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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.

Comments

Total comments: 710
45678
delargealex
By delargealex (Oct 20, 2012)

A full-frame digi compact that can focus quickly and without hesitation in low light. I still shoot a Hexar AF and find it a little bit puzzling that camera manufacturers are just now "getting there" in terms of spec--not talking a 1:1 spec w/ triple beam IR AF or funky buttons--I'm taking a usable full-frame compact that gets the job done; responsive compact cam with fast low-light, bang on focusing. 20 years later, and wishing for somthin' like a FF X200 with superior low-light AF.

I betcha Nikon or Canon could have made something like this or what others are asking for in the thread a few years back. But they feared cannibalizing their DSLR sales. I hope Sony drives them to get into the FF compact game.

2 upvotes
Edmond Leung
By Edmond Leung (Oct 20, 2012)

Ideal camera?
Every camera is an ideal camera as long as you can use it to make your dreams come true.
Every camera is a bad camera if you cannot use it to do your creative work.

2 upvotes
aardvark7
By aardvark7 (Oct 20, 2012)

The question should not be "What is your ideal camera?", but rather "What would be the best possible camera for you that would be affordable?"

Primarily as there is little point speculating about what may never be feasible: 20-800mm f1.4 (constant) with clean ISO to 256000, etc.
Nor does it make sense to keep 'upping' the specification to what would make it unaffordable, even from a personal perspective. A Nikon D4 is more ideal than what I have now, but I can't afford one!

Once that is in perspective, it becomes clear that the nature of 'ideal' hinges on two elements:

1) the applied limits of a particular camera (i.e. the speed of the LX7 is ideal, but the zoom range is not, or vice versa)

2) the user interface

I can accept the physical limitations, as I appreciate the physics and the economics. However, I have yet to see an 'ideal' interface.
There are often too many and limited buttons/dials.

If they made better use of an EVF and joystick (to select and change) I'd be happy.

2 upvotes
utku67
By utku67 (Oct 20, 2012)

First of all would like to cogratulate the DPREVIEW to have started such an initiative such as this one. I believe that this initiative will help camera manucaturers to be more responsive to user needs as well.

I kindly invite the DPREVIEW managers and editors to collect data from users in a more structured way into a healthy database so that we can all follow which features has been suggested by other users and which are not. This would not only save us from having to read all the previous threads in the forum but also gather data in a much more healthy way.

My most ideal camera should:
- be pocket size,
-Have and evf/ovf together
- Full frame sensor
- Excellent High ISO performance
-Accept interchagable lenses and have different mount adaptors for different lens systems including but not limited Leica lenses
-Leica should build auto focus adaptability into its lenses so that its lenses can be used either in Auto focus capable cameras and allow information exchanges with these.

2 upvotes
Ejner Kristensen
By Ejner Kristensen (Oct 20, 2012)

My ideal camera would be an affordable Leica M.

4 upvotes
english_Wolf
By english_Wolf (Oct 20, 2012)

I do not think this about comparisons or camera you wish you had..

0 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Oct 20, 2012)

Well, for me (a Canon owner) it would be a Nikon D600 spec +improved video and no green tint on images, a touch screen and perhaps all sensor points being cross type. No chance of anything like that from Canon given how they have stripped down the 6D !!

0 upvotes
Tim F 101
By Tim F 101 (Oct 20, 2012)

Pretty happy with micro four thirds. The format has enough quality for serious image making, but compact for travel and carrying around. If I took pics for a living (or shot birds and team sports) then I might feel differently, but I don't so the question is academic.

My ideal camera would merge the best qualities of an OM-D and a GH2. From the GH2 take its multi-aspect sensor, video quality, hinged LCD and its IMO best-anywhere-dammit contol layout. Add the OM-D's in-body stabilization, great Sony sensor, weather sealing and the superb Olympus wireless flash protocol, throw in Sony's focus peaking and I would pay a lot more than the $750 that my GH2 cost me.

1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (Oct 20, 2012)

Independent if sensor size, I'd like to see a round sensor, portrait and landscape can be a pp decision. And on dslrs it would remove the need for vg's. Also, backlight buttons please.

and make them a sw platform, so functions can be added by whoever.
Pictures are shared and viewed on computers, so make that easier, and bring standards for it. So that all/many online services can be used.

Also I prefer EVF.

2 upvotes
Frederik Paul
By Frederik Paul (Oct 20, 2012)

Way too many controls. And what sense do they make on the front part of the cam? You really wanna set metering there?

1 upvote
EvanRavitz
By EvanRavitz (Oct 20, 2012)

I'd like the Panasonic LX7 with a REAL timelapse feature in movie mode. It would be easy to implement in firmware, but instead they crippled movies with a 30 min time limit. They do this because they want us to buy their camcorders too. I'm a wilderness guide in a treacherous area where weight must be kept to a minimum, so I want ONE still/movie camera.

1 upvote
Combatmedic870
By Combatmedic870 (Oct 20, 2012)

If video mode can record more then 30 minutes. Then its classified as a video camera. If its classified as a video camera, then the taxes will be higher. If the taxes are higher, then the price would be higher.

If you want a video camera buy a video camera.

0 upvotes
Nathan Chao
By Nathan Chao (Oct 20, 2012)

I am part of the aging population with legacy equipment from the dawn of autofocus.
In my day a FF did not break the bank. It was priced with full pentaprism at the inflation adjusted price of mid level APS-C size cameras today.
Since the first digital SLR almost 20 years ago, I have waited patiently for an enthusiast affordable bare bones FF slr/slt or even mirrorless with low cost autofocus adapter that can use my legacy autofocus lenses for under $1000. Will that happen befor I die.

