Generally, the answer to the question "under what circumstances is it appropriate to toss your fragile and expensive camera into the air" is "NEVER, are you CRAZY?!" Nikon, possibly in a desperate bid to sell more cameras and/or extended warranties, has just patented a new feature for its cameras: taking pictures while in mid-throw.
Here's how camera tossing works:
- You go outside.
- You set your camera on timer mode.
- You throw your camera up into the air, and it takes a picture while spinning around haphazardly.
- You do your level best to catch the damn thing on its way down.
This is the sort of thing that might make sense to do with a camera like a GoPro, but not so much with most other cameras which aren't designed to be thrown into the air and occasionally not caught. Such quibbles don't seem to bother Nikon, who (one has to assume) can probably get replacement cameras on the cheap, and the company has patented what appears to be a method for using an accelerometer to trigger a camera to take a picture at the best point of any given throw.
Nikon, to its credit, does seem at least slightly concerned about all of you lummoxes out there chucking your cameras around, and so the patent does include mention of things like retracting and covering the lens before, um, impact. Even so, this is certainly not the safest was to take pictures, and we're fairly certain that selecting this mode on some future Nikon camera will force you to hit a button that absolves Nikon from any of the damage or destruction that's about to result.
Our only criticism about this (besides the whole throwing your camera into the air and then having to catch it thing) is that camera tossing is a technique that often produces the best results when it's at least partially out of your control. Part of the appeal (for this photographer, anyway) is that the inherent randomness of the toss ensures that the image you get back is always a surprise, and having a system to take over and make the shots perfect would be a bit of a let-down. You could always not use it, of course, but having it there in some automatic mode does take a little bit of the magic out of this one little sliver of photography.
To see what sorts of magic we mean, check out the gallery below.