Recently while filming video for our next educational tutorial with landscape photographer Elia Locardi I found myself asking, "Why in the world do our $4000 cameras still not do this?" Today I have laid out 12 simple features I believe would make all of our lives a lot easier, and most of them could probably be implemented right now! Give me your opinion in the full post poll.
Before I start, some might say I'm a Nikon fanboy. The first camera system I adopted was Nikon (Nikon D200 to be exact), and while Fstoppers has given me the freedom to test and use a bunch of different cameras, I have to be honest and say I've never owned another full DSLR system not branded black and yellow. However, anyone who knows me knows I'm the first person to admit that Nikon and many other camera companies have simply dropped the ball when it comes to implementing useful features that real professionals want. Luckily Fuji and Sony are ruffling some feathers so hopefully the big boys will take notice and start picking up the slack.
At times these big camera manufacturers feel a bit like Apple who ignored all those cool jailbreak features only to finally put them into their own iOS platform years later calling it a revolutionary new feature. Just like a lot of those hidden Jailbreak apps, most of these features I'm about to list may not only save you a lot of headache, but they might actually allow you to create some pretty cool imagery and/or video with nothing more than a firmware upgrade. I'm pretty sure most of the ideas in my list below have not been fully adopted by any manufacturer, but since I'm mainly up to speed on the Nikon systems I apologize now if some cool company is already offering some of these features.
I know everyone has their our own personal "dream features" that might not have made my list so feel free to share your own ideas in the comments below. So without further ado, let's dig into the list!
1) Built-in Long Exposures
One thing I learned watching Elia Locardi work throughout Iceland, Cinque Terre, and Rome is that he loves shooting long exposures. On many occasions, Elia would want exposures ranging from two seconds to two minutes. In order to take photos longer than 30 seconds you will need to set your camera to the Bulb setting and use a remote to dial in the extended shutter release. Using this method is great for reducing camera shake when working on a tripod, capturing long 1–30 minute night time exposures, and even firing your camera without looking through the viewfinder. Locardi's remote of choice is the Nikon MC-36a, but watching him use it made me think, "Why do we even need this thing?" Can our cameras not offer dialed-in exposure times longer than 30 seconds? Is this simply a ploy by camera manufacturers to make us buy an extra little trigger for $150? If we could set the bulb with a custom time duration, we could then use the self-timer to trigger the camera without camera shake and pretty much do away with this product altogether. This feature seems like it could instantly be offered through a firmware update, and if you are anything like me, you probably won't have that specific shutter release remote in your bag that one time you find yourself in need of an extremely long exposure. Can we please get shutter lengths longer than 30 seconds built directly into our cameras?
2) Auto-Record Restart
Most all current DSLR cameras on the market are now limited to video record times of 20 minutes. I've heard this has to do with memory cards and drive partitions not being able to handle files longer than 20 minutes (or 4GB in size) as well as crazy speculation that cameras that can recorder longer than 20 minutes are considered camcorders which are taxed higher in some parts of the world. Whatever the reason for this limitation, it sure would be nice if our DSLRs could make the most out of the situation by seamlessly recording long segments back to back. How many times have filmmakers messed up interviews or timelapses because their camera hit the 20 min mark and stopped filming? To combat this limitation on record time I came up with an idea: imagine if there was a menu item that when activated allowed your DSLR to auto-record another file immediately after the previous file hit the 20 minute mark. I know from personal experience this feature would have saved me multiple times especially when I was manning two cameras by myself. Again this little feature would be easy to implement through a firmware update, and it would be very handy when filming extended interviews.
3) End of Video Beeps
The auto-record restart idea above actually came from another feature I thought would be handy. What if when you were recording in video mode, a simple audible beep would happen when your video clip reached the 10 or 5 second remaining mark? Sure, this beep could potentially ruin the last few seconds of a clip, but I think the advantage of knowing your camera is about to stop recording would be a welcome feature for videographers. Again this feature could be set in the menu so you could turn it on and off depending on your recording situation. Imagine how useful this would be when you are running video timelapses or conducting long interviews where your clips constantly hit the 20 minute mark. This is such a simple feature but I believe it would help many videographers from accidentally letting their video files expire unknowingly. Perhaps this featured wouldn't be needed if we could simply record video clips longer than 20 mins or had the option of initiating a record restart automatically.