2 upvotes
geoson
By geoson (Oct 20, 2012)

I hope your family has a long life gene. There will be fewer and fewer of us as time goes on. If someone does make your dream camera, it will be a niche item and you will have to pay a niche price to get it.

0 upvotes
gsum
By gsum (Oct 20, 2012)

geoson, I don't think that is would be a niche item. Many of my colleagues have said to me that they would love to get back into photography but that they hate modern cameras. Not scientific but this is an indication of the popularity that a 'bare bones' DSLR or rangefinder might have.

1 upvote
epl17d50
By epl17d50 (Oct 20, 2012)

The D600 and 6D are first generation entry level FF whose prices are very near the 7d when it first came out. I think it is only logical to expect lower prices still for the next entry level FF cameras.

As for your AF wish hmmm I doubt very much if such an adapter will be inexpensive and or that it will run with out glitches.

I've been hunting junk shops for nikkors and takumars which I mount on my eos and m/43 bodies so I am not on the same boat with you re old AF lenses. I enjoy manual focusing. I do have modern third party 2.8 lenses in case my assigned subject is not the kind that will stay put.

I hope I'd be lucky enough to buy a real cheap used 5D Mk2 next year.

0 upvotes
geoson
By geoson (Oct 20, 2012)

@gsum, there are not enough enthusiasts out there to sustain this industry. We have at least a full generation of "photographers" who have no experience with film or printing. The technology will not be removed from the camera. As for me, an E1 styled m43 with updated sensor, or an e1 body with a fixed 24-90 equivalent would take care of 95% of my work.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Oct 20, 2012)

For me it'd be an Olympus E-P1 with the E-M5's sensor and autofocus, plus a NEX-7-like viewfinder. That would be perfect for me. (Maybe I've just described the next PEN range-topper...) And it would have no video, SCN, auto mode or art filters.

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Oct 20, 2012)

Think Nikonos IV on digital steroids.

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 20, 2012)

Or better V... because model IVa had an unfortunate experimental attempt at "revolutionary" sealing ("X-ring") instead of principle-healthy O-rings which every camera should have. Of course, the big film access port should be replaced by the monitor, and add one single O-ring-sealed hatch to reach the (high capacity) battery, card and eventual contact.
GPS? Maybe. It does not work underwater anyway, and I somehow manage to remember where I'm taking photos. But I wouldn't mind having a Bluetooth or IR wireless contact option somewhere.
Add some slight form change from flat to slightly convex surfaces, replace all push-down (spring-loaded) buttons with reed relays and outside magnets, make it withstand 10 Bar (-100 meters) pressure - and there's MY ideal camera.

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Oct 20, 2012)

@Old Arrow. I agree. Was typing faster than my memory.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 22, 2012)

... I know what you mean. :)
And I also forgot some fine points I'd like to see on my/our ideal camera, like high-intensity LEDs ringing the lens, for macro shots, a capillary depth meter around the monitor, backlit commands option, wireless outer-flash actuator with quasi-TTL correction code... ;)

0 upvotes
Penzi
By Penzi (Oct 20, 2012)

Two models for the same mount - one colour, the other b&w (much like Leica has, BUT THAT PRICE! Argh...), full manual controls with optional automatic. Very simple in design and layout, really. In other words, something along the lines of the Fujifilm X-PRO 1 or the Olympus OM-D EM-5. Don't care if it has other features as long as they don't impact the core: easy to set aperture, shutter speed, ISO equivalent, and RAW/JPEG. I don't care if it's u4/3, APS, or FF... The ability to mount Leica glass would be nice (again, both the Fuji and the Oly systems can do so.) I'm not sure I care whether it's SLR or rangefinder.

And when I say "manual" I mean mechanically manual. Not electronic "equivalents" - cause they're not good enough. Perhaps one day...

As I've stated, the next gen X-PRO and OM-D can easily do this. Whoever does so will get my $. (I'm a Nikon FF shooter and would prefer if Nikon built this, but I doubt I'd be so lucky.)

The backlight proposed by Chekr would be nice as well.

1 upvote
JMZ48
By JMZ48 (Oct 20, 2012)

I'd like to see advanced range finder based on Canon G1X or Nikon P7100 body design: with all mechanical controls, CX lens mount, also adaptor for all DX/FX lenses, and high quality OVF/EVF as obligatory feature. Articulated and build-in display variations will be welcome.
The design proposed above is almost exactly what I'm looking for - for years...

I hope Nikon wakes up and start producing range finder line of cameras instead of hundreds yearly models of worstless shirt-pocket multi color bodies of no value. Let those be replaced by cell-phone cameras.

0 upvotes
australopithecus
By australopithecus (Oct 20, 2012)

rhlpetrus : You are correct. It's the different purpose thing that makes a "universal" choice impossible. I too wait for the further development of mirrorless systems. I have a Panasonic G1 with a 20mm prime and the kit which serves me well (but a longer lens for occasional work would be nice).

Panasonic started something that WILL gain ground. As good as they are, the Canon and Nikon (and all the other APS-C sensored DSLRs) are simply too large for the average Joe to lug about.

Which bring us to the wonderful high I.Q. cameras like the Canon G-Series and Nikon's P7100/7700. These allow one to pack light yet perform superbly.

Whilst I would keep my mirrorless Panasonic, my dream second camera would be something in the line of a Canon G12 with a bright EVF.

