With every new camera, new options and enhanced features are introduced, sometimes small and perhaps even insignificant, sometimes groundbreaking. The end result is never perfect, but what if you could design one yourself?
With every new model, a camera evolves. Especially this last decade, the evolution of cameras is amazing. Ten years ago, we had small screens and not more than 10 megapixels. Now, we have more than one digital screen with resolutions that once were considered impossible and sensors that have up to 100 megapixels. We have touchscreens and autofocus systems that are faster than the blink of an eye. Buttons are customizable, and the dynamic range of a sensor has increased from something like eight stops to 14 stops. And the end is still not in sight.
The design of every new camera will probably start at the drawing table, perhaps by people who only are guided through the comments of a small group of photographers or reviewers. But perhaps I am wrong with my assumptions. Perhaps there is a roadmap that has just one purpose: make cameras only slightly better than the previous one, so enthusiasts will buy every new model over and over again.
As I said, this may only be an assumption on my part, and I don’t know half of what is really going on at these companies. What I do know is that no one photographer is alike. Everyone has their own needs depending on preferences or requirements for their kind of photography. A sports photographer may need lightning-fast AF and perhaps 10 or more photos per second. A landscape photographer may need a high pixel count, but no fast and responsive AF. And someone who makes films has completely other requirements compared to the photographer.
Next to specific requirements, there are ergonomic wishes. Perhaps the camera needs a design that fits like a glove, that makes it possible for wedding photographers to hold their camera for 14 hours straight without problems. Someone with small hands will prefer a small camera, I guess, just like the travel photographer. And I can imagine there are also photographers who don't care about ergonomics or size. There are as many wishes as there are photographers.
I find the expectations for new camera one of the biggest problems with the present market. Today, a new camera needs to be perfect for every kind of photography. It needs to be the best of the best, no matter what kind of photographer or kind of subject that will be photographed. If a new camera does not tick all the boxes, it will be called a bad camera, even if it is the perfect camera for just one kind of photography. I do think most of the critics are the typical “professional" amateur photographers who desire a camera that is perfect for all kinds of photography.
I wondered how my own perfect camera would look. So, I looked at all the cameras I have used in the previous years and chose the options and specs that I would like to have in my perfect camera. It is fun to do, and it makes me also aware of the things I need in a camera. I shoot weddings and landscapes. My perfect camera would have the following specs.
Sensor From the Hasselblad X1D-50c
A high-resolution medium format sensor, with huge dynamic range.
Autofocus From the Sony A7R III
The autofocus has to be fast, accurate, and include the wonderful eye/face/body autofocus, preferably with the option for face recognition that will recognize the most important person in the frame.
Electronic Viewfinder of the Leica SL
The very high-resolution electronic viewfinder would be perfect, with a high refresh rate. The Leica SL has the best viewfinder I have come across so far.
Optical Viewfinder of the Fujifilm X-Pro2
I would like to be able to switch between an optical and electronic viewfinder, just like the Fujifilm X-Pro2. Sometimes, it is just more convenient to use the optical viewfinder, and I would hate it to see it go.
Articulating LCD Touchscreen of the Canon EOS R
It is very convenient to have a LCD screen that can go every way. But better still, it needs to have a fully functional touchscreen, not only to choose a AF point, but also to use the menu.
Button Layout and Customization Like the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1
The button layout has to be very good, and logical, and there has to be enough dedicated buttons available. Every button, dial, or switch has to be customizable. The best I have seen is that of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1.
Dedicated Exposure and Aperture Dials of the Fujifilm GFX 50S
I love the old fashioned exposure dial on the top of the camera and the aperture ring on the lens. They feel perfect and works very quickly. You can see what settings you have without activating the camera.
Menu System of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
I find the Canon menu structure to have the best design of every brand I have seen so far. The menu of the Canon is logical, well thought through, and easy to browse through.
The Size and Weight of the Hasselblad X1D-50c
Of every camera I have used so far, I found the Hasselblad X1D-50c to have the best design, size, and weight. Holding this camera was amazing, and it fits my hand like a glove. Still, I wonder if all the functions I would like to have will fit onto a camera with such a design.
There are a lot of other options I like to have that can be found in different cameras. Often, I wonder why all these brands do not incorporate these simple things into their menus. No matter which camera you take, there is always something missing or just not perfect. One thing I don’t care about is video, so there are no requirements for that in my list.
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- Shutter times up to one hour instead of 30 seconds before switching to Bulb
- Bulb timer
- Time-lapse function
- Self timer for 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30-second delay and for 1, 2, 3, or 5 images
- Customizable and easy-to-access quick menu
- Silent shooting up to 10 frames per second with continuous AF
- Auto ISO dependent on the focal length
- Battery life up to 1,000 shots
- Two card slots, preferably the same type of flash memory cards
- Laser AF assist pattern beam
- Built-in three-stop ND filter
I could probably think of some other things, but I think these are the most important ones for now.
Of course, these are my personal preferences. I realize every photographer will have other requirements or wishes. Tell me, if you could design your own perfect camera, what would it look like? Or does it already exist? Please let me know in the comments below.