4) Completely Silent Photo Capture
During our road trip to Photokina, Lee Morris and I were given four mirrorless cameras and instructed to test them out without any prior experience. We took this challenge to heart and actually left the manuals back home. Trying to figure each of these cameras out with just our own photography intuition proved to be both hilarious and eye opening. One of the cameras, the Sony a7S, really impressed me with its completely silent capture feature. Since it doesn't have a shutter or mirror, every fake digital beep and noise it makes can be turned off for completely silent operation . This is nothing new, right? Well it made me think, why can't my Nikon D810 or D750 do this? I remember first hearing about the new Nikon D810 having an "electronic front-curtain shutter" and I got really excited. If you are a wedding photographer, you are all too familiar with churches and officiants telling you that you cannot shoot during the ceremony because the camera makes too much noise (and usually the videographer is off to the side grinning as he films away unimpaired). Well the electronic front-curtain shutter was not what I expected it to be (it's more for camera shake and long exposures), but the idea made me wonder once again, "Why can our DSLRs not pull full res frames straight out of live view just like cheaper mirrorless and point-and-shoot cameras?" In this mode you would simply have both your mirror and shutter up (this is how Live View works) and with the push of the shutter your camera would pull a full frame still directly off of the sensor. You could essentially shoot in dead silence (minus initially turning on live view). Wedding photographers could now find themselves shooting silently in churches around the world! My iPhone can do it, guest's cheap point and shoots can do it, our DSLRs should do it!
5) Unlimited Flash Sync
Now this feature probably has a lot of technical limitations behind it but I'm still going to ask the question, "Why can so many cameras and medium format cameras sync beyond 1/250th but our DSLRs are stuck dead in their tracks?" Sure, I know, medium format cameras avoid the flash sync limitations by using leaf shutters instead of traditional focal plane shutters, but in my opinion having a near unlimited Flash Sync speed is the holy grail of digital photography. The only thing really left to conquer in flash photography is defeating the current Flash Sync limitation (well besides my next point below). There have been numerous hacks on how to get your camera to effectively bypass the 1/250th limit but most of them aren't exactly reaping the benefits of a true shutterless sync.HSS and Hypersync are not true viable answers to this problem plaguing the DSLR camera. I've synced many point-and-shoot cameras with flash at ridiculous electronic shutter speeds and I think it is time that our DSLRs use a similar digital shutter to allow our expensive "pro" cameras the same flash-overpowering-ambient-light results. As photographers flock to medium format cameras primarily for this feature, Nikon and Canon could help secure their future by solving this problem once and for all.
6) True 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Control
Okay, okay, I just said that the last hurdle to overcome with flash photography is an unlimited Flash Sync but there is one last piece of the puzzle left and that is improving wireless flash. For over a decade at least, fans of off-camera flash have been stuck using triggers that use infrared (think Nikon's CLS) or low bandwidth radio triggers (think Pocket Wizard and their FCC 344 MHz frequency). Recently Canon stepped up to the plate and released their new 600EX flash system that uses the 2.4GHz bandwidth, and other wireless controllers like Profoto's Air Remote and Phottix's Odin system have made wireless flash more reliable than ever (remember the insane distance covered in this video). From my experience with the Profoto B1s and D1s, I have to say the 2.4GHz frequency gives me a near 100 percent reliability rate compared to my near 50 percent rate with the once flagship Pocket Wizard Plus III models. Despite what everyone's favorite "strobist photographer" Joe McNally says, Nikon's Creative Lighting System is not reliable at all compared to this newer wireless technology. All the major camera manufacturers should take a page out of Canon's book and start incorporating 2.4GHz wireless transmitters and receivers into both their camera bodies and speedlights across their mid and pro product lines. It's a bit ridiculous that a cheap $70 China rip-off brand can have this technology, but our expensive name-brand cameras still do not offer any reliable way to wirelessly sync remote flashes.
