I have always had an interest in time and what the future may hold. I suppose it is my inner geek when it comes to sci-fi movies but it has been interesting to see how technology has changed and evolved over the years. I remember when we got this huge, bulky contraption called a “Betamax”, You could put a huge cassette tape looking thing into it and watch movies at home!
Seriously this thing was a massive machine that even a nuclear weapon couldnt destroy. At the time this was a huge technological leap but sadly along came laser disc’s, Dragons lair and VHS tapes which doomed the poor Betamax to exile in Bizarro world.
Cameras can be the same way from year to year. The technology evolves so rapidly and the processors get much more advanced in each camera generation that last years “new” model just can’t compete. The new cameras come along and Photographers love their gear, We just have to have all of those new features. I was sitting here the other day and thinking about a camera of the future and what it may look like.
What sort of features would I be looking for in a camera five or even ten years down the road? It’s interesting to daydream a little to see what you can come up with for a feature set in a camera. The following is my list of features that I would like to see, Some conceptual and some more practical. What features would you like to see in a future camera?
1. In-Camera HDR processing:
Currently we have to take our bracketed shots in-camera and then import them into our computers. Then we have to import the images into a HDR program for processing and then export back to Photoshop or Lightroom for final tweaking. Geez! Lets simplify the process by processing the bracketed images in camera to give you one, final HDR camera raw image to import to your editing program.
I spend more time flip-flopping between programs and it eats up a lot of time. It would also eliminate the need to keep all of the bracketed images in your computer, One image eats up less space than 3 or 9 or 12 images. There are a few cameras that do this but correct me if I am wrong but I think you only get a jpeg file.
2. Carbon fiber camera body:
Why not? I do realize that something like this would be quite expensive but I love thinking about its potential. Twice as strong as current bodies with half the weight = Awesomeness for my back when I am out hiking with all of my gear. If musical instruments can be made with carbon fiber than why not high-end dslr? The manufacture of such a body im sure would be challenging but think about an indestructible camera body that is dust and weather proof. The only weakness in such a system would be where the lens connects to the body but it would go along way in protecting the camera for everyday drops and bumps.
3. In-camera panorama stitching as a camera raw file:
Wouldn’t it be nice to have something similar to Sony’s Isweep panorama mode in a dslr? I would rather import an already stitched together raw file of the pano then 12 images that I yet again have to import into yet another program to stitch together. This type of feature would be a great time and storage saver. I am sure this is may add some expense to the camera body but I want to know at the time of capture if the pano stitch is good and that I have a huge raw file to work with rather than a jpeg.
4. Less buttons, knobs and controls:
I think it would be much nicer to have a smooth and streamlined camera body with less buttons and controls to have to deal with. Think of it this way…Remove all of the controls, Take a large screen like that of an iPhone and have that as the back lcd and then have one jog wheel similar to an ipod next to it. Add touch screen support, Get rid of the top lcd panel which I rarely use and maybe have one or two other buttons and there you have it…Easy, Right?
5. In-camera gps:
I am sure that some cameras already have this feature or you have to buy a really expensive add-on to get the gps capability. It would be nice to have a mechanism in-camera to either track and record your Photography adventures or at the very least mark way points or get one set of gps coordinates for your current location.
6. Larger lcd back panel:
The older I get the more cramped I feel when I am looking at the tiny screen of my Canon 7d. I don’t need anything huge but just a little more room would be nice.
7. Better camera A.I.:
When you point the camera at a subject and prepare to take a shot the camera does not know if you’re trying to shoot something static or something that is moving. It would be nice to see detection for moving objects/people or if you are trying some other creative process like a long exposure and have the camera set the appropriate settings. As a rule I don’t want to let the camera choose any settings but sometimes you are shooting in situations where you dont have a lot of time to really mess around with camera controls.
8. Neutral density:
I would like to see in-camera neutral and graduated neutral density filters with the ability to adjust the strength from one to ten stops. It would also be nice to be able to have the option to move the filters into any position within the image field to your liking. I know this one is a long shot but I use these filters constantly and if I didn’t have to buy, maintain and carry all of these with me into the field my back would be thankful for that. Being able to select the strength would be icing on the cake.
9. Infrared shooting:
Going out on a limb here as I know this one may prove to be a challenge technically but it would be great to be able to switch between infrared and regular image capture. I have never shot infrared before and have always wanted to, This one may be wishful thinking here.
10. Noise reduction:
The next area for improvements should be in this area. The cameras are great at noise reduction at higher ISO’s however on my Canon 7d the noise really starts to become an issue after ISO 1000. I have shot at all of the ISO’s available on my camera and Lightroom is good at removing the noise but there is a point were it just doesn’t look good anymore.