Previous news story    Next news story

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 Jettatore (Nov 24, 2012)

Full Frame, great ISO performance (+low light shooting ability), high IQ level of detail capture, smallest/lightest body possible (auto-focus not essential), not fancy looking/subtle. Comfortable to use and durable for jamming into a cargo pocket without a case. Prime or Zoom lens, preferably interchange-able. 3 easy to access/comfortable/re-configurable control dials for simultaneous ISO, Shutter and Aperature control (the aperature can be on the lens or body, don't care).

Basically I've put a lot of consideration into systems like Micro 4/3rd's but I do not want to go back to APS-C/crop style sensors after experiencing Full-Frame. That said, I'd be taking many more pictures with a high-quality, pocket-able camera than am I am now, as unless I'm planning a day of DSLR shooting, I basically always leave the camera at home.

Lieca comes closest but still too big and price out of my league. Not sure if smaller FF is possible, but I suspect there is a little room with a new system??

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
By stol2004 (Nov 6, 2012)

Sony rx1 with interchangeable lenses and really low price (1000 would be fine)

1 upvote
By themacguy (Nov 5, 2012)

Fuji XS-1 but sized like the Fuji S9100. AA batteries.

By hsk9146 (Nov 4, 2012)

Cheaper M. Period

Agustin S
By Agustin S (Nov 4, 2012)

My ideal camera would a Nikon F3 like camera with all the nikon D600 or Canon 5D features (for instance). Something small for traveling with enough functions and posibilities. Good image quality.

By Kirppu (Nov 1, 2012)

Auto lenscapped, 24mm - 240mm x10 compact with mechanical manual zoom possibility and possibility to attach lens filter so it can be left on place even when lens contracted. (enough space below the autolens cap). Aperture should start at 1.8 or wider and should not be smaller than 2.8 at the long end(if possible considering it should be compact). 2/3" sensor or bigger if possible to keep it compact. 1080p/i with at CBR at least 45Mb/s with manual focus possibility. Tilting toutch screen, two customizable buttons strategically positioned and one customizable dial beside the normal PASM mode dial button. GRIP, even a little one. Opensource GUI so the community could improve it when the manufacturer gets too lazy after he new upgraded model. tripod screw near the lens middle point, embedded hotshoe with accessory port for flash or EVF. BAttery large enough for 600 CIPA rated shots. Ergonomic designed so that it can be operated with one hand if in hurry to take picture. Pricepoint at ~600$

1 upvote
By Kirppu (Nov 1, 2012)

Oh jeah and photos should be usable at least to ISO3200 no matter that it would be a small sensor compact :)

By Giromondo (Nov 1, 2012)

For travel, my ideal would be a modern version of The Canon Powershot Pro 1 with APS-C sensor (about 16 MP) and 24-200 zoom, preferably around the f2.4 max of the original. With latest technology it would be a bit larger but should be worth it for the usability and quality.

By dpvinz13 (Nov 1, 2012)

For me it's Simple:

- the Full Frame capability and the body-size of the Canon EOS 6D
- with the autofocus, the built-in flash and the ergonomics of the Canon EOS 7D
- Under € 2000

It's soon Xmas, right? :)

By prophotog (Oct 31, 2012)

A 4 x 5 full format, single-shot, instantaneous back (CMOS, not scanning) with super high resolution and subtle detail / color nuance capturing capability.

Miguel Rodríguez
By Miguel Rodríguez (Oct 31, 2012)

Nikon D800 specs to support Nikon and Canon EF, EF-S lenses, with Wi-FI and GPS included, wireless infrared trigger, 11 fps, weather sealed, magnesium body and the size of a canon t4i...

By prophotog (Oct 30, 2012)

My ideal camera would accept Nikon F MOUNT lenses, have a FULLY MANUAL RANGEFINDER (or electronic equivalent) that would allow FULL USE OF MANUAL LENSES; have the resolution of a D800E with the ability to select smaller file sizes and faster frame rates if needed, and have a PC socket.

Selectable choice of optimum high ISO or high HDR depending upon the circumstances. Full auto availability. F3HP TYPE VIEWFINDER for use with glasses, interchangeable viewfinders as an option.

Weight of a D600 or lighter. Size of an F3 or smaller. I would like to minimize controls to basic speed, aperture, ISO, histogram, M or AF, without all the sub-menu clutter (more like the Leica).

