I’ve been on a bit of a quest recently to find the perfect camera for me. It was prompted by the realisation that while not old, my current kit is a bit lacking in the high ISO stakes. So thought I’d look for a replacement.
Trouble is, after much examination and thought, I have come to the conclusion that the ‘perfect’ replacement does not exist. The 60D is now plastic so that’s out. And the D7000, while magnesium on two panels, still has a plastic front panel, so I have reservations using a lot of big lenses on there. Even the 7D and D300s are not perfect. Close, but no cigar. And the last two are a budget stretch, given my current finances.
So, what can I do? I’ll probably end up buying a 7D or D300s. But whichever way I go, I’ll wish it had certain features the other has. It’s always the way. Perfection is impossible. But what if I could have the perfect camera? Irrespective of cost? What would it look like?
It would be a weird mix, I think. I’d start with a D3s base. It is by far the best ergonomically-designed camera I have ever tried. It is almost perfect. The grips, the grip material, the eyepiece, the button and manual control layout, it’s all there. Apart from the ISO button. Which I’d steal from Canon’s higher-end models.
The perfect DSLR base? Chris Nicholls' pick is the D3s
The reason is that I hate having to use two hands when one will do. (Make of that what you will). Nikon’s design requires two hands to adjust with the ISO. Canon’s allows one. In fact, having all the top-mounted buttons from high-end Canons on the D3s body would be nice. Oh, and the big control dial on the back, too. The thing is, I need to scroll through photos quickly, as well as menu items, and for that, the Canon dial can’t be beat.
As for the sensor and processing, it would be a weird mix of 5D MK II and D3s. I’d take the 5D’s 22 megapixels, which can output to sizes that all bar the most needy pros use, as well as its 1080p ability. And I like the Canon’s shadow rendering. It’s far above the Nikon’s, which can get blocky in really low light. Then I’d dial in the D3s’s stupendous low light performance.
Oh, and I'd like to keep the D3s's 9fps burst mode. I know this would be almost impossible with such a high megapixel count, but it would be nice to have. [UPDATE: this paragraph has been updated. The previous version recommended the 7Ds burst mode]
Finally, I’d like to see the reinstatement of another Canon feature – eye-control autofocus. Introduced in the EOS 5 in 1992, this system tracked your eyeball and selected one of five autofocus points automatically. Given how many times you have to focus, recompose and shoot as an avid photographer, I’d like a system that eliminated the need to recompose all the time.
I also have a request for lenses. Compact camera and pro-level video camera users have been able to access built-in ND filters for years. I’d like that for SLR lenses, too. They would require drop-in filters inside the lens, but if there’s a way of carrying around fewer filters in my pouch, I’d be up for that.
So that’s my perfect camera. What’s your definition of the ‘perfect’ camera? Let us know in the comments section below.