My Top 10 DSLR Whine List

Desired DSLR features

DSLR cameras are remarkable tools and have improved at an astounding rate in the last few years.  Still, there are a few easy-to-implement features that I have never seen a DSLR include and it drives me nuts!  Read through my whine list and then include your own whines below.  Maybe, if we whine loud enough, we could bend the ear of some Canon or Nikon engineer :-)

#1.  45 focus points, and none of them cover the spot I want. Camera manufacturers always cram the focus points in the very center of the frame.  In my photography, I rarely want the focus to be at the center of the frame.  We’re supposed to follow the rule of thirds in our photography, but there are never focus points covering near the corners.  It drives me nuts!  This is even more of an issue if you are shooting an entry-level DSLR with only 9 focus points.  There’s always the old focus and recompose method, but I’ve already give my opinion on that in a previous post.

#2.  The LCD is just too tiny.  Perhaps the most useful feature of digital cameras is being able to see the photo immediately.  Over the last 10 years, all of our televisions have doubled or tripled in size, but the LCD on our cameras has only gone from 2.5 inches to 3 inches.  I’d love to see a DSLR where the whole back panel is just a giant iPhone screen.  I recognize that this would certainly cost more, but I would gladly pay $200 more for my DSLR to get a crisp, clear Retina display.

#3.  Speaking of the iPhone, why can’t we get Canon or Nikon to hire some Apple designers to work on the user interface? Seriously, the menus on our DSLRs looks like DOS.  Surely we could improve the simplicity and aesthetics of the user menus a bit.  And while they are working on the user interface, giving more useful error messages would be a nice touch.  Err 99 doesn’t mean much.

#4.  Geolocation. Like #2, this one would cost a tiny bit more per camera, but I really want it.  Using the little dongle that Nikon provides just doesn’t hack it.  I would love to have a geolocation of every landscape I shoot.

#5.  User-replaceable front elements.  We all want UV filters because they protect the lens, but we don’t want the reduction in contrast, sharpness, and saturation.  Would it not be possible for Canon or Nikon to engineer a replaceable front element or a UV filter that plays nicely with the lens?  It’d be nice to have the extra insurance.  For now, I don’t use any UV filter but occasionally scratch the front element.

#6.  Time to give up the RAW profiles. Nikon at least gets a minimal user base of its proprietary software, but extremely few people use the Canon software.  Either way, it’s time for Canon and Nikon to both give up their RAW profile information so the photo looks precisely the same in Lightroom and Photoshop on import as it looks on the back of the camera.  This one drives me nuts!

#7.  Low-light performance.  Enough said.  We want more of it.  If this were an ordered list, this would obviously be number 1.

#8.  Programmable long exposures.  I know you can obviously do it with a good remote release, but it would be handy (and easy) to put in the camera.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out for a night shoot only to realize that I forgot my remote.

#9.  Low shutter speed warning. I shoot in aperture priority mode a lot of the time, but I have to keep checking to make sure the shutter speed doesn’t dip too low.  When the sun is setting, that means I have to constantly think about shutter speed.  Wouldn’t it be nice if a warning would pop up when the shutter speed is slower than 1 divided by the focal length of the lens?  For example, when I’m shooting at 200mm, it would be cool if a little non-obtrusive warning would pop up saying my shutter speed is lower than 1/200th of a second.  Then I could shoot worry-free most of the time and just wait for the warning if it’s getting too dark.  It would be like the gas light in your car.  Seriously, an easy feature to add.

#10.  Rotatable pop-up flash.  So the pop-up flash is useless, right?  It wouldn’t be if they would simply make it rotatable so you could bounce it off a wall when you’re in a pinch.  Wouldn’t obviate the need for a speedlight, but it sure would be a nice backup.

Comments from the I.P. Community

  1. says

    #9 would be great if you could set a minimum shutter speed…

    or even, set shutter and appature and the camera sets ISO, but dynamically so it might be ISO 132 or ISO 427 rather than in stop steps.

  2. Scott Bowen says

    #11. What I would love to see is a magnetic lens front with magnetic filters. I’ve dropped and lost too many filters down cliffs and in rivers because of these threads that just never quite seem to line up. If they were magnetic, I could just slap it on and done. Want to rotate a polarizer? You can just spin it on the magnetics instead of having a super thick and complex metal frame that promotes vignetting. Finally, no more filters getting stuck together! It would basically be the Apple power cable but for filters.

  3. MysteryMan says

    #9 Sorry if I am being a Pentax nerd here. On the Pentax K-5 there’s a TAv mode, which allows you to change aperture and shutter while let the camera figure out the ISO. In a way it solves #9 because you can set a shutter 1/focal and leave it. There is no warning, but at least you won’t have to worry about shutter dipping too low – one of the many main reasons why I picked up this camera. Not a FF, but you should give it a try if you haven’t, so I can hear you talk about something other than Canon and Nikon for once. =P

  4. Moritz says

    #9 it is technically possible to set the shutter speed to more than 30 sec.
    That is proven by a custom firmware called magic lantern. I’m a proud Nikon shooter so it’s useless for me but as a Canon 600 owner I think it is you can just download that and it gives you the possibility to set the shutter in the settings to up to 4h!!! So it IS possible. My friend got it and we tested it up to 6 min only at the moment but still 12 times more than every normal DSLR. Just firmware guys.
    By the way, I am very thankful for all your work you put Ito that Blog here and I’m a newby to that blog and maybe i would even after 2 years of shooting a D5000 call me a total newby to photography because i never really cared about composition etc and just shot how i liked but already addicted to it and can’t wait to read one post after another to improve my Photos one by one! Thank you soo much Jim

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