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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 dgeugene1 (Oct 20, 2012)

If Panasonic made a "superzoom" with a 24-300eq f2.8-5.6 and a 1" sensor I would buy it...bright EVF and flip screen, of course.

By ddolde (Oct 20, 2012)

Must have a Foveon sensor !

By zodiacfml (Oct 20, 2012)

A Sigma DP2 with performance, battery life of mainstream cameras. Better ISO performance too.

By javidog (Oct 20, 2012)

Ideal camera for me would be one that I do not need to hold with my hand and bring it up to my eye. One that is wearable and captures how I see everything--somehow directly connected to the eye. Like those Google glasses but better. Maybe not in our lifetimes but it will happen.

By larrytusaz (Oct 20, 2012)

(1) No "YouTube" controls whatsoever (or re-programmable as Sony did with their NEX in a recent firmware update & Olympus has always done with their micro 4/3rds models). Are you listening Nikon? They get in the way of actual photography.

(2) Plenty of hot buttons for ISO, white balance, RAW vs JPEG mode, autofocusing, drive, EVERYTHING

(3) 75 autofocus points, ALL of them "cross-sensitive" & the active one should be very highly visible at all times

(4) Nikon D3s high ISO performance & dynamic range, D600 resolution, large full-frame viewfinder with split-image manual focusing ads, all in a D5100 body--but with hot buttons galore AND a "classic" control panel (ditch the mode dial, replace with a mode button like in the D3s etc)

(5) 1/1000 Flash X-Sync

There's probably more I'm overlooking.

1 upvote
By owenleve (Oct 20, 2012)

The above pocket camera that would also accept pro glass when wanted.....

By pait (Oct 20, 2012)

I am totally satisfied with the Fuji X100. It takes better pictures than I know how to.

1 upvote
By oselimg (Oct 20, 2012)

A full frame camera with 11EV dynamic range, minimum 6 fps, don't need zillions of focus point, well spread 7 point cross type enough, reasonable well made, splash proof, weighes max 800gr, 100% optical viewfinder, full HD video, don't care about the megapixel count and will cost 1000 USD max. Not impossible. There were many examples in the film days(cost wise). Happy dreams for all

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

Three fixed lens cameras:
1. Sony RX1 with EVF and with 500 ipa batteries
2. Sony RX2: with EVF and fixed focus F/2 or F/2.8 f=24 mm lens
3. Sony RX3: with EVF and F/4 f=28-110 mm zoom lens

Size: "grip-able"

In camera raw processing, fold-able touch screen and programmable dials and buttons, firmware upgrades instead of yearly camera upgrades, customize-able firmware versions, no video camera versions.

1 upvote
nathaniel m
By nathaniel m (Oct 20, 2012)

A thinner, far cheaper (≤$4000) Leica M with the option for autofocus lenses, better battery life, quicker burst (4fps is all), larger buffer (8 is all), and gps built in (without the grip).

Another way of looking at it is a Sony NEX7 with a full frame sensor and smaller, higher quality, full manual lens options. Also, an innovation for quick accurate manual focus (as it is unlikely that sony would add a rangefinder mechanism, and focus peaking isn't fast).

All the other stuff (video, lack of AA, fancy color filter matrix, mpix, iso noise, etc.) is already so good, that I can't imagine needing more improvement

These two descriptions are the same camera. I think I won't have to wait long. This seems to be on its way. Cant wait!!!

By SheikYerbouti (Oct 20, 2012)

The camera should be high quality, comparatively small, weather-sealed, robust, durable, ergonomic and with good classic looks. It's sensor should be the best APS-C sensor that's currently available, which is Fuji's 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor ... which means, the camera should be a Fuji. It should have a fixed 24mm-120mm zoom lens with a constant maximum aperture of f/2.0, good macro capabilities and smoothly operating mechanical zoom and aperture rings. There should be some sort of snap-on lens available that shifts the zoom range to 240mm or 300mm (at the expense of one or two stops). All important controls should be accessible through dedicated buttons or dials. If such a camera should pass the usual reviews without major hick-ups I'd be happy pay 1200$-1800$ for it (including the snap-on) ...

1 upvote
By SheikYerbouti (Oct 20, 2012)

I forgot to mention that against the current trend I'd prefer this camera to be an SLR with a bright and informative 100% viewfinder.

