It’s easy to look into the impressive slate of digital cameras today and wonder also they could possibly do. Yet there’s always room for improvement, which is why I’d like to go through some of the most useful functions found on some – however, not enough – cameras these days.
All the functions I’m listing below exist at least somewhere on the market. To put it differently, the technology is there. Yet I think there’s a big space on the market if a company desires to stand out with their feature set, since no camera comes anywhere close to having most of these.
Note that whenever I’ve listed the functions below, I’ve also pointed out some of the prominent cameras these days with each feature. It isn’t really an exhaustive list plus I’m sure I skipped plenty, especially on manufacturers that I’m not as familiar with like Pentax and Panasonic. If you let me know in the comments, I’ll add any missing cameras to the appropriate sections.
Without further ado, here are the functions I think should be found on a lot more cameras today:
Table associated with Contents
1 . Back-in-Time Buffer
One of the essential skills of sports and wildlife photography is anticipating the moment. There’s always some shutter lag – plus lag in our own conception – to deal with. But despite top-tier anticipation skills, you’ll occasionally end up pressing the particular shutter button a curly hair too late and missing the minute. One feature that can conserve the day is what I like to contact a “back-in-time buffer. ” It’s found on some Olympus cameras and a few smartphones, in addition to a more limited implementation to the discontinued Nikon 1 type of cameras.
Here’s how it works. Any time you keep down the shutter button halfway, the camera captures a constant burst of photos with all the electronic shutter. (It discards them rather than saving them to the memory card. ) As soon as you fully press the shutter button, the camera saves the backlog of images from the past half-second approximately. As a result, you’ll capture a flash that you otherwise would have took pictures of too late. (On the late Nikon 1 cameras, the camera automatically selects which “back in time” frames to keep, and only will keep 5 frames total. )
Of course , this particular feature takes up more card space – and some advantages may tell you just to learn anticipation skills instead – but you can always turn it away from if you don’t want it.
- Currently Found On: Many of the newest Olympus cameras (where it’s called “Pro Capture”), including the OM-D E-M5 Mark III and all OM-D E-M1 cameras from Tag II and beyond; more limited implementation on Nikon 1 cameras (called “Smart Photo Selector”)
- Helps With: Sports and wildlife photography
2 . Sensor Dust Protector Curtain
I’ve found when taking mirrorless that my messfühler gets dirty more often in comparison to using a DSLR. It’s not a big pain to clean it, but I’d rather worry about other things when I’m out in the field.
I’m certain someone will correct myself on this, but as far as I am aware, the first camera with a dust-protection curtain was the Canon EOS R. When you remove the zoom lens on the EOS R, the shutter curtain closes in order to protect the sensor from the outside world, including dust.
Other cameras have added this feature meanwhile, including the Nikon Z9 (which doesn’t even have a mechanised shutter and instead uses a dedicated dust protection curtain for the job). I hope it is standard issue on almost all mirrorless cameras, and honestly, even on DSLRs.
- Currently Found On: Sony A9 II and A1; Nikon Z9; Canon full-frame mirrorless cameras other than the EOS RP
- Helps With: Any genre associated with photography where you’re making use of narrow apertures, especially scenery, macro, and architecture
3. Voice Memos
Practically every camera these days has a microphone and a storage device. So why experience it taken so long for voice memos to find their method to the masses?
High-end professional cameras have experienced voice memo options for age range. A quick Google search tells me it existed on the Canon EOS-1D Mark II in 2007 and the Nikon D2X in 2004, and maybe actually on some earlier cameras.
Voice memos aren’t something everyone might use, but for documentary photographers, wedding photographers, and a few others, they could be a big help.
I’m glad to see Nikon adding voice memos for some of their less expensive cameras via a firmware update, including the Nikon Z6 that was released a few years ago. Hopefully more camera companies follow suit.
