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Reader's concept prompts question: what would your ideal camera be?

By dpreview staff on Oct 19, 2012 at 23:22 GMT

What does your dream camera look like? One of our more enterprising readers has sketched-out what his would look like - creating an interesting contemporary rangefinder concept. Bristling with Nikon F4-inspired manual controls, each dial and switch also has a 'neutral' position to allow the on-screen interface settings to take precedence. Easycass acknowledges the concept may not be entirely possible - an 'ultra-fast' 24-105mm lens would dictate a fairly small sensor, and autofocus rangefinders have never exactly been commonplace - but it raises questions the question: 'What would your perfect camera be?'

With mirrorless and large-sensor compacts still going through a growth spurt, what would you like to see? What controls would you demand and what balance of size, price, sensor size and lens specs would you like to see. Let us know in the comments, below and try to be plausible (a realistic price is usually more than you want to pay for it).

If the comments section doesn't give you the space to express your ideas, consider doing what Easycass has done - create your own article.


Total comments: 710
By lalitjee (Oct 21, 2012)

with so many buttons this camera is like aeroplane controls panel,
my dream camera is like scale down Mamiya 7,which can take bigger pro lenses.
Full frame sensor,add on battery grip,built in 64 gb memory for faster operations,Why video?
+ all the features the author has added already.

1 upvote
By RadioGnome (Oct 21, 2012)

Why are polls and forums like these filled with demands for 'manual' controls, manual focus abilities, and remarks about the wonderfull mechanic cameras of a few decades ago.
I'm looking in the mirror now, as I was about to remark on my FM2 and Canonet.

At the same time, manufacturers make ever more complex electronic devices, marketing them with their ever more intelligent auto-focus features. In reviews they are judged by the speed and accuracy of their AF and their ability to do spot on measurements in every difficult light-situation.

Do we really want that FullFrame digiback for our beloved manual? Do we actually like all the automation but are affraid to admit it? Do manual camera's make us think about yesteryears, when we were young and life was good? I just wonder why, as putting a sensor in a Voightländer RF camera should not be utterly difficult seeing the abilities of small rural factories in China and seeing huge marketing prospectives in fora like these.

By wetsleet (Oct 21, 2012)

I like the automation, but I like the control to be physical, there is no contradictionl. So if I am in aperture priority then having a physical aperture control ring around the throat of the lens is ideal, it is so accessible and intuitive, you know how far you have moved the ring from either end-stop, you can use it as easily in portrait as in landscape - neither of which is true for a typical 'control dial'. And the worst possibility would be some kind of touch-screen menu control for the aperture. So automation is fine, but the bits I am controling I like to control with intuitive tactile controls which feedback to my fingers.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
By gpsgps (Oct 21, 2012)

Canon, if they are sensible, will produce Canon PowerShot G2 X sans the G1 blunders. And, for myself, it will be the optimal compromise between compact and mirror cameras:
- zoom 24-120
- good battery life (min. 500 shots on one charge)
- improved closest focusing range and macro
- faster focusing
- faster lens (2,0-2,8)
- plus some comfort-of-use improvements
- wireless remote control
- time lapse feature
- filter thread
- tripod socket away from battery compartment
Whatever changes are applied MUST KEEP the tilt/swivel screen.

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
By KDFoto (Oct 21, 2012)

I'm a G12 user and have stayed away from the G1X. I am waiting to see what is next in the APS-C G line. I agree with all of the above, with a fast lens (2.0 to 2.8), fast focus, and a relatively fast shooting experience (but not necessarily pro DSLR fast) being at the top of the list. For my purpose, a 28 to 80 zoom is sufficient...but give me the best lens possible....that's why I'm thinking of an interchangeable lens G series. Agreed that the tilt/swivel screen is mandatory.

Rod McD
By Rod McD (Oct 21, 2012)

I have to commend Easycass for a thoughtful and comprehensive effort to get as many controls as possible out of the menus and into physical form (my personal preference). I don't think I can really say whether it would be a "goer" for me given that the critical specifics of sensor size and lens design are an open question.

The responses in this column once again demonstrate that there is no consensus on camera design. It just shows that photographers have very different needs, wants and preferences. Easycass' proposed camera has spawned suggestions for every variety of camera from compacts, through intermediate sensors and up to FF........ there's probably a need for a dozen models to meet everyone's thoughts on sensor size, lens range and control.