1 upvote
By lacro (Oct 21, 2012)

The same at around US$ 650.-

By dodgebaena (Oct 20, 2012)

A digital Nikon F2AS, full-frame, of course.
Also a NEX7 with the sensor from the NEX6, with PC sync socket, phase-detect, Steadyshot, and video capped at ISO6400.

Robert Eckerlin
By Robert Eckerlin (Oct 20, 2012)

My ideal camera: A camera similar to the NEX 6 or NEX 7.... but
1) with a high-quality compact zoom lense covering the range of 18mm-200mm (or close to that range). For me, it will not be important to change lense
2) with well organized menus

John Beavin
By John Beavin (Oct 21, 2012)

I would like an FZ50 with a 24 to 600 lens and without scene and video modes.

By DonA2 (Oct 20, 2012)

Where Hasselblad dropped the ball was in not producing a mini-Hass. They had it right all along but didn't follow through. The box body only required shrinking with an APS-C sesor, a fixed 10 to 15X zoom, a fixed back with LCD, a good angled EVF and a expandable built in flash.

I designed such a camera and it seems that they could do so too. Not much immagination out there anymore. Their Sony dressup is a disaster.

1 upvote
By kernow (Oct 20, 2012)

Rolleiflex TLR with a digital 6 X 6 sensor back.

Corian Spirit
By Corian Spirit (Oct 20, 2012)

My dream pocket camera in the order of priority :
1. Olympus XZ-2 lens in SONY RX-100 body and sensor (Raw, HDR,Auto, Manual (including manual focus using the ring ala XZ-2), Bulb, etc)
2. Video performance has to be sharp.
3. Built-in Wifi for direct storage and enable full camera control from PC/HP/Tablet
4. Uses lasting Capacitive Touchscreen OLED to save power
5. Battery for at least >300 shots
6. Built in phone (dual SIM cards, sms, alarm,note)
7. Built in 16G memory.
8. USB 3.0 or FireWire
9. 3G or 4G

1 upvote
By Breitling (Oct 20, 2012)

5D3 :)

By aarif (Oct 20, 2012)

D4 or 1Dx specs in a D600 size body and nothing less then the D3s ISO performance . if it only does 8fps so be it but no compromising of AF and noise performance

By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2012)

Good idea, but wouldn't exactly fit in a pocket.

Gilvan Moreia
By Gilvan Moreia (Oct 20, 2012)

Zoom de 15-900mm (60x)
Abertura 1,8 por toda faixa
RAW + JPG Ultra-fine (12 fps)
Video de 4k a 240 Hz om foco contínuo
EFV + flash
1000 dólares
GPS + WiFi + Tele comando
big sensor = full frame
Rotate Tuch OELED LCD
Manual controls

And more innovations

By chr1st1an (Oct 20, 2012)

RX100 plus:
-Better grip.
-More control dials (more like p7700)
-Fully articulated display
-Remote shutter and external mic connector.
-24-135 at least (or better 24-200)
-high speed movie mode (at least 120 fps hd) and stereo sound.
-Posibility to connect to a computer and control the camera trough software.
Not too much and everything possibly with present technology. Depends on marketing decisions.

1 upvote
By dgeugene1 (Oct 20, 2012)

This is similar to what I just posted. You are right, the market decides.

By NowHearThis (Oct 20, 2012)

I really like my NEX-7.
Way's to improve it would be:
• Add built-in Wireless Flash Commander (via pop up flash).
• 1/4000sec flash snyc.
• Fully electronic shutter (silent operation, bracketing).
• Faster AF for people wanting to shoot some sports.
• IBIS (but still make OSS lenses) IBIS could turn on if camera doesn't detect OSS.
• Touchscreen LCD.
• 1/8000sec max shutter speed.
• Selectable Grid lines: Golden selection, Golden Triangles, etc.
• 720p @ 120 or 240fps.
• Video crop as in Canon T3i.
• A flash PC sync port (or a dirt cheap adapter).
• 1/3rd stop ISO settings.
• 10fps for minimum of 60 shots (6 sec).

Lastly a new lens to mount on it:
16-200 F3.5-5.6 OSS (has to equal my 18-200 OSS in IQ - I have a great copy of that lens)

By Dianoda (Oct 20, 2012)

Full frame 30MP Foveon (30MPX3) sensor that also does high ISO well, wrapped up in a 5DIII sized body that otherwise performs like a 1Dx (AF/Metering/Frame Rate). Battery grip optional.