7) Replace the PC Sync Jack
Most of the features I've desired so far could all be implemented with firmware updates. There is one major hardware change I would love to see happen immediately and that is the replacement of the PC Sync connector. One of the first videos and posts we ever did on Fstoppers was called "The PC Sync Cord Needs to Die." PC Sync connectors are used to trigger studio flashes and strobes or other wireless remotes like Pocket Wizards. If you have ever used this flimsy connector then you know it is perhaps the worst designed connector in the history of electronic connectors. I think it is time for Nikon, Canon, Sony, and Fuji to all adopt a new standard, and in my opinion that standard should be the common 1/8" TS Headphone Jack. Most photographers these days are using radio to trigger their flashes, but there are instances where connecting a speedlight, Pocket Wizard, or studio light directly to your camera with a sync cord can be useful. It is beyond time to change to a connector that doesn't fail 20 percent of the time! I mean it seems like we have to adopt to new HDMI and USB connectors on every single new camera. Why is this archaic PC Sync port even still being put on modern DSLRs?
8) Built-in Wi-Fi
Before traveling with a Wi-Fi capable camera, I used to think Wi-Fi was one of those features I didn't necessarily need in my DSLR. My mind however was changed this last summer when I traveled to Photokina with the Sony a7S and Fuji XT-1, both of which allow you to tether your camera to your cell phone for wireless transfer. Most of my travel and day-to-day photos are posted to my Facebook page or the Fstoppers Instagram page. Having the ability to take high quality photographs and then instantly upload them online while on the move was surprisingly exciting. During our travels through Iceland with Elia Locardi, I had to laugh when I realized how many photographs I was taking on my iPhone instead of with one of our many D810s. The reality was it was simply way easier to upload the iPhone photos than it was having to download, edit, and upload RAW files from my "advanced" DSLR. As a wedding photographer, I can see how instantly being able to upload a high-quality image from a wedding would be a very useful marketing tool. How many times have you seen photographer friends on your Facebook feed simply taking photos of the backs of their DSLRs? There are a few cameras like the Nikon D750 and Canon 70D that offer Wi-Fi but I think this is a feature that should probably be included in all future camera models.
9) 120/240 Frames Per Second Video
I know by this point you are probably saying, "geez, Patrick is asking for so many video features." Well, in my opinion, the current DSLR camera has pretty much maxed out everything on the still image side of things. If you can't craft the vision in your head with 36 megapixels, ISO half a million, the fastest AF in the history of the camera, and more dynamic range than ever before, then I guess you can keep waiting for the next perfect camera. In the meantime I've found that clients are asking for more and more video, and those who have embraced DSLR video are setting themselves up to be leagues ahead of the competition. The largest photography project I've done to date, "The Stun Gun Photoshoot," was a success mainly because of the combined slow motion video paired with traditional still photographs.
Video really is going to be the next big thing for these cameras and don't be surprised when your current 2.8 Version II lens is updated yet again with upgrades that focus more on the videographer. I'll leave that argument for another time, but what drives me crazy in the current market place is that my iPhone and my GoPro 4 can still out perform my expensive DSLRs (both of which can be had for $500 and both weigh a fraction of my DSLR). What good is Expeed IV processing if we cannot pull off 120 fps at 1080? As the tiny GoPro 4 cameras are breaking into 2.7K and 4K video, our "professional" cameras are still stuck at 1080 with 60fps at best. Last night I did an iPhone Slow Motion Test at a New Years Eve Party I attended to see how well the iPhone 6 did with 120fps video and the massively impressive 240fps video (both at 720p). The results are pretty amazing for just a small phone with a f2.2 fixed aperture. Even if you do not use the video feature at all, it should still make you mad that your latest and greatest professional DSLR camera holds a premium price while still being inferior to many lower priced consumer products.
10) Full 1:1 Pixel Video Crop
If you shoot video on the run, you probably use a standard lens like the 24-70 mm (the Tamron is currently our favorite for video). The reason you would pick this lens is because it gives you both a moderate wide-angle shot as well as a short telephoto shot. But what happens when you need even more reach but you do not want to carry another lens like the 70-200mm with you? Enter the video crop mode! Many cameras allow you to digitally crop within the DSLR's menu so you can get more reach out of your lens. This digital cropping doesn't always make sense with stills because you can crop later in post, but for video work these crop modes can be a godsend. Getting an extra 1.5 or 2x crop out of your sensor is really handy, but what if you could zoom all the way into your 36 megapixel sensor and use the center most 1920x1080 pixels? Depending on your camera you could essentially have a 3–5x crop factor built into any lens you have mounted. Your 24-70mm would now have a reach of 210mm or possibly even 350mm on a high megapixel sensor. Nikon does offer this feature on their D4S camera but really this 1:1 pixel crop should be available for everyone no matter what camera they have. Again it doesn't make sense for stills (no one wants to permanently save a 2 megapixel image), but for video users it would open a lot of doors for those running and gunning with a single lens.
