Most of the changes are subtle, some are not. I prefer DSLR (or “Digital Single-Lens Reflex”) cameras for most shootings, but the compact digital cameras are great for party shots, or for those times when you just can’t be bothered bringing all your whizz-bang gear.

Without getting into a brand-religious-war, I’ve been rather fond of many of Canon’s IXUS series compact digital cameras. You, of course, have your own preferred brand and model. Most of the early IXUS cameras had a great feature that I’m beginning to think was a feature by accident or necessity.

That the long side at the bottom of the camera is flat is something most people take for granted, and it makes sense. If you’re going to put the camera down, you want it to remain immobile and stay where you put it. It’s also great if you have no tripod and want to take a shot that requires more time or less vibrations than you can manage with the camera hand-held. The early IXUS series also had the two short sides being more or less flat, making it possible to take portrait-style photos in bad light without a tripod. Being able to put the camera down is of course also great for self-timer shots.

For the past few years, many manufacturers have decided that we don’t need to take self-timed portrait-style photos. They put out model after model with “rounded corners” and a number of other “enhancements” that makes it next to impossible to put the camera down in portrait-style.

I don’t get it .. why would anyone want to take away this feature?

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