Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   General Discussion (
-   -   Camera of the Future? (

RebelHero Oct 26, 2005 8:57 PM

Hello to you all,

First let me introduce myself, I am Niels a dutch industrial design student. I represent one of the groups from our university of Twente. We have been given the assignment from Canon to develop and design the camera of the future. Our aim is the year 2015, 10 years from now. During this assignment we will have to take in account the technical and cultural development of the world during those years as well as the customers desires. And that is where you come in. We would be very pleased if you would answer some simple and short questions to help us create the perfect camera for 2015. Here we go:

- Which aspects of Digital photography should be improved?
- What would be a very cool feature for a digital camera?
- What developments do you expect in the coming 10 years?
- What is in your opinion wrong in the designs Canon makes?
- What features do non-digital cameras have that you wish digital cameras had?
- What would be a good price for a professional Camera?
- What would be a good price for a casual Camera?
- What would be a good price for a beginners Camera?
- Whats you opinion on cellphone cameras?

Your help would be greatly appreciated!

Niels Korteling

Wildman Oct 26, 2005 11:28 PM

Welcome to the forum... you've asked some very interesting questions.

1. Improvements in digital technology... they're going to have to get easier to use, especially in the area of downloading and printing/transmitting pictures. Kodak has stepped in the right direction with their docking stations.

2. Cool feature... seamless integration with GPS. We can do it now, as long as we hold our mouths the right way ;-) Takes a couple of applications to do it now and manually sincing the camera to the GPS clock.

3. Developments over 10 years... New lens technology. Current lenses are very smart with great auto focus but are very heavy and expensive (at least the SLR ones are). New materials and fabrication techniques have to be developed and applied.

4. Canon design problems... most of their design features are market driven. Having said that, they ARE in business to make money. For example, the old Digital Rebel was purposly "dumbed down" to protect their more expensive models. How about no spot focus and no manual focus screen...

5. Non digital camera features... spot focus, split screen manual focus and eyeball focus sensor.

6, 7, 8...Cost... all will remain at present price points, just get much more capable.

9. Cell phone cameras... cool technology, but need development.

DomCotton Oct 27, 2005 6:23 AM

I think a cool new feature would be a "live" histogram in the LCD display...?


hgernhardtjr Oct 27, 2005 7:17 AM

Since you are a design student, I would assume, like many "future" design projects yours would have almost no limits. Along with the suggestions from Wildman (I find Dom's histograms absolutely useless) I would suggest a rather strange formfactor: eyeball replacement camera (which at present is not possible).:?

It works just like your normal eye, but when you desire to take a photo of the scene a high-mp shot (perhaps even video) is aquired and stored that could be wirelessly offloaded to share with others, or that could be re-activated for the eyeball user to re-experience. And if it were a dual replacement, the image would be full, true-to-life 3D.


tclune Oct 27, 2005 8:46 AM

- Which aspects of Digital photography should be improved?

The noise floor should be lowered and the maximum ISO speed increased. A better compression format than JPEG should become widely employed, preferably with better than 8-bits per channel depth.

- What would be a very cool feature for a digital camera?

Easy association of e-mail distribution lists with particular photos for when they are downloaded to your computer. For more advanced users. ability to select a gamma for image acquisition that would allow more or less compression at different parts of the dynamic range (maintain detailin the shadows or highlights better ).

- What developments do you expect in the coming 10 years?

Wavelet compression (JPEG2000 finally?), way more pixels than anyone can possibly make use of, better mass storage that will make movies more viable on still cameras.

- What is in your opinion wrong in the designs Canon makes?

Way too much chromatic aberration on all but their dSLR lenses. Their human factors tends to be terrific.

- What features do non-digital cameras have that you wish digital cameras had?


- What would be a good price for a professional Camera?

$1000 with a good kit lens and a decent telephoto lens.

- What would be a good price for a casual Camera?


- What would be a good price for a beginners Camera?


- Whats you opinion on cellphone cameras?

I'm not interested, even if they were to become decent cameras. But that may just prove that I'm an old guy.

BillDrew Oct 27, 2005 5:30 PM

Wildman wrote:

... 9. Cell phone cameras... cool technology, but need development.
Take a look at the history of "convergent technology": it has been a failure in almost all cases. The only major exception I can think of is combining a TV with DVD/Video tape, and that is only done at the bottom end of the market or portable market. Very unlikely there will be cell phone cameras that sell much unless they are the low resolution/low price versions. Take a look at folks requirements for cameras: fast response, long lens, wide lens, low light, small size, high ISO, no red-eye, ... Many of those are contradictory, e.g.,no red-eye with a pocket camera.

There will be cell phone/camera/organizers/web reader/... combinations marketed. I doubt they will be very sucessful.