11) Quick ISO Rotator Knob
Most professional digital cameras have two rotator knobs. One controls your shutter speed and the other controls your aperture. Very few cameras allow you to also control your ISO with a third rotator dial. The reason for this is historically with film you were locked into your ISO based on the speed of film loaded into your camera. With the introduction of electronic apertures in lenses, we lost the ability to control the aperture at the lens but gained another rotator dial. Today, changing your ISO sensitivity is just as important as changing your aperture and shutter. While some modern DSLR cameras do you let you modify how the rotator knobs work, very few actually give you three completely separate controls for each exposure adjustment. The one camera that does offer seamless control without having to simultaneously hold a button down is the Sony A7 series. I was completely shocked at how easy and fast this camera allowed users to rotate through aperture, shutter, and ISO settings. Today many photographers might actually adjust their ISO settings more than their aperture and having such a well designed dial just for ISO makes a lot of sense. Fuji came very close to making their X-T1 cameras quick but instead their digital rotator knobs only controls the exposure a few 1/3rds stops from the hard rotator dials (which can lock in place at times too). Canon has the perfect 3rd wheel for this but instead chooses to require a second button to be pushed before ISO settings can be changed. Nikon doesn't even have a third rotator switch yet so you are forced to use two hands to change ISO. If you photograph scenes and objects that do not require super quick exposure adjustments this feature might seem like a mute point, but if you photograph events, weddings, or fast paced street photography you can easily see where having an isolated ISO dial could be a huge time saver.
12) Expandable Custom Kelvin WB
If you've ever shoot events like concerts, fashion shows, or anything with dramatic lighting, you probably know how hard it can be to dial in an acceptable white balance. Our cameras have a custom WB setting that lets us pick from a range of custom Kelvin temperatures, but did you know that editing software like Lightroom and Capture One can expand those settings even more? Our DSLR cameras are usually boxed in to 2,500K on the cool side and 10,000K on the warm side. Sometimes, depending on the lighting, that range is not enough to produce correct white balance. If you are surrounded by near neon level lights, you might need to cool everything down below 2,500K, or if you are shooting in the super blue twilight hour you might need to add even more warmth to your scene that what 10,000K can supply. Luckily most editing software expands your camera's native WB range to 2,000K all the way up to 50,000K, and sometimes just a slight change of 500K can make all the difference in the world. This is really handy when you are editing RAW files on your computer but what if you are burning in your WB with Jpeg or shooting Video (we don't have RAW video yet)? It can be a real bummer when you run out of white balance latitude on an important shoot. Isn't it time our cameras have the same expanded white balance settings our editing software gives us?
We are all pretty lucky to live in this era of digital photography and video. Never before have our cameras been able to capture beautiful imagery in the worst of conditions possible. Throughout this first leg of our trip with Elia we have really pushed our cameras to the limits. From shooting the aurora borealis in near total darkness, to having waterfall mist freeze on our cameras, to testing the weather sealing in hail, rain, and snow, I am still pretty amazed at how far the modern day DSLR camera has come. Ask any Sports Illustrated photographer and they will tell you the Auto Focus is truly world class at this point. Wedding photographers know just how amazing super high ISO can be in dimly lit ceremony and reception halls. Photographers looking to make the transition to videography have never had a cheaper and easier time than now with the amazing HD quality we can achieve out of our pro level camera lenses. I do not want this article to undermine just how amazing our cameras really are.
However, recently it seems like some camera manufacturers have lost touch with the needs of both semi and full time professional photographers and videographers. Each time a new camera is released, I think many of us have been brainwashed into thinking we need more megapixels and higher ISO settings when instead we should be wanting features that actually make a difference in both our creativity and our productivity. Sure, I'm excited to see how many stops better ISO 12,800 can be but the reality is I very rarely use these insanely high settings. Having a camera shoot 50 megapixels would be exciting too but how many of us are actually printing these files larger than 36"x48" or even at all? I believe the real features that will make future camera releases truly amazing might be found buried under all the flashy raw camera specs. These features might allow us to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible while also making it easier to craft this art of ours out in the field.