1 upvote
By Baki (Oct 30, 2012)

My ideal camera :)

By jelbe (Oct 30, 2012)

My ideal camera would have to be something small like a Oly PEN but with a large sensor (at least APS-C), lots of MP, traditional controls and of course a viewfinder.
The lenses should be small, maybe by being collapsible. It should fit into a jackets pocket.
A shift-lens is crucial.
The body should be weather sealed and an ergonomic handgrip be available as an ad on. Changing lenses should be made easier maybe by a motorized locking mechanism.

By prophotog (Oct 30, 2012)

My ideal camera would have a fully manual rangefinder (or electronic equivalent) that would allow full use of manual lenses; the resolution of a D800E with the ability to select smaller file sizes and faster frame rates if needed. Selectable choice of optimum high ISO or high HDR depending upon the circumstances. Full auto override. F3HP viewfinder for use with glasses. Interchangeable viewfinders as an option. Weight of a D600 or lighter. Size of an F3 or smaller.

By TacticDesigns (Oct 29, 2012)

For me personally, I don't think there is "one" ideal camera for me. One day I want a go anywhere, don't care if I drop it fun camera. The next day I want to shoot my daughter at gymnastics so I need something with a fast lens and acceptable high iso. The next day I want to play with old manual focus lenses. The next I want to do some off-camera flash.

Maybe its not just one camera, but how to make a line of cameras that have a bunch of interchangeable accessories.

And let's say there is a GPS or WiFi adapter or remote shutter release dongle or wireless flash trigger, etc, it would be nice if it worked across the board.

So . . . not so much one camera, but a system with lots and lots of interchangeable accessories. With an ultra affordable entry point.


By sagebrushfire (Oct 29, 2012)

The ultimate camera is one that is essentially only a sturdy, well-built frame that can house interchangeable lenses, sensors, batteries, memory media readers and pc connection devices.

Ideally something that has a standardized design than can be upgraded in modules. Something similar does exist but it's far from being within a reasonable price point (I think it's a type of High Definition Camcorder).

I would really like to see a camera that can split it's resolution to become Full Frame or APS-C or M4/3, So maybe you shoot at 30MP M4/3, 18.7 MP APS-C and 15MP FF. The design would allow for various lenses and it would have to be mirror-less or the mirror would have to allow for the different types of lenses.

There are many times when I would gladly cut my resolution in half for a wider DOF and better low-light noise. Of course I don't know if that's logistically a sound idea, I just like the concept of an "all-in-one" camera.

Gabriel Chan
By Gabriel Chan (Oct 29, 2012)

My dream camera will be the Sony NEX6 but with a built in 5 stop sensor shift like the olympus's. plus with a FF sensor and with a M mount! and with CCD quality like Nikon D600. and with Wi-fi controllable via smartphone function. Wifi function can also control wi-fi remote flash system.

By protodp (Oct 27, 2012)

not full-frame CCD (it makes lens too heavy)
aps-c size or smaller CCD have enough pixel quality
no penta-prizm. mirror-less is lighter & smaller

fujifilm's color processing is mandatory to me (kodak is dead?)
panasonic's video speed
sony's build quality & CCD
leica's design (only design)
more wide dynamic range is needed
good quality lens (schneider/fujinon/canon L/zeiss etc)
nowadays, brands of lens have less guarantee. lens quality is case by case.

fujifilm's X-E1 is very close to my ideal camera. if next model of X-E1 have better video speed & design, i want to get one.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
By andrea_g (Oct 27, 2012)

My Oly XZ1 is conceptually very near to what I need form a compact camera. Just add AE-L, a dedicated fisheye, a foldable sport viewfinder and a sensible AutoISO mode.
For everything else small DSLRs are already perfect for me.