- Currently Found On: Most flagship sports activities cameras; Nikon Z6 plus Z6 II (not the Z7 or Z7 II for some reason); Canon 5D IV for $100 assistance fee; Fuji X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-T2, X-T3, and Fuji medium format cameras
- Helps With: Any sort of documentary photography
A lot of cameras are compatible with external GPS units that can tag your photos as you take the capsules, but there’s no reason behind the extra expense and irritation of a dongle. To me, the proof is in point-and-shoot cameras. So many of them have built/in GPS, even cameras from more than a decade ago. If companies could add it in order to such basic cameras pertaining to so long, why isn’t everybody adding it to higher end cameras today? (Maybe the following part is asking excessive, but I’d also like to find the GPS sync your current location with the camera’s clock, which means you don’t need to change the amount of time in the menu each time you go to a different time zone. )
At least GPS is found on more cameras than some of the other functions on this list. But it ought to be as common as Wi-fi and bluetooth – and yes it shouldn’t require you to sync your camera to your smartphone in order to piggyback on the phone’s GPS.
- Currently Available on: Nikon Z9, D6, D5300; Olympus E-M1X; Canon EOS R3, 1DX II, 5D IV, 6D II; Pentax K-1 collection and K-3 II; several point-and-shoot cameras; almost all mobile phones and drones
- Aids in: Documentary photography, landscape photography, or any time that you want to remember a location
I’ll be the first to state that you should learn how to use your camera with your eyes closed. You need to instinctively know the location of each button and dial, or even you’ll miss some photos in fast-moving conditions. However , for Milky Way photography or other sets in pitch-black environments, backlit illuminated buttons can still be very useful. It certainly beats a bright headlamp that can shine into your photo or just ruin your night eyesight.
A few digital cameras have illuminated buttons, and the Pentax K-1 series even has a small light that illuminates the camera lens mount! For changing lens at night, this makes issues a lot easier. I’d like to see both these features on landscape-oriented cameras in the future.
- Currently Found On: Canon EOS 1DX III; Nikon D850, D4-D6, D500, Z9; Pentax K-1 collection (separate light, not backlit buttons); Panasonic S1 series
- Helps With: Astrophotography and other times when you are taking pictures in the dark.
6. Bulb Mode Preview
Some cameras display a live preview of how your exposure is accumulating during a Bulb or Time exposure. This is a helpful method to tell when to end an ultra-long exposure rather than investing lots of time with trial and error. This is a big win with regard to Olympus including such a feature when most camera businesses don’t!
- Presently Found On: Most current Olympus cameras; some smartphones
- Helps With: Long exposure landscape picture taking
7. Vibration Detection Shutter Firing
Imagine if your camera can measure external sources of digital camera shake – for example , a gust of wind whenever you’re shooting on a tripod – and only fire the particular shutter once it picks up the image will be stable?
I’d find that to become a huge help as a landscape photographer, even if it’s not a feature I’d always keep turned on. Sometimes, I think a photo is perfectly sharp, only to realize in your own home (once it’s too late to correct it) that there’s a bit of low-lying blur thanks to the breeze.
Very few cameras have this feature today, but a couple Phase One medium format cameras do. These people call it “Seismographic vibration hold off. ” Hopefully the other businesses are taking notes.
- Currently Found On: Phase One XF IQ4 cameras
- Helps With: Landscape photography
8. Native Image Averaging
I’m a huge fan of image averaging as a way to dramatically improve your picture quality and dynamic variety. So too, it seems, is Stage One.
On the few Phase One plus Olympus cameras, there’s pre-installed image averaging to imitate ultra-long exposures without an ND filter, as well as improving shadow noise significantly. Image averaging is basically a way to simulate arbitrarily low ISO values, and it also would be a great addition for a lot of landscape photographers.