They can charge whatever they want as long as they make it happen.

Heck, I'd even settle for a vanilla 5DIII with FF Foveon sensor.

1 upvote
Baxter Bad
By Baxter Bad (Oct 20, 2012)

For starters, something with a large 5:4 sensor and a fast 43mm lens.

By ingram98ab (Oct 20, 2012)

The sensor of the hasselblad H5D (40MP is enough), in a body size and control layer of the olympus OM-D E-M5, and at the price of the nex-6, of course mirrorles with interchangeable lenses...
God, if manufacturers tought they could get some feedback....

1 upvote
By ingram98ab (Oct 20, 2012)

OOps, i forgot the H5D uses CCD.. change it for a faster CMOS please... with large fries and extra pickles

By MichaelEchos (Oct 20, 2012)

Sony RX100 with -
More buttons
Minimum shutter speed based on focal length and focus distance
Focus distance display
Auto hyperfocal distance
White clipping controller (with %)
Touchscreen for better focus and exposure
Articulating screen
Constant f/2.8 or f/2.0-4.0 (or better without increasing thickness by more than 10%)
ISO 25/50
Double control ring (front back on the lens)
Stereo sound
Stronger flash
More intuitive menu system, there are some stupid design flaws

1 upvote
By maxFrenzy (Oct 20, 2012)

My camera would look like the Konica Hexar, with a removable CFA for when I want to take monochrome photos. Controls are the traditional dials and switches for direct access to camera variables so I won't have to dig into menus. Or maybe it should just be made available in monochrome version alongside a conventional model. No AA filter please.

By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2012)

So a Leica M, digital.

By daddyo (Oct 20, 2012)

My dream camera would be my Oly E-M5 with fast, accurate continuous AF tracking, and a 150,000 cycle shutter. For me it's real close to my dream camera as it is.

By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2012)

Nice camera, but doesn't do high ISO well, and some of the lenses have problems like that new compact kit zoom, which gets all sorts of lens flare.

By daddyo (Oct 20, 2012)

You really have no clue. Here are a couple links to some lousy high ISO images, which by the way, were captured as Jpegs with no post noise reduction applied.

As for as lens flare, users of the 12-50mm kit lens have not reported "all sorts of lens flare". I use the even cheaper 14-42mm kit lens with no flare problems.

ISO 6400

ISO 16000 (Yes, that's 16000)

God Bless,

By HowaboutRAW (Oct 20, 2012)


Boring claims to me, someone who has actually used the Oly E-M5 and the kit lens.

Lens first, unlike the kit lens with the new Nikon D600, lens flare in difficult lighting is a massive problem with the Olympus.

Again in the exact same lighting, the E-M5 is not really usable above ISO 3200 because of blotching, while the D600 (not Nikon's greatest high ISO camera) is perfectly usable at ISO 12800. All shot as raw.

That the Oly system is decent yes, but it can't really take a challenge. And that's a drawback.

The test of high ISO is not a well illuminated scene, that's easy. That's why the shrunken ISO 6400 jpeg you linked is not a valid test. Could be the file shrinking, but in that shot there appear to be huge smudging problems.

So I have to conclude that you don't know of what you write.

And again you've made ISO 16000 claims based on a really easy well lit picture, who cares? Try using ISO 16K where it matters.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By Mmarv1 (Oct 20, 2012)

a lumix fz200 with an aps-c sensor!!!!

By zebarnabe (Oct 20, 2012)

That would mean a tank sized camera.... I would be happy with the FZ200 with SX50 HS sensor...

By rgnewell (Oct 20, 2012)

My compacts (Panasonic LX3 and Canon PowerShot S60) take excellent pictures. I bought a Canon SLR 7D thinking the pictures would be sharper, but they are not. I considered a Sony Alpha NEX-7, but decided the lenses are too large. Less the CONS, the Fujifilm X Pro1 looks like a winner.


Comment edited 1 minute after posting
Fred Briggs
By Fred Briggs (Oct 20, 2012)

For when I don't want to carry a DSLR my perfect camera would be something like the Sony RX100 but with the EVF from the NEX series.

1 upvote
The Customer
By The Customer (Oct 20, 2012)

A full-frame 16-24mp digital version of my Zorki-3M, with the usual auto modes available. And weather sealing. For under $1500.