By alk_is (Oct 27, 2012)

the perfect combination should have
- minimum noise at iso 6400
- pixels don't have to be above 16m
- ability to crop within camera
- touchscreen, but only for focus, not menus
- rotary dials for selections of aperture, speed, iso
- weather sealed body
- standard batteries
- detachable flash
- Open Operating System or at least an available API to it.
- movement detection (for now available only in chdk as far as i know)
- Hdr (all the more include it)
- full intervalometer (easy applied, its only software, but rare)
- mutliflashing (that is itervalometer for the flash, rather easy also, only software. I know, heat, batteries, but software can set limits)
- Looong exposure times, just as the old film days, at least 5min. (for most the 1 min is only a few lines of code is their OS, but...)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
By Lensjoy (Oct 27, 2012)

My ideal camera is something like the D800/EOS 5D with a sensor that tilts inside the camera body in both the vertical and horizontal axes. This would offer view-camera adjustments to focus that essentially make any lens into a tilt lens. Since these cameras have large numbers of AF sensors, it should even be possible for the camera to adjust the tilt itself for optimum depth of field in the scene. Build it and every landscape photographer will buy one.

Maurizio Mancioli
By Maurizio Mancioli (Oct 26, 2012)

My ideal camera wouldn't be something very utopic. It could be a "Pro" version of the sony NEX-7 (NEX-P?), with more traditional, dedicated controls, and a whole bunch of brighter and compact (f/1.4) prime lenses (Leica M-style), as well as 28-70 and 70-200 (equiv.) f/2.8 zooms.

1 upvote
mr moonlight
By mr moonlight (Oct 26, 2012)

Just the Fuji X100 with optical manual focus, interchangeable lenses, a FF X-Trans sensor and a slightly faster AF. Sort of a hybrid between the X100, X-Pro1 and the M9.

Joel dc
By Joel dc (Oct 26, 2012)

my ideal cam is something like the sony dsc s60/90 but smarter + features of samsung ES-15
* works on ordinary batteries
*interchangeable lens
*of course, light
*works with SD card, not the SONY ones
*of course also with carl zeiss lens, not the sony ones
*with view finder, but not as small as sony ones, i like the optic view finder of Cannon G10
*with ergonomics of olympus OM-D
*great ISO sensitivity and dynamic range sensor like nikon (sony)

am i asking too much for a small package?
*i like to have it with a sleek and oldies look design of leica.
*please use aluminum alloy or magnesium, or titanium body, weather sealed like olympus.
*plus multi interface lens mount and scoping
*plus in-camera editing tools like nikon, please add more like OM-D
*and i want file names of photo to be like what nokia does...YYYYMMDDhhmmss.jpg as option to name files with
*high flash synch speed
*no curtain please


Yau KW
By Yau KW (Oct 26, 2012)

A compact like Olympus XZ-2 but with 25-100mm F1.4-2.0 lens, with built-in EVF and perhaps larger sensor while keeping the same size and weight under 300g.

By p2stepan2 (Oct 26, 2012)

Контакс ж2 но цифровой вариант. с полным сенсором. и большим и ярким видоискателем.)))

By jande9 (Oct 26, 2012)

My ideal digital camera would be a digital version of the Rollei 35. Small, great lens, full size sensor.
I would also like to see some kind of modularity, where the electronic components could be upgraded while retaining the mechanical components.

By tinman15 (Oct 26, 2012)


-Body of a Leica M6
-Sensor Size of a Leica S2 (A man can dream the impossible)
-Sensor color filter array of Fujifilm X-Pro 1
-EVF, Menu Layouts, and Electrical Components(Shutter Lag too) of NEX-7

1 upvote
By boho (Oct 25, 2012)

if nex-6 had a touching screen and an almost non existing shooting lag, I would be very satisfied. and if it was weather-sealed it would be just PERFECT.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By alk_is (Oct 25, 2012)

I see a trend that i like. MFT or NEX's trend. Which is: the modular camera.
In specific: i buy a body without anything else.
Do i need a lens, a viewfinder, a flash, some software (or even a new OS), maybe a new sensor? why not? i am not stuck with anything. I can add/remove/change.

On the other hand, the features that i would like to see more progress are:
- Open Operating System (Android?)
- More Dynamic Range. Technology MUST reach the human's eye extent someday.

Vlad S
By Vlad S (Oct 25, 2012)

"- More Dynamic Range. Technology MUST reach the human's eye extent someday."

Technology already exceeded the human eye. You have an impression of a greater capability of the eye because it moves and adjusts at you gaze at different parts of the view. You can do the same with a video camera, but with a still photo you are frozen in time. HDR is an still approximation of the dynamic eye reaction.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By camerashopminion (Oct 25, 2012)

X100 that doesn't develop a new quirk every other month? Not too much to ask, right?

