Published February 21st 2015

Camera features I'd like to see


Here's a list of some camera features I'd love to have – all of them doable in firmware, so it's basically a free-for-all smorgasbord of ideas for camera manufacturers.

Please implement these in your next firmware update!
They are free for you to take.
You can credit me, but you don't need to.
You can pay me, but you don't have to.
Just do it!

They are camera features that are all software based and need no new buttons, no mechanics, no extra hardware. Just a skilled programmer.

My own personal menu

Forget special settings

How many times haven't I had my camera set to 1600 or 3200 ISO or had it on bracketing for a shooting session, and then picked it up later or the next day and simply shot on?
The result has been exposing a series of noisy images at 3200 ISO in bright sunlight or wondered why the *beep* my camera kept on exposing so randomly because it was still bracketing one full stop for each shot.

Give me a facility where I can set a timeout for special settings or simply have the camera return to a preset when I turn it off and on again.
Essentially I want to set a preset as I normally use the camera. In my case lowest ISO, aperture priority, slightly underexposed, single frame no bracketing, slow rear flash sync, back button continuous focus, one central focus point and so on. Whatever I prefer. I do have some of this in the shooting banks on my pro Nikons, but these don't control all settings like PASM, ISO, bracketing or exposure adjustments. I want to control it all!
Then I set somewhere in the camera menus that I want the camera to revert to these settings when I turn it off and on again, or after a certain number of hours after I've changed away from the standard settings and stopped using the camera or simply on demand by a “revert to my presets” menu function.

This will ensure that I don't grab the camera and start firing as I have done so many times, with totally crazy settings for the situation.
When I leave it for a while – like for a an hour between shooting sessions or overnight – and pick it up again, it's magically back in my favorite configuration.


Let me display an image on the LCD and superimpose the viewfinder image on that when using live view. This will enable me to shoot pictures that are identically framed and even pick out old images and snap new ones on the same location with the exact same viewing angle, but with the current look.

Let me upload jpg-images to the memory card and use them as bases. Like older digital shots of my own or images I have scanned or copied. Or wireframes for special compositions. Or templates for magazine covers. Or... the possibilities are endless, and would be very practical for many assignments.

Let me set the transparency of the base image in a menu so that the overlay can be seen clearly.

This would enable me to do precise compositions, shoot cover shots that always had room for the magazine logo and almost perfect before and after images, all things which currently requires a great deal of fiddling in the field and most likely also some skewing, trimming and manipulation in post.

Smarter folder creation

I want a camera that can be set up to do smarter folders on my memory cards. This could be folders automatically created by date and easier manual creation of new folders.

My D200 has a simple new folder function. If I press down the key button on the back while turning it on, it creates and uses a new folder.

Folders could also be created based on rules. Right now the only rule on my Nikon cameras is that when a folder holds 999 images, a new one is created. I rarely fill a folder, so this rule never comes into action.

How about a new folder when I turn on the camera?
Or a new folder if the camera is turned off nn hours and turned on again?
Or a new folder every day?
Or a combination determined by me?

A calling card

Write protected ID shot

Let me add a write protected ID shot to all my memory cards, which I could either create in camera using the menu system, or do on a computer and upload to the cards or even to the camera itself. And make sure this image cannot be deleted and will stay put through an in-camera format so that it's always present on my cards. Simply lift it off the camera while formatting and write it back on when done.

A simple JPG would be perfect, allowing people to see it on the card even without special software. And simply display it as the first image when reviewing the contents of a card on the back of the camera, so that people would notice it.

This would allow me to add an image containing my contact information and maybe even a thumb of my happy face, allowing people to find me and visually identify me if they found my lost or stolen camera and they wanted to return it.

And yes, I do realize that any dishonest person could simply erase or ignore this picture, but there are lots of honest people out there, who would be happy to return your gear if they could just find you.

I know that I would.

Let cameras display each others pictures

I never understood why the different cameras can't display each other's pictures. Sometimes they can, other times they can't. I have five SLR-bodies and many of them can exchange cards. When I move a card from one to another, oftentimes I can't see the images that are present on the card already. Folders created by other cameras are hidden, and images can't display – not even JPG's.

I can see that crunching newer RAW files can be a problem for older cameras, but the files have embedded JPG-thumbs that can be read. And the file system on the cards is standard and should be readable by any camera, at least showing files and sizes and maybe dates. That would enable me to see what's on the card while it's in the camera.

I wouldn't expect Canon's cameras to show Nikon NEF images or Nikon bodies to show Sony's RAW files. But same-brand cameras should at least be able to do it, and JPG's are JPG's no matter what camera or program has made them.

Sensible programming

I would love to see software engineers spend time on developing these and other useful features rather than developing editing functions and filters that no one uses or odd 3D flying windows style interfaces, which don't work well on the back of a camera anyway.