- Currently Found On: Phase One XF IQ4 cameras; Olympus E-M1 III and E-M1 X
- Helps With: Landscaping photography and any program that requires high dynamic range
9. Sensor Shift High Resolution
One particular feature that’s gotten a lot of attention recently, and is present in increasingly more cameras, is a pixel-shift high resolution mode on cameras with in-body image stablizing. This mode takes multiple photos in a row with slightly different sensor placements, then merges them with each other to increase resolution substantially. Of all cameras with pixel-shift, you can quadruple the sensor’s local resolution.
- Presently Found On: Lots of cameras, but still not enough! A majority of recent high-end cameras get this, aside from Nikon and Cannon cameras, which still don’t
- Helps With: High resolution needs, especially surroundings and architectural photography
10. Focus Stacking
Panorama and macro photographers frequently have a difficult time capturing sufficient depth of field without having resorting to tilt-shift lenses or narrow, diffraction -prone apertures like f/16. Some digital cameras have a built-in focus stacking mode that can help you get close to that problem. I’d want to see focus stacking broaden to more cameras. I’d also like to see it output a single, stacked raw file rather than making you assemble the final stack yourself on your computer.
- Currently Found On: Most new Olympus, Nikon, and Fuji cameras
- Helps With: Landscape and macro digital photography
11. Photographer’s-Eye-Sensing Autofocus
Canon caused a stir when the EOS R3 was confirmed to monitor your eye – particularly, where in the frame you look when you’re utilizing the viewfinder – to figure out where to focus. It’s still not a fully-featured operation that allows you to track the subject (it’s simply used for initial acquisition), but it’s still an amazing view. I’d love to see this in more cameras, especially as the technology keeps improving.
- Currently Found On: Canon EOS R3
- Helps With: Sports and wildlife picture taking
12. Multi-Axis Tilting Camera Screen
As a landscape photographer, I have found tilting camera displays to be a huge ergonomic enhancement in recent cameras. And while almost every camera these days offers at least a single-axis tilt, not enough of them can tilt sideways. For vertical photography, this sideways tilt is really a big help. I’d like to discover multi-axis tilting screens (or fully articulating screens) find their way to more digital cameras in the future. Although a lot more digital cameras have it these days, a few companies still lack it in some of their most important cameras (like the Nikon Z7 II and Sony A7R IV).
- Currently Found On: Nikon Z9, Zfc, D5600 series; Panasonic S1 series; Pentax K-1 series; Fuji medium format and X-T4 series; Sony A7S III; most Tiny Four-Thirds cameras
- Helps With: Composing straight images from a tripod
thirteen. Shutter Speeds Beyond thirty Seconds
Nikon was early to the game with extended shutter speeds beyond 30 seconds, and I really thought that other camera companies would duplicate them. But so far, it’s not really happening. I’d love to see more cameras in the marketplace capable of taking multi-minute exposures without the need for a cable release.
- Currently Found On: Most brand new Nikon cameras; Panasonic S1 cameras (up to sixty seconds); most Olympus cameras (a “time” exposure mode where you press the shutter once to start the publicity and once to end it); most Fuji cameras (any with the “T” setting on the shutter speed dial)
- Aids in: Landscape and astrophotography
fourteen. Raw Histograms
It’s almost humorous how long the “every ounces of image quality” golf club (which includes me) continues to be asking for raw histograms on the modern camera. The response from camera companies? Crickets. There’s are only a few digital cameras on the market with a raw histogram. One of them is a Leica that only shoots black and white, and the others are Phase One moderate format backs.
- Currently Found On: First generation of Leica M Monochrome; Phase 1 XF IQ4 cameras
- Helps With: Maximizing image quality through proper ETTR
15. 16-Bit Raw
Although I just admitted that I’m area of the “every ounce of picture quality” club, even I don’t care too much about getting 16-bit raw on a digital camera. 14-bit raw is already fantastic. But at the same time, I also realize that if my camera had a 16-bit raw option, I’d be using it for our landscape photography. Some moderate format cameras already have this, and it’s a contributing aspect to their excellent range of colors and tones.
