my dream camera

I want to preface this post by saying I’m not trying to knock my Canon EOS 5D, which is really a wonderful camera that takes terrific photographs.

The 5D pictured below- the camera that so many pros use these days. (Wow, I just noticed the little blurb on the right about the new 24-105L IS! That is going on my ‘need to buy’ list. Oh wait- no- it’s only f/4- not fast enough. Bummer.).

Like I said, it’s a lovely camera.

BUT, I have a few issues with it.

When I am shooting a lot like I have been recently, I find myself having the same frustrations over and over again. So during recent shoots I have been building my dream camera in my mind. Now keep in mind I shoot animals- dogs mainly. My style and needs may differ wildly from what others need. My dream camera may not be right for everybody, but if you are shooting dogs on location, primarily outside in varying conditions in natural light, you may like my dream camera too.

DISCLAIMER- this is a DREAM camera folks, and is in no way based on what I think could be realistically achieved- at least-not anytime in the near future (if ever for some functions). Some of these things are downright goofy, but I would use them all. If you don’t read this disclaimer and then tell me I am silly then shame on you. Go read a book or something.

Jamie’s dream camera:

Canon (or Nikon, or Fuji) 

Full frame (of course- once you go FF you will never go back)

14 MP or higher. Heck, why not throw a medium-format sensor in the body while we are at it. I’d be all over that! Can you imagine 32+ MP in the 5D??

Fast burst rate shooting in RAW. Oh I don’t know- 5 shots per second? 

The ability to set custom contrast and color tones while shooting RAW

High ISO settings that produce NO noise. I want to shoot a kitty indoors on a very dark stairwell at 1600 ISO, f/4.5 and have it turn out not looking ‘acceptable’, but ‘awesome!’.

Super light weight with the lens on. Also very low in the ‘bulk’ department. This will become immediately clear to anyone who takes a workshop from me. A Mark II just won’t do because of the weight. This is also true of any medium format DSLR or medium format back on the market.

Total aside: one of the (many) benefits of being in my new studio is meeting sales reps that come in to meet with the other photographers here. I have the opportunity to have a Leaf medium-format camera shipped to me to play with. BUT, although the idea of supreme IQ is very appealing, I just don’t know if it would be practical for what I do. I may just try it out to see- I’d love to see what it does in the studio. I’ll let y’all know. 

Back to weight. I want to be able to shoot for several hours without my shoulders, or wrists, or arm muscles getting sore. Unless it’s due to wrestling with dogs. 

Integrated wrist/hand strap. Maybe something that recoils back into the body of the camera. Made like the Camera Armor Tough Strap, with an integrated slash-proof cable running through it like theirs does, and soft, mesh padding on the inside of the strap. Maybe even in a pale pink color, or a funky zebra with red piping (yeah!). My strap would have an easy-pull tightening system so that when I wanted to just hang it off my wrist I would just pull a cord or wire with my left hand like I do with my treat bag and it would tighten. Then to release you’d have to type in a secret code, or it would have a fingerprint recognizing system. Kidding. (sort of)

Programmable noisemaker. I would have push-button play capabilities for all kinds of noises animals respond to: a puppy whimpering, a dog barking, a kitten meowing, a bird chirping, a squeaky toy squeaking, etc, etc. The noise would come from behind the lens of course. 🙂

A giant LCD screen that looks great in direct sun. With a Hoodman screen loupe that pops out of the camera at the push of a button. 

A sensor that cleans itself. At the push of a button. During a shoot. An on-camera chart that tells you how dirty the sensor is so you can get rid of tiny specks you can’t see with the naked eye. 

ISO dial. I want to be able to change ISO settings on the fly. Meaning- with a super quick turn of a dial, I go up or down, without having to push a series of buttons. I still haven’t gotten used to the buttons on the 5D- some of which I find downright illogical. 

A warning light or alarm for stupid user errors. This would indicate when you are shooting at a small jpeg file size, or in bright sun at 1200 ISO, or any other silly thing you may be inclined to do accidentally from time to time. Or even a voice like the ones you can get for your GPS (Mr. T anyone?) that says “Hey- you are shooting at 1600 in full sun you dummy!”. Wouldn’t that be awesome? 

