I Could Not Find My Dream Camera, I Decided to Design One

By JAWAD RIACHI

I have been lately disturbed by the recent trend of camera manufacturers. So many cameras in so many different forms are being introduced to the market, all at different prices, yet I cannot find one which I can connect with. I want a small form cameras with high image quality and preferably with full-frame sensor.

I find myself more at ease with much older cameras than the new ones! I shoot both film and digital and my arsenal ranges from most technological to the modest cameras. I am not an anti-technology person, I am a software architect with passion for photography and technology is my life.

It is unfortunate that the industry is opting to marketing stunts rather than serving the photographer. Things like the “smallest,” the “fastest,” the “most focus points,” the “highest (unusable) ISO”… and so on, forgetting what is truly important to a photographer.

Dream Concept Camera Jawad Riachi
Dream Concept Camera | Jawad Riachi

As a result, the new photographers are being lost and cannot find themselves in this ocean of options. They end up in an endless search for the right camera thinking that the one they have is not up to date. They fall into an endless loop, out of money with very few good photos to show.

The photographers of these days are the product of the industry. They use their cameras like machine guns. They shoot over 1,000 images in one session. Out of the 1,000, there might be 10 keepers. Basically they rely on chance and statistics.

Most new photographers of these days cannot operate an old manual camera which is the base of these modern cameras. However, these foundations have been layered by artificial intelligence and decision support mechanism that are shielding the photographer from the basics.

Photography is about visual expression. The end result is a photo which should emit certain emotions to the viewers. If the photographer is busy thinking which focus point (s)he should select, or where is that button when I need it, there will be no emotions left on his end, hence the image is gone.

A quick answer would be the auto mode setting on the camera at 14 fps. Yes it will make your life easy, but you are not sculpting your photo. If all falls into place, the automatic mode creates a photo that is technicaly perfect but not necessarily artistic.

I have a dream camera in mind, but I cannot find it anywhere.

I want a camera that is small enough to be non threatening yet ergonomic. Easy to hold with large controls. A rangefinder style but not necessary a rangefinder. Somewhere between the Leica M, The Fujifilm X series and the Sony RX1.

Dream Concept Camera Jawad Riachi
Dream Concept Camera | Jawad Riachi

Full-frame support is a must to produce high quality artistic images. This camera should be simpler than my old basic camera, yet it should be digital. I do not want to look for tiny buttons randomly distributed at the back of the camera.

It should be well organized and natural to operate. I want to be the decision maker for every photo I take. The focus should be manual to slow me down so I can observe and feel the changes of the focal plane.

I want a clear large EVF with no bias to colors and saturation, along with high-end lens it should produce an almost 3D look; a viewfinder that will make me feel the scene and connect with my subject. Most importantly what I want is a camera that keeps my emotions intact when I manualy operate it.

Dream Concept Camera Jawad Riachi
Dream Concept Camera | Jawad Riachi

My dream is still on papers, with your support we can make it happen. I have created a full design / specification of this camera.

More information on my dream concept camera can be found here.

(+++ BTW Jawad, a digital Zeiss Ikon is what so many would be waiting for… Daniel)

Jawad Riachi is a freelance consultant in product design and development. He has always been interested in product design and development. It could be software, hardware, digital content (including 3D visualization) or combination of all three. He has passion for photography and is fascinated by the light from the esthetic point of view down to the photons’ level. Jawad believes that the future of environment friendly product design and development lies in the understanding of the phenomenon of light.

Jawad has almost 20 years of experience in software architecture, natural interfaces and knowledge of manufacturing processes. He has consulted for well-known international companies such as HP, Nokia, Lotus Corporation (bought by IBM), Charles Schwab, Visa International, Pacific Bell.




  • David Holliday

    Lovely looking machine and good design.
    I am going for the X100S and will buy yours when it hits the shops.

    • Jawad

      Thank you David…

      • Ray

        And I’ll trade in my X100 once yours is on the market.

  • I might not agree with your ISO wheel on the back of the concept camera, but you certainly hit the nails on their heads by lamenting that camera designs oppose photography in many ways.

    This here is real food for thought:

    As a result, the new photographers are being lost and cannot find themselves in this ocean of options. They end up in an endless search for the right camera thinking that the one they have is not up to date. They fall into an endless loop, out of money with very few good photos to show.

    The photographers of these days are the product of the industry. They use their cameras like machine guns. They shoot over 1,000 images in one session. Out of the 1,000, there might be 10 keepers. Basically they rely on chance and statistics.

    Zeiss couldn’t produce enough of those digital babies.

    • Jawad

      Sensors have come far along and we are seeing better and better low light capabilities with high usable ISO. Sometimes you need this one extra stop to get the perfect image. Pushing up the ISO will provide you this stop. Another point is that many photographers set the ISO and forget it. How many times have you taken a daylight outdoor shot with ISO set to 1600 because earlier you were shooting indoor? I know many photographers who have done it including myself. By placing the ISO under your thumb you will become more aware of it. Thank you for sharing your opinion and for the kind words.

  • rick odorico

    Simple and intuitive. No video? I love that omission

  • Kaisern Chen

    if one is to partner with his tool for a while, to learn to use tool is part of the process. I still do not see a better approach than the Phase One 4-button control, and this proposal is far from being close to that more-than 10-years-old design, it is subjective to a personal preference, not quite a thoughtful design and not simple and elegant enough