0 upvotes
Antonio Rojilla
By Antonio Rojilla (Oct 20, 2012)

This is what I did just for fun (uncompleted, and I have less skills):

http://i.imgur.com/vff7Z.png

Yes, it's digital. Just without LCD and as mechanical as it could be made, with a hand-charged battery (that's why there are film advance and rewind levers, also to cock the shutter). The never-fails back-up or for those that like me love the convenience of digital (no darkroom needed) but miss the old beauties (FMs, OMs...).

2 upvotes
Zammit
By Zammit (Oct 20, 2012)

Give me an Olympus C5050 body with a 1" sensor, a decent optical viewfinder to match it, image stabilization, a good dynamic range and iso performance and I am set.

0 upvotes
Lunal
By Lunal (Oct 20, 2012)

The Olympus OM-D EM-5 I have with a larger viewfinder (Full-Frame size).
Three extra's built-in: a small flash, GPS and WiFi.

0 upvotes
simon65
By simon65 (Oct 20, 2012)

An Olympus OM-2N with a FF digital sensor inside it. No ifs or buts.

Film/Sensor 35 mm or Full Frame as its now called

Large optical viewfinder

Dimensions 136 x 83 x 50 mm

Weight 510 g

They say it can't be done. So what did the designer of the Olympus OM 2 know in 1975 that the wizz boys of the second decade of the 21 st century don't?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Olympus_OM-2_SP.jpg

2 upvotes
lylejk
By lylejk (Oct 20, 2012)

Instead of a plenoptic camera, I would use a similar multi-sensor array to achieve focus stacking and simultaneously sensor noise reduction especially in the dark areas of a capture. :)

0 upvotes
Danlo
By Danlo (Oct 20, 2012)

A digital Nikon Fm2 with a Nice FF sensor from Sony.

3 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

make mine an FE2 please!

1 upvote
Ale1210
By Ale1210 (Oct 20, 2012)

A not-so-compact Nikon mirroless for DX lenses.
Something like a Fuji X-Pro1, but fully compliant with the whole Nikon system I have.

1 upvote
JoeDaBassPlayer
By JoeDaBassPlayer (Oct 20, 2012)

Pentax came out with such a camera. The reviewers were very unkind because it was not tiny. The Green button was not where they wanted it either.

0 upvotes
Joel Benford
By Joel Benford (Oct 20, 2012)

After a month looking to replace my Contax film SLR system and finding that I can't see the whole frame wearing my glasses on: Oly EM5, Sony NEX7, Sony A37/A65, Pany G5 or LX7/GX1+EVF, Nikon D7000, Pentax K5, I want... laser eye surgery.

0 upvotes
Joel Benford
By Joel Benford (Oct 20, 2012)

But seriously...

I want a discrete and capable camera that can handle action and low light, capable of low and high DoF.

I'd like an EM5 with more eye relief, hybrid AF that tracks motion like a photojourno DSLR, and a popup flash that can do fill while the (separately metered) hotshoe flash does bounce.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

A nice RF with hybrid OVF/EVF like the one proposed looks interesting, but one has to address many different purposes for cameras. For example, some people need both WA and long teles for their work, and then the traditional relatively large (for stability) dslrs, with the flexibility of various lenses, plus the better AF, are still it. For most people a smaller system seems preferable, but the offering in lenses still make the two dslrs giants (C/N) the preferred brands. It will change as more mirrorless systems are developed.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Vibrio
By Vibrio (Oct 20, 2012)

my ideal camera would record an image like my eyes see it.

1 upvote
Tap0
By Tap0 (Oct 20, 2012)

Well said ! That for me is the definition of an ideal camera....

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Oct 20, 2012)

Most of our favorite images look nothing like how our eyes see the scene but rather are representations of our emotional reactions to it. The Grand Canyon is never quite as brilliant as film or a processed digital image renders it and I have never seen a street scene in B&W. ;)

2 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Oct 20, 2012)

You mean stereo with auto-framing along with self-cadring, autofocus and maybe a novelty like attitude-processing?
That would be nice, but there's a snag: "we don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." (Anais Nin, if I recollect correctly).
And frankly, there are days when I feel it wouldn't be nice, or maybe even safe, to show some people the way I'm seeing them... ;)

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

I always thought the camera was the thing that got in the way of capturing the image - but the eye/brain does play some tricks which are hard to emulate.

0 upvotes
3systermuser
By 3systermuser (Oct 20, 2012)

hey, give me a Mamiya 7 digital or a Hasselbalad C500 digital and I will be happy forever.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Oct 20, 2012)

19 stops of dynamic range. There are lots of pics that are currently impossible without Portra. I borrow my brother's DSLR but otherwise I'm still using film.

Canon are getting close, however, with their multi-shot DR mode that is almost fast enough for portraits, but not quite.

0 upvotes
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Oct 20, 2012)

I agree.

I shoot mostly digital, and I agree with most of the criticisms that people level at film on this forum--expensive, not as sharp as digital, huge PITA, etc.

However, for dynamic range, film wins hands down. It is almost shocking to slave over digital raw photos on the computer for hours (or weeks, or months), trying to rescue highlights, then shoot a roll of film. It's like, "You mean, it's that easy?"

At the print sizes I use, film is just as sharp as digital (up to 8x10) with a good camera and lens, the right shutter speed, etc.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (Oct 20, 2012)

That's a surprise, Canon is not known for having the best DR.
My tip is to look outside the Canon box and you might retire your Portra a bit sooner.
Independent of whether you shoot plain shots or HDR type.

0 upvotes
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Oct 20, 2012)

Canon has dismal DR but that special mode in their new mirrorless does look promising. No good for portraits and a slow shutter speed. As for Fuji and nikon etc, yes they are much better but they still don't even get close to neopan 400 (said to have limited DR for film) let alone portra.