Steffan Mamcillan
By Steffan Mamcillan (Oct 21, 2012)

Mine is a slot in sensor module for my F100

Zvonimir Tosic
By Zvonimir Tosic (Oct 21, 2012)

A camera *unloaded with features*, please. Borrow a few ideas from the originals like rangefinders Leica M3 and Nikon S2, or SLRs like Nikon FM2 and Pentax LX.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
By montygm (Oct 22, 2012)

I agree 100%. The problem is camera companies in their effort to compete and out do each other brainwash the general consumer with "more megapixel", Wi-fi and GPS just to name a few. Your typical "consumers" are like bower birds blinded by the flashy bling. All this stuff just drains your battery unnecessarily. They'll be making an SLR soon that will be making an expresso coffee at this rate.

1 upvote
By xentar (Oct 21, 2012)

Something similar to Olympus OM-1 but with a 24x24mm sensor at around 10 megapixels to allow for dynamic range and sensitivity at least as good as it is on my K-r with highlight extension enabled. Base sensitivity of 200 is acceptable.

Would need to be completely and utterly configurable, including buttons and whatever grid/overlay configuration for the main display and evf I can come up with.

It's mandatory for it to have the ability to disassociate focusing from shutter button half-press. I usually focus with the ael button and take a picture afterwards.

Dedicated (possibly configurable) buttons for iso, wb, metering mode.

Power-saving mode where the sensor is only activated whenever I'm looking into the evf or when the video is being shot.

True 60p video with stereo sound (resolution of 1280x720 is good enough).

Fast 30mm and 15-16mm primes available and, maybe, a standard 16-50 zoom as well.

Simon Zeev
By Simon Zeev (Oct 21, 2012)

My dream camera is an M4/3 camera the size of Olympus E-PL2 with the VF2 EVF in the body (the LCD can be smaller) with the new 4/3 sensor.
- the camera have to be waterproof to 50m (164 ft) depth.
- kit lens also waterproof to 50m f=9-50mm
- shutter - electronic global shutter
- 2 optical connections for slave strobe activate by fiber optics
- connection between 2 cameras for 3D pictures

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By DigitalPlatonist (Oct 21, 2012)

For the images I want to make, my current DSLR gear works very well. What I really want, but can't yet get, is a great COMPACT:

- mirror-less body

- very-high-quality, integrated (NOT BOLT-ON) viewfinder

- APS-C sized sensor with best available high-ISO performance and as FEW megapixels as possible (I do NOT want the size/weight/cost that a full-frame sensor would require)

- very-high-quality, 28-80/2.8, image-stabilized lens (I do NOT want the speed/image-quality/size/weight compromises that more zoom range would require)

- prefer a non-interchangeable lens with the above specs, but can live with interchangeable

- great manual control, including zoom and focus (The "3-knob" post by Alphoid in this thread is intriguing)

- quiet

- good video quality, with 720p/60, 1080p/30, and 1080p/24

- stereo mic in (would like audio level display and volume control)

- stereo headphone out

I think we're getting close. As soon as a compact meets ALL these requirements, I'll buy it.

By fmian (Oct 21, 2012)

They made my dream cameras in the 70's.
40 years on and they still work like a charm, produce impeccable results, are smaller and lighter than current FF cameras, and are still available at a fraction of the price of something new.
The build quality and optics tend to outshine modern offerings as well.
Why look forward, when we can look back?

By csdotam (Oct 21, 2012)

Hy6 Mod2 w/ and a nice blend of the II R rotating sensor and the Credo's processing power/display.

Pierre Daigneault
By Pierre Daigneault (Oct 21, 2012)

Interesting, No mention of sensor size, lens aperture, ISO range, marco capability etc....
For me I am a superzoom kind of guy....4x just doesn't do it for me.
The article seems to be focusing on ergonomics and handling. No mention of built in flash. I like the back of the grip being clear of controls (keep pushing the "play" button at the back of the grip on the FZ150). I would like to see fully flexible button assignment and also an option to "return all settings to default". Too many times I will adjust exposure or flash etc, and forget to return to default. I like the navigation "joystick"....hate the dial.

By cheetah43 (Oct 21, 2012)

A fully manual RX1 style camera with f1.4-2.8, 35mm-135mm Leica or Zeiss lens, full-frame sensor, EVF and OVF, without in-built flash or screen, that gives Kodachrome and Ektachrome results.