In a way, camera manufacturers have reached a point of diminishing returns with each new camera release. They are filling that gap with advances in video which I completely applaud, but from a photography stand point, each new camera release seems to be a little less exciting than the one before it. One might be able to argue that the most exciting new features have come from the under dogs like Sony and Fuji. Sony broke away from the megapixel hunt to provide a 12mp Full Frame super high ISO killer in the Sony A7s. Fuji is also breaking the molds by releasing major firmware updates throughout the year that gives even their older cameras new life and functionality. Hopefully we can see outside the box trends like this filter down through all the major camera manufacturers, but until then I guess we are just left to dream.
How about charging cameras via USB?
Seems doable but why is that more handy than charging an extra battery on AC? If your camera has to be tethered to a computer to charge then it seems like it wouldn't be able to be used easily.
Sony does it on a few models. Of course, you can charge with a dedicated charger. But USB charging is great for travel. You can use the same charger as your phone or share your external battery pack to charge your phone/tablet and camera. Also, I think that it allows you to power the camera while shooting tethered.
Not something I'd consider essential for a pro but it can save your bacon and allows for a lighter bag in more casual settings.
Simply for want of charging options. I carry a couple of 11,000mah battery banks with me that have seen spot duty charging gopros for extended recording as well as a CamRanger for tethering on an all day photo session. I don't see why I shouldn't be able to do this with my main cameras as well.
More cameras should offer this, I agree! The A7Rii does it, and I'm sure the other A7 series do also. It's really nice, because I can use a portable Anker 10Ah battery to power my camera through a full day just by plugging it into the USB.
My Canon R5 can be charged by USB.
I'd be ecstatic for #5 alone..
While we're asking for things they won't give us, I'd also like my Nikon speedlights to run off of a Nikon camera battery.
I don't know how much that would kill the main battery but if it was reasonable it would be worth weight drop of the flash as well as the smaller size. You put a SB-900 on a D4 and a 70-200 to haul around and that is heavy. Losing the weight of 4 AAs would at least counter that a little.
I meant using an additional camera battery in lieu of the 4 AAs. I already have a bunch of them and they would yield better recycle times than conventional batteries.
I think the issue is the Flashes typically outlast the live of the camera batteries. Nikon used to use the ENEL3e batteries before changing to the new EN-EL15 battery. Some of the other entry level cameras use another EN-EL battery too and the D4 has that monster of a battery. I think it is a nice idea but if you are ever in a bind it is nice knowing you can throw in any AA from the gas station and still be able to shoot. What would be the worst is if you were a Nikon D4 shooter and also had to carry both AA for other electronics an a random EN-EL15 battery for your flash.
For the DX guys your point is valid but if you're a pro and you shoot your speedlights at work you cook through enough AA batteries to make a "pro grade" speedlight cost effective, if of course, Nikon could establish a single battery for all of their FX camera systems and flashes.
There'd also be the additional revenue from people buying Nikon batteries to power their flashes instead of AAs.
Yeah I think the issue is the battery changes every 3-5 years so having one standard wouldn't be an issue. Personally I don't mind using AA batteries since my pocket wizards use them as well as tons of other photography devices. This isn't that exciting to me honestly especially since I can buy 16-24 Enelope batteries for the price of 1 specialized battery.
I bought a bunch of Godox flashes that use a proprietatary lith-ion battery. I have 5 manual only flashes (v850) and 2 TTL (v860c).
The flashes are REALLY nice, especially for the money and the batteries at full blast (1/1) can go for 500 POPs (GN 58). The flashes also use their own proprietary triggering system that allows me to change flash setting on the fly from the top of the camera and have a really impressive range ... LOVE THESE THINGS!
THAT BEING SAID ...
I'm a part timer here ... I do 10-15 weddings a year plus another 15+ other shoots (maternity, boudoir, swimsuit, product ...) and my busy season is starting up now (shooting some product/catalog work on location tonight, have a couple of head shot sessions lining up) so I started charging my batteries ... two of the batteries are dead ... complete refusal to charge ... after about a year of use.
Just ordered 4 more (40$ each) ... will take over a month to get them. Thankfully my wedding season only starts in a few months.
