Sunday, 1 July 2012

My Own Camera Company

I dreamt of owning my own camera company a few days ago. I don't know how it came into my mind but I think it all came after I was playing with my mum's 23 year old Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 film SLR camera. To know fully understand how old it is to me, that camera is three years older than me.
Using that full frame goodness, lightweight stuff is so refreshing. The bright and big viewfinder is superb thanks to a real pentaprism inside it. Without a battery I can still press the shutter button and it mechanically raises the mirror, exposing the film.
On top of it is a shutter speed dial, ranging from bulb to 1/1000s. Then the lens has triple rings on it. First is the iris, or aperture. Second is the zoom ring. Third is the focusing ring.
The 1/125s has some colour on it. In the days of old they had no built in light metering, so they used a constant shutter speed of 1/125s and they changed the iris on the lens to match the lighting. ISO? Back in the days they were using film rolls with constant ISO 200. Yeah. The amount of exposure mistakes would be so high back then. Film is not that cheap to buy and process too.
But the large bright viewfinder, the mechanics in lifting the mirror without electric motor, the compactness of the lenses, it all makes sense now on how it is done the old way. Things are much crude and simpler back then. I finally know why digital lenses are too heavy. Its their focusing motor. Back then lenses are only groups of glass encased in a plastic cylinder.
Well I was thinking, what if, we can go back to the days of film but still be digital. What if we strip down all electronics on a full frame camera, like a 5D Mark II. Then put a simpler, smaller mirror flip mechanism triggered by the shutter button. So that the burst speed is defined by, simply how fast your fingers are. Probably that can cut weight and size.
Then we would leave a small light metering sensor somewhere integrated near the pentaprism, where it gets to evaluate light reflected by the mirror. Its job is to evaluate the light coming from the sensor and give info to the user whether the exposure settings he set is making photos overexposed or underexposed.
I would leave a large three inch screen on the back and I will put a focus peaking function, like Sony cameras do it. Highlighting the areas in focus with bright colours. Probably I will have a button on it to activate the function. This is important as I will not include any electronics on the lens.
I love primes. Small in size but fast aperture lenses. Love them. I will make them all with good glass, but polycarbonate bodies. It will be light and be as cheap as the economy would let it be. With no machinery like focusing motor or stabilizers on it I probably can make them cheaply. With a large 35mm sensor, the dreamy bokeh effect once achieveable only on old lenses will be possible again. Imagine an afforable 50mm f0.95?
In shooting, one must choose the desired ISO in the camera menu. Probably I would have four axis button and a middle button on it for navigating the menus. After setting the ISO then the shutter speed would be set on a dial on top, just like a film camera would. Maybe I can set them to have them ranging from Bulb to 1/4000s. Then the aperture is changed by rotating the iris ring on the lens.
The lens range would have to be useful, maybe like some wide angle primes such as a 17mm f2.8, 35mm f1.8, 50mm f1.4 and more. Zooms will be fast too. All are manually focused and have iris rings on them. A full HD movie recording function are also welcomed. So there must be a processing engine on board hidden on the motherboard. Li-ion batteries and SD Card will also be hidden in the hand grip.
I will make the camera body from polycarbonate too. And I want to boast it as the world's smallest and lightest 35mm CMOS sensor camera in the world. If I can, the cheapest with also reasonably priced manual focus lenses.
It is just a dream. We will see if I am bold enough to start a business like that or not. Maybe. We'll see in the future. I don't think my idea would trigger an uproar in today's gadget collector crowd who camps in front of Apple stores, but photo enthusiasts with thin wallets like me maybe will need something like these.


Mohamad Haris Ishak said...

A dream of a future mechanical engineer..let me in please.

Almas Baig said...

I searched 'i want to make my own camera company' and find your blog i am thinking and planing this for two years now, this my dream.....
My flickr:

Aperture Kinetics said...

oh sure why not. could use some professional workforce ahaha

Aperture Kinetics said...

wow it is true I googled the same phrases and my blog is the first thing that pops out. thats scary. this is just me daydreaming. it needs a very bold person to really compete with those japanese camera giants.

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