Nikon D5R Concept Camera Features Rotating Sensor and Viewfinder

Illinois industrial design student Ned Mulka created this Nikno D5R concept camera for his senior thesis design project. While the design itself may be pretty iffy for a camera, the main idea behind it is pretty interesting — instead of having to rotate the camera itself for portrait orientation photos, why not only rotate the sensor, mirror, and viewfinder? An even crazier design would involve only rotating the sensor, allowing the camera to shoot any orientation without having to change how you hold the camera — though this would probably be an engineering nightmare for the camera makers.

What do you think of the idea?

Nikon D5R Concept Camera (via Nikon Rumors)

(via Nikon Rumors)

  • bri

    great idea!

  • Phil Lowe

    About as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

  • Jimmy ;D

    So when the viewfinder is in portrait mode – how is the viewfinder information presented? Just asking :)

  • Max

    Seems like it’d be easier and more useful to just use a square sensor and do the cropping in-camera based on mode with the option to re-crop later.

  • Andrew

    How about a square format that works both ways, and can be cropped as you please. How come no one ever thought of that before. ;v)

  • Royce Walston

    How about incorporating a vertical grip on a standard body…done and done.

  • The Wedding Studio

    Medium format photographers have been shooting with rotating square sensors for over a decade.

  • The Wedding Studio

    Medium format photographers have been shooting with rotating square sensors for over a decade.

  • Chung Dha Lam

    I thought from pictures would be some smart way to rotate to have the flash on the side instead of top. But find the idea not that great. Moving elements means always easier to break.

  • Bergur

    The idea is by far superior to the concept – if you get what I mean.


    ehhh… overcomplicated and unnecessary…

  • Edie Howe

    I’d rather have a 1×1 ratio sensor, to be honest.

  • Gerion

    Actually this isn’t unnecessary at all. Depending on the subject, when using a tripod, a change of orientation can end up in a lot of hassle. I know a few macro enthusiasts who use the camera outdoors hanging on a tripod upside down. So rotating the sensor instead of rotating the camera can be quite helpful, although a simple square sensor would do the trick as well – and it might be cheaper.

  • Zak Henry

    Why not skip square and go straight for circle? The you can crop a maximum size in any possible orientation, and use every scrap of glass you are packing.

  • Elizabeth Williams

    My thought exactly.

    I learned my way around a camera on a Mamiya RZ 67; why no one has yet thought to use that technology on a Nikon or Canon camera is beyond me, but I promise you that the first company to do so would find me completely loyal to them.

  • Jerod Killick

    Agreed! I like the traditional method! This is weird. And, the more moving parts, the more that can go wrong!

  • Adam

    What rubbish. Ever notice how 90% of these student design projects for cameras have absolutely NO basis on what real photographers actually want or do? This is an idiotic gimmick.

  • Michael Jardeen

    Though I would prefer square, I am amused by your blanket denial — idiotic? On a tripod this would be a godsend. It’s just one way to address the issue of making cameras more compact — no need for a vertical grip at all. It’s nice to see some creativity in design.

  • Andrew Davis

    If you don’t want your lens axis to change, get a camera rotating bracket like the Custom Brackets system-I use it regularly for studio work. I also have an old Mamiya RB67 (RB for rotating back) The rotating back or square format makes the most sense when shooting with a waist level sensor or with a medium or large format sensor. I can’t see a whole lot of use for incorporating a rotating sensor into a dSLR.

  • Gelar Firmandes

    ┬áIt’s a very good Idea, I like it. It would be very usedfull and less material needed so maybe cheaper price. But I wonder why Nikon corp doesn’t try to make a new knock down system for SLR film based camera whit interchangeable camera Back that can modified the film based SLR camera to a digital camera, than if the digital technology change to be better so we only need to change the camera back. I think the photographer will response it better because whoever invest. in camera body will spend less money than buy the new DSLR.

  • Anonymous

    Nikon is heading to be the Nokia of Photography.

  • Leorolim


  • Steven Ellingson

    Yep, I was thinking this also. As sensors get cheaper, I imagine at some point they will just put an oversized sensor in there that will show all of the light from your lens. then you can crop it however you want after the fact. EVF’s would make this a practical idea as there could be different modes for composing your shots.