Look half way down for a nikon d7000 vs neopan shot.

http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/fuji-neopan-400?before=1306021353

I use neopan for sunlight-through-leaves shots that I couldn't do without gels with digital, also extreme backlighting. These make some of the best portraits and you can't do them with digital without flashfill or other atmosphere destroying techniques.

0 upvotes
RafaelDourado
By RafaelDourado (Oct 20, 2012)

A Zeiss Ikon with a digital sensor.

What I mean is, a super high quality rangefinder with manual focus, ttl metering, aperture priority, and that is it!

No need for LCD display, EVF, buttons, or anything like that.

(One of the advantages of shooting film, for me, is that you can concentrate or your next photo, instead of looking at your previous photos.)

1 upvote
gordon lafleur
By gordon lafleur (Oct 21, 2012)

OK while were at it, I want a real honest to gosh 6x7 cm digital back for my Mamiya RZ (have to get it back, sold it, with multiple lenses and stuff for $1000 a year or so ago.) Doesn't have to be more than 12 megapixels, but should shoot at high ISOs. Those sub-645 (36x48 or so) "medium format" backs they make now are a joke.

0 upvotes
vroger1
By vroger1 (Oct 20, 2012)

I'm one of those old Leica photographers who refuse to spend $6,000.00 + for a single digicam. I'd rather buy several new models. Firstly I MUST have a viewfinder. A fast zoom is better than carrying a brace of lenses. ( I use Leica lenses wherever possible- so I have m-4/3 digicams, and the Leica Summilux m4/3, 1.4 lens which is terrific and automatic). The lenses tend to be either fast primes or zooms- the ltter limit f-stop range. When I purchased my LX7 the other day- I came closer to the ideal- the operation of LX7 dagicam is staggering. A clear progression up from my D-Lux 5.(I use the Lumix EVF with it) Now if I could have all this together with a sensor the size of the one in my Canon L1X- I'd have what probably would be MY ideal digicam. I figure the next Canon iteration will have a lens such as the new 1.8 they have just released on the G15 (which I won't buy). Awaiting, therefore, the Canon G2X with a better optical (or LVF) viewfinder. VRR

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Oct 20, 2012)

I already have what are for me the perfect cameras in the X-Pro1 and D800. There is a tendency for us gear-heads / photographers to always think there is something better when in actuality better lenses or lighting kits and modifiers will likely impact your images much more than a new body.

0 upvotes
RRJackson
By RRJackson (Oct 20, 2012)

Why do people always insist on zoom lenses? Why can't anyone be happy with primes?

4 upvotes
Neimo
By Neimo (Oct 25, 2012)

Because wildlife or people don't always wait around while changing lenses.

0 upvotes
hasifleur
By hasifleur (Oct 20, 2012)

But can it take HDR? That's the future of photography, isn't it?

0 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Oct 20, 2012)

specialist macro camera with fixed 1:2 to 6:1 lens with built in filterable ringflash and hot shoe. Abilty to imprint magnification on images and choice of size compare silhouettes. 40MP. Tilt & swivel LCD.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Chekr
By Chekr (Oct 20, 2012)

After being out shooting tonight, I would love a very subtle backlight on function keys, as it stands i have to use the flashlight on my phone to work out which keys to press. I am sure more regular shooter have memorised where everything is :)

4 upvotes
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

A good idea. The buttons could be translucent, and the light could be from a small LED illuminating the edge of a piece of light-conducting film.

1 upvote
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Oct 20, 2012)

my work laptop keys are backlit. Not sure why camera makers are so behind the times on this.

1 upvote
Scillaren
By Scillaren (Oct 20, 2012)

The control buttons on my E-620 from four years ago are backlight like this. Incredibly useful at night. Oly, why did you abandon us regular 4/3rds shooters?

(Yes, I know they still sell a gargantuan E-5 with an ancient sensor for $1500. I think that still counts as abandonment)

1 upvote
monseigneur
By monseigneur (Oct 22, 2012)

The latest Koenigsegg supercars have LED backlit buttons. Tiny holes are drilled in the aluminum in the necessary shapes.

0 upvotes
rowlandw
By rowlandw (Oct 20, 2012)

Modular design. I would buy a rugged, built-to-last body if I could easily swap in new sensors over the years.

0 upvotes
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

What a superb cost-reducing idea. I'd buy one, as would many others who are tired of buying a new body just to get a new sensor.

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Oct 20, 2012)

This has been discussed a lot on here and the result would be a camera, or components, that cost as much if not more than a whole new camera and interior components. Put it this way: in 3 years time you really cannot throw a new CPU and RAM into your existing computer motherboard for compatability issues. Same would go for this. You'd be getting a compromised camera because the design would be based upon several year old technology. With more pixels being added you'd end up with slower write times, smaller buffers, and fewer fps.

0 upvotes
Miguel Osorio
By Miguel Osorio (Oct 20, 2012)

The camera of my life is my Nikon FM2n which I bought in 1996. I keep using it, and it is my main camera. I need it only to take photos, that's why I bought it.
The solution would be as simple as this,

develop this idea:
http://re35.net/

or this idea:
http://seoulcolors.com/2011/05/digital-camera-back-for-35mm-film-by-hyun-jin-park/

FF, APS-C, 12, 16, 18, 24, 36 Mpixel, variable ISO, whatever. There is enough technology, just look at Sony NEX or DSC-RX1.