1 upvote
By digilux (Oct 25, 2012)

Digital Mamiya 7 II is all I want.

By gasdive (Oct 25, 2012)

I'd like to see a 4x5 digital. Wilth a bellows or telescoping lens so that when not in use it folds up into a small case. Even the folded light path idea of the old Polaroid cameras would be good. It should fold up into a box just a bit more than 4x5 then unfold into something amazing. Failing that, simply a 5x4 back that fits on ordinary large format cameras. I wouldn't like to see huge MP. 36 MP would be plenty. Big photosites for clean images.

By beenthere (Oct 24, 2012)

I rarely participate in these, but..

My ultimate camera would be able to perform 'multi-spectral' imaging where a single shot (or series of sequential shots) would be recorded in the complete light spectrum from infrared through to near UV. From this palette, (obviously greater than the typical 16m digital 24-bit digital colors) in-camera SW would take your preferences and produce an HDR-like multispectral image, or if you prefer, a 48-bit RAW file. Bayer filters obviously are not designed for this so some sort of advance in filter technology or a moving-mask filter would be needed.

Imagine taking a photo combining the full spectrum into post-processing, the possibilities would be truly endless.

1 upvote
By mothergoose (Oct 24, 2012)

No camera has everything one person wants. We each want something different. My ideal would be having a different marketing/manufacturing strategy where we pre-order a camera: we choose from a selection of general specs. Then the camera is custom built. Similar to what Dell does with computers. The cost would probably scare me though.

By FlossyThePig (Oct 24, 2012)

Why do most people only consider variations of what is currently available? My ideal camera will probably never exist, but here goes.
- resolution, forget megapixel and think gigapixel
- sensitivity, cope with everything from a small star in the night sky to brighter than directly looking into the Sun at the same time
- focus range, less than 1cm to infinity (and beyond)
- depth of field, everything in focus but can be adjusted later (take the Lytro and extrapolate)
- zoom range, who needs to zoom when you just select an area you want to enlarge (take the Nokia 808 and extrapolate)
- noise, there won't be any
- shutter speed, everything from rdiculously fast to wake me up when it's done
- size, small enough to fit in your pocket, solar powered of course

Have I forgotten anything?

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 24, 2012)

This question surely provoked a lot of answers.
Now, what are the chances that some manufacturer actually reads all this and then tries to make what people actually want and/or need?
It is my experience that when you compose an understandable, reasonable and relatively simple suggestion based upon your needs and send it to the manufacturer (and not only one), all you can expect is a robot answer from Miss Noreply that your "message was received". And then, "the rest is silence"...
I guess we'll just go on plugging with whatever their designers decide to dish out, and devil take what you need. In the same time, you can't simply just buy the features you need (like "program" "modes" that you will actually use) - you will have to go on paying for ridiculous things you'll probably never even try to look at.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
By RGBowman (Oct 24, 2012)

I am interested in a street camera that would have good resolution, can take spontaneous shots quickly, and range in natural or artificial lighting that would not look expensive. We have had problems with our DSLR's and expensive lenses attached. I used a sturdy unipole, which evens things out a bit. Any suggestions?

Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 24, 2012)

I have a Canon Powershot D10 that works well but looks like a toy, meaning that no-one sees it as either expensive or capable of serious work. I use it mainly underwater since I'm not interested in street shots, but can well imagine it being used for street photography. Perhaps you'd care to take a look.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
By truemutant (Oct 24, 2012)

5D mkIII is pretty close to ideal for me. It's quite pointless to wait for a perfect camera, as it won't be released in observable future anyway.
And for now, i'm quite happy with a classic 5D.

By tbcass (Oct 24, 2012)

I'm sure there are as many "perfect" camera designs as there are photographers. I think that looking for the perfect camera is a waste of time so I find one that suits me best and then adapt to it's shortcomings. When I bought my A65 I hated the location of the video button as I kept hitting it accidentally. After a bit I adjusted to it and haven't accidentally hit the button in months. Now that I don't need it Sony issued a firmware update allowing me to disable the button.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
By Thorbard (Oct 24, 2012)

One thing that everyone seems to be neglecting is that digital SLRs are these days a well accepted standard for "best quality" and that is for a reason.