An AF/MF switch that can’t change itself on it’s own while in my camera bag. grrr….. Woops- that is a lens issue, not a camera issue. Ok, so I’d add this to the warning alarm above: “The camera is not focusing  with that little button because you are in manual focus, einstein”. (Note: I do use manual focus from time to time, but have it set on autofocus 95% of the time. Don’t ask me why- the answer is depressing.).  

Selectable 16-point autofocus system. I need to be able to select multiple autofocus points, instead of just one or all. So like three on the lower right corner, or four in the middle heading up to the left. Or all of the ones on the right half of the frame. Or all of them, or just one of them. You get my drift. 

Water, sand, snow, cold and doggie-snot-resistant. Nuff said. 

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head! If and when I remember anything else (and I will, trust me), I will update this list. 

While we are on the topic of cameras, I might as well list my dream lenses too.

Jamie’s dream lenses:

#1 on my list: 20-85mm f/2.8 L series IS (image stabilization). This would be my workhorse lens.

#2: 18mm f/1.4L prime

#3: 14-35mm f/1.8L Actually, THIS would probably be on my camera 85% of the time. I am positively enamored with wide-angle dog shots. They make me go “ahhhhh” and smile. 

And those are all I can think of off the top of my head.

If you can think of anything I should add to my dream camera, (or dream lenses), leave your ideas as a comment on this post and I will do an update post soon with all of the comments included. No idea is too off the wall- remember this is a DREAM camera. Fun stuff. 

I know some of these things are way out there but hey- a girl can dream! My motto in life and business is: “If you are going to dream- dream big.” 🙂

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7 thoughts on “my dream camera

  1. @ grace: yes, the cowbelly canon, I love it. I can have a sales rep come to my workshops and show everyone the benefits of using the cowbelly canon, hee hee. @ joey: 6400 ISO with low noise? Holy crap!! You know, you are the third person recently that has told me I might be happier with a Nikon. I have just started looking into their cameras and will seriously consider it if I think it’s a better fit for me. The only thing that I find maddening on Nikons are the buttons. Like worse that Canon maddening. I used a friend’s Nikon not too long ago and felt totally lost compared to my Canon. Maybe it just takes some getting used to. Thanks for your congrats and for following my blog! Mark: I laughed out loud when I read your comment. I DID see the announce about the 50D, in fact got the email on my blackberry last Sunday when I was couch shopping with my sister. I had to excuse myself mid-conversation with the sales guy to go outside and try and pull the email up- I couldn’t tell if THAT was the 5D upgrade and it was making me crazy, lol! In terms of when it comes out, it must be a pretty freaking fantastic camera for them to wait this long. Clearly they are smart and want to knock the socks off the overwhelming numbers of 5D owners so they can beat their 5D sales. I’m looking forward to it but am totally open to other brands now as well. I may just need to go rent a Nikon now. Whatever makes better images for me is #1 in my book! 🙂

  2. Jamie knows I’m a huge 5D fan and we’ve both been eagerly skimming the Canon rumor boards for news on next-generation model. The jury’s out as to whether they’re calling it the 5D mk2, 5De or the 7D but I think we can be relatively sure it will at least include a 3″ LCD, a full-frame sensor, more mega pixels, higher burst rate and auto sensor cleaning like the new-gen XTI and 40Ds. Not sure if anyone caught this but Canon announced the new 50D last week (update of the 40d) and, apparently, it will shoot at up to 12800 ISO. If that’s the case I think we can be almost guaranteed the new 5D will do the same.

  3. Hi Jamie! You shot my two puppies, Sophi and Hitch about two years ago (thank you!). Just months after that, I got into photography myself. I shoot with the Nikon D3, and while it is a little bulky, you can shoot with an ISO of up to 6400 with very low noise. The things this camera can do with natural lighting is AMAZING and completely makes up for it’s size! The 3d tracking is also great for catching doggies on the fly! Love your new site and blog, and congrats on the studio!!

  4. I sooo need the alarm for stupid users…If I had a dollar for everytime I forgot to change my ISO I would be a wealthy woman or switch back over to Raw, etc…Keep your eyes peeled though, that 5D replacement rumor is really firing up…hopefully before photokina…I am in!

  5. I agree completely with all of those, especially the no iso and the dog snot (which got on my camera today) resistant ones! If only a camera like this existed… 🙂

  6. Hi Jamie! Doggy snot resistent and noise-maker are my favorites!! And a camera at High ISOs with NO noise, please let me know when you find one!! \(^.^)/

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