1 upvote
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

OMG! Bring these to market, please!! I could shoot digital with my two MXs -- a small, light SLR with a REAL viewfinder. And my old Retina II, a pocket camera made with real metal. It would also be seriously great to have an insert for my Rollei. Not that I mind developing b/w film, but wow, having digital capability in cameras that, as Miguel mentioned, were made only to take photos. No video, scene modes, GPS, Wi-Fi, or indecipherable menus. I hope there are companies actively pursuing such devices, and encourage them in their development plans.

1 upvote
Pedagydusz
By Pedagydusz (Oct 20, 2012)

Unfortunately, "digital film" has been tried and abandoned (around year 2000). Two many problems - mechanical, electronic/computer and financial made it an impractical solution!

0 upvotes
Miguel Osorio
By Miguel Osorio (Oct 20, 2012)

But digital backs for medium format film cameras are practicable solutions. Wouldn't it be possible for 35mm film cameras? Perhaps it could be a success if companies do digital backs for their best selling film cameras.

0 upvotes
Shelly Glaser
By Shelly Glaser (Oct 20, 2012)

My suggestion (NIKON - ARE YOU LISTENING?) would be to revive a version of the old Nikon SP rangefinder camera http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/rangefinder/sp.htm and get it up-to-date. The Nikon SP has two interesting features:

a. 1:1 optical viewfinder - unlike most rangefinder and optical view finder cameras - you can keep both eyes open, which decreases fatigue.

b. Lens focusing by a wheel on the body that is coupled to the lens - you can design a camera body that will autofocus all legacy SP lenses.

My "ideal" camera will thus be based on the Nikon SP, use full frame Foveon sensor, offer shutter priority auto-exposure and autofocus with old lenses, a triangulation electronic rangefinder. As an icing, the viewfinder can have Fuji-like live-view option as well.

I think that this camera would appeal to the kind of people who buy Leica M* digital cameras, and to professional news photographers.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
ecka84
By ecka84 (Oct 20, 2012)

Full Frame Mirrorless
50+ megapixels with optional pixel-binning
(e.g. 4µm ~ 54mp 9000x6000,
2x2 binning mRAW 4500x3000 for flawless, sharp details at low ISOs,
3x3 binning sRAW 3000x2000 for low noise at high ISOs and/or faster burst)
Various crop modes (digital zoom basically, for tele, macro or non-FF lenses)
Sturdy "all weather" body
Comfortable size and grip (no pocket-camera nonsense please)
Big and powerful battery
Vari-angle LCD with Touchscreen AF
Built-in EVF and good manual focus assist
All the dials and buttons
Hot-Shoe and built-in flash with wireless flash control
CF card slot (which is faster and more reliable than SD)
or at least dual SD (no SD+CF format mixing)
Wi-Fi for tethering, wireless file transfer, on the fly backup and sharing
3-5 native mount fast prime lenses
(like 20mm ~ 35mm ~ 55mm ~ 85mm ~ 135mm)
Optional adapters for most existing lens mounts
$2000-$2500 price

1 upvote
my username was already taken

While you're dreaming, why not set a price of $500?

0 upvotes
ecka84
By ecka84 (Oct 20, 2012)

Because $500 price is not realistic for such camera.

0 upvotes
Pedagydusz
By Pedagydusz (Oct 20, 2012)

Yes, that would be close to ideal for me as well!

0 upvotes
monseigneur
By monseigneur (Oct 22, 2012)

Ik like the optional pixel binning - and more MP's - sort of what Loyd Chambers suggests and then downsampling the image

0 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Oct 20, 2012)

Wow, amazingly ugly. >.<

2 upvotes
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

Ugly is in the eyes of the user :).

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Oct 20, 2012)

Reminds me of the Nikonos IV. A very rugged camera that had interchangeable lenses and was waterproof to 300 feet. In some ways the basis (unbeknownst to them) of many here advocating for a small, rugged IL, FF camera.

1 upvote
Arkon
By Arkon (Oct 20, 2012)

Busy interface: too many buttons and dials. Look at the Leica M and see that is all you need with 2 or 3 dials.

2 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Oct 20, 2012)

Do we really need FF ?
FF is coming from Film era. A bulky shape derived by the standard set of lenses that difficult to move away from. But eventually smaller camera will be the niche market.

DOF and everything else can be delivered from smaller cameras. Sony and Olly etc are leading the way toward miniaturization since Sony's Walkman time, and the concept continues.

So do we still need FF ?

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
OttoVonChriek
By OttoVonChriek (Oct 20, 2012)

This was certainly the theory, mirrorless cameras were supposed to be able to offer wide apertures at shortter focal lengths and so equalize the DOF difference.

OTOH I still shoot with 35m B&W film, and despite taking farfewer shots, many of my favourite shots are taken with the 35mm as opposed to the APS-C DSLR.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

Exactly! Well said. FF was designed around the characteristics of emulsion film technology decades old. And yet it has attained the status of 'gold standard' for a completely different imaging technology. And like you say, despite the pervasive 'received wisdom', you can of course achieve whatever DOF you want in smaller formats - you just need the appropriate aperture, simples. What I want to know is the graph relating sensor size to camera/lens bulk when FOV and DOF are held constant. Then worry also about the various other IQ metrics and see what the best compromise is all round. But this blind fixation with "full frame" (the very term itself imbues it with self-annointed legitimacy) does my head in.