By tbnl (Oct 24, 2012)

Does not allow Instagram.

By lacro (Oct 24, 2012)

I'm still waiting for that dream digicam, everybody is trying to define here. It must be out of its league, as the RX1, RX100 and X10 were, BUT better. Meaning almost the size of the RX100, BUT with a better overall concept from the X10, the X20?
1. Best IQ possible, WITH
2. A general overall smaller size.
3. A 24-120 mm, f 1.8 ~ 2.4 fixed zoom lens,
4. An even bigger sensor (like RX100),
5. A full information electronic? viewfinder,
6. A wider shutter speed range (both ways),
7. A better resolution LCD,
8. Better overall control with better use of knobs (why not?),
9. A more usable interface menu like XPro1, etc.
10. Include a std UV filter and regular carrying case (avoid the mandatory optionals),

My two cents, cheers.

1 upvote
By infocus (Oct 23, 2012)

Before telling you my "must haves" let me preface this by saying I am a photographer, art photographer and taught college-level photography for 23 years. Also, as I've aged, my back is simply not what it used to be. My last film camera was a Pentax 6x7, the grand daddy of SLRs and heavy as they come. I started to not enjoy taking photographs and that was a critical line I crossed. I didn't like that feeling. Okay, with that in mind, here are my "requirements" for my perfect camera:

1. Lightweight (must fit in my backpack but not take up my entire backpack). I want a camera that is as unobtrusive as possible.
2. Huge sensor for the best quality images I can get. I like to print BIG.
3. Low noise at high ISOs.
4. Widest aperture I can get for low light situations. f1.4 anyone? LOL
5. Quick AF and quick burst.
6. Usable viewfinder for brightly lighted situations
7. Adjustable electronic screen
8. Easy to access controls

Umm, did I forget anything? LOL

By lacro (Oct 24, 2012)

I'm not laughing. I agree.

Virtually Grey
By Virtually Grey (Oct 23, 2012)

Several of the preceding suggestion, but above all ...

A circular sensor (7072 px radius) would allow a square image of 5000 x 5000 pixels. The aspect ratio would be selectable to any that fits the circular sensor. So, no rotating the camera for portrait format shots - instead select aspect ratio via (yet) another controller.

A circular sensor allows the maximum pixel dimensions for any given aspect ratio. Presently I lose 1/3 of the pixels from my 7D sensor if and when I crop to a square.

1 upvote
By glaebhoerl (Oct 23, 2012)

Isn't that what Panasonic already does? Though IIRC 1:1 is actually a crop of 4:3 (dunno why), but the rest (4:3, 16:9, 3:2) are cropped from a circular sensor.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
By RGBowman (Oct 24, 2012)

Hexagonal would be more like it to get more sensors on the silicon wafer in production. Other wise, your design would be too impractical to put into production.

By harold1968 (Oct 23, 2012)

The Leica M with dual SD card, a silent shutter, a 60mp sensor, twice the dynamic range of the D800E and twice the ISO range of the D3S

Icing on the cake would be a modular motherboard and Sensor module

Michael Doleman
By Michael Doleman (Oct 23, 2012)

Limitations of technology and physics dictate that compromise is necessary; anyone's "perfect" camera will be a reflection of what factors are most important to them. For me, portability and convenience are key, but I also want full manual control, reasonable photographic versatility, and excellent IQ. My Sony RX100 is very nearly perfect, for me, as it is. If I were able to do so, however, without compromising much on size, I'd add the following: full weather sealing, a usable VF (wouldn't have to be great--just usable), a couple more externally-accessible manual controls, slightly faster lens, and perhaps an even larger sensor. Price it at <$1,000 and I'll buy it immediately.

By lacro (Oct 24, 2012)

Match its benefits with the X10 concept, and you'll get a winner.

The Scurvy Dog of PR
By The Scurvy Dog of PR (Oct 23, 2012)

A 'Time Machine' button so I can step back from the abyss.

By jsis (Oct 23, 2012)

Needs moar speedholes so that it can do 200 fps.

By Northsky (Oct 23, 2012)

My Compact Dream:

- compact body (Nikon P/Canon G/PEN/GF)
- fixed lens (collapsible 25-200mm)
- 1" or 4/3 or APS-C sensor
- electronic viewfinder

Total comments: 710