[email protected] Oct 27, 2005 6:33 PM

I suspect within the next 10 years, much like film cameras, they will start to become commodities as the market is saturated.

On the DSLR side, I think 12-16mb cameras will be the norm. They will be very fast, with co-processors to deal with the images, saving to media, etc.

I'm very sure the the cameras will be wireless, so that downloading is done by time you get home.

-- Terry

BillDrew Oct 27, 2005 7:38 PM

I am not at all sure wireless will become the norm unless it is insignificantly cheap to add or the Wall*Marts/k-Marts/Costcos/... start setting up for it. Setting upso a customer canwalk in, turn ontheir camera, do some other shopping, go to a kisosk to do some quick edit/selects, and hit a button to print.

Of course the top end cameras will have all the bells and whistles: wireless, GPS, changable lenses, ... And the folks who have them are more likely to do their own printing and/or go to a better print shopthan Wall*Mart.

peripatetic Oct 28, 2005 2:53 AM

What on earth could you possibly want a GPS in a camera for?

What do I want in the "enthusiast" range i.e. 5D/20D successors?

1. Fast (100Mb/s+) wireless for sure - no need for cables or unplugging CF cards all the time, possibly even build in a 20Gb HDD or flash RAM to get rid of CF altogether. Add an 802.11n storage device for additional storage in the field - an evolution of the Epson R2000 design perhaps.

2. Wider dynamic range, much higher than current 4-5 stops. 7-10 stops would be ideal.

3. More resolution? Sure why not - enough for 300dpi A3 prints on all DSLRs.

4. Lower noise - absolutely, with better IS and smaller lenses for most - very much along the lines of the new f4 L lenses.

5. Better dust handling - cleaning sensors is nasty and unfortunately necessary with DSLRs. Olympus can do it why not Canon?

6. Image stabilisation built into the body of the camera. Minolta lead the way here. If they could stack it with the lens IS that would be great too i.e. put IS in the body, and if you have an IS lens they complement each other to be even more effective.

7. Quieter operation. My 20D shutter is very loud, the less shutter "clack" the better.

8. Better printers - colour printers are currently very good, but B&W needs work.

9. Better ink prices - stop gouging!

10. Better quality control and home-calibration kits for high-end equipment; put to bed this "I've got a bad copy nonsense."

11. Live histograms? Sure why not, but really you have the histogram now after the shot is taken and the shot costs nothing after all, a wider dynamic range would make this less important anyway.

12. Additional program modes which adjust ISO automatically for the correct exposure. The current setup is silly - in film days you couldn't change ISO between shots, but now it's essentially continuously variable like shutter speed. So the program modes should allow you to set ranges of acceptable shutter, aperture AND ISO and still shoot RAW - the Green Square mode does this to a degree but will only allow JPG.

13. Rule-of-thirds AF points! Come on already!

14. Easy mirror lockup. How many times do we have to ask!

15. Programmable program modes - following on from #12 and #1. Perhaps some software for your PC which allows you to set up your own custom parameters for program modes. So I could have my own "portrait" mode which will allow me to specify algorithms for parameter. e.g. use f2.8 as long as ISO<400 and shutter <1/focal length. Then adjust aperture to f4 as long as ISO<800 and shutter <1/fl, etc. Also allow you to program settings for different lenses. When using lens X, use algorithm Y.

16. Put the focus distance back into the EXIF data. This is a fairness issue - precisely for people who want to use programs like DXO which can correct for distance related distortions and flaws. It doesn' t mean we won't buy more expensive lenses - do your market research!!

Oh yes - I would really like a FF rangefinder digital camera. Perhaps you could suggest that Canon buy Leica and do the necessary.

Prices - back to film days if they can. Ideally around £1000-£1500 for the top end.

Phone cameras - sure it'd be great if we could clean out the "introductory level" digicams and put them in mobiles. 6Mp, really good quality lens with fixed focal length ~40mm EFL. Or a small zoom 28-70mm EFL.

BillDrew Oct 28, 2005 6:47 AM

Lots of good points. In particular the extened dynamic range.

peripatetic wrote:

... 7. Quieter operation. My 20D shutter is very loud, the less shutter "clack" the better....
Mirror slap noise is one that bugs me about SLRs, the shutter is much quieter.

I suspect that EVFs will eventually be good enough to get rid of the need for direct viewing through the lens. Then there will be no need to have the EVF mounted in the camera - it could be put into one "lens" of a pair of eyeglasses and fed wirelessly from the camera. That would also get rid of the need for a LCD on the back of the camera, freeing up the shape of the camera. The camera shape would be further freed by having a separate box for the controls which wirelessly comunicated with the camera.

Though such a camera isn't likely to show up on the market in the next year, I'd bet that some military/security developement agency is working on it now.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:52 AM.