3 upvotes
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

For those of us that still use legacy (manual focus lenses that include -- OMG -- an aperture ring) a full-frame sensor "allows" a 28mm lens to be a wide-angle instead of a normal lens. And a 20mm a super-wide. Wide-angle lenses are harder to make well, are heavier, and cost more. Other than that, I see no overriding need to jump to "full-frame" from APS-C. I have "full-frame" film cameras I still use, and the APS-C models are smaller and lighter.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

"FF": the 135 format is not here for almost a century in good systems (started in the 1920's with Leica) just by chance, it's the film/sensor size that makes for a nice portability and high Q compromise, including lenses. FF is it for both pros and enthusiasts interested in those aspects.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
1 upvote
onemoreguy
By onemoreguy (Oct 20, 2012)

yes "we" do . Million users still have millions FF lens. FF has its avantage . If you don't like it don't buy it , pretty simple

0 upvotes
1 quarter 20
By 1 quarter 20 (Oct 20, 2012)

I also still shoot film and print to 24x36 and more using medium format range finders. I would like to use a digital camera, but do not want to lug around dslr that would output to that scale. A scanned 6x7 neg makes a nice file, no colour noise.
FF affordable rangefinder would be my preference.

0 upvotes
ecka84
By ecka84 (Oct 20, 2012)

Yes, we do need FF. Smaller sensors cannot deliver the same amount of "DOF and everything else" ... that's physics. If you are happy with less "DOF and everything else", then you may find your ideal non-FF cameras from hundreds available right now.
Miniaturization? I'd rather choose twice bigger and much better camera over the cheaper, almost good enough in the smallest possible package with lots of compromises and shortcomings.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 21, 2012)

@ecka84
of course you can get whatever DOF effects you want from smaller sensors that FF - you just need a correspondingly larger aperture - that's just physics. Sadly, no manufacturer seems yet to have produced these lenses - possibly because you would arrive back at a lens of similar bulk to equivalent the FF lens, shorter, but fatter, whereas they are trading on the benefits of a more compact camera/lens combo for the smaller formats.

0 upvotes
nixda
By nixda (Oct 20, 2012)

Here are two things I'd like to see in a camera that haven't been mentioned before:

1. Square sensor. The image circle is a, um, circle, so why tossing out valuable sensor real estate? Aspect ratios can be selected via the menu or in post-processing, if desired. Also, one wouldn't have to struggle with landscape vs. portrait orientation and all that brings with it when it comes to holding a camera or mounting it to tripod heads.

2. The edges of the bottom plate should be shaped to be compatible with the Arca-Swiss standard.

6 upvotes
kopper
By kopper (Oct 20, 2012)

I've been arguing for a square sensor for years and had begun to think I was totally alone with my thinking. The old film ratio or any other rectangular for that matter, simply makes no sense. We have the pixels now to take square and crop to any ratio or orientation we want. It's just a matter of time until one manufacturer realizes it and makes the move.

3 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (Oct 20, 2012)

Hexagon would make more sense, more could be cut from a round die and cover more of the image circle than even a square.

7 upvotes
Forever Young
By Forever Young (Oct 20, 2012)

How about a sensor that has circle shape? Then we would not 'lose' any information...

2 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

@OP; taken together with rondhamalam's post higher up, you are spot on. We still wear the straightjacket of emulsion film design compromises and constraints. The foundations of the latest DSLR design, its basic shape and base design parameters, all go straight back to emulsion 35m film. Madness! Of course we should have square (or even circular) image sensors, for all the reasons you give, but we don't - because it wouldn't work for 35mm film!

Comment edited 50 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
OttoVonChriek
By OttoVonChriek (Oct 20, 2012)

Liquidsquid wrote:
"Hexagon would make more sense....."

Get's my vote as the best point made here yet!

1 upvote
nixda
By nixda (Oct 20, 2012)

I could live with hexagonal or circular sensors :)

Alas, that would require cutting through pixels when cutting the original die; not very productive. Anyway, in technical/scientific applications, square sensors are (of course) the norm. The fact that most digital cameras for photography don't have square sensors is just another manifestation of being stuck in the past.

0 upvotes
Karroly
By Karroly (Oct 20, 2012)

I agree with a circular, hexagonal or at least cross-type sensor so we can shoot portraits without rotating the camera and select frames from square to wide rectangle (horizontal or vertical) with a greater number of pixel for the same image circle.
And also the same for TV/computer screens because a huge number of photographers no longer print anything ! So we can look at our portrait shots with the same size/pixel number as the landscape ones !
This would also give movie directors/photographers more freedom and creativity by allowing various framing ratios in the same movie !

0 upvotes
kopper
By kopper (Oct 20, 2012)

Hexagon get's my vote too! Better to be hip then "square"... 8-)

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 20, 2012)

Everyone has their pet feature (for me it happens to be built-in GPS), but very many of us can agree that a good camera should be:
• small (for portability)
• simple (back to basics)
• high quality (so it might be a long-term companion)

For reasonable definitions of these key characteristics, such a camera isn't hard to make. A digital Nikon FM3A would be close enough for many of us.

9 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Oct 20, 2012)

products cannot be high quality or they would lose future sales. It's called planned absolescence.

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (Oct 20, 2012)

"A digital Nikon FM3A would be close enough for many of us."

++1 for that

4 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

Why isn't the D600 close enough?

2 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (Oct 20, 2012)

Well, the D600:

• weighs 850 g without a lens
• is remarkably bulky
• has a 368-page user manual
• uses plastic for load-bearing parts like the mirror box

Ironically, it’s still one of the most attractive options on the market, so you could conceivably say it’s ‘close enough’. But it’s still a far cry from a digital FM3A, which would be a camera I could love.

That’s the important part. There’s no emotional connection with today’s camera, not because they’re digital, but because they’re ugly and unsatisfying to use (i.e. badly designed).