By mrschmo (Oct 20, 2012)

Canon 8D with updated Sigma foveon sensor and articulated screen.

VoLum B
By VoLum B (Oct 20, 2012)

Samsung Galaxy Camera 4G with a FF sensor.

By themikeallenphoto (Oct 20, 2012)

Full Frame Foveon with functionality of a d800.

By tank2112 (Oct 20, 2012)

Nikon FM3A digital with HD video.

1 upvote
By themikeallenphoto (Oct 20, 2012)

square format 35mm sensor digital camera....ideally digital autofocus rangefinder...similar to konica hexar AF.

1 upvote
By Spotpuff (Oct 20, 2012)

6-8mp m43 with weathersealing, EVF and IBIS.

jorden mosley
By jorden mosley (Oct 20, 2012)

18 mega pixel, full frame, moire' anti-alias filter, 1080p video 24fps/30fps/60fps at 50mps, in-body IS, and auto-focus in video mode.

So basically a Sony a99 with a higher mps and moire' anti-alias filter.

By yueeyy (Oct 20, 2012)

Ideal - digital Contax G2

By backayonder (Oct 20, 2012)

My ideal camera is whatever the major manufacturers want to give to me to test and enjoy.

By Simon97 (Oct 20, 2012)

For me:
Low priced compact with 10mp 1/1.7 sensor and 28-70mm lens.
Mirrorless like Nikon 1 size but with grip and better interface (more button control).
SLR not much to ask for here. They make so many good ones now.

By Kodachrome200 (Oct 20, 2012)

I want some camera manufacture to go as far as is physically possible in giving a pocketable zoom compact some DOF control.

1 upvote
By glaebhoerl (Oct 20, 2012)

- 10x optical zoom (starting from 28mm-equiv.), F/2.5 at long end
- 1" sensor or bigger, 10-20MP, Panasonic-style multi aspect ratio
- PDAF, Panasonic-quality OIS (maybe the camera itself should be Panasonic), silent shutter, ND filter
- fast operation, near instant power-on-to-photo-taken time
- Li-Ion
- built-in flash
- somewhat but not much bigger than an Olympus XZ-1
- no GPS/WiFi/other gimmicks
- don't care about video
- $750-1000
- maybe unrealistic, but gives a sense of priorities.

- as many of those little control dials as will fit, also touchscreen
- very customizable, intelligent defaults
- manual control avail, incl. things like color
- **multiple custom modes, ability to save after you change settings (not automatic), or revert to last saved (dedicated button)**
- instead of P/S/A, ability to prioritize min/max values for any parameters (exposure, shutter speed, ISO, DOF, etc) and have the camera figure it out intelligently, UI prioritized for common cases

By glaebhoerl (Oct 20, 2012)

Reading the other comments there's a lot of interesting-sounding features I hadn't even heard of... maybe some of those too. Basically, I want the technical sophistication of a DSLR in a compact-ish body with a fixed lens and as flexible a sensor/lens combo as possible, and I am willing to pay for it and give up a bit on size relative to my XZ-1. Maybe the 10x zoom on top of the big sensor and fast lens is too much to ask for and I would have to live with 4x like the rest, or 7x like Nikon. But it would be great.

And I really want the multiple custom modes with save/revert functionality, with revert quickly accessible, so I can save a few generally appropriate setting-sets for different situations, make tweaks for the particular situation I'm in, and press 'revert' to quickly get back to the base settings when I get into a new situation where the tweaks are no longer applicable. That doesn't require bending the laws of physics in any way. Does any camera have something like it?

1 upvote
By piratejabez (Oct 22, 2012)

I love your PSAM substitute idea. I've also always wanted a camera to at least adjust exposure to keep shutter speed high relative to focal length (user can customize ratio based on sensor size, camera shake, stabilization, etc).

By Shurato (Oct 20, 2012)

I'm fond of the more pocket-able cameras while still having excellent image-quality at hand. Sony's NEX-series and especially, the RX-1 is something which just meets my taste to be frank and shows the trend IMHO.
Specifically, pretty all class of cameras, from prosumer and higher are well feature packed and it boils down to the taste. However, indeed there is no camera which "packs all nifty features in one packages".

