Features I Wish DSLRs Had

We’ve come a long way from painting caves to preserve important memories. The Neanderthals back in the days would definitely be jealous once they see how we can capture moments with just the press of a shutter button. That’s not to say that what we have now is perfection defined, though. There’s always room for improvement and if you ask me, here are some of the things that I wish today’s DSLRs would have—business logic and science notwithstanding.

Universal Mounting System
While it will make no sense from a commercial standpoint, and while some manufacturers do share similar lens mounts, it would be great if cameras will have one single mount standard. Think USB ports, but for lenses. Currently, most lenses can only be used and reused within a particular lineup of a particular brand. This encourages brand loyalty because lenses are expensive, and you’d have to invest in new ones if you’re thinking of jumping ship. If there’s a universal mounting system, consumers can feel free to invest in lenses that fit their taste and gun for a camera that has the features they need.

Better Flash
Let’s face it: a DSLR’s onboard flash is ugly. You’d need to invest in an external flash unit if you want well-lit images that have proper highlights, colors, and shadows. Hopefully in the future though, cameras would have built-in flash systems that are as robust as aftermarket ones, i.e. faster, more powerful, and can be aimed wherever you want. Future shooters should also have the option for multi-colored flash, kind of like how smartphones today have dual or even triple tone LEDs. This will give you more options than just plain white light, and will allow you to choose the right color(s) for the situation you’re in.

More Comfortable Ergonomics
DSLRs are heavy. Add to the bulk the weight of hefty lenses, hot shoe accessories, and other add-ons such as battery grips, and you’ll have something that’s more dumbbell than camera. Though anyone can wield them easily at the start, the combination of maintaining your grip, pressing buttons, and fiddling with settings will likely lead to hand fatigue in the long run. Honestly though, I don’t know how manufacturers can further improve upon the ergonomics of today’s cameras without introducing a game-changing design. Perhaps individually-customized grips? Lighter body and accessories? Or maybe telepathic control? How about a complete reworking of what a camera looks like?

Smoother Image Stabilization
Both lens and in-camera stabilization can only do so much to make your shots blur-free when you’re shooting handheld. And although they can be enough when taking photos, they’re insufficient for recording videos (that is unless you commit to always using a tripod). Yes, you can purchase steadicams and gimbals or DIY one yourself, but that’s an expensive and time-consuming affair. Wouldn’t it be great if DSLRs come pre-equipped with buttery smooth stabilization systems so you can easily create DJI Osmo-esque shots?

Longer Battery Life
Imagine you’re sitting front row at your favorite artist’s concert. Wouldn’t it suck if you’ve leeched your camera’s battery dry and the show’s not even past its halfway mark? To add insult to injury, you forgot your replacement battery packs at home! Oh no! If only camera batteries were more resilient than they are now. As it stands, most cameras can muster upwards of 200 still shots or around an hour of video in one charge. You could bolster the

Tougher Build
A shooter that had the imaging prowess of a DSLR and the ruggedness of an action camera—wouldn’t that be awesome? There’s no doubt that DSLRs are great, but the fact that they’re rendered near useless in challenging situations is a bit of a let down. It would be nice if you didn’t have to pull a ninja save every time they’re dropped, banged, sandblasted, or accidentally splashed on. The alternative would be to buy dedicated accessories, but that’s not much of a camera innovation, is it? Of course, mounting the device on your head would be another discussion altogether.

Robust In-camera Guide
DSLRs can be daunting with their myriad of buttons and deep customization options. If you’ve never handled one before, chances are you’re going to be shooting on automatic and wasting the flexibility these types of cameras are known for. A remedy to this would be for cameras to have video game-like tutorial modes; something that will hold your hand while walking you through what an ISO is, why an aperture is there, and where in the world are your focus points. The tutor should be robust enough to teach you all the fundamentals without spoonfeeding you the exact settings, composition, and style for each shot.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE November 2016 issue.

Words by Chris Noel Hidalgo

Art by Benedict Asal