Also a Godox shooter. Love the concept and build quality but the implementation of the batteries is very bad. They batteries aren't balanced and so they are prone to dying much, much faster than a typical LiON battery. Supposedly with the current batch of batteries this is much better.
I've bought a bunch of replacements ... I now own more dead Godox batteries than functional.
I have over 56% fail rate on the batteries with the MAJORITY of the replacements being DOA.
Thank goodness for amazons return policy.
On a side note. I have yet to see any of the NEW batteries. I keep getting the first generation batteries.
There's one Amazon listing for the new batteries. I've only bought one but it is much better than the Newer batteries I've been buying which were ALL below spec on voltage and didn't last the advertised amount. I've also had good experiences with the Adorama Flashpoint brand.
#2 I believe that most cameras are limited to 29:59 of recording, not 20 minutes. The reason being that any device that can record for 30 minutes or more is classified as a camcorder in the European Union and is assessed a higher tax than a camera.
Most of the DSLRs I've used are still at 20 mins but either way, they should allow regional cameras the ability to extend that. Or the EU needs a better way to differentiate between cameras and camcorders if they want to tax them differently.
Magic Lantern for Canon fixed this
In the US the recording time is limited because of different duty rates on video vs. still cameras. The tax rate is the same - it's just import duty.
Do you have a reference for this? Why do countries differentiate between camera and camcorder? And more importantly does it matter! I just bought a $200 camcorder by canon this Christmas. Seems backwards that that camera can record 3 hours yet a dslr can't because of a small duty fee?
What are the laws about shipping cameras that can't shoot over 30 minutes and then you can give them a firmware update yourself that allows unlimited recording?
I can confirm that the limit is made just because of EU tax. I live in europe and wanted to buy GH4. After reading some reviews I was pretty excited about unlimited recording...Well, wasnt for long, guess what difference is when you buy GH4 in europe and in US. They really do have EU version with 30min limit. And for Patrick, most DSLRs have 30min limit, even D800. Just change video quality from high to normal and you get 30min. And trust me, not much difference according to quality loss....
I have really been wanting focus peaking for nikon cameras. I'm not sure why this cannot be implemented...
I almost included that feature in my list. After using the GH4 for a month I have to say that feature is super useful!
Sent you a message patrick
An electronic viewfinder would be needed for focus sizzle and big boy DSLRs don't have those.
You can use the Nikon arrows and green dot for focus confirmation
Why does a camera that uses focus peaking need an electronic view finder? It can just display it on the LCD like the Panasonic GH4 does.
It doesn't. I'll try to switch my brain ON before I comment again. Sorry
What's strange is that Magic Lantern can get focus peaking to work on Canon's, such as teh 5D3 - however why they can't just make a firmware update that allows for that without the additional program, I don't understand.
Same thing I guess with the record time, you can auto-restart using ML, but it isn't available through firmware updates? Well maybe that has more to do with the duties and such.
I was talking about live view focus assist for video functionality, which is a relatively simple image analysis overlay. Even cheap (under $200) monitors have this feature.
Good post - lots of great ideas. I think most camera manufacturers need to improve the UI of their menus. In an age of smartphones, the current interface standards feel dated and sometimes hard to navigate. The Leica T is one of the few cameras that appears to be doing something innovative in this regard (although only based on what I have seen, I have not used it)
I haven't used the Leica T but I do feel like the Nikon Menu is so well designed and easy to use. The new Video menu and new Live Menus are really great. After using a bunch of other brands though I do tend to agree with you
I would like more customization over how a camera brackets. By that I mean options that allow a choice that doesn't require a 9 frame bracket to get the 3 exposures you need
Can you elaborate? The Nikon cameras do 3,5,7 and 9 brackets at 1/3 stops to 2+ stops at least. I remember my Canon friends always hating their bracket system but I figured that was all fixed by now.
Yes, like auto [1 ] narrowest aperture [ 2 ] median aperture [ 3 ] widest aperture.
i would like :
-a histogram of the LAST picture you took in the viewfinder.
-start AF with your thumb but also be able to move the AF point around with the same button,at the same time
-a hybrid viewfinder in a DSLR,like in the Fuji X100.Use Liveview or shoot video without an extra loupe.
On "1) Built-in Long Exposures" I think its to sell hardware.
On ones listed below I listed some of why your wish list may not be practical.