Many people feel this way. Here’s the rather famous portrait photographer Nadav Kander saying more or less the same thing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bP4twN7187g#t=785s

4 upvotes
arhmatic
By arhmatic (Oct 21, 2012)

D600 is simply ugly. Period.
Just like most bodies these days.
FM3A is a camera to love. Same with Fuji X-Pro1.

Why can' they put the insides of a D600 in a FM3a body?
They are both FF SLR, right? Is that really impossible for size reasons?

Crazy or not, this is the main reason I switched to Fuji this year, after 8 years of nikon dslr.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
cancerrak
By cancerrak (Oct 22, 2012)

...and I switched from Canon to Fuji x-10.... well, not exactly, I still keep my 7D but that small Fuji makes me feel like I discover photography once again....

1 upvote
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

I'm assuming that to get an equivalent FOV and DOF from a smaller sensor you need a correspondingly shorter focal length (to get the same FOV) and larger aperture (to get the same DOF).

Shorter focal length and smaller image circle mean that smaller sensor sizes yield smaller,lighter lenses, but the requirement for larger apertures works in the opposite direction.

What I would really like to know is this - what is the optimum sensor size to achieve the smallest. lightest lenses - assuming you want to achieve FOV and DOF comparable with 24x36mm sensor area (aka FF).

So when I look at lenses like the Sigma DC 50-150 f2.8 I wonder, if it were instead designed to an aperture to give an equivalent DOF as their DG 70-200 f2.8 would it then be just as big and heavy?

So what is the optimum sensor size to allow the smallest lenses to give FF equivalent DOF and FOV? When I know that, I'll know where to start with my deream camera!

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
CarstenKostrzewa
By CarstenKostrzewa (Oct 20, 2012)

I think this is not an easy question to be answered, but obviously as you state, the smaller the sensor, the smaller the lens. And if you want the have the same background blur (not the same DoF) you are correct, then you will have to make the aperture larger. This would however change the diameter of the lens in the first place, not necessarily so much the length. In addition you need to consider how much the lens can be retracted to make the body compact. So all in all quite complicated.

I personlly would start with a 1" sensor, and an f/2.4 lens at max aperture.

BTW, the relationship between DOF and sensor can be somewhat confusing. If you are intersted have a look at my article at :
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6091822765/background-blur-and-its-relationship-to-sensor-size

2 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

Thanks for the reply. Complicated it may be to work out the relationship between sensor size and camera/lens bulk whilst keeping FOV and DOF essentially constant - because there are so many parameters and trade-offs. But it can't be beyond the wit of camera manufacturers to work it out. Indeed I'm sure they know the answer - but a bit like Kodak and digital cameras, they are too afraid to 'cannibalise' their existing (pro) customer base. My question to them is, would they prefer that someone else cannibalised their customer base, since that is the alternative, as Kodak discovered. The cracks in FF hegemony are starting to show.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
1 upvote
CarstenKostrzewa
By CarstenKostrzewa (Oct 20, 2012)

Yes agreed. I am hoping since a couple of years, that someone would take the risk and develop a enthusiast pocketable camera, with the right balance between IQ, sensor size, camera/lens bulk and maintaining the ability to create background blur. Unfortunately this hasn't happened yet. Let's hope one of the camera manufacturers is courageous enough and takes the lead.

I will buy the first camera to get to market with the following specs:
- Sensor size of 1” or above
- Max aperture <= 2.4 at max zoom
- Retracting lens to achieve compactness.
- “Thin” body with a maximum of 40-45mm
- Zoom Range: Minimum <= 28mm to maximum >= 120mm equivalent, ideally more.

2 upvotes
FrankS009
By FrankS009 (Oct 20, 2012)

That is what m43rds is, e.g. the Panasonic GF1-GX1 with the X14-42 collapsible zoom. When they include an internal EVF, multiple aspect ration like the GH2, and an electronic shutter, it will meet my needs.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
FrankS009
By FrankS009 (Oct 20, 2012)

Note: The X14-42 collapsible zoom is not as bright as 2.4, but available pancake primes such as the 20mm at 1.7 certainly are.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

@FrankS009 - but what none of these smaller formats have done is to make some lenses which would give the equivalent DOF as FF lenses about f2.8. This would require significantly faster lens apertures, with the accompanying exposure benefits, but nobody has gone there yet.

0 upvotes
PeterPrism
By PeterPrism (Oct 20, 2012)

I like this "dream" but.. which is the cost?

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Oct 20, 2012)

I am BTW, why do FF DSLR's have to be so HUGE compared to APS-C ? I mean, internals are roughly the same, why all the bulk ?

0 upvotes
grumpyolderman
By grumpyolderman (Oct 20, 2012)

I think you are right, but it woud cause a huge imbalance with most lenses, be bad for placing all the buttons, bad for justifying a high price, look like a pro and possibly sheer build quality, the ability to take knocks, be stable on a tripod and the shutter/mirror movement dampening....I guess

JL

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (Oct 20, 2012)

for SLRs, the larger sensor requires a larger mirror, hence greater flange to sensor distance. Also a larger image circle from the lens, hence a wider throat. So now we have a deeper, wider mirror box. Also requires a larger pentaprism and viewfinder assembly. So now the main chunk of the camera is bigger all round.
But actually, comparing a Nikon D70 and a D800, the dimensional differences are surprisingly small. The D800 is only about 1/5 greater in volume. But it is nearly 1/3 greater in mass. Camera manufacturers are fixated by metal chassis for their supposed greater durability - but I would love to know how much of this is engineering truth, and how much is entrenched marketing/customer perception of what an 'expensive' camera should be made of. Of course polycarbonate was not available at the time these perceptions were initially laid down, and it is probably easier to make a supertanker turn 180 degrees than it is to change conservative pre-conceptions in photography.