T I Wood
By T I Wood (Oct 21, 2012)

The quality of medium format with the features of a top of the line professional DSLR all in something very ergonomic the size of a cigarette packet.

In other words a go anywhere camera that is first rate.

Even better if Apple made something like this integrated into a higher range iPhone.

By lacro (Oct 21, 2012)

It seems to me many concurr with the idea that an affordable (of around US$ 650) current dream is a state of the art compact in the line of the RX-1 and the RX100 (Specs, Size and Weight) meet the Fujifilm X10 Overall Design and Function Concept, IQ included and solid quality (avoiding the orbs issues), the X20 perhaps?

1 upvote
By cgarrard (Oct 21, 2012)

The one I have with me.

By IceAcolyte (Oct 21, 2012)

To be successful, you must create not what consumer wants, but what consumer will want, because there's a lag between innovation, production, market time, and consumer adoption.
Not a good example, but while Vista is ahead of its time, Windows 7 was appropriate, considering other than the crashes, the appearance was one of the earlier criticized point, while appearance-wise there's hardly any difference between Vista & 7.

By likesfilm (Oct 21, 2012)


By wetsleet (Oct 21, 2012)

I think he is saying that even had Vista been a technical tour de force, it still would have had a rough ride simply because it took a while longer before people came round to accepting the look of the OS, which was relatively unchanged by Win 7, which was successful. Others might argue that the visuals being essentially the same in both OSes shows that they were not the defining factor in the success or failure...

Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Oct 21, 2012)

Might be, after all, they would want to thrown in the coffee maker ... finally !!

In the end, I recognize that one camera simply will not fit all. That's given and that's why there is multiple type, form factor, and category of cameras around and they all serve their own design goal and the intended customer.

Instead I say focus on what the technology allows instead.

1 upvote
By utomo99 (Oct 21, 2012)

if there is pre order. how many will order ? and what price ? or maybe dpreview can try to simulate the pre order ?
if there is huge demand I think manufacturer will consider it.

By BWphotoguy (Oct 21, 2012)

I used to love the Eye Controlled focusing on the EOS 3 and Canon Elan 7E. Why isn't that feature back? It's the most efficient and accurate way of adjusting the focusing. Too many megapixels! More quality! Less noise!

By Shakens (Oct 21, 2012)

thats one ugly camera

By mingleby (Oct 21, 2012)

fugly, surely?

J Parker
By J Parker (Oct 21, 2012)

My ideal camera would have to have the following James Bond-like features:

-Laser Hologram Autofocus to allow precise focusing even in complete darkness

-A Zeiss lens with a brightness of 2.0 at the wide end and 2.4 at 190mm

-Built in infra-red shooting capability

-An L-shaped body with a lens that also swivels to allow waist level shooting, shooting over crowds, around corners, and even shooting behind you

-Operates in total silence

-And of course, has excellent image quality

-By the way, it has to cost $100 or less.

No, I'm not crazy -- fortunately, this camera exists. Sony made this awesome camera (the F707) 11 years ago. I still use it for street photography, being as close as 2 feet from subjects who never realize I'm even taking a picture. I often mistake the images for ones taken with my DSLR.

As of this writing, this 2/3" sensor camera is an insane steal for only $50 bucks on Amazon.

Sony, please make a 2012 version of this camera!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By jasrockett (Oct 21, 2012)

Take a 1Dx and add :- 4K 60fps video
1080 120 fps video
5" 2 Mp monitor
50 Mp ff sensor
64 Gb internal storage
built in wirless and GPS
USB 3 conection
ISO 25 and 12.5
wider arangement of focus points

Today pie in the sky, tomorrows point and shoot. I have owned a few Canon 1's and each new release I hope for some of these features. But what I have now is amazing in what it alows me to do.

1 upvote
By Gehyra (Oct 21, 2012)

I want a Nikon with a built-in flash commander, a swivel screen and a screw drive for old lenses. I do a lot of wildlife and macro photography at ground level and am missing a D60 equivalent body for my Nikon lenses. If the D400 comes out with a swivel screen and a 16+ megapixel sensor, I would be happy.

By KDFoto (Oct 21, 2012)

Looking at the picture, I'd love to have a metering mode switch on the camera body.

I'm looking for a lightweight camera with interchangeable fast primes. I've never seen a zoom that matches a prime. I've always liked the smaller bodies. When I shot film I used a Canonet rangefinder and Olympus OMs.

