Nikon DSLR body improvements I would like to see

December 01, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

Rethink the mode dial

Currently there are features for shutter repeat speed, live view, shutter delay and mirror lockup on the same dial, which is pretty silly as they are not mutually exclusive.  It would be very nice to be able to combine frames per second, live view, delay and mirror lockup.  This would be a start to fix the current problems:

  • One of the key objectives in the design of a camera is surely to facilitate making critically sharp images. The key factor is to eliminate the vibration caused by the mirror slap as it rises and falls after each exposure - hence the mirror lockup (MLU) feature. However, the only way it can be used effectively is after plugging in a remote release. MLU should also be triggered by the in-camera timer. 
  • If is not always possible to achieve critical focus using the phase focus off the mirror. Live view in tripod mode, while slower, can be more accurate. However, when you take the photo the mirror, which was up to allow live view, comes down, and then does it's usual up/down to take the photo. Who engineered that? The camera should stay in mirror lockup to minimize vibrations until the photo has been taken.
  • While in live view or with the mirror locked up one should be able to take a single photo, or many photos in "motor drive" mode.

Live view focusing

For some reason when you are focusing in live view the aperture remains at whatever you have set instead of opening up the lens to minimize the depth of field and achieve the best focus.

Wireless release

Still on the topic of making images with critical sharpness why is Nikon making it more difficult than it has to be to use a remote release? You either have to plug in a remote release or add a gizmo to the flash shoe to use a third party wireless release.  The wireless release receiver should be built into the body.  

Integrate L bracket

It is hard to find a serious photographer who does not immediately buy an L bracket to use on ball heads in landscape and portrait modes.  The advantages of using an L bracket are two-fold: the bracket allows for the horizontal and vertical mounting of the camera directly under the optical path and the brackets have a swiss arca base for quick attachment to the ball head.  I would like to see Nikon build a body with swiss arca attachments integrated into the base and left side.

Meter mode to avoid blowouts

While the metering is often quite good, I regularily get pretty skewed exposures, often with severe over exposure.  There should be an exposure mode that keeps blowout in one or more channels to a defined minimum.

Ergonomic ISO adjustment

The photographer has control over three exposure parameters: aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  The aperture and shutter speed have been controllable since the dawn of camera production while the ISO adjustment is a Johnny-come-lately and is treated as such in modern camera body design, requiring a two hand adjustment.  Make ISO adjustment as easy as aperture and shutter speed adjustments.

Bracket in 2 and 3 stop intervals

Nikon seems to think that photographers bracket only to make sure they nail the exposure, but they also bracket to practise HDR - capturing the entire "high dynamic range" when it exceeds the dynamic range of the camera sensor.  Typically this involves taking a series of images 2 or 3 stops apart.  A very simple change for Nikon to make.

Allow the user to hide menus

A common complaint from users is the complexity of camera menus as the manufacturers struggle to make more and more features available to the user, but very few photographers use more than a small subset of all the menu options.  Nikon responded by allowing the user to create their own "my menu" which is much appreciated.  However, I would also like to be able to hide the many menu items I never use to streamline the menu navigation.

Auto bracket focus

Especially in macro photography there is a growing use of the practise of taking multiple photos at slightly different focus to "focus bracket" the subject while retaining a strong out of focus character for the background and then "focus blend" in post processing.  It would be very nice to be able to set the minimum and maximum distance brackets and then shoot a burst (in mirror lockup if so desired) to bracket the focus. 

Record vibration for post process sharpening

It seems to me that the same technology that drives vibration reduction could be used to record the camera movement during exposure and this could be written into the image metadata and be corrected in post processing using algorithms such as the one in photoshop smart sharpen.

Integrated GPS

Recording the GPS coordinates is pretty basic and highly miniaturized and should be integrated into the body instead of an add-on to the body.

Release a firmware SDK

Nikon should open up the camera operating system so third parties can add features similar to the iphone and android. This would allow for the development of innovative features and the improvement of features that Nikon does not appear to "get". Modern cameras are really computers with optical peripherals and camera manufacturers need to make a paradigm shift to recognize this before they are replaced by a cell phone that has morphed into a high quality camera.


No comments posted.

January February March April May June (1) July August (1) September October (1) November December (1)
January February March (2) April (1) May June (1) July August (3) September October November (1) December
January February March April May (2) June July August September October (2) November December (1)
January (1) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July (1) August (1) September (1) October November December
January February (2) March (1) April May June July August September October (2) November December