Friday, February 20th 2009

Future Camera Wishlist

I bought my Canon EOS 30D in the spring 2006 and the shutter still has about 80% of its expected lifetime left, so don’t get me wrong, I really don’t have any plans on upgrading any time soon.

My thinking is that spending $1200 on a new camera won’t get me significantly better pictures. Challenging myself and setting up more difficult photo projects might. And that’s more or less free.

Canon EOS ?0D, X0D

Anyway, when my 30D finally does give in, I will be well prepared. Pretty soon after I got my 30D I started jotting down stuff I thought would be nice for my next camera. Just so I don’t forget anything when the time comes.

So here is my list of stuff that I will try to get on my next camera:

  1. Dust reduction. Not sure how effective the current systems are, but most cameras on the market already have this to some degree.
  2. Front/back focus adjustment. Again, Canon has already added this to the 50D. Could be useful if the camera auto focus is slightly off.
  3. High resolution screen. Three inch, 640×480 screens already seem to be the default so this shouldn’t be a problem.
  4. 100% viewfinder coverage. It is so annoying when you think you’ve nailed the composition only to find a twig or some other distraction sticking into the edge of the frame. Remains to be seen if Canon will add this to the cameras in the x0D series. The Nikon D300 already has this so if Canon want to stay in the game they should.
  5. Live view with good AF. The current live view systems are so-so. Having to lift the mirror (and black out the live view) to engage the auto-focus is not good enough.
  6. HDMI output. Another feature which seems to have become a standard thing.
  7. Multiple shot bracketing. For HDR photography, I want to be able to set the camera to bracket at least 5 or 7 shots. The Nikon D300 can do up to 9, and since this is only a software thing there really is no reason for Canon’s cameras not to have this.
  8. Auto ISO. My 30D has this in green square fully automatic mode. I want to be able to use Auto ISO in aperture priority, shutter priority and manual mode. The idea being that the camera chooses an ISO setting which will make the shutter speed short enough to avoid camera shake. Thankfully, the 50D can do this. (The 40D had this feature too, but it doesn’t work as it should.)
  9. RAW in full auto mode. When my wife uses my camera she sets it to full auto mode. This means photos will be saved as JPEGs and not RAWs, which is stupid. I want to be able to adjust white balance and stuff just as much for the photos she takes as I want for my own shots. And again, this is something the 50D now has.
  10. 9-10 megapixel small RAW size. The megapixel race doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. This means huge RAW files every time you want to take a photo. And more noise per pixel. Which in turn increases the file size since it won’t compress as well. So instead of the reasonable ~7 MB per photo that my 30D produces, the 50D for instance produces ~20 MB RAW files. So if Canon wants to keep increasing the resolution, fine, but give us a more reasonable small RAW setting. The 50D offers a 7 megapixel option, but that’s a bit on the small side. Around 10 should be about right.
  11. Video mode. I want video recording with good, fast AF and the option of 1080p or 720p.

Then I have a few maybes:

  1. DNG raw files. It would be nice if Canon and Nikon adopted Adobe’s DNG standard for raw files, to make them more future proof. I don’t want to end up with raw files that I can’t open just because the latest version of Windows doesn’t support the software that came with my camera.
  2. Wireless flash control. I’d love to have built in support for Canon’s IR wireless flash system.
  3. Automatic CA and vignetting correction. Nikon’s D300 analyses the photo and automatically corrects chromatic aberrations. The Canon 50D knows how different (Canon) lenses cause vignetting and can correct this by increasing the brightness of the edges. Both these features would be nice to have in the camera, but most of all I’d like to have them in Lightroom. Does anyone know of any Lightroom plug-ins that can do these things?

Since I have four lenses that are only compatible with Canon I’m hoping that there will be a Canon camera sometime in the future with all these features. Maybe it will be the 60D, 70D or 80D? Or maybe they will have started some whole new naming scheme before all these features end up in one camera. Switching to Nikon isn’t really an option anyway.

Well, I’m in no rush at all to shell out loads and loads of cash. I have all the time in the world. In the meantime I’m going to enjoy my 30D while I marvel at the many features the camera makers think of in the coming years.

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