Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thinking Out Of the Box Camera Design

Don`t suppose any camera manufacturers are listening, but how about the following:

1) switch to 3:4 ratio image from the current 3X2 - after all this is what has happened in medium format and micro four thirds - if you kept to the same image circle - no problems with current lenses.

2) how about a rotating sensor - surely they can find a way to align it perfectly after turning it 90 degrees - this whole business of turning a camera on its end is just rediculous. It`s faster and safer and simpler for controls to rotate the sensor - sure you`d need a bigger pentaprism (if you stick with that), but 4X4 isn`t much bigger than 4X3 and even 3X3 vs. 3X2is only 33% more.

3) how about solving the expose to the right problem - why should I guess from a tiny screen whether I have overdone the highlights - couldn`t the camera check just how much brighter the highlights are (ie. hopeless or not) and just how big they are and couldn`t I specify how large an area I`m willing to let go pure white in a given photograph - and can`t we assume using raw and have the lcd show the clipping for raw that isn`t retrievable - perhaps flashing highlights in one of three colours depending on whether one, two or three channels are clipped. Surely the technology is there to help us (but not replace us).

4) would it be so difficult to put an infrared receptor on the back of the camera so I can use a simple, small cordless remote - after all point and shoots have had it for years - come on guys!

5) I suspect we are going to see  more and more focus blending in the future so how about making it easier - with automatic multiple images with appropriate focus change between each, based on the near distance and far distance desired, and the f stop. You could even time the exposures based on hand holding (asap) or tripod (how long does it take for vibrations to dampen at a given focal length).

6) how about getting the lcd image to my iPhone or even better iPad simply, painlessly and accurately, no wires, no router. It can be done now with accessories like eyefi but what about building it in?

7) is there really no way to keep noses from LCD screens?
Are we really stuck with the same overall design of slr's present since the 50's? - I loved the tilting viewfinder (not LCD on my Sony 707

8) from using the viewfinder on a Sony Nex-7, are we not ready for electronic viewfinders? Already they are better in low and medium light - we just need to fix the daylight problem - dynamic range, colour etc.  - but we need fast refresh and short blackout times for this to work.

Anyway, just my daydreams. Michael Reichmann has been beating the drum for a mirror lock up button on Canon cameras for at least 7 years and still no action - guess they are waiting for when there are no mirrors in any cameras.


TJ said...

Indeed nice suggestions... specially with the IR remote. I have such a remote and it gives me a headache to use it so still at times I would prefer the cable remote better (and faster).

The image from LCD to iPhone or other devices is something I do like too ... recently I ordered a portable monitor (and waiting for it) just for this problem... in fact.. I was surprised that my bro's tablet don't have any inlets to get signals for HDMI or anything like that ... I thought it's easier now, but I was wrong. This thing would solve hard angles problems for me (and save me some back pains).

As for the histogram and displaying for RAW.. maybe this has some connection with the preferred color space by the user ... as some people still prefer to work on sRGB which is like the JPG (almost) histogram... so if my highlights are OK in that then for sure they are ok in my preferred Adobe 1998 ... just maybe.

We have to realize anyway that there are many solutions out there but with the world of patents now and the "suing" business between big firms... there will be always delays in implementing these advantages. Another thing is, the costs and to what level of people these cameras would be dedicated to.

Personally, I do wish to have also a water-proof body already instead of having to order a special housing!

Len said...

I think the new micro four thirds cameras are already down this path that you have suggested... a square sensor would solve the rotating sensor issue, with the added bonus of being able to shoot square... my favorite format... Electronic viewfinders are fantastic... I can now see my highlight clipping and even my histogram before I take the image... say goodbye to chimping for exposure...

Personally I am really excited about where cameras are currently heading... and look forward to the new innovations coming..

Tim said...

I can see #1 being contentious amongst aspect-ratio aficionados. I, for one, hate 4:3 - and I've gone from never cropping for aspect-ratio to choosing comparatively "odd" ratios in the digital world, such as 16:9 (OK, not too wacky) and 5:4 (sounds familiar) and even DIN (aka A4?) and golden ratio. But I *never* think anything looks better in 4:3.

#3 has problems with specular highlights - sun across the sea etc. But yes I think EttR can be incorporated into the metering algorithm somewhere along the lines, maybe akin to how D-lighting is an option.

Paulo Rodrigues said...

Nice suggestions.

The minolta Dynax 7 film camera could do a type of focus blending. It would take multiple exposures with different apertures so that you could get creamy bokeh with a little extra depth of field.

I'd like to see the cameras support apps.

So for instance you could write your own focus blending mode and upload it to the camera then assign it to a custom function.

With every aspect of the camera operation programable you could do any sort of creative application you can image.

Andrew said...

Hi George,
Nice list. The trouble is that we're not making much progress. Here's my (depressingly similar) list from 2009:

The aspect ratio is the easy one. My new Panasonic GH2 goes half-way, allowing the selection of different aspect ratios within the 4:3 outline. What would be better, of course, would be a square sensor and a selectable aspect ratio between 2:1 and 1:2.