My ideal camera for my taste is:
- Body-size in the lines of Sony's RX-1 or NEX-series for that matter.
- Full-frame sensor
- Full easy accessible manual control of all parameters
- High-speed recording feature in Full-HD
- Super-high speed burst-shooting à la Nikon J resp. V1.
- Timelapse recording please!
- Fully articulated screen
- Exchangeable lenses
--> And now the killer-feature: Ability to exchange the sensor (and image processing module) when new ones come out. Hello sustainability!

Price-tag: If a manufacturer can offer this for 1990$, it'd be awesome!!

1 upvote
By Digitall (Oct 20, 2012)

Compact, full frame, manual controls, universal interchangeable lens, free noise at 25.000 ISO, universally accessible price, tripod thread, filter thread, cabel release thread, wifi + gps, manoeuvrable display, light, fast autofocus, excellent metering, manual focus, silent, WYSIWYG display, universal battery, Weather Sealed, SD+CF, usb 3.0, image stabilization on camera, bounce flash.

If he could join several features into one of several manufacturers and joins in one product, it would be easy to make a perfect camera currently. It was not difficult nowadays.

By itchhh (Oct 20, 2012)

For me? A Leica M with auto-focus and 1/3 the price.

By mgrum (Oct 20, 2012)

Full frame NEX with built in ringflash, 36 MP sensor, no AA filter please.

Also available in monochrome. Oh and a 40 f/1.8 pancake kit lens.

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

"Depends on what the task at hand is......!" [Grin]

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
By Brigcam (Oct 20, 2012)

Fully Programmable.

By drwho9437 (Oct 19, 2012)

My camera is a mirrorless full frame camera similar to a EM5.

It however has a fully electronic pixel mask-able shutter. This allows all sorts of DOF reconstructions and high dynamic range methods to be employed.

To take a simple example, if you place it in HDR mode at 1/250 it will take 3 photos one at 1/1000, one at 1/250 and one at 1/60 in just over 1/60 of a second. This extends the DR of the image by 4 stops without blurring artifacts. Because the shutter is electronic there is no delay to cause blur between the images that would cause alignment issues. The data is integrated into a 3 channel RAW file.

Or equally the camera could sample at the shutter speed many times to integrate to saturation. This would eliminate well depth as a DR limitation on the sensors and provide true tone mappable images even into the darkest shows and brightest skies.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By wb2trf (Oct 20, 2012)

These are the kind of techniques that will be coming and will cause the top of the line cameras to become mirrorless. Integrating across time will open up a lot of new possibilities but mirror-flopping will be incompatible with the full range of them. Essentially at whatever instant you want to call "the photograph" there is a ton of useful image information in adjacent short blocks of time before and after. DR is just one use.

By drwho9437 (Oct 20, 2012)

To be clear I am still describing a stills camera however it is possible that the focus (no pun) on video will integrate these features. Video even very HD is low resolution compared to stills, and I care much more about stills. Synthetic aperture cameras have been used in academic research. Completely electronic shuttering has existed in CCDs for a long time.

I believe we have significant room for improvement in spectroscopic data as well. Mimicking the human eye is one thing but the human eye is quite limited. I want a superhuman camera, which can render a subset of the collected data in a human looking way rather than bad looking HDR and other effects.

The ideal camera would let a photographer focus purely on composition and the critical moment, leaving complete flexibility in the technical aspects and processing.

I doubt we will see such a camera. Look at how many people care about JPEGs, dpreview included. JPEGs like MP3s shouldn't exist anymore. "Good enough" for the lazy.

1 upvote
By fyngyrz (Oct 19, 2012)

1) Start with a Canon 6D (assuming the 6D's sensor-related IQ is the same as the 5DmkIII, which we don't know yet)

2) add more cross focus points

3) remove the video so Canon isn't deluded into thinking I'm a video customer when I buy it

4) add powerful intervalometer (see magic lantern)

5) extend shutter times WAY beyond 30s

6) Put the joystick controller back!

7) add 50 user presets (like c1,c2.... but on-screen selectable for many more)

8) Make sure the wifi can serve as "upload images to computer"

9) cordless recharge (put camera on/near inductive mat to charge... then give me a camera bag that has an inductive charger in it)

10) A range of RAW image resolutions from max res down to very small, and make SURE the camera utilizes all the sensor space when doing so

11) lower noise

12) 32 bit dynamic range sensor (hey, I can dream, shut up)

13) focus stacking


Then, to go along with it, a new f/1.0 lens, as wide as possible, with zero CA or other artifacts.

1 upvote
Total comments: 710