- Currently Found On: Most medium format Hasselblad and Phase One digital cameras
- Helps With: Landscape photography, studio photography, and other situations requiring extreme image quality
The majority of new cameras have eye-AF capabilities that can track the eye of the person you’re shooting. Animal -eye-AF, though, is rare.
I acknowledge that this feature may not be required once you master the standard monitoring capabilities of your camera, yet it’s still something I’d like to see more often. Not all photographers are pros who have hundreds of hours to spend learning their camera’s tracking capabilities inside and out, so a bit of a head start like this could be nice.
- Currently Found On: Every recent Sony cameras, actually some aps-c; Canon EOS R3, R5, R6; Nikon Z9, and limited implementation (cat and dog only) on other Nikon Z . cameras
- Helps With: Wildlife photography
17. Better Light Compositing
This next feature is a bit difficult to describe, but I can do my best.
The idea is that you are taking a long exposure that will doesn’t get overly brilliant over time. Instead, it just composites particularly bright lighting into the exposure over time.
It’s easier to explain by example. If you’re shooting lightning, you can use a 10-minute exposure, and the foreground does not get drastically brighter during that time. But the moment a lightning strike flashes, it shows up in the photo due to the fact it’s a bright light.
This mode will be useful for photographing fireworks as well as star trails to avoid getting an overexposed foreground. It’s only found on Olympus cameras these days (where it’s known as “live composite”), but I’d like to see it on more.
- Currently Available on: Most Olympus cameras
- Helps With: Photographing lightning and a few other long exposure topics
18. Bottom ISO Below 100
With digital camera sensors improving so much with regards to noise and dynamic variety, they’ve almost hit a ceiling. One way around that, at least in terms of dynamic variety, is to implement a lower base ISO.
We have seen it work with the particular Nikon D850, Z7, plus Z7 II. These cameras have class-leading dynamic variety that’s about 2/3 end better than any base INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG camera on the market. I hope even more camera companies follow suit, and maybe even try to drop ISO 50, 32, and so on. (Though implementing the built-in image averaging feature I discussed a moment ago may serve a similar purpose. )
- Currently Found On: Nikon D810, D850, Z7, Z7 II, Z9
- Helps With: Landscape photography and any situations requiring great dynamic range.
19. Built-in Display Commander
Almost all new cameras have got gotten rid of the pop-up flash, and I’ve in no way heard anyone complain in regards to the loss of the weird, severe light they used to provide. But I have heard many people complain that removing the pop-up flash also taken out the commander mode meant for firing external flashes! I actually wish that a company would add this back, even if they only add a commander setting to fire external lights instead of the full pop-up flash.
- Currently Found On: Most cameras that have a pop-up flash
- Helps With: Portraiture, studio photography, and other situations where you’re using an exterior flash
20. Star Monitoring Sensor Shift
A lot of clever matters can be done with a moving camera sensor. In-body image stabilization is only the beginning. One of the most fascinating is the ability to track stars for Milky Way pictures, a feature found on a couple Pentax DSLRs at the moment. It’s a niche feature, but considering that the baseline IBIS technologies is already built into most new mirrorless cameras these days, it’s a niche feature that more cameras should have.
- Currently Found On: Pentax K-1 series
- Helps With: Astrophotography
One thing that impressed me while working on this short article is that the unique features I’ve listed here are spread out among digital camera brands pretty evenly (although Olympus gets the nod for achieveing the most). To me, this shows that every camera corporation has something good to offer and they can still learn from each other when making new cameras. Right now it’s just time to put that into practice! Let’s see a camera that has each one of these features and more. I’m certain there are many possible features that I can’t even begin to figure, which aren’t on any kind of camera today.
Are there any that I missed, or even some feature you’re specifically hoping reaches your next digital camera? For my landscape pictures, I’d personally love to get a camera with raw histograms and vibration detection whenever firing the shutter, less likely though it may be. But I’d frankly be excited in case any of these features become more widespread. After all, as I said at the start of the article, the technology is already here – all we want is for today’s camera businesses to bring it all together.