1 upvote
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Oct 20, 2012)

@wetsleet:
Think of old 35mm film manual-focused DSLRs - how small they used to be. Including mirror & pentaprism. I do not believe the addition of AF, circuitry & batteries requires such a jump in size.

0 upvotes
RedFox88
By RedFox88 (Oct 20, 2012)

They are not huge. Just look at the comparisons. Most are just 5 to 10% bigger. Maybe you are looking at the pro models like 1D X and d4 since those have a built in vertical grip on the bottom - that's your extra size that you are mistaken about.

0 upvotes
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

Rachotilko is right. My Pentax MX weighs 18oz whereas the K5 is 26oz, and the MX is smaller. I appreciate the metal frame and weather-proofing of the K5, and I understand there needs to be a motor to drive the focus device and room for the circuit boards .... I guess I'm answering my own question as to why the K5 is heavier and bigger. So. See above discussions about digital inserts for film cameras :). Full-frame (prime) lenses are also heavier than their APS-C equivalents.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

"I am BTW, why do FF DSLR's have to be so HUGE compared to APS-C ?"

The D600 and the coming 6D are not.

0 upvotes
ebsilon
By ebsilon (Oct 20, 2012)

I think one needs actually two ideal cameras - a system camera and a compact travel/walkaround camera. Since I'm happy with my Nikon DX (although missing some lenses), I'll sketch out my ideal compact:

24-100mm f/2-f/4 range (alternatively 28-140mm)
1" sensor with PDAF - oversized both horisontally and vertically to provide aspect ratios fro 16:9 to 4:5
Sensor performance of current 1" is good enough, but will always wish for more
RAW format - maybe DNG?
State-of-the art EVF
Tilt or sviwel screen - with excellent visisbility in sunshine
Sized and design like Canon G12 or Nikon P7700
External controls like P7700
Weathersealed/splash proof
Hotshoe and remote CLS triggering

Actually, I think the technology is already more or less here - just hoping for someone putting this together. Maybe for next Photokina?

3 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Oct 20, 2012)

24-100mm f/2-4 on 1" ? Well, that would end up being much larger than Sony RX100.

0 upvotes
iudex
By iudex (Oct 20, 2012)

I think RX100 is so small that not many would argue if it was a bit larger for sake of lens speed. I reckon the size of G12/15 (considerably bigger/thicker than RX100) is still acceptable for many.

1 upvote
ebsilon
By ebsilon (Oct 20, 2012)

Yes I might be a bit optimistic regarding lens f-stop here, maybe f/2.8-f/4.9 is more realistic if starting at 24mm. But like iudex I'd accept a somewaht larger camera than the RX100 due to ergonomics and possibility of a somwhat brighter and wider, but larger and heavier lens. I'd like my camera to weigh in less than 400 gram though.

1 upvote
babart
By babart (Oct 20, 2012)

Panasonic missed a really good opportunity by NOT putting a updated 15mpix sensor in the GF-1. If you want the perfect compromise in usability (all the important controls are on the outside), size, and interchangeable lenses, the GF-1 takes the cake. It's a poor mans Leica M3.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

"I think one needs actually two ideal cameras - a system camera and a compact travel/walkaround camera."

Agree, there is no one-shot solution for photography. Right now, for me it's loking t]like the D600 and a few lenses and the V1, but a m43 would work as well. Hopefully Nikon or Canon will develop a smaller APS-C ML complete system, but it'll take a while.

0 upvotes
monseigneur
By monseigneur (Oct 20, 2012)

option to choose different aspect ratio's is great!

0 upvotes
piratejabez
By piratejabez (Oct 22, 2012)

This is a pretty good list. 24mm is a must for me. Having an LX5, the multi-aspect sensor feature is very nice.

0 upvotes
NikonScavenger
By NikonScavenger (Oct 20, 2012)

I want Sigma to build a cheap FF body with a Canon mount... or Nikon. I don't care, really. But it's about time we started to see third party bodies.

0 upvotes
Lorenzosap
By Lorenzosap (Oct 20, 2012)

A digital back for my Nikon f4!

1 upvote
Jim Ford
By Jim Ford (Oct 20, 2012)

The camera manufacturers need to take care when paying attention to this thread!

After WW2 a British motorcycle magazine posted a survey of what readers thought their ideal motorcycle would be. Sunbeam built the S7 and S8 as result of the survey. They were both basically flops!

Jim

1 upvote
deniz erdem
By deniz erdem (Oct 20, 2012)

my ideal camera is the new leica M. they made the perfect camera for me.

compact and durable body/lenses - check
manual aperture and shutter dial - check
real rangefinder for street and travel work. - check
live view for architectural work (wide angle and precision) - check
full frame sensor - check
gps unit for my location mapping project - check

of course in a perfect world, it would be using a foveon sensor with good high iso and magnificent corner performance but within the limits of current technology, its just perfect. not i just have to rob a bank or something. :/

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Oct 20, 2012)

In a perfect world it would be AF too so that those of us without 20/20 vision could actually get in focus shots with it in a hurry.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Oct 20, 2012)

Th eproblem with Leica is the absurd lens prices. They'd need first to develop a decent AF system and then let 3rd parties make cheaper lenses. But that's, likely, what a ML FF from Nikon will be like in 10 years ...

0 upvotes
deniz erdem
By deniz erdem (Oct 20, 2012)

well if this is my dream camera, it doesnt need AF :)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 710
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