I own a Canon G12 and its a nice on-the-fly camera. I like its controls. While the image quality is good, I want to improve on it. I'm looking for something in the under $1000 price range. The FUJI X-E1 and Sony RX1 are interesting to me but are above my price point. What I think I am looking for is Canon G1X meets EOS-M. Fast primes on an APS-C sensor G style body. Articulating screen is a must, as is a wide dynamic range sensor.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
By 001FJ (Oct 21, 2012)

All I want is this camera
with a great ff sensor and a decent grip. :)

By l_d_allan (Oct 21, 2012)

Similar to Canon EOS-M, except would directly take EF-S lenses (and EF). Lens lineup expanded with something like the Panasonic 14-42 "pancake zoom".

Eduardo Sarmento
By Eduardo Sarmento (Oct 21, 2012)

Basically, and trying to be tech realistic, an improved hibrid version of the Panasonic FZ50 / FZ200 models: the ergonomics and the Leica fixed manual zoom concept of the FZ50 with the range and the constant 2.8 aperture of the FZ200 with an improved sensor (not much more pixels needed...) who deals better with high ISO and with a good consistent IQ in all light situations. Weather prooof, shock resistant would be nice. The AF, IS and the general operating speed of the FZ200 are already very good... and a price between $400/$600.

By anthonywho (Oct 21, 2012)

24mm X 24mm sensor
Short flange-to-film distance à la Canon's EOS so most lenses will fit via an adapter
As compact as possible

Heaven on a strap

By carrasca (Oct 21, 2012)

the best new cam......Epson RD2

Stetson Ryan
By Stetson Ryan (Oct 21, 2012)

My suggestion would be this: camera/phone hybrid
start with a camera that is 28mm f/1.8 - make camera capabilities the priority over the phone
full size sensor
capable of iso6400 and a decent image
sensor stabilization - horizontal,vertical, rotational
easily removable battery
can shoot 1080p video
make it so it can sync via bluetooth with a computer
throw it in the body of something like the Samsung Galaxy S3
use software to compensate for defects in the lens (CA, distortion, etc)
design the features of a phone around this form factor and you've got a huge hit. People are progressing away from multiple devices. You don't always have a camera on you, but you've almost always got your phone.

Even if modestly thicker than normal phones, this would be an awesome device. Could subsidize price with phone contracts. If it was less than 400 after contract, you'd sell tons of them. Most likely candidate is Samsung since it does both cameras and phones.

By Burbclaver (Oct 21, 2012)

A camera that, when I blink, converts brainwaves from my visual cortex to images that are transmitted wirelessly to my computer, phone, Cloud, etc

Rick Knepper
By Rick Knepper (Oct 21, 2012)

Compact Rangefinder styling
24 MPs
2x zoom - 24mm - 50mm
f2 or f2.8
Decent bracketing options
Canon-style Live View & coated LCD

1 upvote
By DavidGBK (Oct 21, 2012)

Thats almost the new Leica M?

With the R lens adaptor and the handgrip.

By JorgeLuis (Oct 21, 2012)

A Leica rangefinder at a decent price or a 4/3 CSC monochrome with EVF

1 upvote
By AndyHWC (Oct 21, 2012)

Just dreaming, a phone camera with FX sensor, 20x optical zoom with stabilization. HD1080p wtih ability to take 480fps.

Now the reality.
1. a compact DSLR or NEX-class with excellent 6x optical zoom lens, 1080p60 mode with smooth continous focus in movie mode.
2. a RX100-like with more zoom, 1080p60 or better. Same or smaller size, Same or brigher lens.
3. a phone camera similar to Nokia 808 with 3x optical zoom and the floating stablized lens.

By spontaneousservices (Oct 20, 2012)

X-E1 - like camera with articulated touch screen, better viewfinder, dedicated ISO wheel.

16MP fits perfectly with my computer and storage (12 or 14MP would do too) APS-C is the eprfect trade off between control over DOF and lens size. The X-E1 is almost there.

No WIFI, GPS or bluetooth please. Less electronics = better.

1 upvote
By AdrianJCusmano (Oct 20, 2012)

Something with the look and feel of my old nikon fe2. Very few bells and whistles (comparative to today's cameras anyway). A tool designed with a couple of dials and switches to allow fast control and the user to just enjoy taking the photo. In fact the fe2 with a full frame sensor would be about perfect.

By montygm (Oct 20, 2012)

Couldn'tt agree with you more.

