Rethinking the Design of DSLR Cameras

Every few generations, the design of camera bodies change with shifts in technology. From the early days of plate and large format cameras, through rangefinder and single lens reflex cameras, new camera designs regularly spring forth and some go on to become mainstream. One might therefore ask, “what’s next?”


Designer Erin Fong has an interesting answer: the Nova DSLR camera.


This conceptual design is born out of a realization that photographers use cameras in all sorts of different angles and positions, and aims to address the most common of these uses. This includes self portraits, shots above crowds, stabilizing with two hands, etc…


I can imagine there being some difficulty when being used with large and heavy lenses, and it’s not very clear how the camera would be used with a tripod. However, it’s definitely a very interesting idea and cool concept.

What do you think of this design?

Nova DSLR Camera (via @AmazingPics)

Image credits: Erin Fong

  • Damean Ravichandra

    A little strange, but I'm open to innovation. I can certainly see its merits, particularly with further development in folded optics/pancake lenses and such…

  • pentaxfan

    I see some issues with storage and transporting the camera design. I guess my expectations were streamlined, heavy duty case and universal lens/accessory mounting system. This camera once again is a right handed camera without flexibility of reprogramming of left hand user comfort or use. I would not purchase this camera! Look at RED for some inspiration with their accessory mounts and flexibility. Just not for me!

  • cinnabon

    Thumbs down. Maybe a modified version of this would be practical with a larger p&s, but not a DSLR… especially if it's not tripod compatible.

  • Michael Zhang

    I'm not 100% sure, but I think it was designed to be left-handed friendly – I think the “legs” swivel both ways?

  • andrewkornylak

    Too many design failures to count

  • Nayalan Moodley

    I dont quite like the design but i like the fact that people are thinking about it… the DSLR in its current state needs to evolve… personally however I would like to see impovements in electronic viewfinders so that shooting micro 4/3rds in dark rooms. The only reason I got a d90 instead of a GH1 is the fact that I do band photography.

  • tim

    Does it have the function to kill anyone who says “cool capture!” If it did, I'd buy it. Actually in its current form, it already has a certain hammer-like shape…

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  • william_good

    I appreciate the innovation effort and would love to see something of sorts in action. Getting this type of purple cow to market may be a little challenging, yet in the hands of influential photographers I think there would be good traction amid the photojournalistic/lifestyle photog community.

  • domenicomorrone

    Interesting to see how out of the box this design is, but…

    Too many buttons on the front and not on the back. You'd have to be looking at your lens to make any changes or adjustments. The handles are also not very ergonomic. Some of the sketches show some highly curved handles, would I can only assume would be much more comfortable and natural to use.

    Stabilizing a longer lens would also definitely be an issue. So many of us out there are shooting telephoto with 70-300 or 70-200 ƒ/2.8 and you'd need an extra hand to zoom if you are supposed to use both hands on the handles.

  • Bergur

    Woah. Interesting. Sort of interesting – irrelevant for me, unless Nikon starts announces one of those as well :P

    But I don't really see the design we know today, going anywhere for quite some time (which I think is a good thing…)

  • Samuel reynolds

    Don't like it. Looks poop. Looks flimsy. Looks cheap. Looks like a web camera attached to a boomerang. NEXT.

  • deanbuscher

    du does not look like it would fit a tripod therefore very limited

  • deanbuscher

    du does not look like it would fit a tripod therefore very limited

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  • goel


  • Todd Cucchiara

    Goel has a point – is Single Lens Refles a necessity among professionals? The SLR design came about to solve the problem of paralax among the popular viewfinder cameras of the day. I remember the 120mm Yashica with the pop up viwfinder and the two lenses on the front. With LCD preview, the two lenses can be used to create digital stereo images instead of one for viewing and one for capturing. THAT is the innovation in design we should seek. Making the camera a piece of art is a valuable task, yet we need never lose sight of the art of photogreaphy itself. Challenge ourselves to rethink the artform as it evolves from from chemical capture to electronic capture.