2) Auto-Record Restart
One reason is buffing, another is over heating the sensor. The thing to remember a DSLR that does video is a compromise. The main job of DSLR is is stills video is secondary, If video is the primary goal then you would want something like EOS C500 it has a 35mm sensor and uses EF lenses.
4) Completely Silent Photo Capture
With a DSLR again it is the shutter and mirror design. If you went to a mirror less camera you can have your silent system.
5) Unlimited Flash Sync.
DSLR are using focal plane shutters, what you want is a leaf shutter. Medium format, and view cameras have lief shutters which are built into the lens not the camera body. Your lens cost would be much higher if you switched to a leaf shutter.
8) Built-in Wi-Fi
From using Nikon's and from dealing with broadcast intercoms and so forth they are battery hogs. You will go through batteries in a quarter of the time. This is the major reason they don't do it. WiFi is constantly on when using it so it drains like crazy. Especially if you want move 12-36 megapixel raw images quickly.
10) Full 1:1 Pixel Video Crop
Crop factors are not magnification factors. If did this in camera you are not using the full sensor therefore you are getting less image quality. The Canon XL1s had this setting it was a standard deff camera but you do a 16x9 crop. Long story short image quality dropped.
Part of this is maintaining HD image standards which can be critical for Broadcast, commercials and movies. When do this thing you drop out these standards so professionally this type of footage is some what useless. To be blunt i am old school here if you magnification switch lenses or get a convertor.
11) Quick ISO Rotator Knob
I am not following on this one. On the D2x, D3 series and D4 series you have three control wheels. Now as far as ISO there is one control wheel dedicated to ISO when you push the ISO button. If it akes more than a second to switch ISO then that is not a camera issue. Plus you have auto ISO settings although I never use them, but I mainly shoot news and sports.
Canon and nikon don't own market share in knock off remotes nor have their own that are any better.
I dont think they do this to sell product.
Regards to the crop into chip for video.. i dont know the technology behind iso in relation to the megepixel count. But i dont see how a crop would "lose quality" as you have stated above.
I also wonder if i can half my megepixel and double my iso value and get even better iso quality.
I agree with the long video feature and the idea its due to some aditional tax that makes are breaks it. There is a profit margin for the 100 unit that can record non stop im sure there is for the 2500 cameras as well.. heck id pay 50 or 100 more to get that.
There is a theory they add in new features over time so you purchase new products but yes i believe they are too dam slow.. and now sony has jumped ahead in alot of video related features.
Silent capture and higher sync speed seems to be related to me.. once the shutter is up.. i also dont see why both are not available.
Patrik i think this list is great i hope all the people who work in the right places get a copy of this article and do something with it.
Ralph, thanks for the long response. Again I'm not electrical engineer but here's my thoughts on a few of your suggestions
2) I'm not sure that the issue is the sensor is made for stills and not video. I remember the D90 camera did infact get really hot while taking 5 min video clips but none of the cameras since have shown any sign of getting too warm with 10 and 20 min clips. Many Canon cameras shoot 29.59 min clips while Nikon is still stuck at 20 min clips so something is going on there. I'd be curious to know if the sensor and processor in the Canon C500 is really all that different than the D810 or D4s.
Again I think this argument is kind of debunked because Lee and I very regularly shoot 4-5 20 min clips back to back simply by hitting the record button as soon as the first take is over. If it was an over heating issue then I'd assume the camera should just turn off like it did back in the day with the Nikon D90. All this feature would be saving us from doing is having to hit the record button. We are already filming 60+ minutes at a time.
4) I don't want a Mirrorless camera because I still want my optical view finder, lightening fast AF, quick burst rate, and many other features. When your camera goes into live view, it already pops the shutter and mirror up and ultimately acts just like a mirrorless camera already. Why can it simply not pull off a full res or even 1/2 res image off the sensor and save it as a still? I think camcorders do this all the time with the photo button.
5) I'm not suggesting Nikon offers a leaf shutter (they could I guess, or offer an adapter that allows you to use other brand leaf shutters, maybe this would be offered by Hasselblad and Phase One instead). I'm just saying it would be nice if there was a way to make your DSLR work like a point and shoot camera works where it simply uses electronics to turn the sensor and and off with no shutter at all. If you connect a Pocket Wizard and strobe up to many many cheap point and shoot cameras that have hot shoes, you can actually sync easily beyond 1/250th all the way up to sometimes 4000th. The leaf shutter is how the Medium format cameras solved this problem but it's not the only solution.