By Thsoft (Oct 20, 2012)

Full Frame Compact with 18-200 lens full auto full manual, Full HD 60fps
Waterproof, GPS, Wifi, external mic slot, manual focus, all time focus, silent.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By zakaria (Oct 20, 2012)

pentax k5 body with fuji sensor and pentax litds lenses.

zos xavius
By zos xavius (Oct 21, 2012)

My thoughts exactly. You can keep the fuji sensor though. I love my k-5 and the only that would make it better is if it were full frame, had some more af points away from the center cluster, and maybe had focus peaking build into the viewfinder. Now there's an idea....

By Lights (Oct 20, 2012)

A somewhat affordable, rangefinder in size - not required in operation, full frame mirrorless with manual controls, except the ability to autofocus, or to confirm focus with manual lenses - even mimicking the old split prism. Base ISO of 100 or below. LCD not required...good EVF. Maybe the auto ISO function (very handy for zone focus situations)

Yeah I won't be somewhat there goes my dream.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Felts (Oct 20, 2012)

The vast majority of replies are saying:
"I don't want auto modes, I want control (ISO Dial Please!)"
For me the idea camera is the X Pro 1 with a tad faster AF... I wouldn't argue with FF sensor either, but I've been very happy with APS-C...

Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Oct 20, 2012)

My ideal camera has been out for a very long time now. No need for this hyper-simulated nonsense.

By montygm (Oct 20, 2012)

A full frame DSLR Canon or Nikon with the F-stops changeable on the lens barrel, not on dial mode. Keep it simple. Good shutter speed, good low light performance and a good sensor that doesn't have any banding issues. You don't need half the stuff that is included with so many cameras now a days.

By 40daystogo (Oct 20, 2012)

- large sensor, preferably APS-C or (in many years to come, full frame)
- non-interchangeable zoom 24-85, fast aperture (limit zoom range for max quality)
- removeable EVF only needed in harsh sunlight
- wide-angle adapted to bring it to 21mm widest (e.g. LX5)
- fits in a pocket
- a top lens such as Leica or Zeiss

The RX100 comes close, just need to widen zoom to 24mm. Provide a detachable EVF, and add a wide-angle adapter like the Panasonic LX5 has. That gives a very fast superwide. It's not far from where it is right now. For me, 28mm is not wide enough. I do not need interchangeable lenses. A zoom of 24-85 or even 24-105 would cover 99% of my needs. I do not like extreme zoom ranges since it impedes lens quality.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Oct 20, 2012)

My ideal cameras' are there already, I use them almost daily. Oh and I replace them once in couple of years with other ideal camera's.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
By samhain (Oct 20, 2012)

@camera companies: notice most suggestions are compact rangefinder style full frame cameras? Take a hint already. Seriously, it's long overdue.

By bobbarber (Oct 20, 2012)

Some of the 35mm compact rangefinders didn't have much manual control, but took great pictures. A really simple camera would be nice.

By samhain (Oct 20, 2012)

My dream camera: A full frame version of Fuji Xpro-1 with blazing fast auto-focus, weather sealing & dual memory card slots.

By D1N0 (Oct 20, 2012)

one that doesn't suck at af and mf at the same time.

By hamfent (Oct 20, 2012)

A large sensor compact system camera that runs android or another common operating system so you can use applications on your camera to customize the way the camera operates.

I understand that user mechanical control of compact system lenses to focus is difficult/expensive - which is why the focus rings are just electronic sensors (for some odd reason they continuously rotate) - I'd like to see indexed focus rings with limits to their movement so that when you turn the ring all the way to the right the lens is at infinity etc.

In some of the diminutive compact cameras internal neutral density filters have been used as an alternative to an aperture iris to control the amount of light, the filter sits on a little arm and slides in and out as needed. I'd like to see the same concept applied to the infrared hot filter, there could even be internal infrared filters of different wavelengths. This would probably only be possible with a non-interchangeable lens camera

1 upvote
Dave King
By Dave King (Oct 20, 2012)

CANON FF compact body DSLR (Olympus OM-2 / Pentax MX size), high rez high DR chip (Nikon D800e)... the perfect match for my new 40mm 2.8 pancake!

Why do you even have to ask?

By blank_ (Oct 20, 2012)

thats exactly what I would like. Small FF body around 500g would stop me from looking for another compact system. Even 6D is just too big. And since Canon is late to mirrorless, it might actually help them a lot.

Total comments: 710