8) I'm not even sure this is a problem. The GoPro uses wifi as does many Sony's, Fuji's and the new D750. The Wi-Fi simply turns off when you turn off the camera. The battery loss is pretty insignificant if you are just uploading a handful of images to your phone. That being said, my cell phone's Wi-Fi is on all day pumping much more data than my camera ever would.
10) Crop factors are, in fact, magnification factors. Since the industry standard for video is 1080x1920 and higher, when you crop into 36 megapixels it does not affect image quality at all. Your DSLR is already doing this either by averaging all the pixels (pixel binning I think?) to produce a 1080 file or ignoring every so many pixels and using only the 2mp it needs for the 1080 feed. Our cameras already do this feature to some degree with Fx vs DX (full frame vs cropped frame) so it does exist. The thing is, DX mode is still about 10-24 megapixels so you can definitely crop in even more if all you need is 2 megapixels. Obviously filming in 4k and shrinking down 4x more pixels into a 1080 file is going to produce a sharper image (we do this with GoPro footage), native 1080 video footage is much more forgiving than 1080 still photos.
11) The D2x, D3, and D4 cameras only have 2 rotator knobs not 3 (front index wheel and back thumb wheel). They do have a 3rd wheel on the grip but it only acts as a redundant thumb wheel. I'm simply suggesting a way to change ISO the same way you change Aperture and SS. Holding down a button while rotating a wheel is painstakingly slow. If you've ever used an entry level Canon Rebel you know how painful this can be because they require you to hold a button and rotate a wheel just to change aperture.
Built in ND. For video or dragging the shutter for timelapse. Please!
This was another feature I was going to add to the list. I'm not sure it's practical to add a ND filter like some of the high end Sony HD camcorders have BUT I think there has to be a way to create super low ISO settings that could essentially act as a ND. Imagine being able to go to ISO 25, 12, or 6 to help contain your shutter while shooting video! That would be appreciated by so many photographers. I know when the D810 came out there was a lot of excitement that Nikon actually went lower on ISO than just focusing on higher ISOs.
I've suggested this to Pentax, my chosen system. This would also help with what several portrait shooters want use high speed sync for -- to use wider apertures in daylight. If they'd come out with a camera that could go down to single digit ISOs, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat. It would be amazing if it could be done via firmware on existing cameras, and I can't see why that's not possible.
Unfortunately, Pentax went the opposite direction with the K-3, from a minimum of 80 to 100. :-(
Having a Yc waveform built-in for video AND stills would be awesome. It's so much more useful than a regular histogram, that's for sure!
There are some things that must be resolved on engineering level even if we don't realize it. However I can't understand why long exposure is limited to 30s and there is no built-in iintervalometer into my 5dmk3... That is clearly firmware limitation.
I got this from Canon:
Thank you for contacting Canon product support regarding the features of the EOS 5D Mark III.
I do not know why that feature has not been implemented in-camera, but I will definitely put this into our customer suggestion box as a request for a future update. Thank you for taking the time to write to us about this.
Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your EOS 5D Mark III. Thank you for choosing Canon.
Technical Support Representative
The antiquated flash setup really blows my mind. Nikon essentially sat on their overpriced flashes and did little to improve them IMO while so many other companies are just blowing them away now....they essentially lost the market.
I feel I need one full TTL Nikon flash and that's for on-camera work only - I was using Yongnuos 603s and their dummy flashes and now have moved to the remote manual Cactus setups with the receivers built into the RF-60 and full remote adjustment. I can't fathom why Nikon sat on this and lost that market when they were already making electronics and flashes.
And if either Nikon or Canon were the first to bump the sync speed way up?? Do you know how many folks would flock to that camera? That one feature alone I feel would boost their sales immensely over a competitor.
Oh I know Jason! I remember with the Sb600/800 flashes Nikon was destroying the competition. When they SB900/910 came out, the only advances were the 360 rotating head and better refresh rate. Many including me would say the GUI actually was a step backwards and the flash became even more complicated to use and slower to change power settings. Like you I've pretty much converted to a single on camera Nikon flash supplemented with cheaper off camera flashes. I wish Nikon would give me a reason to go back to their flash ship flash system but they haven't.